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Old 08-23-2015, 10:57 AM   #1
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Need Help Planning Family Trip June 2016 From North Carolina to Yellowstone

Want to start planing the trip now for next summer. As soon as the kids are out of school in June 2016 want to head to Yellowstone then to Mount Rushmore and back to North Carolina. Would appreciate any advise on routes, what is interesting to see. Where in Yellowstone, what to see near and around mount Rushmore.

Will have a 28 foot four winds and plan to spend 3-4 weeks on the trip.

Don't mind boondocking and can spend few night's in an rv park if needed.

Have spent many a night in a Walmart, cracker barrel, Flying J, pilot, rest stop, etc.

We do find small out of the way places unique and interesting.

Would appreciate any help and advise you could offer.

Thanks
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:27 PM   #2
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There's so much to see I don't know where to begin. First, I'd travel out on I-90 when you get to South Dakota. You can stop at Mitchell, SD and see the Corn Palace and other touristy sights. Going west you'll see many signs for Wall Drug in Wall, SD. Let it build kids anticipation for a true icon of tourist trap history. There are campgrounds in Wall and you can use one to stay, park the RV and travel by toad to the Badlands. From there go on to Mt. Rushmore and many CG in that area that are good. Also go down to Chief Crazy Horse Memorial, the Indian museum has really developed in the past decade or so. If you go back north to I-90, it's not too far a loop to detour to Devils Tower if interested. Continue on I-90 to Buffalo, WY and US 16. It's the easier route across the Bighorn Mountains, much better than US 14 or US 14A. At Worland go N on US 20 to Cody, WY. Great museums there: Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody Wyoming Also campgrounds and East entrance to Yellowstone.

If you want full hookups in YNP, the only place is Fishing Bridge Campground which fills up fast when they start taking reservations for next summer. Many folks that want full hook ups go across the park to West Yellowstone, MT which has a number of campgrounds, most like Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park and Cabins

Yellowstone is very large, speed limit is 45 mph within the park. Yellowstone National Park's Maps & Orientation Page Plan to spend a few days at least seeing things. The visitor's centers have been developed into quite good information centers that tell of the history and science of the park. Heyden Valley is the home of buffalo herds, Artists Point gives the best views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and Lower Falls.

While Yellowstone has many visitors, the majority of them never get out of sight of their car. If you take a hike, in just a few yards you'll escape the crowds and see the real wilderness. Mt Washburn is a great hike to a mountaintop, you'll be on the edge of the caldera and see Yellowstone Lake, the Grand Canyon, hot springs and on clear days the Grand Tetons to the south.

On the roads, be prepared for BHM jams. This is when everyone stops to watch Big Hairy Mammals. Get out your camera and enjoy!

I've been taking folks to this area for Master Ed. classes and tourism since 1982, only a few years I've not done it. Taking kids, if you stop at the S.D. spots on the way out, the unique things will only increase as you go. If you go right to YNP, it's been my experience that the young folks will be tired on the way back and will just want to go home. One year, after spending 2 weeks in Banff, Alberta hiking, a week in YNP, on the way back home the teens we were leading didn't want to leave the bus in the Badlands!
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:34 PM   #3
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If you find yourselves in Wyoming between Devil's Tower and Yellowstone, you should also visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield.
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:01 PM   #4
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If you find yourselves in Wyoming between Devil's Tower and Yellowstone, you should also visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield.
The Little Big Horn Battlefield is 104 miles N of Buffalo, WY in Montana. It is mostly just open grassland and takes a lot of imagination to see what took place 134 years ago in a shameful battle.
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:03 PM   #5
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Four winds, leaving the PC politics out of it, Little Big Horn is worth the visit. It costs you nothing in time-- it is literally right beside I-90. We're glad we stopped.
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies.
We are looking for some interesting / different things to see and are open
to suggestions from others who have done a similar trip.

We are always interested in seeing places and people that are out of the main tourist areas.

We do not plan to take a toad. I had thought of trailering our early 90's Isuzu
trooper with 35" super swamper radials to get off the main track and see some wild spots but think it may be more hassle than we want to deal with. Looks like there will be some wild wonderful areas out there to see.

The 28 foot four winds with 7.4 vortec will probably get very poor gas mileage pulling the trooper on a trailer. Can't put the trooper on a car dolly
as the super swamper tires will wear out on the trooper.

Appreciate any and all ideas of where to go, what to see and where to stay.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:50 PM   #7
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The Little Big Horn Battlefield is 104 miles N of Buffalo, WY in Montana. It is mostly just open grassland and takes a lot of imagination to see what took place 134 years ago in a shameful battle.
Maybe it is just "open grassland" to some with a limited point-of-view, but it just may well be a history buff's paradise. (We don't know which category the OP is in.) We went there with reference books on the battle and that made it a fascinating experience.
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:00 PM   #8
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The OP is taking kids 'after they get out of school.' I am a history buff, but I just don't think most kids would be interested in the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Thermopolis, WY has extinct geyser cones, hot springs to swim in and just outside is the fabulous Wyoming Dinosaur Center with lots to see and dig sites to visit. http://www.wyodino.org/

Split Rock, along US 287, is a famous part of the Oregon and Mormon Trail and had a Pony Express station is in southern WY. Also Fort Laramie, WY and Scotsbluff in NE are all historic sites along the same trails, I've spent time visiting and showing folks.

There are many sights to see in and around Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana, but the site of one of the calvary's greatest defeats at the hands of Indians who had been abused and lied to and had had enough isn't high on my list, or the list of most school age children.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:19 PM   #9
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Love all the information in this thread. Planning the same trip from Murphy, NC up as far as Glacier National Park, back down through Coeur D Alene, then Utah, Colorado and along I-40 back to NC. Looking forward to this once in a lifetime trip!
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:25 AM   #10
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I'd highly advise you to stay IN the park itself for the best experience. Also, definitely plan to go to Grand Teton Nat'l Park which is right next door to Yellowstone. They are both completely different. Also each national park has a terrific web site with tons of information on what to do and where to stay, maps and updated road information. Check them out.

Plan Your Visit - Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)


http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/index.htm
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:53 PM   #11
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Thank You for the info and link

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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
I'd highly advise you to stay IN the park itself for the best experience. Also, definitely plan to go to Grand Teton Nat'l Park which is right next door to Yellowstone. They are both completely different. Also each national park has a terrific web site with tons of information on what to do and where to stay, maps and updated road information. Check them out.

Plan Your Visit - Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)


Plan Your Visit - Grand Teton National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:15 PM   #12
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Same basic trip last Sept. So.Dakota was great. See Corn Palace,easy to access and park need 1 hr. Skip Wall drug. See Minute Man Missile silo near Badlands NP and drive through Badlands NP. can do with your MH. Custer State Park was almost as good as Yellowstone but you cannot do it in your MH, take a toad.You will miss a lot without it. Rocky area of Custer SP awesome and be sure to do Iron Mtn road near Rushmore but need toad. Rafter J Bar Ranch CG at Hill City SD and town of Hill City very good. Advise southern route Hill City -Thermopolis-Cody to avoid bad mountains further north. Stop in Cody for western museums. Again to follow a theme--need a toad in YNP. Really limits where you can go without one. Have fun.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:12 PM   #13
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....Advise southern route Hill City -Thermopolis-Cody to avoid bad mountains further north. Stop in Cody for western museums. Again to follow a theme--need a toad in YNP. Really limits where you can go without one. Have fun.
I don't know of any easy "southern route" that ties together Hill City, SD, Thermopolis, and Cody. Hill City is on W US 16, which leads to New Castle and Moorcroft, I-90, then US 16 at Buffalo, Ten Sleep and Worland, then on to Cody. To get to Thermopolis you'd have to go W on US 16 to Custer, then S US 385/89 to Pringle, S US 89 to W US 18 until it meets US 20 at Lusk, WY, then US 20 to N I-25. Get off I 25 in Casper at US 26, follow it to Shoshoni, then N US 20 to Thermopolis. That's a long way to avoid some mountain grades (and beautiful scenery)

Also, I've driven all the Yellowstone roads and not found any you can't travel in an RV. Parking might be tight in a few places, but it too can usually be found if you want to walk a few steps further.
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:13 AM   #14
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Just finished a similar trip in early AUG> I wrote a trip report for this forum.

Summer 2015 - Go West Youse Guys
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