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Old 06-24-2018, 12:24 PM   #1
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South Dakota, Montana & Wyoming in May?

I am starting another post where I tried to tack onto a previous post where the main difference is the time of the year. Before I had planned on heading up the far North from South Alabama in August/September. After this area is having wildfires for the second year I am thinking about April/May instead. Right now my plans have me getting into the Sioux Falls, SD area around the first of May and getting into the Yellowstone area about the 15th of May. About the only campground I have penciled in ink is Grizzly RV in West Yellowstone. I plan on making this reservation first and building around it.

I don't know what will happen by going in May instead of September to this trip besides having some cold and maybe snow at times. I want to see Devil's Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Custer NP, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons on the way back home. Will I be able to see these sites in May?

My wife says this would be refreshing for a change being we normally travel in hot weather. She is looking forward to firepits and seeing the newborn animals at Yellowstone. She also would love to see some snow, but I want no part of it especially if I have to drive in it.

Any campground recommendations (preferably full hookups) is appreciated plus any suggestions on things to see or do.

I apologize to the moderators for making too many threads, but I am trying to get this one to handle all of my questions.

The route into Montana is mainly due to I am chicken to travel the 14/14A route.
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Old 06-24-2018, 02:24 PM   #2
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A lot depends on the weather. This year YNP roads were open by May 22. Can't really predict for next Spring. I wouldn't hesitate to use US 16, from Buffalo (I-90) to Cody as a way to get into the park. Just pay attention to road openings and conditions in the weeks before your travel. I've had snow some road closures in every month from May to September, so pay attention to weather reports and bookmark pages with road information.
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:36 PM   #3
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A lot depends on the weather. This year YNP roads were open by May 22. Can't really predict for next Spring. I wouldn't hesitate to use US 16, from Buffalo (I-90) to Cody as a way to get into the park. Just pay attention to road openings and conditions in the weeks before your travel. I've had snow some road closures in every month from May to September, so pay attention to weather reports and bookmark pages with road information.
So no roads in YNP was open until May 22? Maybe I need to plan for the end of May instead of the middle.
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:47 PM   #4
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I would look closer at the first week in June. That's when we were there. It can still get cold at night. Try and beat the kids getting out of school, that's when the Parks and campgrounds get very busy.
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Old 06-24-2018, 04:46 PM   #5
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Some roads and entrances were open earlier, I believe this year the last road to open was the road over Dunraven Pass, between Tower Falls and Canyon Village. Still lots to visit around YNP and GTNP even if all roads aren't open. We got caught in a mid-Sept. snowfall and couldn't go past Old Faithful because Craig Pass was closed for about 12 hrs.

Stuff happens. Just stay flexible and you'll still enjoy a wonderful place!
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:19 PM   #6
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We stayed at . we were there in early June. Everything open.
Headwaters Lodge & Cabins for Grand Tetons. Colter Bay was full. Mid June.
Beaver Lake Campground Grizzly for Mount Rushmore and Custer first week of July. Mount Rushmore was packed. I would do Mount Rushmore before school was out.
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:34 PM   #7
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I would look closer at the first week in June. That's when we were there. It can still get cold at night. Try and beat the kids getting out of school, that's when the Parks and campgrounds get very busy.
This is my main goal. We never take trips during the summer months when the kiddies are out of school. We never had any and I am not accustomed to them.
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Old 06-24-2018, 07:45 PM   #8
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Took a similar trip in June-July 2017 time frame. Custer NP and Mt. Rushmore we stayed at Rafter J which is a nice campground in a wide open valley with large sites. Devil’s Tower, we stayed at the KOA which was nice and is very close to Devil tower. We had plans for going to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons but our plans changed. We did drive the toad to Yellowstone for a day and we checked out Grizzly RV. Grizzly RV was and will be my choice when we make the Yellowstone trip. If you haven’t already seen the Badlands NP I would make plans to spend some time in that area. We stayed in Walls SD. at the in town rv park. It’s an ok park and close to Walls Drug store. All the campgrounds fill quickly so I wish you good luck on making reservations.
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Old 06-24-2018, 07:55 PM   #9
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Took a similar trip in June-July 2017 time frame. Custer NP and Mt. Rushmore we stayed at Rafter J which is a nice campground in a wide open valley with large sites. Devilís Tower, we stayed at the KOA which was nice and is very close to Devil tower. We had plans for going to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons but our plans changed. We did drive the toad to Yellowstone for a day and we checked out Grizzly RV. Grizzly RV was and will be my choice when we make the Yellowstone trip. If you havenít already seen the Badlands NP I would make plans to spend some time in that area. We stayed in Walls SD. at the in town rv park. Itís an ok park and close to Walls Drug store. All the campgrounds fill quickly so I wish you good luck on making reservations.
I contacted Grizzly and I was told to check back in October for next year's reservations. I am hoping to get all my stops finalized by that time and will make the Grizzly reservation first.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:59 AM   #10
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I am trying to fine tune my stops once I get on I-90 to try to be close enough to most of the sights along this route. Below are the towns I have stops in.

1) Mitchell, SD
2) Midland, SD
3) Sundance, WY
4) Sheridan, WY

Are these towns close enough for seeing the sights? I will stay at least 3 nights at each stop, more if necessary.
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:58 AM   #11
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Mitchell has a few museums and of course the Corn Palace. I have seldom spent an hour at the palace, the museums are worth no more than a few hours each if you are really a museum buff. (I am, my kids weren't) We got stopped in Mitchell by the sheriff and given a free night in a hotel. passes to all the museums, a free dinner, and guests of honor at the rodeo. Quite the experience, but not worth 3 days visit.


Sundance, WY is a bit far from Devil's Tower and Deadwood, Sturgis, etc. You'll spend a lot of time driving from there to sights. I've only driven through Sundance, never stopped there.

Sheridan is a place I've only driven through when using US 14 to get to Cody. US 14 is the less desirable way to get to Cody, I much prefer US 16 at Buffalo. Again, I can't see 3 days of tourism in Sheridan.
Midland would be near enough to the Badlands NP, but we stayed in Wall to tour the Badlands. Wall Drug is an interesting stop for free icewater and lots of kitsch. Used to be free bumper stickers, now more often free signs.
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:59 AM   #12
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Cody would be a much better stop over than Sheridan.
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Old 06-27-2018, 01:22 PM   #13
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Cody would be a much better stop over than Sheridan.
......

Maybe a week - Cody and Museum - Wind River Canyon with Thermopolis and Shoshoni - Chief Joseph Highway - Red Lodge - Beartooth - then on into YNP.


......

...

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Old 06-27-2018, 02:32 PM   #14
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I guess I need to figure out what we want to see. Below is the start of that list.

1) Mt. Rushmore
2) Custer State Park
3) Black Hills
4) Devil's Tower
5) Badlands

The Rapid City area may address the first three.

I don't plan on going to Cody especially being I will be heading into Montana and come in the West entrance of YNP.

Devil's Tower is only 34 miles from Sundance. The other options are around Keyhole Reservoir and they are about the same distance.
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