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Old 07-16-2015, 12:48 PM   #1
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Suggested route from Yellowstone to the Badland

We'll be travelling thru there in early-mid September. We're not in a hurry so we're looking for the most bang route. Also what fun things are there to see on that route?
TIA
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Old 07-16-2015, 01:19 PM   #2
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Also, heading east from the badlands, after leaving South Dakota, what kind of fun things are there to see? I haven't been to this part of the country ever. Our eventual destination is Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. What fun places should we look for on our way east to these destinations?
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Old 07-16-2015, 01:46 PM   #3
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Exit Yellowstone at the East exit and take 14/20 to Cody. From there, you have three choices to cross the Bighorn range. It depends on how you feel about mountain driving.

U.S. 16 through Graybull, Mandeson, Worland, and Ten Sleep to I90 is the easiest, but IMO it is the least scenic of the three.

Next easiest, and somewhat more scenic is U.S. 14 through Graybull and Shell to I90. If you go this way, be sure to stop at the Shell Canyon Visitor Center. The short walk to Shell Falls is worth the time.

My favorite route is U.S. 14A through Ralston, Powell, Garland, Byron, and Lowell. This route joins up with U.S. 14 at Burgess Junction. From there, continue on to I90. This route does have some long steep grades. See the 1st photo below.

If you go this way, a little known gem is the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area / Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Refuge. They are on hwy. 37 just east of Lowell. The scenery is spectacular, and both wild horses and bighorn sheep are almost always seen right along the road. The campground there is free, but there is a small charge if you want an electric hookup. Visitor centers for the Recreation area and for the Refuge are both on U.S. 14A at the east edge of Lowell.

If you want a real adventure, there is another way out of the mountains there. From U.S. 14, about half way between Burgess Junction and Shell Canyon Visitor Center, turn east on F.R. 26. This will eventually change its name to Red Grade Rd., and take you out to I90. Red Grade Rd. is paved. F.R. 26 is well maintained gravel. The views to the east and to the south are wonderful. There are six or seven national forest camp grounds on F.R. 26.

Joel
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Old 08-01-2015, 06:35 PM   #4
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Joel has more experience than I do. I'm just finishing my first year in our coach. So take my reply here with a grain of salt.

My family and I just came west-ward through IN, IL, IA, SD through the Badlands, Rushmore, Devil's Tower, Cody, Yellowstone, and then some. So we were headed the other direction than you're planning to, but I have some advice from a new-ish RVer.

Definitely head out the East gate of Yellowstone to Cody. Our view west-bound was wonderful. I have been through all the other entrances before, but this was my first time entering from the East. It is one of the best. I hope your views east-bound are as good as ours were.

But from Cody, my opinion differs a bit from Joel. I understand that it's pretty well established that the US-16 route from Cody-Greybull-Worland-Ten Sleep and into Buffalo is pretty safe - but the views are incredible. Probably the only safer route is to go all the way around via I-90 but the views from I-90 do not compare, at all.

I have not taken either of the US-14 or US-14A routes so I cannot comment from experience there. But I've read a lot from others and the "Mountain West Directory" enough to know that for my first passing of the Bighorns in a motor coach, the US-16 route was our choice. (I have gone into Yellowstone via 212 via Red Lodge and Cooke City in an SUV, and that route is amazing - but I didn't choose that for my first year driving a motor coach.)

From Buffalo, WY on I-90 my recommendations are, don't miss:
~ Devil's Tower near Sundance, WY.
~ Spearfish Canyon on Alt-14 in SD. Just beware that there was construction in/near Lead such that you may have to go around the northern route into Deadwood. But it's not a bad detour.
~ Of course Rushmore.
~ Sylvan Lake! Don't skip this.
~ Harney Peak, if you're able to do a ~6 mi round trip hike with a climb of around 1,100 ft.

And from Rapid City, SD head toward Wall for a couple days to see the Badlands. But I must say, prepare to cook dinner for yourself in Wall. We did not find much of a selection there in terms of restaurants. And we're not picky, and this isn't a complaint - just a humble report!

I hope this helps.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4RevAndAwe View Post
Joel has more experience than I do. I'm just finishing my first year in our coach. So take my reply here with a grain of salt.

My family and I just came west-ward through IN, IL, IA, SD through the Badlands, Rushmore, Devil's Tower, Cody, Yellowstone, and then some. So we were headed the other direction than you're planning to, but I have some advice from a new-ish RVer.

Definitely head out the East gate of Yellowstone to Cody. Our view west-bound was wonderful. I have been through all the other entrances before, but this was my first time entering from the East. It is one of the best. I hope your views east-bound are as good as ours were.

But from Cody, my opinion differs a bit from Joel. I understand that it's pretty well established that the US-16 route from Cody-Greybull-Worland-Ten Sleep and into Buffalo is pretty safe - but the views are incredible. Probably the only safer route is to go all the way around via I-90 but the views from I-90 do not compare, at all.

I have not taken either of the US-14 or US-14A routes so I cannot comment from experience there. But I've read a lot from others and the "Mountain West Directory" enough to know that for my first passing of the Bighorns in a motor coach, the US-16 route was our choice. (I have gone into Yellowstone via 212 via Red Lodge and Cooke City in an SUV, and that route is amazing - but I didn't choose that for my first year driving a motor coach.)

From Buffalo, WY on I-90 my recommendations are, don't miss:
~ Devil's Tower near Sundance, WY.
~ Spearfish Canyon on Alt-14 in SD. Just beware that there was construction in/near Lead such that you may have to go around the northern route into Deadwood. But it's not a bad detour.
~ Of course Rushmore.
~ Sylvan Lake! Don't skip this.
~ Harney Peak, if you're able to do a ~6 mi round trip hike with a climb of around 1,100 ft.

And from Rapid City, SD head toward Wall for a couple days to see the Badlands. But I must say, prepare to cook dinner for yourself in Wall. We did not find much of a selection there in terms of restaurants. And we're not picky, and this isn't a complaint - just a humble report!

I hope this helps.
You are correct, in that U.S. 16 has some beautiful scenery, especially around the edge of the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area.m However, IMO, both the U.S 14 and the U.S. 14A/14 routes are even more beautiful.

I'll second your suggestion about seeing Spearfish Canyon. While there, take a short loop trail behind the Latchstring Restaurant on the east side of 14A at the intersection with Roughlock Falls Rd. (220). The view of Spearfish Falls is worth the walk. The food is good too.


A little way west on
Roughlock Falls Rd. is a very short trail to Roughlock Falls. While not as high as Spearfish falls, it has a lot more water.


Joel
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