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Old 08-21-2019, 01:00 PM   #1
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1969 21' Globetrotter
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Route info Yellowstone to the Black Hills

We're planning a trip in September from Oregon stopping in the Tetons and going through Yellowstone, with the final destination being the Black Hills and surrounding sights. We'll be pulling a '69 Globetrotter behind our cargo van. We're planning to hit mostly back roads and want to avoid mountainous surprises. Any suggestions for the best route from the Lamar Valley area to Eastern Wyoming heading toward the southwest part of South Dakota? Thanks so much for any help you can offer.
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:34 PM   #2
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It sounds like for the most part, you're discussing the classic US-14 vs US-16 over the Bighorns debate. I've been over these roads hundreds of times, and when towing, I very much prefer US-16. People often argue about which route is more scenic, but in reality they're both very nice. 14 has some areas that are much steeper and more challenging to tow over in my opinion. It's certainly do-able, and people do it every day. I just think 16 is more relaxing. I'm sure others will disagree. I would discourage you from using Alternate 14 out of Lovell. It's extremely steep with tight switchbacks. I was over it a couple of weeks ago and there were some severe frost heaves on the lower elevations that would bounce a trailer around badly.

Once you're over the Bighorns, you can take 14/16 through Leiter, Spotted Horse, and onto Gillette. Take I-90 from Gillette to Moorcroft, and then 16 from Moorcroft to Newcastle, and onto Custer, and viola, you're in the Blackhills.

Note that if you hit Moorcroft, you're just a hop, skip and a jump to Devils Tower, which is a worthwhile detour.
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Old 08-21-2019, 06:10 PM   #3
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About the only way out from the Lamar valley is to go out through Cooke City and take the Chief Joseph highway across to 120. The Beartooth Highway would be a mountain surprise. Then to Cody and to Greybull. Or go out through Gardiner, down Pardise valley, and take the Interstate where you want to go. It is a nice Interstate, The road from fishing bridge to Cody has some serious construction problems and weather might be an issue on Dunraven Pass in Sept. maybe a mountain sunrise if it snows. Gros Venture is a favorite of ours and will have room then. And probably a moose close by. We will probably stop there right after Labor Day and then head home.
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Old 08-21-2019, 08:19 PM   #4
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The road reconstruction project on the east entrance road runs from the Fishing Bridge east to the Pelican Valley Trailhead, a distance of about 4 miles. The road surface is now mostly dirt and gravel and they keep it moist to keep the dust down so it will feature mud and more mud. By contract, they are required to keep it open (at the insistence of the City fathers of Cody, Wyoming)

If you go that way, it will be slow and annoying for a short stretch, mildly twisty curvy for another 22 miles or so and the a beautiful drive to Cody from the east entrance.

From Cody, I would take US 16 east to the Interstate and then on to your destination of choice in the Black Hills.
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:54 AM   #5
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Thanks to all of you for the info. Doesn't sound like there is the perfect way to get where we're headed. We had planned to stop at Gros Ventre for a couple of days, then make camp at Mammoth while we explored northern Yellowstone before heading east. Our friends who recommended Mammoth spend winters as Yellowstone volunteers out of Gardiner and prefer that part of the park. We have never been there and are planning about 4 days. Any suggestions on campgrounds that might put us in a better position for driving east?

It's so hard to make these decisions by looking at a map. We do appreciate your input.
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:36 PM   #6
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Yellowstone to Black Hills

We just did that trip, although we exited Yellowstone at the northeast entrance on Highway 212. We were going to Bearcreek Montana to see the pig races at the Beargreek Steakhouse. What a hoot !! and good steaks too. a little pricey but they are big enough to share. We stayed in Red Lodge about 7 miles away. From there we took Highway 120 into Cody, 20 east to Greybull, then south to 16. Along 16 through the Beartooths, there are several Forest Service campgrounds. From there we picked 90 east at Buffalo and camped at a forest service campground about 5 miles northwest of Sundance. Made a day trip to devils tower, ( 28 miles ) it was Sturgis time and we were thick in the middle of motorcycle heaven. From there we took 585 south to 85 and picked up 16 east at Newcastle and into the Black Hills. Stayed at a forest service GC 5 miles east of jewel cave. Great access to all attractions in southern Black Hills for $9 night. We pull a 27FCFB with a Ram 1500 hemi, no issues
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:27 PM   #7
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You don't have to go over the Big Horn Mountains (although they are awesome) you can leave the Tetons north into Yellowstone stay south in the park, exit US 14 to Cody, then take Wyoming 120 north out of Cody turns to 72 to Bridger Montana then on to Billings East on I-90 (not I-94) a short ways to pickup US 212 then 212 through Lame Deer (get gas) on to Bellfourch South Dakota then 10 Miles south to Spearfish SD. You will be in the Northern Black Hills.
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 69trotter View Post
Thanks to all of you for the info. Doesn't sound like there is the perfect way to get where we're headed.
I beg to disagree. Thalweg gave you a “perfect way,” so did Bill M. Driving from the Lamar Valley to South Dakota - regardless of your route - is a wonderful journey. Enjoying the journey as much or more than the destination is all you need.
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