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Old 10-27-2020, 06:41 AM   #1
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Trip from Chicago to Yellowstone, 2022

We are planning a trip to Rapid City, Yellowstone, and the Tetons for July, 2022. We have a 28 ft travel trailer that we pull with a 1500 Sierra. Need to do the whole trip in 15 days since we are traveling with family that needs to be back. I read recently to "avoid the Bighorn Mountains east of Cody, Wyoming" with a RV. Is this true? Should we not be coming in from that direction? Any suggestions on the safest route into the park pulling a travel trailer would be greatly appreciated. I am hoping by 2022 Fishing Bridge is back open and we can stay there...and our family can stay in a cabin in the Lake Lodge area. Does that sound reasonable or do you have a better suggestion? Since we are only staying a total of 4 nights, thought I should stay centrally located. Thanks so much.
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Old 10-27-2020, 06:44 AM   #2
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We are thinking about a similar trip. I'll be following this thread.
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:55 AM   #3
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The short answer is no you don't have to avoid the Bighorns.

There are a lot of BUTS though. Read this

Road to Yellowstone
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Old 10-27-2020, 08:16 AM   #4
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if you do a search you can find some good reads in this forum on this..

recommend coming in from Bear tooth pass into yellowstone well worth it ... you are cramming allot in 15 days... you are looking at 2 days to get there and 2 days back driving hard, so down to 11 days. You can do yellowstone in 5 days or less.. just make sure you go to the places you want to see early before 9am... nobody but you and yours... after 10 until 3 you can get close to the other 50k people there good luck finding a parking spot as well... also the gypsy guide to yellowstone is a good buy...
don't forget if hiking away from the main stops to bring bear spray. Most of yellowstone is easy to get to and enjoy.
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Old 10-27-2020, 08:16 AM   #5
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I took highway 16 from Buffalo to Ten Sleep. It was a nice route, very scenic, still deep in the mountains.
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Old 10-27-2020, 08:27 AM   #6
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Sounds like a local. I’d avoid the Tetons
as well
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Old 10-27-2020, 08:43 PM   #7
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I would Take 16 not 14. Still has some serious pulls. But not as many switch backs. Had some people this summer pulling with new truck with new trailer 2500 gas chevy they thought they had a problem with their transmission because on the way up it ran in 2nd and 3rd. 45 miles an hour they were concerned it wouldn't up shift. Moral of the story either way be ready for some serious mountain pulls. And make sure your brakes are up to snuff.
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Old 10-29-2020, 05:53 AM   #8
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THANK YOU so much for ALL the advice! VERY helpful! The link to the road info into Yellowstone was exactly what I needed to know. Also the GyPSy app sounds fantastic! Does it work without reception? I am assuming I might not have much Verizon reception in the park. We have been to Yellowstone before but it has been many years...and we were not pulling a 28 foot travel trailer...something smaller. Because we are limited on time and trying to include a quick stop in Rapid City so family can see Mt. Rushmore...we are only figuring 7 days between Yellowstone and the Tetons (family really wants to go there!). We will have 2 small children with us and have to consider that in our travels as well. Because of the time restraint we will not be doing the Bear Tooth Hwy this time (although it is AMAZING!) Thank you again...wish we had 3 weeks!
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Old 11-10-2020, 07:26 AM   #9
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We just did this trip from Central IL! We overnighted in SD state park, We did 2 nights in Badlands/Mt. Rushmore area, overnight in Billings, then 5 in West Yellowstone, 3 in Tetons, 2 to get back (long days). I wish I had been able to split Yellowstone into two campgrounds to save driving but West Yellowstone was awesome. On the way out we stuck with 90 pretty much all the way across to Bozeman, took 191 to West Yellowstone. When I planned the trip I was avoiding the eastern approach due to same 1/2 ton concerns and the road closures at Yellowstone favored west side. On way home took the scenic route out of the Tetons, it was gorgeous but I was glad I had upgraded the truck to a 3/4! Wyoming State Route 26 to Casper was fine but it had two tough grade climbs that would have stressed my previous truck (doable though!). Not much out there in Eastern WY and Western NE but it was beautiful desolation.
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Old 11-10-2020, 10:57 AM   #10
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Thank you very much!! Very helpful information. Would you have stayed in Fishing Bridge if that had been open? If you had stayed in West Yellowstone and another campground, where would you recommend? I may have some other questions for you down the line. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain your trip.. very helpful!
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Old 11-10-2020, 06:08 PM   #11
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We stayed at the West Yellowstone KOA (thumbs up), and would have loved to do 2 nights in Fishing Bridge (closed our trip). I have heard good things about Cody area campgrounds as well but no first hand experience. We stayed at Colter Bay RV in the Tetons and absolutely loved it!
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Old 11-10-2020, 07:26 PM   #12
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Thank you, again! Good info! Did you take 80 home to Illinois? I think we might just plan the same trip you did...do not want to try the east approach with this travel trailer...
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Old 11-10-2020, 07:37 PM   #13
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DeeBee, yep took WY26 to 80 corridor....stayed in Cheyenne journey KOA (do not recommend) and then at a NE state park (Pawnee Lake)...nice.
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Old 11-10-2020, 07:38 PM   #14
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Thanks so much!!
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Old 11-14-2020, 01:22 PM   #15
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We did Yellowstone a number of years ago (2009). Stayed at Fishing Bridge. It was great for being in a somewhat central place in the park. We had a smaller trailer then and even with that I thought it was very tight in Fishing Bridge. But there were much larger rigs there, so I know it wasn't as tight as it seemed. When we left to head for Colorado, we used the East Entrance and went through Cody. It was a very beautiful drive and enjoyable drive. It's been so long now, I really don't recall any long down grades that there must be. I probably don't have the most helpful info, but I wouldn't be overly worried about the east entrance. If it was that scary, I know I would have remembered it whether I was going up or down. Just take your time.

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Old 11-14-2020, 02:32 PM   #16
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We did Yellowstone and Mt Rushmore as part of our PCS move to Alaska last summer (2019). We stayed at a campground north of Yellowstone (Livingston, MT) that was very nice. We were able to see everything we wanted to see during our trip thru the park. We drove out the northeast entrance thru the plains areas where all the big herds of animals were! Just breath taking seeing that many majestic animals together that weren't on a ranch!! Stopped and picked up some Huckleberry Wine in the village just outside of the park entrance as well! Enjoy your trip!!
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Old 11-14-2020, 02:46 PM   #17
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I would suggest that you not go over Beartooth Pass as it's pretty steep and curvy, especially with a towed trailer. I would suggest going to Cody and up Sylvan Pass, it's fairly steep, but not very curvy and comes out at Fishing Bridge, basically, as you get into the Park. I believe this might be the best place for you to camp for the duration due to its fairly central location and it's not really much of a trip to get out of the Park on the way to Grand Teton, less than two hours to Colter Bay Campground. Four days in Yellowstone will allow you to see a bunch of what it offers and two days in Grand Teton will allow you to sightsee a bunch. I think that Yellowstone has a bunch more features but is not quite as majestic as Grand Teton especially around Jackson Lake, Jenny Lake, etc. almost in the shadows of the Tetons. If you can, catch the tour boat at Jackson Lake for a trip around the lake to go up to the base of Mount Moran where the base of the mountain comes right down to Moran Bay and then up about 6,000 feet. We make, usually, three trips to Grand Teton, staying at Colter Bay Campground, each year to fish and sightsee and have been doing so for the last 12 years. Have only missed going to Grand Teton twice in 55 years that we have been married. After your stay in Grand Teton, leave through the South entrance, take a left and drive down to Dubois and then to Riverton to Casper and back home. There is only one fairly steep pull, going up to Togwotee Pass, but we pull out 30' FW with a boat behind it with a Duramax and can pick up speed going up the hill, so you shouldn't have any problem pulling up there. Have a great trip.
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Old 11-14-2020, 03:59 PM   #18
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You are looking at some long steady inclines at higher altitudes. Hopefully you have a big V8 and a large gas tank. Check first. I'm thinking Yellowstone has a Max trailer length of 25'. The curves get tight.
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Old 11-14-2020, 04:57 PM   #19
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Went to Yellowstone, Sept 2020

We did this trip from VA taking 3 weeks total to drive out to Yellowstone with a lot of stopovers on the way. We took a 27 foot, Class C Greyhawk, but we picked up a rental car in Gillette, WY. So I drove the camper (BF drove the rental car separately) all the way from Buffalo WY on 16, over the BigHorns, stopped in Cody at a campground which was not to my liking. When we drove the rental car into Yellowstone, we investigated the State Parks along the way to the east entrance and we ended up moving from Cody to a boondock spot on the Sheshone River. Then we were only 15 miles from the entrance. I was glad to have the car to get in the park. We took 2 dogs, and the park has a lot of restrictions about pets in the park. If you can, go to AAA or email the park directly to see all the "official" restrictions. The only problem we had in the park was a lot of road closures due to various reasons so we never were able to make the complete loop. It was still beautiful, but the camping on the Sheshone River was a slice of Heaven. Also, buy the US Park pass- well worth it. Good Luck!!
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Old 11-14-2020, 05:07 PM   #20
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Cody was nice and there is a nice campground on the south side of the highway right on a river. The campground is about half way between Cody and the East entrance to the park. When in Cody be sure and check out the old restored town. Some of the buildings were moved there. Also don’t miss the wildlife loop in Custer State park, herds of Buffalo right next to the car tame wild Mules, Elk, Antelope, Deer, Mountain Sheep. Kids will love the Buffalo. Rushmore is great but very commercial. There are nice campgrounds in this area.
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