We will be traveling for my husband's dream to be fulfilled to go out west in early September. We have three boys---aged 7,10,13. We have a 5th wheel. I am trying to plan this and am completely overwhelmed. Planning so far to travel to the Badlands, see Mt. Rushmore, then go on to Yellowstone. Hoping to also go to Jackson Hole area after going through Yellowstone. I hear there are stagecoach rides, gunfights, horseback riding, etc... things that will really appeal to our boys. We want to maximize our trip and see as much as possible, but we only have 2 wks. Thinking about driving as far as we can the 1st day and sleeping a few hours at a rest area or WalMart and then continuing on to the Badlands and getting to Mt Rushmore by late afternoon, then staying at a campground and then beginning our journey to Yellowstone the next day. I am thankful for any help or advice on how to plan this. Thanks in advance!
You might consider staying at Colter Bay RV Village in Grand Teton. If I remember right it's 29 miles from West Yellowstone, then quite close to Old Faithful. It's also about a half hour from Jackson, again, by memory. But just five miles away from a great lodge that you'll want to visit and have dinner at. It has that "Western" look. Chance of a moose sighting from your table or at an outside table while waiting for the restaurant. The RV park is part of a small "village" with cabins in one area, tenting in another and a pretty decent restaurant.
Don't plan on seeing a lot of animals in YS these days beyond deer and bison unless you hike in. But lots of hot springs. When leaving you could drive through YS and exit on the east side and head toward Cody, WY and on home. You might even go there directly and catch SD on the return side. Keep in mind, there's a whole lot of dried up corn fields and hard land between Indiana and west Wyoming. Enjoy the beauty of it, but don't kill yourselves driving. See all you can along the way. Have a great time.
Wow... Don't forget to schedule time for having fun!
The gunfight is ok, but it is something I wouldn't have difficulty scratching off the list. Horseback riding is all over the park and worth your time. Don't forget to ride the tram, you won't regret that.
Also if I may, I'd suggest diverting your trip just a little bit to take highway 16 between Buffalo and Ten Sleep. It will add a little bit to the travel time but it is absolutely worth it.
Finally, my last piece of advice is don't go into Yellowstone without campground reservations. Do a search, that topic is covered extensively on this forum, but don't count on just finding a spot because without reservations you won't have one.
From our location (4 hours from St. Louis) we left 2 pm on Friday and got to Badlands at 10 PM on Sat evening and did it under full moon. So Awesome! We did it again the next morning (Sun) early and to Rushmore and ate lunch and did what was to see inside the park then did Rushmore Cave tour but it was the zip line there that made it a must do for the kids. We drove through Custer NP and took 16 to I-90 and got to Cody at 2am Monday and slept at WM then went on into YS.
Getting into YS park in three day from IN can be down but the driver will drive hard so you have one week of fast traveling. YS only needs two day if you do the inside tour bus option that as awesome in our case. By Wed before dark we were in Jackson, WY after having viewed the Grand Tetons on the drive south on 89. We slept in Bear Lake UT rest stop and after some horse back riding we swam in the Great Salt Lake. A week after we left KY we headed west on I-80. In your case you would just head east to keep your time schedule.
I am not even suggesting this time table for ANYONE. It just worked OK in our case but the kids were 13 and we were in a 32" non towing MH which permits better travel time because we mainly only had fuel stops and some cool parks, etc with bathrooms as we were managing waste water storage.
Fast trips seem to work for the kids because they get bored setting around camp fires more than old folks that can talk about the past forever.
Best of luck with your fast trip. There is a ton of stuff you can do on the way back if time permits. I just like to get to my far point of any trip then start working homeward. The driver tends to worry about things that 'could' go wrong.
Welcome to the forums, better late than never. Lots of info in the search box at the top of the page. Also at the top is a "Jump to Forum" box and I'd go down to Locations/RV Parks, NP, SP and post your questions there after doing a search like this with 30 pages of posts on Yellowstone.
This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
If you have not already made reservations for a campsite in the Yellowstone area you should start right now. For your entire trip, this area will have the most traffic and sites are reserved in a lot of camp grounds starting in January. The West side of the Park has the most out of Park camp grounds.
Yellowstone National Park is huge. It has 360 miles of paved roads and trails. The road system is laid out like a large figure 8. If you are time limited visit the lower part first. Old Faithful is located here along with a lot of attractions.
Also keep your camera close to hand in Yellowstone. A photo op can be around the next corner and you will find it by the traffic jam in the road.
2001 2500 Silverado LS 4x4 6.0, 4.10
2007 Jayco Eagle 288RLS
Cocktails for 6, Dinner for 4, Sleeps 2
End of dirt road, no signs in sight, sun going down: I am not lost, just getting ready to go camping.
Don't plan on seeing a lot of animals in YS these days beyond deer and bison unless you hike in.
I guess when I was there, they forgot to tell the black bears, brown bears, elk, moose and wolves to stay away from the roads, since we saw them all from the car windows!
Wow, that's great. Brownies on the road? We saw didley. One dead elk in the river with a wolf watching it from the grass, waiting for a hundred people to have their look-see. Asked a ranger where the best chance of seeing a moose would be. Honest to God, he said Idaho. He'd been there three years and hadn't seen one yet. Guess you live right.
We saw a handful of deer, but had several on our property when we got home and a momma that birthed a pair in our RV barn.
I go back to the days when folks fed the bears from their cars. Not any more.