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Old 07-29-2014, 01:31 AM   #1
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Planning for Yellowstone, Montana, Utah and vicinity

I am starting to plan our first trip to the great Northwest. I want to go up thru Colorado to the Black Hills, into Montana and Wyoming and Yellowstone. Maybe into Idaho. Down thru Utah, New Mexico, and back toward home to Louisiana. Will probably spend three months next year on this discovery trip and am afraid I will miss the best sights, just because I didn't know to go see them. I will be in a 40 foot MH pulling a Jeep Wrangler.

If you have tips on gotta see locations, best places to stay, places to avoid with the MH, etc, I would be very appreciative. Also the best time of the year to be in each area. I do dry camp some, but like to mix it up with full hookups so we can recharge and freshen up our laundry and our bodies. I will be searching the forum for past posts. Help me have a memorable trip. Thanks in advance!

Wiley
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:56 AM   #2
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Sound like a fun trip . For the northern leg , Rapid City , Rushmore , Black Hills , I'd say to be finished that section of your tour by the last week in September and be working your way south. Early winter storms can hit the area, around then,and many RV parks are closed.
Were you planning to go all the way to the west coast? Or is Idaho the start of your route south?
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:56 AM   #3
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Were you planning to go all the way to the west coast? Or is Idaho the start of your route south?
Or this trip we will probably head south and save WA, OR, and Vancouver for the next trip North.

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Old 07-29-2014, 12:13 PM   #4
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I would allow at least a week, in southern Utah, to explore all the National Parks .
Bryce, Zion and the North Rim would be best in the toad, with the coach in a central location, maybe Glendale, for the first two. I have no current info on RV parks in that area.
4 Corners & Monument Valley are on my bucket list.
It's been a number of years since I toured the Zion , Bryce and Grand Canyon area, and I want to get through them all again.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:33 PM   #5
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We can help with Colorado

We have camped at every state park in Colorado, except the new one in Colorado Springs near Cheyenne Mountain. Also been to all of the Nat'l Parks and Monuments here, and quite a few of the forest CG's, too. Way too much info to try to post here, so feel free to PM me, and I will help.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:26 PM   #6
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Sounds like a great trip! Definitely go through the bighorn mountains either rt 14 or 16 to the east gate of Yellowstone from the black hills. Much more scenic than 90 through Montana. Many will say too steep or too many switchbacks. I'm in a 40ft DP pulling a Durango and had no trouble. Well worth it. Enjoy!!
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:10 AM   #7
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Sounds like a great trip! Definitely go through the bighorn mountains either rt 14 or 16 to the east gate of Yellowstone from the black hills. Much more scenic than 90 through Montana. Many will say too steep or too many switchbacks. I'm in a 40ft DP pulling a Durango and had no trouble. Well worth it. Enjoy!!
Thanks for that tip. I'll be going thru there (Gillette to Cody) in just a couple of weeks in a rig that sounds very similar to yours - is there a preference between the two (14 or 16)?
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:37 AM   #8
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I prefer to be in Yellowstone the first week in June. That is when the elk calves are born and the bears and wolves are very active. Also, the kids are still in school and the park is less crowded. Sounds like a great trip enjoy!
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:51 AM   #9
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We just did that loop from Mass. We took 16 from Buffalo WY in thru Big Horn. It was awesome. Spent the night in Cody and then made our way into the park. I was told to stay away from 14 it can be real tricky in a motorhome. I found Big Horn to be a great ride just use common sense.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:20 PM   #10
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When we visited Yellowstone, we tried to save money and stayed 25 miles from the west entrance at Red Rock RV Park in Island Park, Idaho. Every trip into the park was at least a 175 mile round trip in the toad. If there is a next time, we will make reservations way ahead of time at Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone. Expensive...but well worth it in the long run.

For me, Glacier National Park is way more scenic and the Going to the Sun Highway will take your breath away. We used the toad twice and the free shuttle buses once, but should have included an all day tour in one of the really cool touring cars. I missed some fantastic scenery while trying to keep the toad on the road. Say hi to Mr. Grizzly just outside the east entrance on Hwy 89, at the south end of the lake...near a KOA. Sorry the picture is so fuzzy, but I was a little nervous. I was, however, able to get within 20 feet of him in the toad. We stayed at North American RV Park in Coram, MT...on Hwy 2 just 5 miles out the west entrance.

You can enter Zion from the east...but need to pay to go thru the center of a 1.1 mile tunnel...with your toad disconnected. We stayed at Zion Canyon CG in Springdale, UT...just outside the south entrance.

For Monument Valley, you have no choice but to stay at Gouldings RV Park, which is located nearby in a box canyon. The entire area was one of the most unusual places we have ever been. To tell you the truth, we were glad to leave because it really is out in the middle of nowhere. The wind is constant and the dust is everywhere. I am still finding it in the basement.

We were too early this year (April) to visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Travelers Village at the south rim is fantastic...just make sure the elk allow you to hook up.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:18 AM   #11
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Thanks for that tip. I'll be going thru there (Gillette to Cody) in just a couple of weeks in a rig that sounds very similar to yours - is there a preference between the two (14 or 16)?
I've done both and both are great but for different reasons. 14 is much steeper with many more switchbacks but once you get to the top you are pretty much in the forest and it feels fairly closed in. 16 is more gradual (still some short steep grades of 8 to 10%) but offers a lot more of the sweeping vistas, open meadows, wildflowers and mountain views. Also coming down through ten sleep canyon on 16 is pretty cool. some great spots for lunch by the river. In my opinion you can't lose on either route. If you make buffalo WY there is a nice quite campground called Deer Park that is very nice and serves as a good jumping off point on the way to yellowstone so you don't have to stay in crowded, touristy Cody. Good Luck!
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:49 AM   #12
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My wife and I are in the middle of our first extended trip (retired in March). We left home with an ambitious travel plan and soon ditched it for a life of leisure. We try to find a good spot and stay there for a while. We hope to be able to travel for several years, so we have taken the viewpoint that there is plenty of time to see the sights. We have spent the last week at Mesa Verde National Park. What a magical place!



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Old 07-31-2014, 08:07 AM   #13
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:11 AM   #14
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Lots of great info here already as we are just finishing up our trip.
I will give you one "stay clear" place.
The koa in great falls. Nice place, great breakfast but I really didn't think we could pull out of our site. Tight, tight , tight.
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