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Old 01-31-2005, 02:33 PM   #1
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Badlands/Yellowstone from midwest

Going to take a trip from IL to Yellowstone in the fall '05, then stop at Badlands on the way back.

I am looking for which road into Yellowstone to Fishing Bridge that is the least mountaineous and switchbacks coming from IL.

I am told that the east entrance from Cody is sometimes closed plus quite a trip, so wondering if anyone can give me information on their way of traveling. Will be pulling a 31'. Any info. will be greatly appreciated.

Tx!
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven
Going to take a trip from IL to Yellowstone in the fall '05, then stop at Badlands on the way back.

I am looking for which road into Yellowstone to Fishing Bridge that is the least mountaineous and switchbacks coming from IL.

I am told that the east entrance from Cody is sometimes closed plus quite a trip, so wondering if anyone can give me information on their way of traveling. Will be pulling a 31'. Any info. will be greatly appreciated.

Tx!
Every time we have gone (4) we have taken the east entrance through Cody. Be sure to stop in Cody and take in the Rodeo. They have one every night in the summer. The roads arn't that bad, but to you flatlanders, (I used to live in Wisconsin) Going down hill you will have some pucker. Remember go down hill in the same gear you went up. Just take your time and everything will be ok.

That country is mighty beautiful. I think heaven must be like fly fishing on the fire hole river in July. I can't wait to go back.

Mark
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:28 PM   #3
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My recomendation

You could take I-90 to Livingston Montana, then head south about 90 miles to the North Entrance at Gardner. That was one of the original rail routes and should be an easy pull. The rails ended at Gardiner and from that point on you're going to be in the mountains and hills of Yellowstone. I would recommend Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris Junction then East to Canyon Village then South to Fishing Bridge. The North Entrance also has a road that would take you over Dunraven Pass at 8859 ft. which I wouldn't recommend, but is a nice drive once you've parked the trailer. Another option would be to drop down into Wyoming and come in the South Entrance. You would turn right at the West Thumb Geyser Basin and go directly to Fishing Bridge. Check out the maps, road conditions and "how to get to Yellowstone at the Yellowsone Park website:www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm

Yellowstone is a great place, have fun.
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:34 PM   #4
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Last summer the North Entrance was closed when we were there. You couldn't get anywhere into the park from Gardner. Real bummer, we had friends of the family living in Gardner, and he was a fly fishing guide.

Mark
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven
Going to take a trip from IL to Yellowstone in the fall '05, then stop at Badlands on the way back.

I am looking for which road into Yellowstone to Fishing Bridge that is the least mountaineous and switchbacks coming from IL.

I am told that the east entrance from Cody is sometimes closed plus quite a trip, so wondering if anyone can give me information on their way of traveling. Will be pulling a 31'. Any info. will be greatly appreciated.

Tx!
There is no way to get to Fishing Bridge without some mountains. However, I think that the best route would be from Cody. Coming in from Gardner would be quite a bit farther, and the drive over Mount Washburn would probably be the most mountainous (other than the North East entrance). Assuming you've got halfway decent brakes you shouldn't have any problems.

The road coming up from Jackson Hole isn't too bad either, but I don't know which route you are planning to take from IL, and whether that would add appreciably to your trip distance. If you want to see some different scenery -- like the Tetons, for example, then I'd go through Jackson Hole on your way into the park and then return via Cody to the Badlands (assuming this means Rapid City et al).

Also, be sure to check the plans for road construction in the park this year before finalizing your plans because they invariably close, or have major road construction, in at least one place or another every year. And, this road construction means DESTRUCTION for RVers, and driving over any mountains in the park can be preferrable!

John
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:44 PM   #6
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Well, we have been to Yellerstone about 5 times and we found that 16 is the least of the steep grades. This is coming from a flat lander. There are still some healthy grades, but this is a more traveled route. We love to stay in Cody! Our oldest is named for the town. When we are planning out trips we always check the Yellowstone web page for the road closing schedule and even call the day we are leaving to see what is going on.

Coming in the south entrance is also an option. You will drive through Grand Teton NP getting to the South entrance, and WOW what a beautiful strech of road.

If your up for some serious driving head around to the west entrance via West Yellowstone. But you will add a couple of days to your trip.
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:24 PM   #7
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Into Yellowstone. . .

We've traveled the different routes into Yellowstone, but for your trip, planning to exit out to the Badlands, we would recommend that southern route across Wyoming, up the Green River valley (take time to explore the history along the way) nto Jackson Hole and the incredible Tetons and then into Yellowstone. Flag Ranch located between the two parks is a decent stay before you head on up, convenient for day trips into Jackson and the southern parts of Yellowstone. What a grand trip to anticipate this winter! Don't miss Cody, though it may take another visit. You always have to leave something to bring you back to this magnificent country! For years we thought Yellowstone was a continent away and didn't dream of traveling so far when the family was young and would really have enjoyed it. Now we've gone 5 or 6 times in the past few years, think nothing of the miles to go, and cannot wait to get back again. We can imagine spending the summer like Flyfisher does If so, we'd stay north of Yellowstone. The parks are the ultimate delight, but the drive out across the plains is another of our favorites. Some call it boring; we call it big sky magic and cannot wait to see the horizon stretching out forever!
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:30 PM   #8
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What about Winter?

If you can't wait, you can do what my child and I did in the cold weather going in from West Yellowstone. That is the Madison River that the Buffalo is eating at.
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Old 01-31-2005, 09:53 PM   #9
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Some Ideas

I have lived in Jackson and Cody and agree with peoples suggestions in the posts above.

Consider the following loop:
START:
I-80 west - check out Cabelas bargain cave at either Sidney or Kearney, and some of the museums along the way. Try Ole's Big Game Bar in Paxton, NE - used to be a fun place to eat RM Oysters. Maybe even Car Henge if interested...

From I-80 to Jackson via Pinedale - I second the Green River Drainage - you can go north from Rock Springs bypassing most of the drainage to Pinedale or take 372 north to Fontanelle Res - be sure and check out Names Hill where Jim Bridger scratched his name into the rock. If you take this route - there is a great drive in burger joint in Big Piney. If you have time you can check out Pinedale, nice town, good places to camp - the road to the head waters of the Green can be complete washboard, so you may want to leave the trailer in Pinedale and do a day excursion.

Pinedale to Jackson - Nice drive - look for moose when you drop into the Hoback drainage. There are lots of Nat'l Forest campgrounds in Hoback Canyon after Bondurant.

Jackson to Yellowstone - this is the south entrance - pretty easy driving, traffic can be slow with tourists but its good to go slow through beautiful country. This whole corridor is loaded with good stuff, The Tetons, The Gros Ventres, Snake River, great restaurants etc - spend a few days here, Jackson is pretty touristy but fun. Take the Gondola to Rendesvous Peak at Teton Village if you don't have time to hike into the Tetons. Raft the Snake. You could base camp around Jackson and day trip into the southern portion of Yellowstone while checking out the surrounding areas. Fishing is abundant and good, sorry but I swore an oath regarding my honey holes, and am pleading the fifth...

Yellowstone - Tons to see and do, camp where you wish and day trip from there - you will most likely need reservations depending on time and year. If you walk just 1/2 hour more than the rest of society, you feel like you have the place to your self. Most of the main sights are drive up, and require little walking (compared to Glacier as an example).

Yellowstone to Cody - this is the West Entrance over Silvan Pass - its not knarly, just gear down and go slow. I am recommending this route over the northern route, just because there is some great stuff in Cody that beats out the other routes.

Cody - camp in town, as mentioned above check out the Cody Night Rodeo. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center http://www.bbhc.org/index_flash.cfm is one of a kind - you can take two days to go through it and not feel like you scratched the surface. There is Old Trail Town and rafting the Shoshone - I used to guide for Wyoming River Trips http://www.wyomingrivertrips.com/ - tell em Flounder sent ya - Rick and Ron Blanchard run a top notch outfit. Fishing is great here also - see Tim at the North Fork Angler.

Cody to I-90 - head east across the Bighorn basin to Greybull and then up and over the Bighorns - great camping in the Bighorns - check out the Medicine wheel. Once on the East side of the Bighorns - consider a quick jaunt North to see Little Bighorn National Battlefield on the Crow Reservation - really and interesting visit if you enjoy history. If not, then head to Devils Tower National Monument via Sheridan.

I-90 to Home - At Devils Tower - you are on the Western side of the BlackHills - next stops to consider are Mt Rushmore, Crazyhorse, Wall Drug, the Badlands, and of course - the Corn Palace in Mitchell. All of these are neat and worth seeing depending on your schedule. The Blackhills are beautiful and camping is only a problem around bikers week in Sturgis.

Okay - I took too much space, I will try and post a route map if I can. Good luck and enjoy.

Kevin
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Old 02-01-2005, 03:36 PM   #10
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WOW! Thanks to everybody that gave me their quick replys on their favorite routes! I am going to check every one of the routes out and figure out which way to go. And yes, we have good brakes (I am counting on them!).

It is always nice to hear how you have gone previously pulling an airstream. We were to the Rockies but never pulling thru Yellowstone. It will be interesting and beautiful I am sure. Can't wait to go, but only have 2 weeks so have to measure time carefully.

If anymore ideas - I will be here! Thanks again!
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Old 02-01-2005, 06:38 PM   #11
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Yeah, what he said!

I would also recommend the south route, you could go I-70 west to Denver (really make some time but see some nice areas) head north through Rocky Mountain National Park, Ft. Collins and into Wyoming, go north to Laramie then west through the Snowy Mountain Range (Centennial, WY) proceeding northwest and up through Jackson Hole, Teton National Park and the south entrance to Yellowstone. We stayed in Jackson Hole for one week with day hiking trips in the Tetons and into Yellowstone. Go out through the north in Montana head east through Devil's Tower (Close Encounters Of The Third Kind), Custer's Battlefield National Park, into South Dakota (make sure to stay at Custer State Park)...then proceed home with memories and longing to do it all again.

Our best friends are wanting us to go out with them in June...not sure it will be in the budget though. Have to see what Unca' Sam gives back this year.
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Old 02-01-2005, 08:42 PM   #12
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Kevin, you name many of our favorites! I agree about Hoback-never mentioned in anything, but a gorgeous stretch of river and canyon. Exiting over Sylvan Pass to Cody has me clutching anything in sight again, just as I did when we drove it. I swore I'd never do it again pulling a trailer, but, yeah. . .I probably would! KOA's aren't the most scenic, except for the one we stayed at --at the foot of Devil's Tower. Now, that was grand. And they play "Close Encounters. . ." outdoors nightly, under the looming Tower for guests One of our most magical trip moments was visiting the Tower when a group of Native Americans were ascending in a ceremonial singing, tying sacred tokens on the cedars along the way. . .we wished we understood the words, but the spirit was clear.
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Old 02-01-2005, 09:13 PM   #13
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Max and Georgia - what a great experience at Devils Tower! I visited the Pow Wow's held at BBHC in Cody, and I completely understand your point - very moving to witnessI didn't know about the KOA showing the film, that would be a hoot.

Zamboni's recommendation of the southern route is a great one. The Snowy Mtn range is one of my favorites.

Kevin
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Old 02-02-2005, 04:41 PM   #14
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I agree, Snowy Mtn range in beautiful. We were there 2 years in a row, and would go back again. I like the route coming up thru RMNP, I would probably want to stop there again though. Unfortunately, we can only do so much in the time alloted. Retirement just isn't close enough!! After reading about Sylvan Pass though, I may think twice about going that route! Still undecided though. I clutched everything in site the 1st time I came down Rt. 80 into Laramie, I can't imagine what I would do at Sylvan Pass.

Once we get into Yellowstone, is one road better than another to get to Fishing Bridge? That may help me decide also, which direction we come from and which way is worse once we get in.
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