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Old 09-28-2020, 01:01 PM   #1
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4-wk Trip Planning Help

We are planning a ~4-week trip out west to visit some national parks for July-August 2021. We did this in 2018 and hit 12 national parks...including the GC, all the Utah NP's, some Colorado NP's, and more.

Some of the stops we would like to hit this time around:

Yellowstone
Grand Tetons
Glacier
Badlands
Mt. Rushmore
Wind Cave
Likely get in Banff and Waterton NP's as well since we have the time.

-Any routing advice? (not necessarily what roads to take, but in what order to make each stop and for how long)
-Are there NP stops that should be added?
-We would like to do 5-7 days in Yellowstone, but can't decide if we should do one location or two. (ie visit the Park all from staying in West Yellowstone?)
-Is it crucial to keep our Yellowstone stay OFF of a weekend?

We are in a 40' fifth wheel and completely understand all of the driving to be done.

My current draft plan is:

4-nights -- Drive to Banff NP with stop at Theodore Roosevelt NP
4-nights -- Banff NP / Visit Calgary
3-nights -- Waterton Lakes NP
3-nights -- Glacier NP
6-nights -- Yellowstone NP
3-nights -- Grand Teton NP / Visit Jackson
3-nights -- Rushmore/Custer/Wind Cave
2-nights -- Badlands NP
3-nights -- Drive Home to Rochester, NY
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:16 PM   #2
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We use RVTRIP Wizard to get our routes. With it you can enter the length, weight and other information that you need for your trips
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:44 PM   #3
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Gosh, I am tired just looking at that itinerary -- you must be a bundle of energy!!

After several marathon "see everything in a month" trips, DW and I decided to slow down and smell the roses. So, for example, from Southern Calif, we drove to Banff/Jasper, spent several weeks there, and came home.

Another year, we did the same for Yellowstone and the Tetons.

Another year, we did the same thing for Colorado. Another year, Idaho and Wyoming. Another year, Washington and Oregon. Another year, Utah and New Mexico.

You get the idea -- if you only have a month or so, don't try to do too much. (Especially if you have kids!) Driving through a place is not the same as soaking it up, spending time in the back country, listening to the silence.

Or not. You may be the kind of person who really enjoys whizzing along the open road -- to each his own!!
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekkerlc View Post
Some of the stops we would like to hit this time around:

-We would like to do 5-7 days in Yellowstone, but can't decide if we should do one location or two. (ie visit the Park all from staying in West Yellowstone?)
-Is it crucial to keep our Yellowstone stay OFF of a weekend?

My current draft plan is:

4-nights -- Drive to Banff NP with stop at Theodore Roosevelt NP
4-nights -- Banff NP / Visit Calgary
3-nights -- Waterton Lakes NP
3-nights -- Glacier NP
6-nights -- Yellowstone NP
3-nights -- Grand Teton NP / Visit Jackson
3-nights -- Rushmore/Custer/Wind Cave
2-nights -- Badlands NP
3-nights -- Drive Home to Rochester, NY
You order of stops seems good.

RE: do you want to be in Yellowstone on a weekend? It doesn't matter. In fact, those that need to get back to work on a Monday would leave on the weekend. Most visitors aren't local... especially in summer. So visitors travel distances and need days to get back home.

We like to stay in two different campgrounds when going to Yellowstone. We love Mammoth campground and then we'll stay either at Madison or Bridge Bay. Saves driving.
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekkerlc View Post
We are planning a ~4-week trip out west to visit some national parks for July-August 2021. We did this in 2018 and hit 12 national parks...including the GC, all the Utah NP's, some Colorado NP's, and more.

Some of the stops we would like to hit this time around:

Yellowstone
Grand Tetons
Glacier
Badlands
Mt. Rushmore
Wind Cave
Likely get in Banff and Waterton NP's as well since we have the time.

-Any routing advice? (not necessarily what roads to take, but in what order to make each stop and for how long)
-Are there NP stops that should be added?
-We would like to do 5-7 days in Yellowstone, but can't decide if we should do one location or two. (ie visit the Park all from staying in West Yellowstone?)
-Is it crucial to keep our Yellowstone stay OFF of a weekend?

We are in a 40' fifth wheel and completely understand all of the driving to be done.

My current draft plan is:

4-nights -- Drive to Banff NP with stop at Theodore Roosevelt NP
4-nights -- Banff NP / Visit Calgary
3-nights -- Waterton Lakes NP
3-nights -- Glacier NP
6-nights -- Yellowstone NP
3-nights -- Grand Teton NP / Visit Jackson
3-nights -- Rushmore/Custer/Wind Cave
2-nights -- Badlands NP
3-nights -- Drive Home to Rochester, NY
No wrong choices - but some might be better than others.

Have very limited internet now as we are spending our third week in the mountains to enjoy the Aspen in Colorado - so you might get an idea of where I stand on your time frame.

Age will obviously play a part in how much and how fast you do it.

Some 50 years ago we did all of your trip plus at least x2 more in 21 days - as a welcome to RVíing for my DW - we have still often lost our minds and done way more than we should but we still loved it.

One thing we have found is three days for each stop, is just right, as it works for us. A week is best but the minimum is three night unless just driving.

Another thing is time of years and the weather in the locations you have chosen - September in the Rockies is heaven - and we will never get enough of that.

Last point is PRIME TIME SUCKS - so try to avoid the crowds - by going earlier or later.

As I said no wrong choices just some seem to be better than others,

Best of Luck,
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:06 PM   #6
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Great information thank you!
Here's an updated draft...with reservations already made at Glacier and Yellowstone.

4-nights -- Drive to Banff NP with stop at Theodore Roosevelt NP
5-nights -- Banff NP / Visit Ice Fields
3-nights -- Glacier NP (St. Mary KOA)
5-nights -- Yellowstone NP (Grizzly)
3-nights -- Grand Teton NP / Visit Jackson
1-night -- Devils tower
4-nights -- Rushmore/Custer/Wind Cave
2-nights -- Badlands NP
3-nights -- Drive Home to Rochester, NY

My struggle now is trying to avoid the long haul from Jackson to Devils Tower/Custer area. Should I steal a night from the Badlands and find somewhere to stop in-between Jackson and Devils? Maybe the Hot Springs State Park? Any ideas how to better manage this route? Or, just do the long 8hr (drive time, not travel time) straight to Devils Tower, to hike it in the morning, and then continue on to Palmer Gulch KOA for Custer/Rushmore area?
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:55 PM   #7
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If staying IN Grand Teton Nat'l Park then exit via Moran, Hwy 26 to Casper, WY then N on I-25/50 to I-90 to Moorcroft and N on 14 to Devils Tower. That's 431 miles from Moran.

Taking a night off Badlands is a good idea and stop at Hot Springs State Park, WY for a 184 mi. drive the first day and 250 mi. to Devils Tower the 2nd day.

Another option is saving Glacier and Banff for another trip and having more days to do the other areas. From New York you could travel across Canada or into Michigan to Canada to do that trip.
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Old 10-02-2020, 07:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
If staying IN Grand Teton Nat'l Park then exit via
Another option is saving Glacier and Banff for another trip and having more days to do the other areas. From New York you could travel across Canada or into Michigan to Canada to do that trip.
Yeah -- I've been seriously debating removing Banff from the trip -- but being so close while out there, and being one of my favorite sites, I really want the wife and family to see.

My thought is that Devils Tower may be the causality of this routing.
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