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Old 04-25-2014, 11:55 AM   #1
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I-80 to west side of Yellowstone Park?

In July, we will be traveling I-80 from Pa. to Wyoming in our 27 ft. MH, no toad. Our goal is a campground near the west gate which advertises pancakes for breakfast, BBQ for supper and bus tours of the park. I'm looking for guidance from RVers who approached the park from the south.

Option #1 - I-80 to the Rawlins area, US 287 north, thru the park to the west side. I'm guessing traffic in the park will be heavy and I will enjoy the scenery more from the previously mentioned tour bus.

Option #2 - I-80 further west to Rock Springs, then US 191 north to Jackson area, US 26 west to Idaho Falls, then US 20 north to the west gate area. Traffic might not be as heavy and I can enjoy the mountain scenery while driving.

Option #3 - Still further west on I-80 to US 30N, US 89 and US 26 to Idaho Falls, then US 20N to the west gate area. From the map, this still looks like a scenic drive.

Option #4 - US 30N to I-15 in the Pocatello area, then I-15, US 20 to the west side.

After touring the park, I would like to head north on US 191 to I-90 and then east to other areas on our list (Little Big Horn, Devil's Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands, etc..

Any suggestions will be appreciated and thank you in advance for any help.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:27 PM   #2
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Routes 1 or 2 are the best choices. Rt. 1 takes you to the east entrance of Grand Teton Nat'l Park (highly recommended that you spend some time in this park as it's altogether difference from Yellowstone). Colter Bay RV will have full hookups for you. You'll have a lot of driving if you try to do the two parks from West Yellowstone. Then you'll continue north into Yellowstone.

Route 2 is nice, especially if you need to replenish groceries before heading into Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Just before you get to Jackson, on the left is Smith's with a huge store, laundry, fuel and liquor all in one plaza. A littler further on the right is Albertson's. Once you're in West Yellowstone, you'll just have a couple mom & pop very small stores for groceries.

If taking Route 2 it's not necessary to take US 26 to Idaho Falls...just continue north through Grand Teton.

Have a great trip!
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:21 AM   #3
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Thanks twogypsies. I think I will plan on US 191 all the way with your suggested stop in the Tetons.
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Old 04-29-2014, 10:48 PM   #4
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We came down from Grand Tetons to Rawlins on 287 in mid September last year. There were numerous stretches of 287 under construction that included miles ( and I do mean miles) of dirt roads in between the paved sections. It was really rough in a Class A pulling a toad. I would recommend 191 or double check to ensure the construction has been completed.

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Old 04-29-2014, 11:41 PM   #5
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I wonder why you want so much interstate driving? I've spent more than 20 years traveling, working, and guiding in and about the Greater Yellowstone Region. Coming in by way of Idaho is probably the least scenic and most boring way to approach the region. Going up US 191, Rock Springs to Jackson is also a whole lot of prairie. You seem to be driving around the edge of the great state of Wyoming, missing the Wind River Mtns, and much more.

Traffic in YNP in Summer is not a big deal. Each summer I've driven the whole 'Great Loop' road and never gotten stopped for more than 10 minutes at a time --- when there's a BHM jam. (Big Hairy Mammal)

Wyoming's biggest employer is WYDOT -- the department of Transportation. http://www.dot.state.wy.us/home.html Road construction is often only possible in a few months of summer, so check this web site up until your trip to get information. In PA and Ohio, when they work on a road they may close a lane, but in WY they tear up the whole road for many miles, allowing traffic through, usually following a pilot car through mud because they wet the dirt down to suppress the dust. Just hope you don't get into a 'chip seal' road area, that usually costs a windshield!

P.M. me for more info.
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:49 AM   #6
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Hello BFlinn181,

Thanks for you info.

We haven't RVed this far west which is why I asked for suggestions. We will be coming west on I-80 as we have been in a lot of the area to the east. I travel on interstates once I have driven the US highways in an area. I have an old Atlas that has our travelled highways highlighted in yellow. I've also learned that it takes more then one trip to an area to see everything; this first one will just be to see the main attractions and gain some first hand knowledge of driving in the Rockies.

Talking in campgrounds here in the East, everyone I asked advised how heavy the traffic was in July and August which is why, initially, I did not want to drive the RV through the park to get to our planned campground. I selected my options listed originally just from looking at my Atlas.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Judge View Post
In July, we will be traveling I-80 from Pa. to Wyoming in our 27 ft. MH, no toad. Our goal is a campground near the west gate which advertises pancakes for breakfast, BBQ for supper and bus tours of the park. I'm looking for guidance from RVers who approached the park from the south.

Option #1 - I-80 to the Rawlins area, US 287 north, thru the park to the west side. I'm guessing traffic in the park will be heavy and I will enjoy the scenery more from the previously mentioned tour bus.

Option #2 - I-80 further west to Rock Springs, then US 191 north to Jackson area, US 26 west to Idaho Falls, then US 20 north to the west gate area. Traffic might not be as heavy and I can enjoy the mountain scenery while driving.

Option #3 - Still further west on I-80 to US 30N, US 89 and US 26 to Idaho Falls, then US 20N to the west gate area. From the map, this still looks like a scenic drive.

Option #4 - US 30N to I-15 in the Pocatello area, then I-15, US 20 to the west side.

After touring the park, I would like to head north on US 191 to I-90 and then east to other areas on our list (Little Big Horn, Devil's Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands, etc..

Any suggestions will be appreciated and thank you in advance for any help.
We did this route two summers ago in July with our granddaughter, however we took option #3. The only exception being we did not go through Idaho Falls. Instead we took Highway 30 up through Cokeville then state highway 89 due north along the Idaho border past Geneva. There we followed US highway 89 through Afton and up to Alpine. Then continued east at Alpine on highway 89/26 and followed that up through Grand Teton National Park, on to the south entrance to Yellowstone and then on to West Yellowstone.

You won't want to miss the drive through Grand Tetons National Park! It's spectacular.

The drive after leaving I-80 was very relaxed with very little traffic. That portion from I-80 up to Hoback Junction in Wyoming we had the whole road to ourselves basically and was very enjoyable. From I-80 north, the scenery gently changes from flat desert to ag valley with hills beside you to mountains beside you to going over the easy pass east through the mountains with a river beside you and then the grand finale, the Grand Tetons.

We stayed at Flagg Ranch in Grand Teton National Park and then Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park right in West Yellowstone. There would be no problem driving your RV through Yellowstone Park as lots of people were doing it. The speed limit through the park is mostly 45 mph and there are lots of pull offs for site seeing, etc.

We also took the same route as you are planning after leaving Yellowstone, with a few exceptions. We left Yellowstone on US highway 89 up through the North entrance at Gardiner on up to I-90. We then stayed at the first KOA in the US at Billings and then went on to North Dakota and hit Theodore Roosevelt National Park and then went back south to Devil's Tower, the Black Hills, and then the Badlands. Great trip!

The pictures are :
1. The Grand Tetons
2. Flagg Ranch RV Park in the Tetons
3. The south entrance to Yellowstone
4. Cedar Pass CG in Badlands National Park
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:18 PM   #8
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Whatever time you think that you will need to see Y’stone NP you better double it!

Remember that Y’stone park itself about 45 miles E/W and 65 miles N/S and the Grand Loop (figure 8) road is about 170 miles around. With a 45mph speed (radar controlled) limit and all the thermal attractions and the altitude (Canyon Area is 7918 ft, Old Faithful is 7365 ft and Mammoth Area is ONLY? 6239 ft) it will take a full day for each loop, when walking take it easy as it can be very exhausting, then you will only see the highlights. If your luck is like mine I guarantee that Old Faithful will have gone off just minutes before you arrived and will have to wait about another hour and 10-15 minutes for it to go off again kill time by walking around the upper geyser basin. When you are at Old faithful be sure to go into the Old Faithful Inn and look up when inside. When in the visitor center or the Inn they will have a sign displaying approximately when the next eruption will occur (+ or – about 10/15 minutes)

We have lived about 110 miles from the West Y’stone entrance for 50 years and go there a couple of times each summer and I still haven’t seen everything yet.
X2 on spending time in the Tetons!
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by richardcoxid View Post
Whatever time you think that you will need to see Y’stone NP you better double it!

Remember that Y’stone park itself about 45 miles E/W and 65 miles N/S and the Grand Loop (figure 8) road is about 170 miles around. With a 45mph speed (radar controlled) limit and all the thermal attractions and the altitude (Canyon Area is 7918 ft, Old Faithful is 7365 ft and Mammoth Area is ONLY? 6239 ft) it will take a full day for each loop, when walking take it easy as it can be very exhausting, then you will only see the highlights. If your luck is like mine I guarantee that Old Faithful will have gone off just minutes before you arrived and will have to wait about another hour and 10-15 minutes for it to go off again kill time by walking around the upper geyser basin. When you are at Old faithful be sure to go into the Old Faithful Inn and look up when inside. When in the visitor center or the Inn they will have a sign displaying approximately when the next eruption will occur (+ or – about 10/15 minutes)

We have lived about 110 miles from the West Y’stone entrance for 50 years and go there a couple of times each summer and I still haven’t seen everything yet.
X2 on spending time in the Tetons!
I can agree with all of that! We stayed for a week and only hit the high spots. However we did get to explore some things outside of the park and some things on the backside of the park and the Tetons that not many tourists see.

The "backside" of the Grand Tetons from Mesa Falls Scenic Byway:
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:40 PM   #10
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Tetons/Yellowstone

WOW these posts and pictures bring back some wonderful memories. We enjoyed our trips so much. The Badlands,Town of Wall, Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore,Deadwood and the history surrounding these areas are breathtaking.

We have been very fortunate to have been able to travel all the lower 48 states, Alaska, British Columbia to Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. We have seen some wonderful sights, yet we only scraped the surface of places to go and things to be seen.

We wish all of you the very best in your travels. Be thankful we live in a country with the freedom to go and enjoy all the things it has to offer. Most important thank God and our wonderful troupes for our life and our freedom.

I retired in 1983. We are not full timers however we have taken many trips. This year we have purchased our 7th RV. A Coachmen Concord which we enjoy very much. It's back-tracking time.

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Old 05-01-2014, 07:22 AM   #11
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Another route to consider is turning off I-80 at I-25 and taking that to Casper.
- From Casper, take 26 West to Shoshoni
- Take 789/20 North to Thermopolis
- Then take 120 North to Cody
- Take 16 West to East entrance of Y'stone
- take scenic ride through park on way to west entrance

I found this route has the least hill climbs on the way to Yellowstone until you get to the East entrance. You can also stop in Thermopolis for a dip in the hot springs!
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