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Old 01-11-2018, 09:14 PM   #1
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Preferred Route to Grand Teton/Yellowstone

Looking for advice on the most scenic route going to Grand Teton and then Yellowstone..... Via Hwy. 287 from Rawlins or via Hwy 26 from Casper. First real mountain driving for me towing a 27FB with a 2017 Ford Diesel 6.7 Powerstroke Diesel. Making the trip late August.
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:31 PM   #2
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Interested to hear what folks say. We were considering 26 as it looks more direct for our route, but suspect 287 might be the better plan. The scenic win, besides the Tetons and Yellowstone, may well be a side trip without the trailer to the Bear Claw and the pass to the East as a return route.

Travel safe. Pat
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by FL Dawg View Post
Looking for advice on the most scenic route going to Grand Teton and then Yellowstone..... Via Hwy. 287 from Rawlins or via Hwy 26 from Casper. First real mountain driving for me towing a 27FB with a 2017 Ford Diesel 6.7 Powerstroke Diesel. Making the trip late August.
I did it a while back using hwy 191 and 189 from I-80. There were no crazy mountain passes that way, just rolling hills. (driving a 40' MH + trailer) I haven't done the other ways mentioned, but I found Wyoming to be less dramatic driving than Colorado, by a wide margin.
Don't overlook Jackson Hole. It's a fun town and very scenic. Don't miss the Museum of Western Art. I'm not a tea and crumpets guy, and I LOVED it. Eat there too. All made fresh using local meats and veggies. Suburb.

Now, the down side. The Tetons are cool, but there's not much to do. "There they are." "Yep, big".

Now the big downer, Yellowstone in August is a madhouse.
The wildlife runs away to the mountains and the traffic, road construction, tour busses, crowded boardwalks, killed it for me.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:37 AM   #4
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side trip without the trailer to the Bear Claw and the pass to the East as a return route.
Bear tooth? The pass into Montana? Charles Kuralt said it was the most beautiful road in America, so we had to try it (motorcycling). Not #1, but maybe #2 or #3 IMO. It is a mountain pass, and we did it in August and one day it would be beautiful, the next it would be sleeting on the pass. It's a long way from NE Yellowstone to Red Lodge and not much between. If you like switchbacks and wide open vistas, it's for you. Not a good place to break down. I loved the town of Red Lodge, and we based there for a few days.
(Went to see the state fiddling championship at the H.S. Gym...so cool)
The Chief Joseph scenic highway is also beautiful.
The dilemma is you won't want to tow over these, and yet the distances are great for a side trip.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:32 AM   #5
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Hi,

I can recommend a last stop near Cheyenne at Curt Gowdy State Park which has an absolute magic atmosphere.

From there it was as I remember roughly 300ish mls to Jackson Hole.

We drove further on 80 to Rawlins where we fueled and stop at the Supermarket. Than followed 287 and later 26. Easy to drive as basically zero traffic. Our 3500 with the cummins had no issue whatsoever.
We enjoyed the scenic so much that we totally forgot time. As we realized that we arrived 16:55 at the Campground which closes at 17:00 we were schoked as this is not like we plan trips

Next time we even consider to stop in between to enjoy the beauty even more.

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Old 01-12-2018, 10:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I did it a while back using hwy 191 and 189 from I-80. There were no crazy mountain passes that way, just rolling hills. (driving a 40' MH + trailer) I haven't done the other ways mentioned, but I found Wyoming to be less dramatic driving than Colorado, by a wide margin.
Don't overlook Jackson Hole. It's a fun town and very scenic. Don't miss the Museum of Western Art. I'm not a tea and crumpets guy, and I LOVED it. Eat there too. All made fresh using local meats and veggies. Suburb.

Now, the down side. The Tetons are cool, but there's not much to do. "There they are." "Yep, big".

Now the big downer, Yellowstone in August is a madhouse.
The wildlife runs away to the mountains and the traffic, road construction, tour busses, crowded boardwalks, killed it for me.
Don't let the above discourage you! Grand Teton has amazing hiking in the Tetons, kayaking on Jenny Lake, rafting on the Snake River, great trails for biking, and some nice campgrounds. If you are in to shopping and dining there are lots of opportunities in Jackson.

Regarding Yellowstone, yes if you restrict yourself to the road and parking areas in the middle of the day it is crowded, BUT, get up before sunrise and take advantage of the quiet time to observe wildlife, even from pullouts, and its a different world. Better yet, take a hike and get away from the crowds. Last year we hiked the Mary Mountain trail from the Hayden Valley side on a busy late August weekend and saw no one else on a four hour roundtrip hike. Yellowstone is magical.
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:27 AM   #7
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Be really careful on those two lane roads anywhere in Wyoming. Some of those little towns, LaBarge for example, make a major portion of their municipal budget off of traffic fines. Be especially alert for partially obscured speed limit or school zone signs!
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:57 AM   #8
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Don't let the above discourage you! Grand Teton has amazing hiking in the Tetons, kayaking on Jenny Lake, rafting on the Snake River, great trails for biking, and some nice campgrounds. If you are in to shopping and dining there are lots of opportunities in Jackson.

Regarding Yellowstone, yes if you restrict yourself to the road and parking areas in the middle of the day it is crowded, BUT, get up before sunrise and take advantage of the quiet time to observe wildlife, even from pullouts, and its a different world. Better yet, take a hike and get away from the crowds. Last year we hiked the Mary Mountain trail from the Hayden Valley side on a busy late August weekend and saw no one else on a four hour roundtrip hike. Yellowstone is magical.


Not arriving in Yellowstone until Aug. 29th. Hopefully the school crowds will have thinned out by then.
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:57 AM   #9
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Your truck wouldn't have any difficulty with any of the passes in Wyoming, and the roads are about the same regardless of which direction you go. I'd just avoid I-80. There is too much truck traffic there for my comfort when I'm towing my AS.

There is much, much more to Wyoming than Yellowstone and the Tetons. I personally avoid that corner of the state in the middle of the summer. There is just too many people and traffic. I would suggest researching other things you'd like to see and design your route to take advantage of that. The only road characteristics that should effect you would be construction, and you can get a map of where construction is occurring here: https://map.wyoroad.info/ although it's probably too early to see where that is happening. At that site, you can download a phone app that shows road conditions and webcams. It's very helpful.
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:59 AM   #10
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Not arriving in Yellowstone until Aug. 29th. Hopefully the school crowds will have thinned out by then.
No, it won't be. In recent years it's been consistently busy all through September and sometimes even later. Actually, it looks like you'll be hitting Labor Day weekend. One of the busiest times of the year.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:29 PM   #11
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We have been to YNP many times traveling I-80 from Nebraska and have gone both routes several times. Both are about the same time wise. With the route through Rawlins you run the risk of some pretty high winds over the Laramie pass, however, it is a scenic drive. You don't run into any real mountain driving until you get to Dubois, which you end up at taking both routes. From Dubois the rest of the way in is fairly easy mountain driving on two lane highway with turnouts.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:31 PM   #12
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If this area becomes a route for you, then:

Not sure how far you will go into Yellowstone or a return route, but in case you consider going east out of Mammoth Hot Springs like we did, I can comment on this route and roads east of Yellowstone.

[we tow our 2016 27’ Serenity with a 2016 F150]

We did a road trip from Washington (mid-Sept, back mid-Oct last year), mostly on I-90 and then spent a night at a RV Park in Gardiner on the NW corner (elk munching on trees between trailers, just feet away). Awesome.

Your end of August will be crowded! We drove the road from Mammoth Hot Springs (212), exiting the Park at Cooke City. It is 2 lane, twisty, scenic and quite often very slow with the buffalo on or near the roads. We had no problem. East of Cooke City is a choice between two very scenic roads; the Bear Tooth highway (212) to Red Lodge, or the Chief Joesph highway (296). We chose the latter as we wanted to work our way to Cody, then Buffalo.

As we drove onto the Chief Joesph, a big sign said something like “Not advised for units larger than 40 feet.’ It gave me pause about going this way as we are 49’ long, but then I thought they meant for Class A and not for tighter turning trailers. Anyway, the highway is super scenic, very little traffic, and once on Dead Indian Pass, the view reminded me of Switzerland. A lot of tight hairpins but we had no problems and with so few vehicles, never a reason to push it up or down the Pass.

If you are in Cody and taking the road to Sheridan (and I-90, the southerly highway 14 through Shell Canyon and up across the high beautiful Bighorn Mountains has a very narrow section in Shell Canyon. The beauty reminds me of narrow Utah canyons. Near vertical colorful rock with a raging creek and a two lane highway sharing the limited space, for maybe 5 miles in the canyon.

Whichever way you go, Wyoming has many beautiful areas, and historical places, like the Occidental Hotel and Saloon in Buffalo. The bullet hole ridden saloon looks the same as when all the western cowboys, legends, lawmen drank and hung out here. The historical photos show it is the same. So much to see, so little time, eh.

Happy travels.
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:47 PM   #13
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Lander Wyoming

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Originally Posted by FL Dawg View Post
Looking for advice on the most scenic route going to Grand Teton and then Yellowstone..... Via Hwy. 287 from Rawlins or via Hwy 26 from Casper. First real mountain driving for me towing a 27FB with a 2017 Ford Diesel 6.7 Powerstroke Diesel. Making the trip late August.
Lander Wyoming is a really cool town....
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:07 PM   #14
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We drove the 26 route through Casper to GTNP last June. The first half is high desert terrain and straight. We saw lots of pronghorn. Its a gradual up hill climb. Past Shoshoni the scenery gets better going to Dubois. Then you start going up the mountains and descend down into GTNP. You pass several FS campgrounds. I would imagine the other route is similar. We boondocked the previous night in Riverside Park in Douglas vs paying for a campground as the weather was cool enough in June. There is water and dump at this park.

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Old 01-12-2018, 06:08 PM   #15
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Dawg, don't listen to the nay sayers. Yellowstone & Grand Tetons are 2 of our favorite places, and we travel there from Vermont almost every year with our 27ft. AS. The only time we come up from the south is when we are coming from Rocky Mountain National Park (another favorite of our's). We head up I-25 to I-80 west to Rawlins and 287 north. We get to Dubois the first day out of RMNP. 287 is mostly flat with some rolling hills - VERY arid terrain. No big deal for 6.7 liter diesel (that's what we have too). Next day we're in the Tetons and camping at Colter Bay. This year we will not be going to RMNP so we will be coming into YS from Cody (a real fun town). We'll be staying in the Tetons for 2 weeks before heading to YS for another week. Now, if you're a "drive-by" tourist and just want views, both Tetons and YS are beautiful to see at a distance, and then go home. For us, it's all about getting in touch with nature and being surrounded by some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. I like what one of the other people said above - if you get up early and get out hiking, and just hike a couple hundred yards away from the parking lots, you will see very few people. The hiking trails in both locations are astonishing. Then there's always kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horseback riding, fishing, etc. etc. If I had to vacation to only one place for the rest of my life, it would be camping next to Jackson Lake in the Tetons. The drive from the Tetons to YS is relatively easy. Be sure to get camping reservations at both locations as soon as possible.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:25 PM   #16
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Now, the down side. The Tetons are cool, but there's not much to do. "There they are." "Yep, big".

.
Wow! Beautiful scenery, loads of hiking opportunities, abundant wildlife, fishing, kayaking, rafting, great bike trails, fablous restaurants in town, art galleries, waterfalls, local music scene, hot springs...

What a boring place to be with not much to do.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:24 PM   #17
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I did it a while back using hwy 191 and 189 from I-80. There were no crazy mountain passes that way, just rolling hills. (driving a 40' MH + trailer) I haven't done the other ways mentioned, but I found Wyoming to be less dramatic driving than Colorado, by a wide margin.
Don't overlook Jackson Hole. It's a fun town and very scenic. Don't miss the Museum of Western Art. I'm not a tea and crumpets guy, and I LOVED it. Eat there too. All made fresh using local meats and veggies. Suburb.

Now, the down side. The Tetons are cool, but there's not much to do. "There they are." "Yep, big".

Now the big downer, Yellowstone in August is a madhouse.
The wildlife runs away to the mountains and the traffic, road construction, tour busses, crowded boardwalks, killed it for me.
Seriously " Not much to do" . REALLY !!
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:04 PM   #18
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Dawg, don't listen to the nay sayers. Yellowstone & Grand Tetons are 2 of our favorite places, and we travel there from Vermont almost every year with our 27ft. AS. The only time we come up from the south is when we are coming from Rocky Mountain National Park (another favorite of our's). We head up I-25 to I-80 west to Rawlins and 287 north. We get to Dubois the first day out of RMNP. 287 is mostly flat with some rolling hills - VERY arid terrain. No big deal for 6.7 liter diesel (that's what we have too). Next day we're in the Tetons and camping at Colter Bay. This year we will not be going to RMNP so we will be coming into YS from Cody (a real fun town). We'll be staying in the Tetons for 2 weeks before heading to YS for another week. Now, if you're a "drive-by" tourist and just want views, both Tetons and YS are beautiful to see at a distance, and then go home. For us, it's all about getting in touch with nature and being surrounded by some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. I like what one of the other people said above - if you get up early and get out hiking, and just hike a couple hundred yards away from the parking lots, you will see very few people. The hiking trails in both locations are astonishing. Then there's always kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horseback riding, fishing, etc. etc. If I had to vacation to only one place for the rest of my life, it would be camping next to Jackson Lake in the Tetons. The drive from the Tetons to YS is relatively easy. Be sure to get camping reservations at both locations as soon as possible.


Coming up I-25 thru Colorado. Hitting Sand Dunes NP and RMNP. Few days in Cheyenne then following your route west on I-80 to Rawlins then 287 north. Overnight at Dubois KOA before 5 nights at Colter Bay GTNP followed by 7 nights at Fishing Bridge. We actually had 10 nights in Yellowstone but they are closing fishing bridge early for road construction. We are the last ones out of fishing bridge. Planning on getting early starts as much as possible. Still debating route home from yellowstone but definitely hitting badlands, mt. Rushmore and devils tower along the way home. Would you recommend going thru Cody or head north out of yellowstone and taking I-90 east!
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:06 PM   #19
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Looking for advice on the most scenic route going to Grand Teton and then Yellowstone..... Via Hwy. 287 from Rawlins or via Hwy 26 from Casper. First real mountain driving for me towing a 27FB with a 2017 Ford Diesel 6.7 Powerstroke Diesel. Making the trip late August.
i made the trip from Rawlins to Lander and then after two nights in Lander, to the Tetons and Yellowstone Bridge Bay Campground (I reserved in February and it was a good thing since there would have been no getting in on 14 August without reservations.

My Tundra 5.7 pulled my 22 foot Safari without any problems, so a diesel with a 27 foot trailer won't be a problem either.

The scenery was very nice, and the stretch from Lander to Yellowstone was exceptionally beautiful. I can't speak for route 26, but they marry up before you get to the Tetons, so I guess the best route may depend on where you are coming from. There is a Flying J at Cheyenne and another just past the turn at Rawlins (I went the extra few miles and then went back east to get 287 but probably could have cut through town.

Have a great trip!
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:18 PM   #20
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The last two summers were busy right through mid-September but they were unusual years. 2016 was the centennial of the park Service and heavily advertised.

Last year was the solar eclipse, which really pushed our numbers up.

This year should see our visitation drop to a more normal level, especially with the proposed increase in the gate fee.

Other than the past two years, the Park is fine to visit anytime other than late June to early August.

To beat the crowds, get up early and get some hiking, boating, sightseeing in, then siesta between 1100 and 1500' , then get back out there until dusk.
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