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Old 11-12-2017, 04:27 PM   #1
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TX, UT, CO, WY, SD itinerary

I am planning our summer ’18 glamping trip and would like some advice on our park selections. Our 40’ Class A tows a Honda CR-V. We plan on leaving the Tampa Bay area around the middle of June and returning late September.

Here is our initial itinerary: Leaving Tampa Bay then
Austin Tx – visiting family
Big Bend National Park – TX
Angel Fire NM – visit family
Monument Valley, Ut
Canyonlands National Park, Ut
Arches NP, Ut
Capitol Reef NP, Ut
Bryce Canyon NP, Ut
Zion NP, Ut
Flaming Gorge NRA, Ut
Yellowstone NP, Wy
Custer State Park, SD
Mt. Rushmore, SD
Rocky Mt NP, CO
Vail, CO – visit friends
Pikes Peak, CO

I would like to add Glacier NP after Yellowstone but that’s 1000 miles round trip extra and I think I’ve got my hands full with what I’m already planning. I have 3 ½ months to complete this itinerary.



Below is a pic of my itinerary.


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Old 11-12-2017, 04:43 PM   #2
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You could go into Montana and visit Little Big Horn. Not that far out of your way. And don’t forget Devils Tower in Wyoming on way to Rapid City.
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:30 PM   #3
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You’re bypassing Jackson Hole WY and Grand Teton NP? I too would suggest Devils Tower and possibly the Little Bighorn Battlefield.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:50 AM   #4
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For Arches and Canyonlands, we stayed at Portal in Moab (http://bigdudesramblings.blogspot.co...n-to-moab.html). Rafter J (http://bigdudesramblings.blogspot.co...-rafter-j.html) is good for Rushmore and Custer. We just recently stayed at Cheyenne Mtn State Park for a Pikes Peak visit. I would stay at all of them again.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:15 AM   #5
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You’re bypassing Jackson Hole WY and Grand Teton NP? I too would suggest Devils Tower and possibly the Little Bighorn Battlefield.
Not necessarily, we will be staying with friends in Cody and using the tow for visits to Yellowstone and Teton.

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For Arches and Canyonlands, we stayed at Portal in Moab (Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings: 2013 Western Trip – Heading Down To Moab). Rafter J (Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings: 2013 Western Trip – Rafter J) is good for Rushmore and Custer. We just recently stayed at Cheyenne Mtn State Park for a Pikes Peak visit. I would stay at all of them again.
Thanks for those park recommendations. Did you have to make reservation in advance?
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Old 11-13-2017, 12:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by timjet View Post
I am planning our summer ’18 glamping trip and would like some advice on our park selections. Our 40’ Class A tows a Honda CR-V. We plan on leaving the Tampa Bay area around the middle of June and returning late September.

Here is our initial itinerary: Leaving Tampa Bay then
Austin Tx – visiting family
Big Bend National Park – TX
Angel Fire NM – visit family
Monument Valley, Ut
Canyonlands National Park, Ut
Arches NP, Ut
Capitol Reef NP, Ut
Bryce Canyon NP, Ut
Zion NP, Ut
Flaming Gorge NRA, Ut
Yellowstone NP, Wy
Custer State Park, SD
Mt. Rushmore, SD
Rocky Mt NP, CO
Vail, CO – visit friends
Pikes Peak, CO

I would like to add Glacier NP after Yellowstone but that’s 1000 miles round trip extra and I think I’ve got my hands full with what I’m already planning. I have 3 ½ months to complete this itinerary.



Below is a pic of my itinerary.


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Is this pretty much already set?

Couple of things come to mind right off the Bat - Hot in Utah in June July - REALY HOT.
This section of your trip would be much more enjoyable in the Fall or early Spring.

Austin Tx – visiting family
Big Bend National Park – TX
Angel Fire NM – visit family
Monument Valley, Ut
Canyonlands National Park, Ut
Arches NP, Ut
Capitol Reef NP, Ut
Bryce Canyon NP, Ut
Zion NP, Ut
Flaming Gorge NRA, Ut

All this area is just HOT - But you being from Florida - ..... might work but sure makes the hikes and outdoor activities just a challenge.

You could run all the way up the Rockies earlier then - in October head into the warmer areas, as they begin to cool down.

Out of Monument Valley I'd head over to Page/Antelope Canyon/Lake Powell then catch North Rim - then to Zion - Bryce - Rt 12 - Escalante - Kodachrome - Capitol Reef - Goblins - Moab and Canyonlands. then up to Dinosaur NM before catching Flaming Gorge.

Actually I'd do this in reverse as it would come later in my trip.

Sorry - just getting carried away - Your trip - just thought you might want to think about the effect of 110 degree days in the summer in Utah.

One last thought - trade Pikes Peak in for Buena Vista/Collegiates/RT 92 in toad to Maroon Bells/Aspen/ Leadville.

Thin I'm getting too much of Me in YOUR trip, but think about the heat.

Best of Luck,
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:04 PM   #7
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Carlsbad Cavern NP in New Mexico-don't miss. Can spend days there, take at least two different tours. Beyond incredible!
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:25 PM   #8
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Out of Monument Valley I'd head over to Page/Antelope Canyon/Lake Powell then catch North Rim - then to Zion - Bryce - Rt 12 - Escalante - Kodachrome - Capitol Reef - Goblins - Moab and Canyonlands. then up to Dinosaur NM before catching Flaming Gorge.

Actually I'd do this in reverse as it would come later in my trip.
I agree on this!
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:29 PM   #9
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Thanks for the heads up about the heat. I'm going to have to look into that. Perhaps Utah in September, we have to be home very early October.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:27 PM   #10
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Nice trip, you are going to have a great time, and so much to see.
I recommend after Yellowstone, take the south exit to the Tetons very pretty, when leaving the Tetons take US-89 south to Bear Lake on the Idaho/Utah border, besides beautiful, there are a number of hot springs. You may enjoy that after so many miles on the road.
Busskipper Binged a route for Utah in an earlier post, it would take you through the Wasatch Mountain range, plus he recommended a number of Utah State parks that are a Wow factor of Don't Miss if possible. I concur that you should try and plan your trip with the later taking place in September; Utah, and Southwest Texas, all would be better later than earlier. Side note; if you pick up any souvenirs seeing family on the way home would allow you to drop off stuff and not mail later.
Being from FL, not knowing if you are familiar with the desert regions, 100 degrees is much different than east coast.
1. Temp is in the shade.
2. 100 is not a heat index, (90 with a heat index of 105 due to humidity). Little to no humidity in the desert.
3. You can literally fry food on the pavement.
OK, enough about that.
I would suggest you ask Busskipper to recommend a Binged route to see the Big 5 National Parks & State Parks in Utah, which in his post above included the Grand Canyon.
I am sorry, hard to believe that such a small state can contain so much beauty, but it's true and why so many posts on here comment you can spend a whole vacation in just Utah. A well thought out route from someone who knows can save you many wasted miles which equals days.
Do you have a National Park Passport Book? We have the Collectors Edition (hard cover spiral bound). You can get Collector Stamps and Cancellation Stamps at most National Parks, Monuments, and and so on. The book is available on Amazon and at most National Park Stores or Online NP Store.. You will be able to put a big dent into yours if you get one.
Good Luck on your planning,
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:33 AM   #11
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Not necessarily, we will be staying with friends in Cody and using the tow for visits to Yellowstone and Teton.


Thanks for those park recommendations. Did you have to make reservation in advance?
Yes, but I always do. The Denver area CO state parks are especially hard to get into last minute, especially on weekends.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:43 PM   #12
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YNP and GTNP ffrom Cody

Day trips from Cody to the parks during the summer will not be very successful due to distance and traffic. Think 2hrs. drive to Fishing Bridge area then another 2hrs north to Mammoth or Lamar Valley or at least 2 hrs south to Jackson or a little less to mid part of Tetons. Probably close to 8 hrs. driving to and from Cody doesn't leave much time to see or do anything. Maybe try to stay some at Fishing Bridge CG and Gros Ventre Cg.and sight see from these.. Don't miss the Buffalo Bill Museum complex in Cody, we spent 2 full days in the museums. Big rigs can fit in Fishing Bridge,we camped next to a 42' MH.
Our 35' 5er fit fine. Also traffic much lighter if you can be there after Labor Day.
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:32 AM   #13
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Thanks Tooth, I didn't realize the distances were so great. I haven't really planned our trip in detail just getting info to do so.
It looks like we'll be in the Cody area early in the summer due to our wishes to visit Utah and the heat there. Will probably do the Cody and S.D area in late June moving down to CO in late July and work our way to Utah in early Sep. This is all very tentative.

Thanks for the CG recommendations. We will likely use some if not all of them.
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:39 PM   #14
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Some general information about YNP (some general items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much as you planned on in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or all stop for 1/4 mile or more blocking both directions of travel, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 MPH radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line to check it out)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking and there are passes on the grand loop road that are close to 8000 ft or so! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking.

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until about 9:30- 9:45 PM then there is a long twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise non-existent!

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is shiny black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YNP yes, drink lots of water! HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas only have pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line at the lower Geyser Basin (2 holes) 25 or more feet long (bless the tour buses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area! I.e. “Never pass up a flush toilet!”

Sun- At YSNP altitude the Sun is intense (uv)have and apply sunscreen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear Sunglasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have up to a hour and 10 to 15 minutes wait for the next one. Tour tour the O/F Geyser basin while waiting. O/F INN is a must see, reportedly the largest LOG building in the U.S. (Meals in the O/F dinning room are “OK” also.

We have lived about 110 miles from West Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go to YSNP 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all yet! So don’t be discouraged that you didn’t have the time to see all of it. Just plan on coming back another time!

I honestly don’t mean to scare or discourage you but to give you a heads up as to what to expect! After all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015! As far as I know we didn’t lose one of them. Except those who by their own stupidity step off the board walks into BOILING HOT water and ignoring the warnings about the WILD ANIMALS! That is called purifying the gene pool!
8
Note I have seen on this blog and others about folks “day tripping” from YSNP to GTNP, it is done all the time (myself included) however remember this is BIG country and with the speed limits, animals and thermal attractions you will be doing a LOT of driving. From Grant Village Visitor Center (extreme S/E corner of the lower loop road) to Jackson, WY is about 80 miles with Coulter Bay being about 1/2 way then from Grant Village you have to add the distance to your CG it will be a Long days trip!

A point of CoulterBay clarification- there are two (2) CG’s at Coulter Bay, One the “Coulter Bay RV Park” a full service “RV Park” with FHU’S that takes reservations. The other is the “Coulter Bay Campground “ has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations. Both have about 300 sites and are basically across the road from each other.

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/ TABLE SEATING ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 7 times and the US open fiddle championship twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench seats/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pads to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer just to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money for your trip! Check out their website.

Bar J Chuckwagon

Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and the # of Silver Dollars in the bar. The Wort Hotel Bar (just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar) also has Silver Dollars imbedded in the Bar
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