I forgot all about the four corners area. If you haven't been there, it's well worth the visit. You can take in Mesa Verde, Durango, Montrose and Telluride. Since you are towing a Jeep, there are some great Jeep trails in that area. One we really enjoyed went from Telluride down to Ouray. Absolutely spectacular.
Can't read all replies on this quite yet but some thoughts...I say this next year hit Yellowstone Tetons and Black Hills. Or if that exceeds your limit, Yellowstone and Tetons. I LOVE Yosemite and it is our family favorite for the past 30+ springs. Therin lies the reason for me suggesting Yellowstone. Spring is the best for Yosemite compared to summer. Summer is hotter and most water levels are way down, meaning awesome waterfalls are but trickles. Plus distance. I would include Yosemite in a summer trip later when you can hit Sequoia and maybe some other California stops.
Ok, From Florida the Route for quickly getting there: I-75 to I-24 to I-70 to I-435 to I-29 to I-90 to Buffalo, WY where you can do 4 routes. A. from Buffalo take US 16 to Cody B. at Ranchester take US 14 to Cody (US 14-A can get hairy) from Cody go to Yellowstone via East Entrance C. keep on I-90 to Laurel, MT & take US 212 to Yellowstone Northeast Entrance (very steep & high passes getting there) D. keep on I-90 to Livingstone, MT take US 89 to Gardiner and on to Yellowstone North Entrance (very easy route).
I believe US 14 would be the shortest route (US 14-A the shorest still but not for all); US 89 maybe as fast and is very easy to drive. Cody is a neat place to see. But could be done on the way out as well on the way in. Thermopolis and the free Hot Springs Bathhouse is neat, if you can figure out the time to get by it south of Cody using US 20.
For an excessively steep drive, one would have to go up to WY US 14-A. We did the downward drive on US 14A after the split off of US 14 from Ranchchester, WY heading down hill to Lovell, pulling a 1983 20' Komfort Lite Travel Trailer with a '83 Ford F250 4 speed manuel with granny gear. I had to hold 2nd in gear manually and ask my wife to manually apply the trailer brakes now and then. They had a sign warning of the steep down grade, I should have taken the fork to Shell/Greybull. Most of the route was neat, all very pretty execpt for the 14 miles with 10% grade and sharp curves which I am sure was also pretty but I was to occupied to really notice the scenery. US 14-A
If you have time, try taking a detour to Devil's Tower off I-90 at Sundance & taking US14 to Route 24 to the Park, then return to US14 but go toward Moorcroft & I-90 & on to Rapid City. About a 24 miles detour.
Return Quickest Route via Jackson to Rock Springs using US 191 to I-80 to I-29 to I-435 to I-70 to Florida as you came. Or you could drop down to Denver using I-26 to the I-70 then on to Florida. If returning via Denver, you could also drop by Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park if you have time to do so.
So much to see and so far to drive, a real bummer.
DesertHawk - Las Cruces, NM USA
2005 16' Scamp Molded Fiberglass Travel Trailer
Side Dinette, Front Shower & Head
2009 White Ford F-150 Reg. Cab
Long Bed with A.R.E. Molded Fiberglass Topper Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. -Confucius
All I can say is WOW to the wealth of valuable information you all have provided. We have decided Yosemite is another trip. It also looks like we'll do Colorado and Utah first and then head north to Yellowstone.
DesertHawk, thanks so much for the detailed route. I think we'll take a more southerly route on the way out, hoping to avoid what I remember as dreadful road conditions in western Louisiana. Your route to get there looks like the perfect route for us to follow home. If time permits, it allows us Rushmore and such on the way home. Have you travelled that successfully?
2008 Itasca Sunova 35J Motorhome
2003 Jeep Wrangler X Toad
1996 Key West 19CC Sportsman, 115 Yamaha
"Have you travelled that successfully?" Not really, not east at any rate. We go streight up from home, and last summer we were in Minot, ND and went from there on the way home. We have traveled the I-29 Grand Forks to Fargo in ND & from Sioux Falls to Omaha and we have used I-90 in SD & WY & MT. We have driven the I-80 from Omaha to the I-70 to Denver and a little of I-80 from US 30 to Rock Springs, WY.
U will have a great trip, we were @ Yellowstone late May & early June & had a great time. We camped @ West Yellowstone Mont.Grizzly RV nice place just outside the west entrance to the park. If u have any ? I will be glade to answer all I can. have fun.
P/S we were there last Oct just before CG's closed had to go back.
So we've made some choices and need some help refining them. We're now bringing my mom (Grandma) to share our favs from the last trip. One problem coming from Florida is that we love the 550 between Durango and Ridgeway especially Ouray, but don't love dragging our toad on that route.
We really, really love Bryce, route 12 (love/hate the hogsback), adore Dead Horse, and all things Moab.
We then want to head north and seal the deal via the Tetons and Yellowstone with Glacier being a wish granted on another trip.
My questions would be route-oriented now. There's a triangle I can't figure out how to route into from Florida: Bryce-Moab-Durango with an exit north towards the Tetons. I didn't enjoy 10 out last time because of West Louisiana's long divet-riddled span. Maybe it's just the fastest way to get west. We loved 40 on the way home because rte. 66 was right there next to us to play with. Not that we have a lot of time in transit, I see us going out on 40 and then don't know what to do.
If we come into Durango and try to do 550 from there, we have my mom in our RV dragging our Jeep to try 550 north to Ouray; I'd rather not. If we go on to Bryce and head north on our beloved 12 to Moab, we'll have to go south into CO to show mom Ouray; that's how we did it before to avoid the scary stretch of 550 north with the rig. But then we have to really backtrack to head toward Yellowstone.
On behalf of the other Floridians here, I thank you Western folks again for helping us make the most of our time in your neck of the woods.
There has been a lot of great sdvise given already. We've visited Yellowstone and then travelled South into Utah the past two years. On the way South from Yellowstne we have visited Grand Teton NP, Flaming Gorge NRA, Dinosaur NM, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Dead Horse Point SP, Goblin Valley SP, Capitol Reef NP, Escalante-Grand Staircase NM, Kodachrome Basin SP, Dixie NF, Fish Lake NF, Bryce Canyon NP, Cedar Breaks NM, Zion NP, Vermillion Cliffs NM and Glen Canyon NRA. There never seems to be enough time to see everything.
Before you leave, make sure you check the Yellowstone NP website for the annual road construction schedule. Last fall the road from Madison Junction to Norris Junction was closed making the West side of the park a long drive from areas in the North and around the Lake. There was also major construction between Yellowstone and Grand Teton which is difficult to by pass but needed to be figured in when calculating travel time. Both were major projects and may or may not be complete early in the 2010 construction season.
You will have a great trip no matter what you decide!