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Old 01-29-2014, 12:26 PM   #1
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Advice Needed Atlanta to Yellowstone

We're planning a trip from Atlanta to Yellowstone National park in July. (we're returning an alternate route for a family reunion). Wife and I and 7 year old grand daughter. We want to visit Mount Rushmore and Devils tower on the way to Cody before entering the park. We want to stop before 4pm on driving days.

Any suggestions about preferred parks along the way to Rapid City? We will probably need two nights.


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Old 01-29-2014, 02:05 PM   #2
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Hello fellow Atlantan... Sorry I can't offer any advice, but I'll be following the thread for what others have to say. I've never been to Yellowstone, but I'd love to take my boys (2 under 2) and wife out that way once we're properly equipped for such a trip.

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Old 01-29-2014, 02:32 PM   #3
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If you plan ahead and are able to get a spot in the park there are several options for camping. Some nicer than the other so I'm sure you'll get some response here. However, if you are not able to plan ahead and find yourself unable to reserve a spot in one of the park sites there are other options nearby. Outside the west entrance is the town of West Yellowstone. Just outside of town there are several Nat. Forest campsite options that are very nice. Many have electric on site and water nearby but the NF sites are very reasonable. Large wooded sites. So if you find yourself looking outside the park don't worry about it.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:10 PM   #4
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Devils Tower KOA is a beautiful spot. It is right at the base of the tower.
You did not say which route you are taking. Or how many days you will take to arrive in Cody.
I can offer you a place to plug in for a night or two depending on the dates you will be in the area.
Look for Henry, NE on Google Earth. We are a mile from there. It's an easy 5 hour trip to Devils Tower from our place.
In Cody there are several RV parks. We stayed in the Absaroka RV park the last time. Easy in and out. I would rate it a 4 on a scale of 1-5.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:07 PM   #5
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Hi from AZ. . .we did ATL to YENP in 2011, and it was a great trip. We went I-75 to I-24 to I-57 to I-64 and straight thru St Louis was easy (NOT rush hour) then I-70W to I-435 around KC, to I-29N to Sioux Falls, SD. We then headed W on I-90 to Rapid City area. Enjoyed Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Custer State Park a lot. From there it was US 16 thru the Bighorns (very scenic) to Cody. Museums there are great , then 50 miles to Park East entrance. Advice ? Stop at anything & everything, it's all worth seeing for someone. If you have specific questions you don't get answered, PM me & I'll try. And have a great trip, Regards, Craig
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:36 PM   #6
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If you take the high road check out the corn palace in Mitchell SD.Very interesting. To me Yellowstone is the most remarkable place in the world. You won't be disappointed.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:12 PM   #7
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Having been to Yellowstone a few times I strongly recommend you go either the week before or the week after July 4. Many, many people plan their trips for July 4 so the park is relatively uncrowded on the surrounding weeks.

I second the recommendation for West Yellowstone, MT. The campgrounds in the park are not only crowded with people, they have billions (with a B) of mosquitoes in the summer. West Yellowstone is drier and has fewer blood suckers.

Not knowing what route you plan to take leaves suggestions pretty open. Don't overlook Central Kansas. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is surprisingly beautiful, and the nearby town of Cottonwood Falls, KS, has a nice little cafe (the Emma Long Cafe) and a good campground just west of town, the Chase County Fishing Lake. No hookups, but a pretty spot and very quiet at night.
"He's one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith/Spread your wings and hold your breath/And always trust your cape" Guy Clark
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:24 PM   #8
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I would strongly recommend reservations if you want to camp in Yellowstone NP, made as soon as they allow them. You can get revs for several campgrounds via the NPS YNP website at Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)-- it will link you to their reservations concessioner. You might make out with "first come, first serve" but you can't count on it during the high season, and people can start lining up to get into vacant campsites very early in the morning.

Most of the thermal features are in the western part of the park.

We've camped (boondocked) at Grant Village and Bridge Bay. Both were fine (and mosquito-free!), although some of the Bridge Bay sites were not very level, so bring all your levelers if you camp there! Most NPS campsites do not have hookups. Fishing Bridge CG does have them for RVs, but the RVs are packed in so tightly that it isn't much of a National Park experience if you want the Great Outdoors.

If you go to Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park just south of it is well worth a visit. Grand Teton National Park (U.S. National Park Service) You could even do the Tetons from Yellowstone as one very long day round trip, but there is a big campground there that apparently seldom fills up: Colter Bay.

One other thing I might mention is that Yellowstone NP is huge, and the speed limits are low-- max. 40 mph. A good way to see the scenery, but it does take a lot longer to explore the park than the map would suggest.

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:57 AM   #9
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We took in as much of Yellowstone as we could possibly contain a few years ago. There is nothing like it. However we did not have a travel trailer at the time, so we spent our nights at Cody which is 50 beautiful miles away. We are planning a trip again this year with our trailer and I have done extensive searching for parking. I have settled on staying at West Yellowstone, MT. The nearness to the park will give us more time inside the park. Our trip is planned for the Fall and I can hardly wait. I hope that you enjoy the journey and the park.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:17 AM   #10
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If you would like, there are some great boondocking opportunities in the Bighorn Mountains west of Buffalo, WY that I could help you find for your trip out or back (off of Highway 16). There are also some good Forest Service campgrounds in the area, as well as some good commercial campgrounds in Buffalo. I'd be happy to be of assistance.
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Thalweg View Post
there are some great boondocking opportunities in the Bighorn Mountains west of Buffalo
I'd like to second this. The Bighorns are like no other range of mountains in the West.
And, just south of Yellowstone and north of Grand Teton, there is the Flagg Ranch RV Park--a good jumping off spot for either park.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:24 PM   #12
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would you recommend visiting yellowstone in march ?
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by malett View Post
would you recommend visiting yellowstone in march ?
The majority of the roads in the park are unlikely to be open until April or May. Park Roads - Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:54 PM   #14
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I will second that. And in "wet" years (although this one is certainly not yet looking too wet yet) Park roads might not open 'til late May. March is really too early for all but the hearty to visit the mountain parks. But April can be a wonderful time in the Colorado Plateau parks. And there are less people.

Malett, if you are heading west that early in the season, you might consider hitting some of the Arizona and/or southern Utah parks on the way out, and visiting Yellowstone on your way back. Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Zion are all open and often fairly warm (Zion being the warmest) in March and especially April, although they certainly can and do see snow at that time of year. Roads and campgrounds are open for each in March. Bryce Canyon's roads are open, but being as it is high--around 8,000 feet--it will be colder and with some snow, and the spring season (with extended hours at the visitor center) doesn't begin until April. Monument Valley is a possibility; Mesa Verde's Roads are open year-round, but the campground doesn't open til mid-April. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon will not be open until May. But there are good RV campgrounds all over the four corners area. Lots to see outside of the national parks, too. Then you can head up north to the Yellowstone area.

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