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Old 01-30-2015, 10:46 AM   #1
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Black Hills to Yellowstone route advice

We will be heading to Yellowstone this summer after visiting the Black Hills area and stopping at Devils Tower. Any advice on the best route across Wyoming when towing? The map seems to indicate several narrow, twisty options. Thanks
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:54 AM   #2
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I went the other way Cody to Sturgis in '07. As I remember the only grade/twisties of note towing a 40' toy house was the wind river range. I believe I took the older route, only two issues of note was a 60' flatbed semi cutting a corner, and some horse packing outfit with tenderfeet riders & skittish horses on the highway made me stop on a steep grade, as I was trying to make Sheridan before dark. It's doable.
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:00 PM   #3
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Hi from AZ. . . We came out of Custer, SD on US16 to I-90 to Buffalo, back on 16 to YENP. I thought the drive thru the Bighorn Mts was as pretty as anything we saw, & no problems towing 25' tt. Still BIG snow at the pass, on June 1st, but roads were clear & dry. We spent a couple of days in Cody for the museums & then in East Entrance to YENP. Very pleasant trip , enjoy, Craig
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:24 PM   #4
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If coming from Devils Tower, you'll most logically be crossing the Bighorns on either Hwy 14 or 16. I'm partial to Hwy 16 because, well, it goes by my house. Both 14 and 16 have beautiful scenery and have similar altitude gains and losses. However, 14 makes those gains and losses over shorter distances. So it's a steeper west of Dayton and has a steeper decent west of Greybul or Lovell. You want to watch your brakes on this decent. Hwy 16 isn't quite as steep, but a little longer climb. The descent at Tensleep Canyon is steep, but manageable, and spectacular. It's becoming a big rock climbing destination. There is interesting desert/badland topography between Tensleep and Worland.

If you want to hit Yellowstone at the east gate, you'll want to make it to Greybull and then Cody, regardless of which highway you use. If you want to come in from the south (through the Tetons) it's better to go to Thermopolis - Riverton - Dubois - Moran Junction.

In the Buffalo area, I can provide courtesy parking, guide you to good boondocking sites, or suggest campgrounds.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:33 PM   #5
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A detour up to the Little Big Horn Battlefield is worth a stop if you like history. The 7th Cavalry Ranch is a nice campground nearby.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:33 AM   #6
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I think Interstate 90 West to Hwy.14 through Cody is a easy and scenic drive. Try taking in a rodeo while in Cody if that works for you. I made the mistake of an overnight stay at Fishing Bridge campground in Yellowstone which was far too crowded for my tastes. Enjoyed Grant Village campground and Lewis Lake campground much more. I've also traveled to Yellowstone via the south entrance after having spent some time in Rocky Mountain National Park. That is also a pretty drive.Wishing you a great trip.

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Old 01-31-2015, 12:16 PM   #7
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I am the former Cody Country Chamber of Commerce director, so I would say any way you get to Cody is good. Ha Ha. I have pulled all manner of trailers over the Big Horn Mountains. You have three options, US Highway 14, 14A, and 16. 16 comes out of Buffalo, through Ten Sleep and Worland, and it has the most gentle grades (still around 6%). 16 will get you off the interstate sooner and friends don't let friends drive interstates. 14 and 14A share the same road from Sheridan to the top. 14 down to Graybull goes through the Shell Canyon, which like Ten Sleep Canyon, is beautiful and the downhill grades for both canyons are virtually the same at about 6%. 14A comes off the side of the mountain to Lovell and it is called the "Oh My God Highway" with grades at 11%. So, my recommendation is 16 and at least two full days in Cody!
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Old 01-31-2015, 03:45 PM   #8
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I like 90 west to Bozeman 90 miles to west yellowstone
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Old 01-31-2015, 04:41 PM   #9
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We have traveled from Vermont to Yellowstone (and points west) many times. We pull a 27 ft. AS with a Ram 2500 Diesel. We have experimented in our first years of travel going from I-90 to Route 16 and also Route 14. With our rig we will now only travel Route 16 over the Big Horns - slightly less pitch and not as twisty. Our normal Big Horn travel day starts in Wall, SD - to Buffalo, WY - up and over Rt. 16 to Cody, WY. Cody gives us our last day to stock up on supplies before our last stretch in YSNP. Cody is a fun place if you have time for the Buffalo Bill Museum, Rodeo, etc.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:57 AM   #10
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I spent two days alone in the Cody museums, after a map refresh it was R 14 that I took east to Sheridan.
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:01 AM   #11
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Did the trip last year. But, we detoured up thru Billings and then down to Yellowstone thru Cody. Loved the scenery. Did billings to get some work done by a Ford dealer there that came recommended and I too recommend them.

Enjoy, we liked it so much may do it again this summer
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Old 05-23-2015, 12:36 PM   #12
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Thanks- I think we're going to take the 16 route, stay in Buffalo WY, mid way between Black Hills and Yosemite, stop in Cody on the way.

Another question- enroute from Cheyenne WY to the Black Hills, is it worth visiting Thunder Basin Grasslands, or should I consider the more direct route via Lusk and Newcastle on the 85?
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by JHollenbeck View Post
Thanks- I think we're going to take the 16 route, stay in Buffalo WY, mid way between Black Hills and Yosemite, stop in Cody on the way.

Another question- enroute from Cheyenne WY to the Black Hills, is it worth visiting Thunder Basin Grasslands, or should I consider the more direct route via Lusk and Newcastle on the 85?
Maybe I'm a bit jaded by having worked in the area too much, but I don't think you'll experience much different in the grasslands than you will on Hwy 85. The prairie conditions are largely the same. You may see fewer fences on the grasslands, but to me, it all looks the same.

I might suggest taking Hwy 18 towards Hot Springs, then up through Wind Cave NP. That's a pretty neat drive.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:59 PM   #14
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BLACK HILLS or Bust...

Thalweg is not blowing grass, he is right.

Just south of Hot Springs is an interesting museum with excavated mastodon and mammoth elephant skeletons under a roof. It was a hot spring and they would get into the pond and could not get OUT.

Then drop the kids off at the Swimming Pool in Hot Springs. There are a number of interesting sites to visit. Deadwood is a tourist pleaser. Might be tight for parking a trailer.

There are so many routes to take to the Black Hills, none would be wrong. The more time you have will give you plenty of things to do and see.

Lusk, Wyoming is a fueling stop for the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD. Sometimes the line is... long. Especially the one station in the center of town.

Some of the "grasslands" have lots of prickly pear in the grass. Be alert as your dogs will not enjoy your pulling them out of their paws.

I would pick up a South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and a Nebraska State map and plot the sights you would like to visit. This area is very tourist friendly and has the amenities to please everyone's taste. Do not forget Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

The Big Badlands of South Dakota are mind boggling, if you like to be boggled. Avoid driving into or through the Pine Ridge Reservation as some of the BIA roads are just improved wagon ruts into Nebraska.

The roads are not particularly wide and there are lots of RV's, bikers, cattle haulers, trailers in tow and 18 wheelers. All seasonal traffic, so the time of year will have more or less traffic.

There are some small strips of National Forest in the Black Hills you can squeeze a trailer off onto an access road. You need a Forest Service map, but it will be in the trees and a great base camp. The Black Hills have a lot of private property and access to the "forest" is a near magic trick to locate. You see "private property" on the tree... it probably is.

Enjoy. These are wonderful people in the area and I would not cut your time too short as there is plenty to do.
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