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Old 02-23-2018, 11:53 AM   #1
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Feedback on this route from Knoxville,TN to Wall,SD to West YNP to GTNP to Home

Looking for input on this route from Knoxville,Tn going to west YNP and down to GTNP and back home
Trip will be in June with a 37 ft Class A with a toad.

Knoxville TN to 370 Lakeside RV park in St Peters Mo for layover. and on to Boonville MO to see Clydesdale horses at Warm Springs Ranch.I40/I24/I64/I70

Boonville MO to Wall SD I 70/I 29

Wall to Rapid City I90/ I 190

Rapid City to Yellowstone Grizzly Rv Park I 90/State road 191

Grizzly RV Park to Colter Bay RV Park GTNP. Can I go through YNP on 191 to Colter Bay or should I take a different road??

Thanks. Any advice will be appreciated
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rick5963 View Post
Looking for input on this route from Knoxville,Tn going to west YNP and down to GTNP and back home
Trip will be in June with a 37 ft Class A with a toad.

Knoxville TN to 370 Lakeside RV park in St Peters Mo for layover. and on to Boonville MO to see Clydesdale horses at Warm Springs Ranch.I40/I24/I64/I70
I really can't comment on this first part, I don't recognize "370" as a route from Knoxville to St. Peters, MO.

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Originally Posted by rick5963 View Post
Boonville MO to Wall SD I 70/I 29
This will involve using I-90 from Sioux Falls SD to Wall. Suggest you drive off I-90 at exit 131 and drive through Badlands NP on the way to Wall, SD. You could also stop at Mitchell, SD, Corn Palace for a break.

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Wall to Rapid City I90/ I 190
Are you going to Mt. Rushmore, Chief Crazy Horse, Custer St Pk, Wind Cave NP?

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Originally Posted by rick5963 View Post
Rapid City to Yellowstone Grizzly Rv Park I 90/State road 191
This will take you far North out of your way through grasslands of eastern Montana. I'd suggest getting off I-90 at Buffalo, WY and take US 16 through the Big Horn Mtns. You will descend a pass, but the route isn't difficult or scary. When you get to Worland, WY, turn south about 4 miles to WY 431. Follow it until it joins WY 120 north to Cody. Buffalo Bill Center museum. Follow US 14 to East Entrance YNP, across to West Yellowstone. Much more scenic and beautiful way to get there.

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Grizzly RV Park to Colter Bay RV Park GTNP. Can I go through YNP on 191 to Colter Bay or should I take a different road??
It's really the only easy way to get from West Yellowstone to Colter Bay. To go on US 20 to ID 33 then to WY 22 would require driving Teton Pass to Wilson and Jackson WY. It has 10% up and downgrades and not recommended for RV travel unless like you enjoy white knuckles.

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Thanks. Any advice will be appreciated
Be sure to buy a NP pass, if you're 62 or over get the lifetime pass, it's a bargain. Even an annual pass would be cheaper for your summer of travels.

There are tons of other suggestions that can be added, is this your first trip West or a return visit? I worked and have visited the Greater Yellowstone area for over 20 years and explored quite a few routes between Cincinnati and the region over the years.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:51 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info.
370 Lakeside RV Park appears to be a bypass type road at St Louis area and campground is off this road. Only chose this campground because of it had a good rating.
Reason I was staying on interstates was because I had no idea about the state roads with a RV and toad. I am open to scenic routes if they are doable.
Going to buy a National Park pass here in Tn. I am 60 yrs old.
Yes to seeing Mt Rushmore and Custer Park. Plan on doing scenic road at Custer Park

I will take a look at going across YNP to west entrance. I figured it would be full of vehicles and roads would be narrow ??

This is our first trip West and no idea about roads. We have had RV about 1 1/2 yrs. Been down through FL. Then trip to Amish country in PA and Ohio and Niagara Falls area. Have enjoyed our few outings and getting use to traffic driving the RV with a car behind it. This will be the longest trip for us yet. Around 4k miles round trip. Using most of the month of June.
Again thanks. I like info from folks who have been in these areas. It helps a lot
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Old 02-23-2018, 08:33 PM   #4
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If by "scenic road" from Custer St. Pk. I guess you mean US 16A? It is a beautiful drive- by car, pickup, or motorcycle, but don't try to take an RV on that road. From Custer SP north to SD 244/ Iron Mountain Rd to Keystone is the best way to take the road. All the tunnels were dug to give views of the Borglum's carvings framed in the tunnel arches. Going from Mt. Rushmore south, the best views are behind you.

If you decide to head to YNP from Custer, no need to go North back to I-90 at Rapid City. Follow US 16 to US 85, then South to Lusk, WY. US 18 will join I-25 to Casper, then US 26 to Shoshoni. Take US 20 N through the beautiful Wind River Canyon to Thermopolis. You'll see extinct geyser cones and can stop for a swim in the hot springs there. At Thermopolis, you can take WY 120 as a shortcut to Cody. In Wyoming and much of the west US highways are at least 2 lanes with wide shoulders and usually have passing lanes on upgrades. WY 120 is a very good road, I've used it often.

The roads of Yellowstone are getting better, but many stretches are still only 2 lanes with little to no shoulder. They have improved many sections of road, the trip across Dunraven Pass used to be very scary, they've tamed it quite a bit. (Canyon to Tower Falls) The speed limit is 45 mph everywhere and you'll encounter many BHM jams. (Big Hairy Mammal jams) are rubberneckers stopped to see wildlife. They'll block the roadway and wander in front of you with their eye on a viewfinder. Relax and watch the animals. Humans are animals too.



Fishing Bridge, to Canyon Village, to Norris to Madison, is the quicker way through the park, E to W. Canyon Village has a very good Visitors Center/Museum and worth the stop. Very likely to see bison herds on or near the road between Fishing Bridge and Canyon.
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Old 02-24-2018, 05:07 AM   #5
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I am from the St. Louis Metro Area. Your choice of route 370 to Lakeside RV Park is very good. This is a four lane road that will connect you back to I-70. Lakeside RV Park is very nice with great security. The only disadvantage there is lack of shade if that is a consideration to you. RV sites are large and utilities work well. I-70 across Missouri gets lots of traffic and it does have some hills as you work toward Kansas City. Enjoy the trip and safe travels!
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Old 02-24-2018, 02:48 PM   #6
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There are many secondary roads that are good for RVs. Plan your route on these and ask away here for confirmation.

A couple ideas:

Purchase the 'Mountain Directory for RVers and Truckers'. This will help with the bigger mountain areas. It's published for the eastern and western states. Even though some secondary highways go through the mountain areas, some of the roads are very good for RVs. Don't think you can't drive secondary roads safely. They're our favorites!

Keep in mind that many portions of the interstates can have 6-7% grades just as secondary roads.

Here's a good article describing all the roads coming into Yellowstone:

Road to Yellowstone

If you want to go from West Yellowstone to Grand Teton Nat'l Park you can either go south through Yellowstone - the shortest and most scenic way - try to start out early morning for less traffic and seeing more critters.

Or.....

You can leave West Yellowstone via ID20 to 33 to Tetonia (a flat valley drive) and down to Victor. At this point you'll have two choices: Get on 22 to Jackson - DON'T TAKE THIS CHOICE... YOU WON'T LIKE THE STEEPNESS (read all about it in the above-mentioned 'Mtn. Directory'.

Or.....

From Victor you can take 31 to 26 at Swan Valley and then drive along the river to Alpine then north to Jackson, WY

Or.... from West Yellowstone take Hwy 20 to Idaho Falls and east on 26 to Alpine and north to Jackson and on to Grand Teton Nat'l Park.

We've done all of the above with a 40' motorhome. No problems.

If you have more time for this trip there's lots more to see. Ask away.... By the time you're finished with this trip you'll feel like a pro with driving the western 'hills'.
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:55 PM   #7
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I have traveled thru that area in SD. I would suggest a stop at exit 131 on I 90 at the Badlands. Good campsite on HWy 240 and there's a Minuteman Missile visitors center at the exit. It was a great museum and then you can go to the launch area down the road before Wall. The Badlands area awesome too, but i would not use the MH into the sites but if you have a toad or tow vehicle it is a beautiful area. They have a nice restaurant in the park also.
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Old 02-24-2018, 11:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rick5963 View Post
Looking for input on this route from Knoxville,Tn going to west YNP and down to GTNP and back home
Trip will be in June with a 37 ft Class A with a toad.

Knoxville TN to 370 Lakeside RV park in St Peters Mo for layover. and on to Boonville MO to see Clydesdale horses at Warm Springs Ranch.I40/I24/I64/I70

Boonville MO to Wall SD I 70/I 29

Wall to Rapid City I90/ I 190

Rapid City to Yellowstone Grizzly Rv Park I 90/State road 191

Grizzly RV Park to Colter Bay RV Park GTNP. Can I go through YNP on 191 to Colter Bay or should I take a different road??

Thanks. Any advice will be appreciated
We did most of the trip you describe in 2016 (45' & Toad). So here are our two-cents. ? Not sure how many hr/miles you prefer to drive per day? (we try for 200-260 max, so overnight stops & routing offered here are based on our trip/s )

Your route up to I64 approaching St Louis we avoid heaviest traffic in StL:
Would suggest you take I255N from I64 to I-270 at StL area, W on I270 to Exit 22 for 370 Lakeside RV Pk (nice park BTW, bike or walking trails around the lake, FHU, Pull available (paved rd, gravel pads) big-rig friendly even for a 45' & toad.

Leaving 370 RV Pk, go W on 370 route, will bring you back to I70 (exit 110 on I70) ..EzPz.

We stopped overnite at Cottonwood Rv Pk, Columbia, MO (I-70 & US 63N). Cottonwood has pull/fhu, paved rd, gravel sites & big rig friendly.

From Columbia, MO our next overnite was at Kansas City East/Oak Grove KOA (I70 at Exit 28)..nice staff, convenient exit for Wallys place, post office, food, fuel, and Ez on/off. Pres. Truman Presidential Library nearby if you have interest, nice Zoo in KCity, depending on how much time you want to spend?

From there, take I70W to I435N to I29N (again, we prefer bypass to straight through a big city when available).

FYI, on a 2015 trip, we stayed overnight at I29 in Onowa, IA at Lewis & Clark SP..pull/FHU avail, big rig friendly, with a nice Lewis & Clark Museum & full sized replica Keel Boat that you can board as part of the museum.

We have also stayed at KOA in Sioux Falls, SD from I29 and then W on I90 at Sioux Falls. KOA has either shade or SAT pull sites, FHU avail, gravel rd and sites.

Going W from Sioux Falls, SD on I90, we stayed at Als Oasis, in Oacoma, SD ..ezpz on/off I90, nice staff, pull FHU avail, and there is a nice park & 'Als Oasis shops' next door with a very large Bronze Buffalo statue for photos, and smaller Buffalo kids may enjoy climbing on for photo op.

From Oacoma, SD, W on I90 to exit 131. You can take SD240 "loop" drive (in MH & towing) through Badlands NP, and it will return you to I90 at exit 110, and go into Wall, SD at that exit. ? We did not like the conditions or sites at any of the Rv pks in Wall, fwiw. We stayed at Badlands KOA (take SD240, & use KOA directions), or Badlands has a couple cgs inside the park, and a night sky ampitheater w Ranger Talk, and the visitor center has a movie in theater which is good, and a museum in visitor center. We did drive our 45' & tow through on SD240 loop, not a problem. But, as other suggested, if you have time and want to stop along the way inside the Badlands NP, the toad would be a easier way to spend time in the Badlands NP.

From Badlands, Exit 110 on I90, we next made a short day drive to I90 Exit 60, at Rapid City, SD, and a short drive S at Exit 60 and stayed at Rafter Bar J Ranch Cg, Hill City, SD. It is a beautiful cg, with a choice of I think 5 sections, depending on back-in, shade or SAT, pull, FHU or W/E sites. Really nice cg, friendly stafff...we loved it! Rafter is a short drive to Mt Rushmore, too

If you have time, an easy drive from Rafter cg to Deadwood, SD in toad, too. Also, on way back to I90 just S of Rapid City is a 'drive through' Bear Country that we really enjoyed (we did it in toad- keep your windows up!). Also, Custer SP driving tour and the Bison is great! As is Crazy Horse museum...all a short drive from Rafter cg..again, depending on how much time you want to spend in Rapid City area.

Then we went back up to Exit 60 in Rapid City and I90W.

Two Gypsies and Bflinn181 have great advice for the rest of your YNP trip route and beyond

Have a wonderful time...absolutely beautiful country...much to see and do!

Safe Travels to All
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Old 02-25-2018, 08:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick5963 View Post
Looking for input on this route from Knoxville,Tn going to west YNP and down to GTNP and back home
Trip will be in June with a 37 ft Class A with a toad.

Knoxville TN to 370 Lakeside RV park in St Peters Mo for layover. and on to Boonville MO to see Clydesdale horses at Warm Springs Ranch.I40/I24/I64/I70

Boonville MO to Wall SD I 70/I 29

Wall to Rapid City I90/ I 190

Rapid City to Yellowstone Grizzly Rv Park I 90/State road 191

Grizzly RV Park to Colter Bay RV Park GTNP. Can I go through YNP on 191 to Colter Bay or should I take a different road??

Thanks. Any advice will be appreciated
Knoxville,Tn to Lakeside RV park in St Peters Mo, to Custer, to Yellowstone Grizzly Rv Park to Colter Bay RV Park GTNP.

Something like this - https://binged.it/2CiVkkp

Changed to Custer - Rushmore Added a few stops on the way back home.

JMHO,

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Old 02-25-2018, 09:21 AM   #10
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Thanks for the info
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Old 02-25-2018, 01:09 PM   #11
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Some general information about YNP (some 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 spotty to 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 (2 rest rooms) at the lower Geyser Basin 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!Early in the summer of 2017 a foreign visitor stepped off a boardwalk into just a few inches of hot water. He walked about 100 yards (according to the newspaper) broke thru the crust and parboiled himself. The park service decided not to try to retrieve the body! Between the temperature of the water and the acidity of it the body would just fall apart when retrieving it, as well as being dangerous to the rangers. Of course a few Bison fall in every winter also.

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 NOT come close to a 60- 65 MPH average. From the West Thumb Area, 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 Coulter Bay (in GTNP) 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 located basically across the road from each other.

Also in GTNP be sure to see Jenny Lake, the water is swimming pool clear! You almost feel like you are in space when you are on the boat dock and you can see the rental boat shadows on the bottom of the lake!

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 check out the # of Silver Dollars imbedded 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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Old 02-25-2018, 01:45 PM   #12
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Knoxville,Tn to Lakeside RV park in St Peters Mo, to Custer, to Yellowstone Grizzly Rv Park to Colter Bay RV Park GTNP.

Something like this - https://binged.it/2CiVkkp

Changed to Custer - Rushmore Added a few stops on the way back home.

JMHO,

While nothing like Teton Pass, be aware that the above route down through Utah and Colorado, with a trip south on US 24 to Leadville, the back N on CO 91 takes you over Tennesee Pass 10,424', 6% grade. and Fremont Pass 11,318,' 5.6% grade. On I-70, the route takes you through Eisenhower Tunnel at 11,158' 7% grade and then 57 miles mostly downhill to Denver. Be sure to downshift on all passes and use brakes only when needed to drop speed by 10 mph or more, then foot off the brake pedal until next need to burn off speed.

Many beautiful sights on the above route, but just know you're mountain driving! My son and daughter-in-law got married in Leadville and have both run and finished the Leadville 100, a trail run that climbs and descends 15,600', with elevations ranging between 9,200–12,620'.
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