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RandyH
01-07-2021, 12:02 PM
My wife and I are planning a 3 week trip this summer to Mt Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. We will be leaving from central Arkansas and this is the longest trip we have ever planned. Our current route will take us through Kansas City Mo, Sioux Falls SD, Rapid City SD, Cody WY, Jackson WY, Salt Lake City UT, Grand Junction CO, Colorado Springs CO, Dodge City KS, Powhuska OK then home. We are looking for advise on the trip and suggestions on RV parks/campgrounds and must see sites along the way.

dieselguy
01-07-2021, 01:15 PM
We've stayed a couple of times at Big Pine RV Park in Custer. It's on the west end of town, but not far from anything you want to see in the area. (Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Deadwood, Sturgis, Custer Nat Park, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, 1880's train Hill City, Mammoth Site at Hot Springs) The closer you get to Rushmore, the pricier the RV parks are. All of this can easily be seen on day trips based out of Custer. You might consider taking 16 out of Custer ( a bit twisty at first, but gets better fast) on up to 90. Devils Tower and Custer Battlefield are up that way with a goodly number of RV Parks to stay at in the area. Just touching on Yellowstone ... coming in on 14 from Cody is not a pull I would recommend for a larger fiver, but can be done. Plus, driving thru [B]Yellowstone can be painfully slow depending on traffic, buffalo, elk, any critter that crawls let alone pulling your fiver. It sometimes took us 2 hrs to go 10 - 12 miles last September. I believe Fishing Bridge is the only RV park inside Yellowstone that a good sized fiver will fit in and it is currently closed due to renovation till sometime later this year. We stayed on the west side of Yellowstone in Idaho due to the high volume of RVer's last September.

mlh
01-07-2021, 02:17 PM
You will definitely wont to se the Cody Museum it is a must see. It’s five museums in one. Plan on 2 day it’s that good. Plan on seeing the Rocky Mt Park. It is the place to see wild life, deer and elk. The last time I was in Yellowstone there were very few elk but the wolves were fat and slick.
Lynwood

RandyH
01-07-2021, 02:19 PM
Thanks Dieselguy!! This is what I need. We have had a travel trailer for over 20 years but are new to a 5th wheel. I am concerned about roadways in the area. I mapped the trip with RV parky but I just don't know how reliable it is and I also know not all rv parks are listed.

mlh
01-07-2021, 02:24 PM
I wouldn’t have any problem pulling a camper from Cody to Yellowstone and back. I’ve done it a couple times.
Lynwood

dieselguy
01-07-2021, 03:07 PM
Like I mentioned ... Cody to the east entrance is doable, but you're looking at a pretty steep pull, some switchbacks that are a pretty tight turn, and lotsa straight down the hill next to the road with no guard rail. The closer you get to the east entrance the more old fire burn you see, no acres and acres of tall pine. Granted my only experience was this past September, but for those of you that have been there say 3-8 years ago ... with everybody and their brother pulling some fashion of an RV ... today is a bit different. Once inside Yellowstone pulling something ... you need to realize there are bunches of people that have seldom seen any kind of wildlife ... they stop to take pictures of everything that moves and before you know it ... you're in a line of cars and trucks that seemingly has no end. Maybe we were just there at a wrong time ... just reporting a 2020 trip.

Daryles
01-07-2021, 03:07 PM
You could spend 3 weeks in Rapid City or Yellowstone just by themselves.
Check temperatures depending on when you go.
Going early start South and go north as the temperatures warm. If later in the summer go north and work south as temperatures fall.
So much to see out there.
Have fun :)

twindman
01-07-2021, 03:22 PM
First, I completely disagree about the Cody to Park being a steep pull. If you compare it to driving across Nebraska, maybe. Comparing to most Rocky Mtn highways, just average.

I don't know when they will open Fishing Bridge CG. I have been tracking it for almost 2 years. It was supposed to be done Sept. 1 last year (or was it the year before???). I liked staying there when my 33 ft Montana was able to squeeze in. Supposedly they have longer sites now (when done).



And the other poster was right when talking about the traffic and slow speeds. I was there last year, and it wasn't bad because of COVID reducing the tourists. However, I just drive thru to W. Yellowstone and park the trailer and drive back in a couple of days to see stuff. Oh, by the way. Better hope the volcano doesn't blow! It is 40,000 years past due. LOL


So I have stayed many times in West Yellowstone at the Grizzly Bear RV Park - I think it is something like 8 or 9 out of 10 stars. BUT EXPENSIVE.


I use campgroundreviews.com to check on campgrounds along the way. It is VERY useful to help stay away from crappy places and to make sure you get the facilities you want - like 50 amp, full hook ups, etc.

MT167
01-07-2021, 04:28 PM
As an earlier poster said, the difficult part of the route isn't from Cody to Yellowstone, it is east of Cody that will make you pucker up. All 3 routes, US ALT 14, US14, and US 16 are steep descents with switchbacks headed west. If you don't have a fair amount of experience with mountain driving I wouldn't recommend any of them with a 5vr. Of the 3,US 16 from Buffalo to Worland would be my choice. Another option is I 90 through Billings Mt. and then south to Cody. If you took I 90 you could stop and see Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument at Crow Agency MT, well worth the stop.

STIHLNTIME
01-07-2021, 04:50 PM
Made this trip the past three years from SW Missouri. I prefer staying in Gardiner, but I like staying close to Lamar Valley for wildlife viewing. I’ve stayed in Cody, West Yellowstone, Gardiner. In Cody the Trout Farm RV Park just north of town is a nice, clean little RV Park. Gardiner, Yellowstone RV right on the river is nice, elk walk through the RV Park everyday. No issues pulling over any passes, pulled over Chief Joseph going from Cody into Cooke City, Teton Pass at Jackson. Don’t miss the Teton’s. I usually spend a week in GTNP and 2 weeks in YNP. Cabelas at Sidney has a nice RV Park I usually stop at first night.

MT167
01-07-2021, 05:11 PM
From the Wyoming Highway Patrol:


US 14 between Dayton and Shell
This road is a long, steep and winding climb up the face of the mountain to Burgess Junction. There are several hairpin turns and blind corners on this two-lane highway.

From Burgess Junction down the other side of the mountain, the road is steep and has an 8-percent grade. Again there are several hairpin turns and blind corners. Through Shell Canyon, the road is extremely narrow.

This road is not a good route for oversize or over-length loads. Unless you are experienced in mountain road driving, it is not advisable for 18-wheelers.

For tourists, this is a wonderful drive with beautiful views, trees, and wildlife. If you are driving a motor home, please pay attention to the above information. Use lower gears and save the dangerous possibility of burning out your brakes.

US 14A between Dayton and Lovell
Highway 14A is extremely steep, a 10-percent grade and more is winding, has several hairpin turns, and many blind corners. This is a challenging road during the summer season and closed during the winter.

This road is not recommended for oversize or over-length loads. Unless you are experienced in extreme mountain road driving, it is not advisable for 18-wheelers.

For tourists, it is a beautiful drive with wildlife, wonderful scenery and over 200-mile views in some areas. However, if you are driving a motor home, please pay attention to the information in the above paragraphs. Use lower gears and save the dangerous possibility of burning out your brakes.

US 16 between Buffalo and Tensleep
There are sharp hairpin turns, long up-hill climbs, steep downhill runs, and blind corners on this two-lane highway.

While beautiful and probably the easiest mountain drive in the northern part of Wyoming, it is not a good route for oversize and over-length loads. Unless you are experienced in mountain road driving, it is not advisable for 18-wheelers. Use lower gears and save the dangerous possibility of burning out your brakes.

For tourists, this is a beautiful route with gorgeous views and wildlife. If, however, you are driving a motor home, please pay attention to the information in the above paragraphs. Use lower gears and save the dangerous possibility of burning out your brakes.

Daryles
01-07-2021, 06:41 PM
A picture says a thousand words...
Not mine BTW.

mlh
01-07-2021, 06:52 PM
14 A is my favorite route out of Cody. You don’t expect interstate speeds. Go slow enjoy the drive.
Lynwood

Mike639
01-07-2021, 07:57 PM
We've stayed a couple of times at Big Pine RV Park in Custer. It's on the west end of town, but not far from anything you want to see in the area. (Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Deadwood, Sturgis, Custer Nat Park, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, 1880's train Hill City, Mammoth Site at Hot Springs) The closer you get to Rushmore, the pricier the RV parks are. All of this can easily be seen on day trips based out of Custer. You might consider taking 16 out of Custer ( a bit twisty at first, but gets better fast) on up to 90. Devils Tower and Custer Battlefield are up that way with a goodly number of RV Parks to stay at in the area. Just touching on Yellowstone ... coming in on 14 from Cody is not a pull I would recommend for a larger fiver, but can be done. Plus, driving thru [B]Yellowstone can be painfully slow depending on traffic, buffalo, elk, any critter that crawls let alone pulling your fiver. It sometimes took us 2 hrs to go 10 - 12 miles last September. I believe Fishing Bridge is the only RV park inside Yellowstone that a good sized fiver will fit in and it is currently closed due to renovation till sometime later this year. We stayed on the west side of Yellowstone in Idaho due to the high volume of RVer's last September.

I second Big Pine CG. Itís like camping in a national Forrest but with full hook ups!!

Bill and his wife are absolute great hosts.

Daryles
01-07-2021, 08:08 PM
Regarding Fishing Bridge Campground in Yellowstone. We were in YS last summer. A LOT of road work going on along in front of FB. We stopped and had a peek at the CG. They have a lot more to do. Hopefully it will be open in 2021.

BB_TX
01-07-2021, 09:19 PM
There is a campground between Yellowstone NP south entrance and Teton NP north entrance (2 miles south YNP and 5 miles north of GTNP as I remember). We stayed in one of their motel rooms as we were not towing. And it has been 20 years. So I can’t tell you anything about the campground. But it is convenient to both YNP and GTNP. At the time it was Flagg Ranch. Now called Headwaters Campground and Lodge I think.

twindman
01-08-2021, 12:27 AM
I sort of disagree with MT167. I don't remember any hairpin curves, by my definition. I consider a hairpin as a 180 degree turn in about 100 feet. Most of these are maybe a couple of hundred.

Also I would be careful if you don't have exhaust brake and if you do - use it. Alt 14 is very steep and on a 10 percent grade, you probably have to stay in first or second gear to avoid using brakes. The other routes are not quite so steep, but I guess if you haven't driven in the mountains before it would be quite a white knuckle thing.

Good luck!

scattershot
01-08-2021, 10:02 AM
Re: Yellowstone campgrounds. Most are tight, and were designed in the ‘30s. They may have improved since we were there, but given the choice I’d stay at Grizzly campground in West Yellowstone. Right outside the park entrance, and a beautiful well run place to stay. Don’t miss the museum in Cody. As suggested above, plan a couple of days there. In the park, , slow down and enjoy the trip. Plan on several days to see everything, the park is HUGE.

Don’t miss Bear Country in Rapid City, either. Sounds like a tourist trap, but it isn’t, and you will enjoy it.

mlh
01-08-2021, 10:38 AM
I have another suggestion. If you are in Dubois. Go up on Union Pass. It’s my favorite place to Boondock. If you don’t wish to pull your camper up there go in your truck. I think it’s the prettiest place in Wyoming. There are all the big game species in Wyoming up there and all the creeks are full of brook trout except for Fish Creek which is stocked so don’t bother with it.
The road to Union Pass is about 10 miles north of Dubois by a cement plant. It doesn’t look like much until about 2 miles up Union Pass road.
Oh, stop and read the bronze plaque. You can find them at a cattle crossing. I think it’s the second one after you get to the top of the mountain. There will be a small hill just to the right. They are on top of the hill and take your binoculars. There is a colony of marmonts all around the rocks there.
Lynwood

Creeker
01-08-2021, 11:06 AM
My advice is don't try to see too much on one trip. You end up only seeing things through the windshield of your truck. To really enjoy nature, you must be out of the truck and in it.

If you guys are in good health and able to hike a few miles each day, Yellowstone can be the most wonderful place in the US. A hike of a mile or two can get you well away from the crowds and open up a different world.

mlh
01-08-2021, 11:19 AM
My advice is don't try to see too much on one trip. You end up only seeing things through the windshield of your truck. To really enjoy nature, you must be out of the truck and in it.

If you guys are in good health and able to hike a few miles each day, Yellowstone can be the most wonderful place in the US. A hike of a mile or two can get you well away from the crowds and open up a different world.

This is really good advice. Slow down enjoy the trip. This is why I suggest Union Pass and other places off the beaten path. Find places tourists don’t go. See the real west. Look for a bear or antelope or elk track in the dirt, or a marmont sunning his self on a rock, stuff you can’t see from your truck.
Lynwood

Hblick48
01-08-2021, 01:15 PM
I originally had reservations at Fishing Bridge for Sept 2020. They canceled that and gave me first dibbs to make resos for Sept 2021. Made those resos and today I received email that Fishing Bridge will not be open at all in 2021. Resos cancelles.

STIHLNTIME
01-08-2021, 01:17 PM
Youíre referring to Headwaters Campground. Stayed there a week last year, right on the Snake River. Excellent, will accommodate big rigs. Excellent access to either GTNP or Yellowstone.

dieselguy
01-08-2021, 07:45 PM
STIHLNTIME ... Fishing Bridge is inside Yellowstone Park at the north end of Yellowstone Lake. Headwaters is outside the park towards GTNP. Maybe you replied in error.

wed
01-13-2021, 02:29 PM
We just got a message that are reservations have been canceled due to they are not going open this year.
FYI
ED

phillyg
01-13-2021, 02:56 PM
Just saw Fishing Bridge CG is closed thru 2022.

GEugeneS
01-13-2021, 03:06 PM
As an old biker, I can tell you that Sturgis can get really busy around the first few weeks of August. Sturgis is a sight unto itself and I miss it dearly, but Deadwood, Rushmore and all the surrounding areas as far away as Devils Tower will be quite crowded then.

JABURKHOLDER
01-13-2021, 05:00 PM
Are you sure three weeks is enough ?

In 2017, we did a 78 day trip around the country starting/ending in Ohio. Approximately 42 days were spent in the west. So much to see, we could have stayed longer.

azeagleye
01-13-2021, 05:25 PM
Flagg Ranch is still there just south of the southern Yellowstone park border. Convenient to Grand Teton and loops in Yellowstone. Plenty of room for us.

GEugeneS
01-13-2021, 05:26 PM
Are you sure three weeks is enough ?

In 2017, we did a 78 day trip around the country starting/ending in Ohio. Approximately 42 days were spent in the west. So much to see, we could have stayed longer.

Ya know, I was thinking the same thing. There is so much to see and do, and there's a lot of driving days on your trip.

Bro. Paul
01-13-2021, 05:27 PM
My wife and I are planning a 3 week trip this summer to Mt Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. We will be leaving from central Arkansas and this is the longest trip we have ever planned. Our current route will take us through Kansas City Mo, Sioux Falls SD, Rapid City SD, Cody WY, Jackson WY, Salt Lake City UT, Grand Junction CO, Colorado Springs CO, Dodge City KS, Powhuska OK then home. We are looking for advise on the trip and suggestions on RV parks/campgrounds and must see sites along the way.
You will love it all. Cody is a wonderful. If you're I'd suggest the cowboy music and dinner show, I've forgotten the actual name. As someone mentioned the Winchester museum is well worth the time. Custer is one of our favorite places. We've been there 3 times. Have a great trip.

Bro. Paul
01-13-2021, 05:29 PM
You will love it all. Cody is a wonderful. If you're I'd suggest the cowboy music and dinner show, I've forgotten the actual name. As someone mentioned the Winchester museum is well worth the time. Custer is one of our favorite places. We've been there 3 times. Have a great trip.

jolley3315
01-13-2021, 06:25 PM
100 nites rodeo in Cody Wy. a must attend event.

J10er
01-13-2021, 07:20 PM
We did a similar trip in 2016, ready to do it again. The best camp we stayed at was in Hill City, SD. The Rafter J Bar Ranch, an old stage stop is conveniently just south of Hill City, west of Rushmore and north of Sitting Bull snd Custer Park.
Cody has an awesome museum, spend a whole day there easily. Wall, Sturgis, Deadwood, the Badlands, all awesome. Side trip to Crawford, NB for some cool history, Ft. Robinson...Yellowstone, The Tetons, Jackson Hole, Devilís Tower, Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes, CO and Glen Haven-Drake, Salt Lake, Bonneville....I want to go again!!

mlh
01-13-2021, 07:59 PM
Cody actually 5 museums in one. A plains Indian museum, western art, Buffalo Bill Cody, Modern Are, and a firearms museum. Do you remember the old westerns, they have most of their real pistols. They have the largest private firearms collection in the US. The western art is fabulous as is all five.
You gotta see it. If it was on the east cost you need reservations to get in.

Short story. The first time I went to Wyoming two friends one in Dubois and one in Laramie told me I had to see the Cody museum so it thought I would spend 15 minutes to see this little museum, two days later I left. Yes it’s that good or better.
Lynwood

Calbrewguy
01-13-2021, 09:51 PM
My wife and I are planning a 3 week trip this summer to Mt Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. We will be leaving from central Arkansas and this is the longest trip we have ever planned. Our current route will take us through Kansas City Mo, Sioux Falls SD, Rapid City SD, Cody WY, Jackson WY, Salt Lake City UT, Grand Junction CO, Colorado Springs CO, Dodge City KS, Powhuska OK then home. We are looking for advise on the trip and suggestions on RV parks/campgrounds and must see sites along the way.

We highly recommend Gros Ventre campground just outside Jackson, WY. Beautiful spot next to the river with close proximity to Jackson, the Tetons and Yellowstone is about 1/2 hr. drive. Nice large sites some pull thru, some hookups, cheap. Great location for all the nearby attractions. Have fun. Take a fishing pole!

jbailey24
01-13-2021, 10:26 PM
My wife loves the Tetons/Jenny Lake and Yellowstone, so we stay in Moran, WY. It offers easy access to the South Entrance of Yellowstone, Tetons NP, and Jackson Hole WY

Slugchick
01-14-2021, 07:50 PM
Rapid City is so worth a 3/5 day stay. Mt. Rushmore
early when the sun rises and Custer State Park and Crazy Horse. We were there in September.. will give you goose bumps and tons of American pride. After Moab, Badlands was underwhelming for us...just our take. Enjoy the journey.

SmallTownFireman
01-14-2021, 08:37 PM
We did a similar route from W TN to Rushmore. Will plan at later date to visit Yellowstone. We stayed at Heartland RV Park and Campground; 24743 SD-79, Hermosa, SD 57744.

I would also look at stopping along the route at:
Cabelas at 601 Cabela Dr, Mitchell, SD 57301

&

If you are hauling the 5íer and want to see the falls. Drive I-229 over to Smithfield Foods, Inc. 1400 N Weber Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57103.
Then to
Falls Park Farmer's Market
Sioux Falls, SD 57101
There is a railroad overpass at 10í that my GPS wanted to route me under. But found I-229 & Smithfield was much safer.

Donít rush, enjoy.

Bro. Paul
01-14-2021, 10:17 PM
Rapid City is so worth a 3/5 day stay. Mt. Rushmore
early when the sun rises and Custer State Park and Crazy Horse. We were there in September.. will give you goose bumps and tons of American pride. After Moab, Badlands was underwhelming for us...just our take. Enjoy the journey.
I'm easily impressed. I loved it all. Also Custer State park was great. We were in Rapid City area for a little over a month. We did have some damaged to truck and 5th wheel while there the last time.

Slow Hand
01-15-2021, 11:31 AM
We have done this trip and I can tell you they are a blast. I use Good Sam (member) and find camp grounds. My wife plans the sight seeing. She uses Trip Adviser to see what is happening in the area. We plan cities like you have. Then we see what is there and plan how long to stay in one place to get the most from our trip. We go on 3 month trips every year except last year.

Enjoy the trip. Smell all the roses.

rames14
01-15-2021, 01:53 PM
We have been to all of those places many times. Recommending places to stay is tricky because some people want all the amenities and some prefer boondocking. As a first timer, you will have different things to see because theyíre new. Start by making a list of things to do. For example, in Yellowstone, you have all of the thermal features and geysers. The wildlife isnít always in those areas, so you will want to go to the Lamar and Hayden Valleys at sunrise/sunset to see wildlife. I would recommend staying in West Yellowstone to see thermal features and then move to Cooke City and Boondock there to see the wildlife. In the Blackhills there are a number of nice Passport America parks that provide good access to the Wind Cave, Custer State Park (especially wildlife loop), Mount Rushmore, and Deadwood areas. Personally, I would plan 3 days in the south and three days in the north. Plan a stop at Devilís Tower and Little Bighorn between the Blackhills and Yellowstone. Enjoy the trip.

mlh
01-15-2021, 03:41 PM
Custer State Park has been mentioned several times. It is so special it should be a National Park. It’s close to Mt Rushmore. We stayed in one of their CG which was very nice.
Lynwood