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Old 08-14-2020, 07:27 PM   #1
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Yellowstone NP and the Chief Joseph Highway

We are staying the night due of the Grand Tetons tonight. Our plan for tomorrow was to drive into GT and then up through YNP to Gardiner. Today there was a road closure between Mammoth and Norris due to a water main break. All access to the north of the park is now cutoff.

Here is the question for the group. Which of these routes are sensible?

We are looking at making our way to Cody. From there, we can take long route to 90 up through Billings and Livingston.

Or

The Chief Joseph Highway north from Cody will take us direct to the northeast gate of YNP.

We are towing our 25’ FC with a F250. Will dump our sewer tanks and have 3/4 water tank.
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Old 08-14-2020, 10:08 PM   #2
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I’m not following. Where are you trying to make it to? Or do you just wanna see as much as you can?
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Old 08-14-2020, 10:26 PM   #3
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You might consider driving west from Jackson to the west side of the Teton range and then north to Ashton, Idaho and further north on Highway 20 to West Yellowstone. Then on Highway 191 north from West Yellowstone to Bozeman (goes through the west side of the park and partly parallel to the Gallatin River). Take the freeway (I 90) east from Bozeman to Livingston and turn south on Highway 89 which takes you through Paradise Valley (the valley of the Yellowstone River) to Gardiner.

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Old 08-15-2020, 05:59 AM   #4
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Clarifications:

I see I missed “due East” of the GT in the original post. We are in Riverton.

We know we could go past the GT and YNP to the west and then loop around to the north. That route is longer than the current path.

We are enjoying the sight along our journey. But turning the journey into a long haul takes that enjoyment away.

Ultimate destination on the leg is Gardiner, MT tonight.

Shorten the question:
Is driving the Chief Joseph Byway pulling a 25’ FC with a F250 a sensible route for a flatlander?
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Old 08-15-2020, 07:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishByFly View Post
Clarifications:

I see I missed “due East” of the GT in the original post. We are in Riverton.

We know we could go past the GT and YNP to the west and then loop around to the north. That route is longer than the current path.

We are enjoying the sight along our journey. But turning the journey into a long haul takes that enjoyment away.

Ultimate destination on the leg is Gardiner, MT tonight.

Shorten the question:
Is driving the Chief Joseph Byway pulling a 25’ FC with a F250 a sensible route for a flatlander?
The short answer is "NO" I wouldn't try to navigate the Chief Joseph, and or Beartooth highway with a trailer, I live near both and they are both winding roads and steep. Nice ride on a motorbike......
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Old 08-15-2020, 07:58 AM   #6
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The Chief Joseph Parkway is good route to pull an Airstream. Good road. Wide, well marked, and nicely paved. There are a lot of curves and grades. It is a better road than any in YNP. I would not pull on the Bear Tooth Highway because the road surface is narrow and rough but some do. I am not sure where you are trying to get to. Once you do the CJP and get to Silver Gate then what? I do think the Lamar valley and the drive up to Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the prettiest in the park. The route up to 90 from Cody and then west is good too. But it is the give up route for me. I think it all depends on where your are headed and your tolerance for curves. If the road is open you can also get from Grand Tetons to Gardiner over Dun Raven pass on that side of the loop. Steep but doable. We have pulled it a couple of times. If that road is open then you could just pull west to Grand Teton out of Cody and go north to Mammoth. There're no short cuts that I know and all the routes I have tried worked fine. I do not pull on Beartooth though. The road around the east side of the loop sometimes shuts down for fire and bear jams.
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Old 08-15-2020, 08:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bigskyrider8 View Post
I wouldn't try to navigate the Chief Joseph, and or Beartooth highway with a trailer, I live near both and they are both winding roads and steep. Nice ride on a motorbike......
Charles Kuralt once called the Beartooth highway "The most beautiful road in America", so we had to do it on motorcycles. We stayed in Red Lodge (loved it) crossed the Beartooth and into NE Yellowstone, rode through the park, exited out the East, through Cody, caught the Chief Joseph scenic highway and Back to Red Lodge, as I recall. I remember it being about 450 miles and thought my tush was going to fall off. Ouch!
Spectacular ride, but way too long for a day trip.
August in Yellowstone is too crowded, while the highways are torn up to repair the frost heaves.
The Beartooth is unique. More than once we'd find 80 degrees and sunny in Red Lodge while at Beartooth pass it was a sleet storm with 30 mph wind. Rode into Cooke City on a blanket of 1" hailstones.
When you see this on the GPS you might not want to be towing.
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Old 08-15-2020, 09:44 AM   #8
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I don’t know if you will read this while on the road, but here it goes. We drove to Lamar valley yesterday and hit the road closure returning about 1 pm. They had repaired the pipe and were repaving. It was down to a single lane while they paved. We waited 15 minutes and then got through no problem. I just checked the Yellowstone app and there are no road closures on that route now so they must have completed the work.
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:08 AM   #9
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According to the YNP Instagram feed the waterline is repaired and the road is open again.
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Old 08-15-2020, 12:27 PM   #10
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Someone mentioned taking the Dunraven Pass... unfortunately, that road is closed until 2022 due to construction.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi...k_Wyoming.html
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Old 08-15-2020, 01:55 PM   #11
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Travel into Yellowstone National Park and at Madison Junction turn west to West Yellowstone (about 15 miles), then go north out of West Yellowstone to I-90. You are not adding much farther to your trip and can at least enjoy the hot springs and geysers in the park. You will not miss that much north of Madison except for Norris geyser basin.
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Old 08-15-2020, 02:01 PM   #12
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Mistake on my directions......if you really want to get to Cody as a destination, go into the park and at West Thumb you travel east to Fishing Bridge, cross the bridge and continue east to Cody (about 70 miles from Fishing Bridge). If you want the travel the lower loop of YNP, continue north from West Thumb to Norris, then to the Grand Canyon, then south to Fishing Bridge. It will take a FULL DAY+ to make the lower loop of YNP.
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Old 08-15-2020, 04:50 PM   #13
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[IMG]//https://photos.google.com/direct/AF1QipMXz095hOtQQ66XvdKah3naE0V4e-e67GbRFAjAJsfR-0z5b7DpDkvNRzrjnDFLLg/photo/AF1QipNKpTSMQWG5x-tWAK-U1i7z4ske6AhpijHrv6Lk[/IMG]

We've done chief joseph with our 34 ltd numerous times. Very doable. F250. Photo on CJ hwy mid june few years back. Nice road.
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Old 08-15-2020, 07:00 PM   #14
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CONCLUSION

When we hit the road this morning, we were getting mixed messages about the water main repair. With so much uncertainty, we went ahead with the Chief Joseph Byway plan.

The Byway was awesome. Follow the recommended speeds at the turns. Use low gears. And, enjoy the drive. This is why we have a F250 diesel.

This redneck flatlander is more of a hillbilly than I gave myself credit. The Pig Trail must have been great training. Woo Pig Sooie!!!

Thank you all for the feedback that helped us weigh our options.

On the downside, towing through YNP was more nerve racking but got to our destination.
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Old 08-19-2020, 11:13 AM   #15
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East YNP Enatrance

Lamar Valley is one of the few areas untouched by fires, where the bison herds are now and very beautiful. Chief Joseph to Cody is a lonely road, did it in a 40' class A, no issues. Cody is one of the coolest little towns around, a don't miss.
we pulled our little 23FB through the park to Jackson two weeks ago from the north entrance, Grand Tetons are amazing, don't miss and wonderful hiking and biking
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Old 08-19-2020, 02:23 PM   #16
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Reply to Yellowstone NP and the Chief Joseph Highway

It was so interesting to hear everyone's input on taking the Beartooth Highway and/or the Chief Josephs Byway. My husband and I just did both of those last month pulling our "ex" 27' trailer with a GMC Sierrra 1500. We had absolutely no problems and we did take it slow and enjoyed the views. Chief Joseph's was by far my favorite, perhaps on the whole 8+ week trip. Now we're looking forward to doing parts of that same trip again and more with our incoming 2021 FC 28rbt. What a beautiful country we live in.
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Old 08-26-2020, 04:31 PM   #17
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Have traveled Chief Joseph way pulling a 25’ Safari with a Tundra. Don’t hurry, keep eyes on the road and you’ll be fine.
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