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Old 10-07-2011, 09:44 AM   #1
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Rapid City, SD to Grand Canyon

Our trip in the Black Hills is coming to an abrupt end...wind gusts to 60 mph in Spearfish...snows in Yellowstone...another trip to Urgent Care (sinus infections) and dentist (bridge work) ...we need to go south!!! Would like opinions on routes...Thinking I-70 to AZ 64 but should we avoid Denver? Any other road "avoids" we should know about....
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:07 PM   #2
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North or South rim?

Where are you going in AZ ... the North rim ... or the South Rim ...

I am confused by your description of proposed route ... I -70 is an east west road and ends when it intersects with I-15 in Utah.

What do you want from the route ... shortest, fastest, most scenic?
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:31 PM   #3
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Sounds confusing because I am confused!!! Husband does not want to take routes that are off the beaten path and is worried about mountain climbs.. he thought staying on the interstates.. would be a good bet..seems like more mileage but still around the same time wise...we are headed to the South Rim..
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:51 PM   #4
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Okay ...

I suggest that you take SD 79 south from Rapid City ... then US 18 south west to I -25 south.

You will need to go through or around Denver ... many people stay on I-25 and go through downtown Denver (they try not to get to Denver during morning or evening rush hour) ... you actually have two choices to go around Denver EAST {Toll road ... CO 470 ... there will be less traffic on this road} or WEST {I-76 to I-70 to CO 470 ... free but more traffic than the toll road}

Stay on I-25 until you reach I-40 and then head west to Arizona.

There is one very small and easy mountain pass , Raton Pass, bewteen Trinindad, CO and Raton, NM on I-25

There will be fairly heavy traffic as you go through Colorado Springs

You will turn north on AZ 64 at Williams, AZ to go to the south rim of the Grand canyon ... my travel software show this route to be about 1300 miles
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:19 PM   #5
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Thank you so much...I mapped that route out but was very concerned about how 18 south would be...this site is such a great help when you're actually out travelling the roads...feel like I have a great buddy system...thanks again!
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:40 PM   #6
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SkiGramp has given you a very good route to avoid the big Colorado passes. A couple more thoughts...
  1. Don't come through Colorado this weekend (Saturday/Sunday).
    The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the foothills west of Denver, as well as the mountains. Even though Denver should only see rain, you'll hit snow south of town as you head upwards toward Monument Hill (elev. 7,343 ft.). This is the high point between Denver and Colorado Springs. Also, Colorado Springs isn't that big of a town. While you might hit some traffic there, it won't last very long.

  2. If you can wait until the weather clears, the I-70 route to the south rim is beautiful.
    The Aspens were at their peak last weekend in the mountains, but there will still be plenty to see in the valleys. You'll head west until you reach exit 182 in Utah to head south on US Hwy 191 to Moab, UT. From Moab, the south rim and Grand Canyon Village are just 328 miles. The route is easy and in good shape and you'll travel through several Indian reservations including Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, and Fort Apache. Oh yeah... if you've never seen Arches National Park, you should definitely take at least one day to stay there and visit the park. Stunning.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:37 AM   #7
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Thanks so much for the heads up...planning to drive to Johnstown tomorrow...if weather looks bad, we'll sit tight until it clears...
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:16 AM   #8
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Hi HappyRV:

Our residency state is S. Dakota though we "get outta Dodge" and spend winters down South (AZ, TX, or FL). We spend alot of time in the beautiful Black Hills and have often traveled to AZ from the Rapid City area. Just for your comparison, we run a 45 ft. MH towing a Honda Element.

Anyway, the suggestion to take Rt. 79 South out of the Rapid City area connecting Westerly to the North & South running Hwy 18/85 in Wyoming down to Lusk, WY then Westerly again out of Lusk on Rt. 18/20 over to I-25 South to Cheyenne and on South through Denver, Colo. Springs, etc., is likely your best route.

Pick a favorable weather window and after leaving Rapid, figure staying overnight in Cheyenne. In fact, consider an overnight at the Terry Buffalo Ranch RV Park immediately on the South side of Cheyenne. Aint fancy, but very nice, easy in and out, AND, have supper at their restaurant on sight. Wife says to try the Honey Glazed Yard Bird (Chicken)..mmmm,...mmmmm,...GOOD!! There's also a easy in and out fuel stop at the exit just a mile or so before the campground exit (forget the exit #) but you'll be topped off ready to enjoy a relaxing evening and an easy get-away the next a.m..

Now, we travel at around 62 to 64 mph and very comfortably make it through Denver (take bypass around WEST side...it's easy!!) on through Colorado Springs, and on down to Raton Pass on I-25 all the way by the 2nd evening. (Re: Denver bypass...coming South on I-25, take exit #216 flowing right (Westerly) onto I-76. In a few miles take exit #269 easily flowing onto I-70 (still heading Westerly). At exit #460 on I-70 take bypass #470 Southward around West side of Denver and looping back to your original I-25 route at South side of Denver and you're on your way.) This is a no problem bypass. You'll like it.

Anyway, if ya DO get to Raton Pass the 2nd evening, consider an overnight at a cute little campground atop the pass. Now...we had NO problem exiting at the top of the pass at the Colorado/New Mexico weigh station and looping over the I-25 freeway over to this little campground. It's a little jig-joggy but sure was a nice stop. You're a little later in the year so check weather and call the campground first. If weather is no good, stay in Colorado or go over the pass before holding up for the night.

Then, stay on I-25 down through Santa Fe to Albuquerque where you'll pick up I-40 West to Williams, AZ. Would strongly recommend a night or two in Santa Fe and try the Blue Corn Mexican Restaurant in downtown which is the heart of Santa Fe. A great one or two night campground is called Santa Fe Skies just off I-25 as you get to the SW side of Santa Fe. Can't recall exit but it'll be in the book or on-line.

We'd also recommend an overnight at the Meteor Crater RV Campground as you head Westard from Albuquerque into Arizona on your way to Williams. Great, simple, clean little stop right at the SW corner of exit #233 (I think) into the Meteor Crater visitor center.

Have a great trip.

Steve & Lynette
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:34 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the great suggestions ...but looks like our route will change again...our traveling partners want to do arches np ..so we will head west on 70...we had an interesting drive yesterday..will update when I have Internet later today
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:19 PM   #10
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Last two days driving have been very interesting...we left Rapid City and followed Skigramp's directions south...route was great...we did hit snow as predicted by Stumblefoot...were able to get off I25 before it go too bad...headed to Walmart! For some reason, our heat would not work...froze all night...got up early to head to a new unplanned destination...Arches National Park...therefore took I70 west...so much for not wanting to climb mountains!!! Truck worked wonderfully and the route was one of the most beautfiul we've been on in quite a while....we just took our time up and down through the ski resorts...the rest was perfect...we're at Arches View now...will then head to Ruby's in Bryce Canyon...then head for the Grand Canyon...looks like we will take advice from boards and head to Williams and the Grand Canyon Railway...sounds like a great way to see the canyon....again thanks for all the help/advice!!!
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:06 AM   #11
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We hit the same winds coming through SD and lost our awning. Spent almost 2 hours in 50 mph gusts rolling the awning up and zip tying it in place on the side o I 90 last week.
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRV View Post
Got up early to head to a new unplanned destination...Arches National Park.
Wow! Awesome! Hope you enjoy it and have a great time. It really is a unique national park.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:23 PM   #13
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We made it to Ruby's in Bryce Canyon..the last of our group has gotten whatever bug we've all had...looking for an Urgent Care in the morning....hopefully heading to Bryce on Thursday...we're due at the Grand Canyon Saturday...Trailer Village...then we actually start the trek back to New York....been on the road since September 13th!
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:46 PM   #14
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Are you sure you want to head back to New York this time of year? Geeze, having spent winters in NY before I'd stay in AZ until spring Anyway, I'd take I-40 east as far as you can before heading north again. Happy traveling.
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