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Old 02-12-2016, 07:06 PM   #1
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Glacier to Gardiner to Rapid City to Jackson

Hi and thanks for all the great info on the forum. I have searched for information on our upcoming 4-week trip from WA to Glacier and on to Yellowstone, Badlands then to Tetons and home. A lot to see and take in. My questions are 2 fold....
  1. W Glacier to Gardiner (Yellowstone)
    What is the best route to take when driving down from W Glacier? We will spend 4 days in Glacier before heading on to Yellowstone. I assume it will take 2 days (driving no more than 4 hours a day) so where best to stay the night in route? We are spending 4 days with friends in Gardiner, who work in Yellowstone and will tour us around.
  2. Gardiner to Rapid City to Jackson
    Wondering how much time to allow near Rapid City to see Badlands and Mt Rushmore. Then what is the driving like to Jackson WY? We expect to spend 3 days in Tetons before heading west.

Thoughts/ideas? Prayers?
We will be towing our 25 FC and caravanning with family.

Dave
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:04 PM   #2
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From WG to Gardiner is a one day drive, if you push it. If you need to relax a bit, Deer Lodge might be a good stopping point. We do Missoula and then drive through from there. You can drive past Flathead on the East side or the West side. We like the West. It's more miles, but a nicer drive and has fewer stops/slow downs, IOP.

Ask your friends about the Bear Tooth and Red Lodge. And make sure they show you the Mamouth Elk that munch grass while lounging around town.

When you head for JC, I90 is not a bad route. But stay West of Chicago until you can work your way South. The routes through and around Chicago include toll roads and are quite busy. HW 30 from Joliet is not a bad route. You can drop down to I70, but unless you have a specific destination along the way, it's an extreme measure to get South of Chicago.

At JC, the Teraport is on the right side of the Service Center. Keep driving toward the back until you see the sign on the right.

Good luck with your trip. Drive safe. Pat
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:56 PM   #3
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Rapid City SD to Jackson WY

Thanks Pat. I should have been clearer in my post that we would be going to Rapid City SD then see Mt Rushmore and the badlands before heading west to Jackson WY. Do you know about routes in that area?

Thanks again
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:15 AM   #4
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My sincere apology. With respect to Jackson, the best route is through Yellowstone, by way of Cody, although I believe some recommend HW26. Our experience in this area is way too limited to be of much help. Again, my apology for the confusion. Pat
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:15 AM   #5
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I am planning a similar trip and will stop in Lewis and Clark cavern state park en route to Jackson from glacier. Mostly to check out the caverns! Still, seems like it allows a good break.

http://stateparks.mt.gov/lewis-and-clark-caverns/
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:28 AM   #6
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dprvashon when are you planning no being in or near Rapid City? My reason for asking is Sturgis Bike week. It's the first full week in August, but also includes the week prior and week after. Most campgrounds are full now as are most hotels and the place is very busy as you can imagine usually over 600,000 bikes and over a million people all riding and touring. We have gone many times, this year we will be work camping in the area during this period.

Bud
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:53 AM   #7
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Bud... We are planning for the second week in Sept to be in Rapid City. We have friends there but are planning to stay somewhere out by Mt Rushmore. There seems to be a few good CGs according to campgroundreviews.com.
Any suggestions?

Thanks
Dave
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:36 PM   #8
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Just a question - If you are in YS, why don't you head to Jackson right from YS? JH is only 62 miles from Fishing Bridge in YS. If you head to Rapid City area after YS, you will just be back tracking back over the Big Horn Mtns., thru YS to get to JH. I would go: YS to Tetons; Tetons to Cody WY - 140 miles (you'll go back thru east side YS - easy drive); spend the rest of the day in Cody - Buffalo Bill Cody Museum is awesome; next Cody to Rapid City area - take Rt. 16 (not Rt. 14) over the Big Horn Mtns. - about 400 miles. (Note - After Rt. 16 you'll get on I-90 in Buffalo WY heading east to RC) I have found a solid half day at Rushmore, and at least a couple full days in Badlands fine. Do Ranger programs in Badlands - night adventures too. After Rapid City area you can head back west to WA via I-90.
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:56 PM   #9
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The camp ground at Lewis and clark caverns is very nice, some electric hookups, also at garrison junction south of Missoula on I 90, also at deer lodge...
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:37 PM   #10
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Glacier to Yellowstone

We took this last year and was it great and will look forward to do it again.

Hwy 83 TO 200 to 141 and then
Hwy 12 to HELENA and then 287 is a easy drive to West Yellowstone, a good day drive.

The Roads are great and lots of places to stop. We got gas at Costco in Helena and lunch.

Most important it keeps you OFF the interstate.

I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed the country side.
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:58 PM   #11
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Wow what a trip you have planned! It sounds just like our route, only backwards. You will love it!
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Old 02-14-2016, 01:23 PM   #12
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Dave-
We did a similar trip last year. THE BEST vacation my wife and I have had in our lives and we have been to some pretty fine places. I'll share with you our route/spots we would hit. You can always pm me for more details if you desire. We were there the first two weeks of September this year. Perfect!!
You may want to give some thought of just going south out of Gardiner thru YS to Jackson. Then from there work your way over to the Mt Rushmore/Badlands area. From their you can make your loop back and hit Cody.
I think there is one campground in Jackson. It worked. You should try and do the tram over in Teton Village. Mangy Moose there is good place for a snack. Just be aware the tram shuts down earlier in the day that time of year. One of our best stops for breakfast was Bubba's BBQ in JH. The wildlife art museum is a good place to run thru. Of course downtown JH has more places to hit than you have time.
The badlands- we thought were beautiful. Presuming you have kiddos along, you might catch Wall Drug just to say you were there and get a buffalo burger.
We really enjoyed Custer State Park. Plenty of campgrounds more toward Custer than Rapid City. In Custer SP there is Grace Coolidge but it reserves up early. A handy located CG. While there I would hit Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore.
We spent a night at Sturgis. The place is a ghost town one the rally is over. Campground right near the highway. Plenty of spaces. Near there is Devil's Tower that is worth a hit.
Sheridan WY has the Trials End Historic Center. We like that kind of stuff. Stumbled on to it by accident.
We enjoyed the drive from Sheridan to Cody thru the Bighorn Mountains. When we go back we will spend more time in the Bighorns. Maybe rent some ATVs or something. The Elk View Inn looked like a good place.
Cody- the museum is a must. Irma's was the breakfast of our trip...can't ya tell I like breakfast! Neat old western place.
So much to see. So little time! Enjoy!!
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Old 02-15-2016, 10:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dames7 View Post
We took this last year and was it great and will look forward to do it again.

Hwy 83 TO 200 to 141 and then
Hwy 12 to HELENA and then 287 is a easy drive to West Yellowstone, a good day drive.

The Roads are great and lots of places to stop. We got gas at Costco in Helena and lunch.

Most important it keeps you OFF the interstate.
Dames7.... thanks. Did you stop between W Glacier and Yellowstone or blow straight through? If you stopped, where was that and if not, how long a drive is it? I really appreciate the info and agree, staying off the interstate is our plan too.

Dave
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Old 02-15-2016, 10:07 AM   #14
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One of the best campgrounds on our 8000 mile trip last Summer was the Rafter J Bar ranch campground in Hill City near Mount Rushmore. I agree ,see the Tetons and Yellowstone at the same time. We came from the northeast so our stops were Badlands, Black Hills, Cody, Yellowstone, Tetons/jackson, a few weeks in the Telluride / Gunnison area . Have Fun!!!
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Old 02-15-2016, 10:10 AM   #15
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Mattyd.... great info, thanks, appreciate it! We are thinking your plan to go through YS to the Tetons would be best and maybe do the Mt Rushmore/Badlands on another trip. This would allow us more time to in each area which is key. Question though, where did you stay in the Tetons, Cody, etc?

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Old 02-15-2016, 10:26 AM   #16
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We stayed at ponderosa in Cody on the weekend of July 4 and it was jam packed. Next time well stay at the Buffalo Bill Park. Tetons was Gros ventre . Yellowstone we stayed at fishing Bridge.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:09 PM   #17
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In Cody we too stayed at the Ponderosa. As mentioned earlier...it was just ok. I made a note and will follow eliset123's suggestion next time and give the Buffalo Bill Park a try.
In Gardiner we stayed at the Rocky Mountain RV Park & Lodge. Best campground on our trip. Cleanest showers and laundry - bar none. Good pizza at K-Bar. Good breakfast at Rosie's. Next time we will book ahead and get in a fishing float trip for half a day.
In Jackson we stayed at The Virginian Lodge & RV Park. Waking distance to downtown and such. I would strongly recommend calling the visitor center in JH for pointers and make that one of your first stops when you get there.
We spent a night at the north end of the Tetons at Headwater Campgound at Flagg Ranch. Nice enough restaurant and of an evening had enjoyable naturalist presentations in the lobby.
In YS we stayed at Grant Village and at Canyon Village. We would have stayed at Fishing Bridge but they were booked up - it was our first choice as it is centrally located. I wouldn't also mind trying to stay at Mammoth Hots Springs as well.
Now we left Ohio on Labor Day weekend and were gone for two weeks. We had no reservations whatsoever. We were determined to head west with the idea we wanted to see JH, Tetons, and YS since it all together but if the weather had been rainy we were going to head south in to CO and UT. Regardless we were going back to Custer for the second year in a row. We love the area around Custer SP. We never hurried but never stayed two nights in the same place. Our travels were not pulling a camper but rather in a truck camper.
I was told we didn't need advance reservations in YS. WRONG. They start shutting some of the campgrounds down in September so there are fewer to stay in. I would strongly suggest having reservations in YS. Without reservations we found campgrounds but we fit a lot of places being just a truck camper.
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Old 02-16-2016, 09:10 AM   #18
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Glacier and Yellowstone

Quote:
Originally Posted by dprvashon View Post
Dames7.... thanks. Did you stop between W Glacier and Yellowstone or blow straight through? If you stopped, where was that and if not, how long a drive is it? I really appreciate the info and agree, staying off the interstate is our plan too.

Dave
We left Glacier around 8:30 and made it to Helena (Costco) at 1:00 or so and had lunch and pick up a few things, gas up and got into West Yellowstone @5:00.

These are great roads and it was a easy drive, there is
Camp Three Forks, MT, but not very good RV Park. Just take your time and you will be glade you made it in one day.
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