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Author Topic: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)  (Read 1355 times)

SopranoKris

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Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« on: March 04, 2018, 02:02:08 PM »
Hi all,

My husband & I went on our first RV trip last summer to the U.P. in Michigan. We rented an RV from a dealer and had a wonderful adventure, thanks to the fabulous recommendations & advice from the members here.

This year, we're planning a more extensive trip. We're renting an RV close to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and would like to travel all over CO, wend our way up to Wyoming & Montana as well to see the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

We will have the RV for a full 14 nights. We'd like to take our time to see the area. So far, we know we want to see Rocky Mountain National Park, Glenwood Canyon, Durango, Grand Tetons & Yellowstone. What are some places that are your must-see areas when you go these states? We absolutely love to go off the beaten path and see places that aren't as touristy. However, since we're renting a Class C, we cannot go off-roading on this trip.

Any campgrounds you love? Any campgrounds to avoid? We are people who like to "wing it" and are not opposed to boon-docking, if necessary.

We will have our Belgian Shepherd with us, so any dog-friendly sites are a plus.

Thanks in advance for your advice. Looking forward to reading your responses!

--Kris & Rich

beaverfever

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2018, 04:10:40 PM »
huge area and a very short time.
1st figure your interests and then google the miles. figure 50 miles an hour for average. and you will see very little time to see some very beautiful
places . you could spend two weeks in yellowstone and teton np and still not see all of them.
be aware that most trails in the national parks are not dog friendly and limited to campgrounds and parking area's

LarsMac

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2018, 11:29:11 PM »
Ditto the short time. just from your list, I would suggest that to be two different 14 day trips.
It's a two-day drive each way for Denver to Yellowstone-Grand Tetons.
It's probably a two-day trip from Denver to Durango. Yellowstone - Durango is at least a two day trip. That's at least six days just driving.

I recommend a bit tighter focus. A RMNP- Glenwood - Moab - Durango -Denver loop could easily use up two weeks and you would see a lot of Colorado, and some great parts of Utah.

Or RMNP - Black Hills, Yellowstone/Tetons, and back to Denver, maybe. That could easily take up two weeks.

Trying to fit all of that into one two-week trip, and you will likely be very tired, and miss a lot of great stuff.

Pick one and get some great advice on how to make it work for you.

 
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SeilerBird

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 05:34:41 AM »
Quote
We will have the RV for a full 14 nights. We'd like to take our time to see the area. So far, we know we want to see Rocky Mountain National Park, Glenwood Canyon, Durango, Grand Tetons & Yellowstone.

That is simply not possible. Mountain driving is very slow and you are talking about a very long drive. None of those places can be seen for much time. Cross off about half of them and you will have a wonderful vacation. Yellowstone is bigger than many states, it is just gigantic and it is a very popular and very crowded park. When I go to Yellowstone I usually stay a week and then cry when it is time to leave.
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Isaac-1

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 07:37:39 AM »
I agree with the others, either extend the trip, or cut back on the number of miles.  I think a good rule is not to average over 100-125 miles per day, and never plan to drive over 300-350 (350 is pushing it) miles on a travel day in an RV.  These numbers account for the vast stretches of nothing found in parts of Colorado and Wyoming, like the 200 miles of nothingness between Rawlins and Dubois.

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2018, 08:50:49 AM »
I'm with Isaac.  I just planned our trip from Pensacola to California yesterday.  The only days I planned over 300 miles were strictly interstate driving.  Any lesser highways I kept it between 250-300.
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jackiemac

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2018, 12:01:49 PM »
Hi Kris & Rich

I guess as it is your vacation, it is up to you how you want to spend it.  I was one of those previously saying that 2 weeks was not long enough for this kind of trip however looking back on my old travel notes we used to do a lot of driving in 2 weeks.  This was just in a car though and we didn't have a lot of time to do many hikes etc.  So it is really your choice of how you want to spend your time. Remember in these parks you are likely to do a lot of driving even once you get there.  If you capitalise your time you will probably still see quite a bit.  Be aware of the info given previously about your doggy and hiking - this is bear country and dogs are not allowed on the trails.

Are you sitting comfortably, I have written quite a lot and I hope that I am forgiven for the length of this post but I feel there is so much to see and do that it was worth writing.


Free websites for campground info:

campendium.com

allstays.com

rvparkreviews.com

rvparky.com

uscampgrounds.info

Membership websites

You get campground discounts with these although there may be restrictions, for example you may only get discount during the week, or for 2 nights, but apparently if you ask they sometimes let you have it for longer.  You can search for  these here on the forum and make your mind up about whether or not it would be economical for you to join.

http://www.goodsamclub.com

http://www.passportamerica.com

Here is some info from our various trips to your planned destinations:

We went to Colorado in 2009 and visited the RMNP for a half day which was nice, we did a couple of short hikes at Cub's Lake and Bear Lake.  A few of the towns nearby are ski resorts and so the area is pretty built up.   We didn't really spend a lot of time there and I will leave it to others to advise what to do and where to stay in CO.


We love the Tetons and Yellowstone and have visited several times and spent about a month there last year. There is plenty to do, not just in the parks but also in the surrounding areas. 

I can recommend the Rough Guide to Yellowstone & Grand Teton, you can get a decent second hand one on Amazon. there is a 2007 and a 2011 version:

https://www.amazon.com/Rough-Guide-Yellowstone-Grand-Guides/dp/1848367716/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520268064&sr=8-2&keywords=rough+guides+yellowstone

I suggest you also check out the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park websites.  These give you lots of information particularly on trails and campgrounds, note that most campgrounds take bookings and for those that don't you probably need to get there at a reasonable time in the morning to get a spot.  August is a busy month and people usually advise booking.  That said we managed to get 4 nights in Fishing Bridge a few days before our planned arrival.  There are often cancellations if you are happy to take the chance, but there may not be and weekends will probably be more difficult. Note that boondocking will be more difficult around Yellowstone as the park is so large.

Grand Teton National Park

We stayed in Gros Ventre which was $53 per night in 2017 if you can get an electrical hook up.  You can't reserve at this park so I suggest getting there at a reasonable time. If you don't get an electric site first time you can check with office daily and they will move you if one comes up.  You can see the moose here in the morning and we spotted a great horned owl sitting in a tree.  They have firepits so you can have a nice fire at night.  This is close to Jackson if you wanted to go into the town. 

We frequent the coffee shop in the small village of Kelly who have great sandwiches and coffee and you can get a hug of firewood for around $20, it burns for ages.  You can sit with your coffee enjoying great views of the mountains.

You can visit the film set of Shane close by here and then drive on to the Mormon Row where you will find the "most photographed shed".  The bison usually hang our around here as well as pronghorn. 

https://www.bestofthetetons.com/2013/12/10/the-shane-cabins-authentic-homestead-in-grand-teton-national-park

Moose is a village on the way to Jenny Lake.  Lovely views here and a couple of shops, one a wine shop with expensive wine!  We booked our Barker Ewing Float Trip (which we really enjoyed) in the gift shop there.  There is also a fishing shop, bike rentals, restaurants and a grocery which is not cheap but does have some nice steaks and cheese etc.  We did the sunset float and saw beavers, moose, eagles etc.  This section of the river is popular for fishing during the day.

At Jenny Lake you can take the ferry out to the Hidden Falls/Inspiration Point/Cascade Canyon trails.  Pop into the visitor centre first for information and a route map.  I think it is roughly 3 miles or so to Cascade Canyon.  There are 2 routes one left one right.  The one on the left is steeper but shorter and open and takes you up to Inspiration point.  The one on the right was through trees.  I would recommend left on way up and left on way back to wind down through the trees.  Nice waterfalls and the walk up Cascade Canyon was lovely and is where we saw a black bear.  You need to go back to the starting point for the ferry or from there you can take the loop trail back to the visitor centre.

Blacktail Ponds Overlook is a good place to spot wildlife - park up and walk over to the fencing.  Stand there and look out for moose.  There was a mother and calf right below us that we managed to spot once but they were difficult to see munching in the tall willows.   Also look across into the trees and you will probably see more moose coming out to the water.  You may need to hang around for half an hour or so to spot them.  We also saw deer here and birds.  Lots of fishermen were going down to the river to fish from here.

Further up the main road is Schwabacher's Landing. We drove down and parked and then walked along for a mile or so.  Big beaver dam and lodge there and although we didn't see any, I believe there are beavers here.  Not sure if the RV would go down there so check on google maps but it is not a long walk.

Moran and the Jackson Lake Lodge are nice places to stop.  Food at the Pioneer Grill just OK but the outlook is nice from the big windows at the lodge, there is also a nice bar, a small Starbucks and large gift shop shop.

Oxbow Bend is spectacular and my favourite wildlife spot - we went out on our canoe in the evenings a lot to watch the wildlife and birds.  We did the same at Two Ocean Lake and saw a huge bull moose lying in the lake.

Colter Bay Village has 2 different campgrounds one with hookups, one without.  This is Seilerbird's favourite campground as it is very central.   There is a great walk from here out to Hermitage Point which is beautiful and a fairly easy 9 -10 miles.  There are a couple of small lakes on the way.  You need to be bear aware around here.

There is a cable car up the mountain that you can go on from Teton Village, which we haven't been on and I think there is a restaurant up there.  The Laurence S Rockefeller centre is worth a visit and you can hike up to some lakes.  Note that the parking is busy here and you may have to wait if you are not early.

A few trails leave from the Lupine Meadows area and several of these are long ones and this parking area gets very busy too.

Going towards town is the Elk Refuge which you can walk or drive through, and do catch and release fishing I think.  There are boondocking spots here too and a campground called Curtis Canyon.

There are lots of cycle paths in the park if that suits you and lots of places to canoe and fish (make sure you get licences).

Jackson itself is a nice town and I would definitely recommend moseying around it.  Parking is limited for RVs though so check that before you go.  You could park in one of the supermarket car parks probably.   Town Centre is the area most people go to to see the antlers that are displayed there. 

Great photo gallery there called Mangelsen Images of Nature, his photos are stunning. 

The Snake River Brewery is good for beer and food and we have eaten at Thai Me Up, which was alright and Bin 22 which had nice tapas, but wasn't overly cheap.  Depends what you are looking for.  Lots of people recommend the Cowboy Bar which we still have not made it to and Bar J Chuckwagon dinner which is supposedly really good. 

A friend of our stayed at the Virginian Campground which is in town and said it was good.

We spotted a couple of nice campgrounds about 60 miles outside Jackson - Brooks Creek and Brooks Lake between Moran Junction and Dubois.  This area looks worthy of exploration, really wild and beautiful.

Further along that same route are the Wind River Mountains Ė we had not heard of this large wilderness area which only has a few roads.  There are lots of glaciers up in there and mostly accessible by hiking for a few days.  The Union Pass goes over these mountains.  This area looks awesome and we plan to spend time there this year.

Yellowstone

West Entrance Yellowstone

We stayed in a very nice commercial campground at West Yellowstone -  Grizzly RV Park.  Think it was around $45 a night in 2016.  It was large but clean and well kept and you can walk into town easily. There is a cinema there and plenty of bars, restaurants and shops.

https://grizzlyrv.com/

The Buffalo Bar had good beer and average food. Wild West Pizzeria was a bit noisier but lively and good pizza, they had a bar and a restaurant for families.  Madison Crossing was a more upmarket restaurant, busy, and a bit pricier however lovely food and cocktails!

West Yellowstone is probably the best area to access the following places (but check out the book for other things too):

Norris Basin - the car parks were full almost every time we passed here so you would need to be up early to get a spot.  Like all of the geyser areas it is a boardwalk.  I think you would spend at least 2-4 hours here. You could also come here if staying in Gardiner, although drive it would be a bit further I think.

From Norris you could then go along to Canyon and then along the Hayden Valley.  That is where we saw the wolves early in the morning last year.  We were up and away at around 5:30 to get them at dawn which is the best time to see them.

Lower Geyer Basin has 2 sections one on the right hand side which is first if going towards Old Faithful and then one on the left which is a loop.  Both worth visiting. I would say 1-2 hours.

Midway Geyser Basin where Grand Prismatic Spring is, has a walk round the geysers there.  Another 1-2 hours.  There is now a trail up to a viewpoint of Grand Prismatic Spring, the trail head to Fairy Falls, note there is no loo there.

Old Faithful site is the Upper Geyser Basin.  There is the old hotel, which you have to go into just to see it.  The new visitor centre is there too so you can see when geysers are predicted to go off that day and to get a map of the trail.  Lots of geysers here and I would say another 2-4 hours to go round that depending on how long you wait for eruptions and how fast you walk.

Close to West Yellowstone there were several elk and often traffic jams because of this.  Lots of eagles were sitting in the trees along that road also.

North Entrance

We stayed in a commercial park called Yellowstone RV Park in Gardiner, it is the sister park of Grizzly RV at West Yellowstone, it is much smaller though with less amenities.  If you can get a back in site next to the river which is below you, you can watch the rafts going by and look for birds, elk, bighorn sheep and pronghorn. 

https://www.rvparkyellowstone.com

There is also a NP campground in Gardiner - Mammoth Hot Springs - and if you are early you might be lucky and get in there.  Not sure of facilities re electricity etc., but I know it is frequented by Elk at night and has lots of different sized spaces.  A popular hot springs swimming spot is not far from the campground.  Be aware that there are snakes around this area too.

We bought groceries at the local supermarket and ate in mostly, although we ate out twice - had a pretty average meal in the Iron Horse Bar and Grill and a much nicer meal at the Lighthouse out of town on the 89. This restaurant is nice and although it takes tour buses they are served a buffet so doesn't appear to affect waiting time.  No alcohol served here though.

From Gardiner you can visit:

Mammoth Hot Springs - boardwalk, 2-4 hours.  The Allbright visitor centre is in the middle of town with a museum and some interesting bits and bobs inside.  We did eat in the hotel in 2016 but it wasn't great and was expensive for what it was.  It was being renovated when we were there in 2017.

Tower-Roosevelt is a nice drive, keep an eye out for birds and if you can, stop off and look for the osprey nest on the left hand side of the road going out to Tower.  We have also seen some bears here up on the right hand side in the woods.  There is a big cafe at then end but we haven't been in it.  You can also get a good look at the volcanic rocks and the river along here and there is a short hike to a view of one of the waterfalls.

Drive on from there to the Lamar Valley.  Used to be a big wolf pack there, but not last year, but things change.  There had been a bison kill and bears were feeding there but we didn't see them.  We saw a moose and calf further along at Trout Lake in 2009.  This road has a bridge at one end where you often get a bison jam.  That bridge was a view point for beavers (2016 & 2017) so stop off if you can get parked safely and have a look for them.  They were active during the day.

South end we stayed at Fishing Bridge RV Park, a NP campground.  It is busy as it is the only full hook up in the park, the spaces were tight but we managed fine.  From here as well as some of the above areas you can do:

West Thumb Geyser Basin which is a bit smaller and is right on the Yellowstone Lake - that would probably be 1-2 hours max.  When we were there a storm came up and we had hailstones - in June!  We also got snow that year.

Near Canyon Village are the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone.  There are a couple of trails to great viewpoints and these are well worth the effort. 

You can also drive up to Mt Washburn and hike up there, not sure how far you can go in the RV though.

There is also the John D Rockefeller Memorial Parkway between Yellowstone and the Tetons which is supposed to be nice.

There are several hikes you can do in the park, but if going you should really buy Bear Spray to take with you especially if just the 2 of you.  You can also rent spray.

To see the bears you just need to keep an eye out of the window, often you will see them at the side of the road or in the trees or roaming across are wide open fields.  Ask the locals for info as there will often be a spot you can find them feeding for example.

The Beartooth Highway, if open has spectacular views from the top and it is manageable in the RV if you are confident. Cold at the top and it was a bit windy, but well worth it and you can sometimes find pikas squeaking in amongst the rocks.  There is a small shop on the way to the top called the Top of the World - this is usually where the road closes if snowy. Toilets not great but you can grab a coffee and look around the small shop.  That takes you out to the Northeast entrance and Cody.  It is a great drive to Cody from here.

We stayed in Buffalo Bill State Park at Cody but this is out of the town and one section was a bit busy with mosquitos!  We were told the Absaroka was nice and it is in the centre of town should you decide to stay here.

Make sure you thoroughly check your driving routes as there are a lot of big mountains out there and keep an eye on the weather, don't expect it to always be warm.  We needed a warm blanket a couple of nights in August as it can be cold and it can snow so have warm clothes with you.

There are lots of great things to do in all of these places.  I hope I am not spoiling it by telling you all the things we have done.  Sometimes it is nice to find things for yourselves.


I think you are best to decide what you really want to see/do and plan your trip around that.

Have fun planning your route!



« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 01:30:41 PM by jackiemac »
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

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SeilerBird

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2018, 12:09:15 PM »
Have too much Red Bull this morning Jackie?
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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jackiemac

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2018, 12:18:18 PM »
Have too much Red Bull this morning Jackie?

 ::)  cheeky...
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LarsMac

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2018, 12:25:29 PM »
That was a great post, Jackie.
I will save that for when family and friends from back east ask such adventures.

I lived in Jackson Hole for a year, and was never, ever at a loss for something to do.
That was about 30 some years ago, though, so I am hardly an expert on what to do there now. Reading your post has us ready to include the area in our wanderings this year.



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Tom and Margi

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2018, 12:57:56 PM »
Good job!  This could easily go into the forum library.

SeilerBird

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2018, 01:52:14 PM »
That was a great post, Jackie.
I will save that for when family and friends from back east ask such adventures.

I lived in Jackson Hole for a year, and was never, ever at a loss for something to do.
That was about 30 some years ago, though, so I am hardly an expert on what to do there now. Reading your post has us ready to include the area in our wanderings this year.
Yes it is a great post and should be a sticky or in the Library. A lot of great information on two of the best and most popular parks in the country.
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Julie Murray

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2018, 03:34:24 PM »
Thanks Jackie, a good write up I'll be making notes of those places of interest especially the RV park in the town of Cody, another place of interest we want to visit.

Oldedit

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2018, 09:07:17 PM »
You don't say when you plan to travel.

But since you're starting off at Rocky Mountain National Park, there are some nice campgrounds there. Also, the KOA in Fort Collins is great, especially if you have kids and like to spend time in wonderful college towns. Just hanging around  RMNP and Estes Park can take a week or so.

One way to go is to the Custer State Park in S. Dakota. See the incredible Crazy Horse museum where they've been working on a Mount Rushmore mountain sculpture of Crazy Horse for several decades. Then go to Rapid City and see Mount Rushmore and enjoy the drive through the country side. You can use two weeks on this trip. Along the way, check out Cheyenne, Casper and Gillette, WY.

Another way to go is to start out in RMNP and Estes Park, check out Fort Collins, then do Cheyenne, Casper, Fort Laramie  and Cody, WY, on the way to the East Gate of Yellowstone. You can find campgrounds outside the East and West gates. And you might want to wander through the mountains up to Red Lodge, MT, if you travel during the summer. If you go in the Spring or Fall, you might be snowed out of the trip to Red Lodge.

As mentioned by others, traffic is horrible in Yellowstone. Be prepared. Carry lots of water in a cooler.

In Yellowstone, a stay at the Lodge at Yellowstone is wonderful if you can get a reservation.

Distances are long. Give yourself time to hang out. Don't spend all of your time on the road, which is easy to do in Wyoming.

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SeilerBird

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2018, 09:09:34 PM »
::)  cheeky...
As an American I have never figured out exactly what is meant by cheeky.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Stephen S.

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2018, 11:21:42 PM »
As an American I have never figured out exactly what is meant by cheeky.

Cheek: noun: impertinent talk or behavior.

Cheeky: adjective: impudent or irreverent, typically in an endearing or amusing way.


Endearing and/or amusing would apply here.
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jackiemac

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2018, 05:02:59 AM »
Cheek: noun: impertinent talk or behavior.

Cheeky: adjective: impudent or irreverent, typically in an endearing or amusing way.


Endearing and/or amusing would apply here.
Correct!
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jackiemac

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2018, 05:05:41 AM »
Thanks for the kind comments. There was another in depth post recently about Yellowstone by coxid which was excellent.

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,111583.0.html

I forgot to say, if you can afford them I would suggest a decent pair of binoculars for wildlife viewing, it makes such a difference.
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SopranoKris

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2018, 10:19:05 PM »
Jackie,

WOW!!! Thank you so much for your incredibly detailed response. I most certainly appreciate it :)  I'm printing it out to save for future trip planning. I agree with the other posters. You should make your post a "sticky" post. Such great info!

SopranoKris

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2018, 10:34:14 PM »
This is why I love this forum. We have grandiose ideas on what we want to do and then we get excellent advice from those of you who have "been there, done that". We live in flat country, so didn't even think that mountain driving is going to be a lot slower due to the incline and winding roads. We're definitely going to have to scale back our plans. You've given us quite a bit to think about. Thank you :)

We'll narrow down our plans into a more confined region. We're just so used to only having 5 or so days for a trip, so 2 weeks to us feels like a long time. We actually have more than 2 weeks, but we had to allot for 3 days from Michigan to Loveland, CO by car to pick up the RV. 14 nights in the RV and then 3 days via car back home. On our way home, we're going to go through SD to see Mt. Rushmore.

I just can't wait until we can retire and hit the road in our own RV, instead of renting!


SopranoKris

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Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2018, 04:03:18 PM »
OK, we have come up with a much more realistic plan for our RV trip. :)

Since we like to wing it and see where the road takes us, we don't want to be confined with reservations ahead of time. There are so many RV parks and campsites on our route, we may be able to find simple water/electric hook-ups. Even if we have to dry camp, that's fine. I'm sure we can pay to use a dump station along the way. (We do have a generator, if necessary). Our new plan is to stay in CO and just take our time meandering around a large loop of the Rockies. We will have 14 nights in the RV.

August 9th - pick up RV in Loveland, CO
Rocky Mountain National Park
Steamboat Springs
Vail
Aspen
Glenwood Canyon
Grand Junction
Ouray - this is by far the most picturesque place I've seen. Definitely want to stay here a few days!
Silverton
Durango
August 20th - back to Loveland to drop off the RV

I'd really like to focus most of our visit in the Ouray area. From all the videos we've watched, it just makes us say "Wow!". We also found a train ride in Royal Gorge that allows you to bring your dog, so we're excited about that. I can't wait to drive the Million Dollar Highway, it looks stunning!

Any must-see places on our route? Any RV parks you absolutely love? Any RV parks to avoid?




UTTransplant

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  • Posts: 1552
  • Cedar Falls, Iowa
Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2018, 04:51:28 PM »
My comments are inline in red

August 9th - pick up RV in Loveland, CO
Rocky Mountain National Park - We love to stay in the park at Glacier Basin. Nice ranger talks, and handles bigger rigs than Morraine campground.
Steamboat Springs, Vail, Aspen - standard ski towns with lots of expensive shops. Canít say I like any of them much. All are crowded.
Glenwood Canyon, Grand Junction - nice, but not in the same category as RMNP or Ouray/Silverton area.
Ouray - this is by far the most picturesque place I've seen. Definitely want to stay here a few days! Good idea. The altitude can get you though so be careful. It can be cold at night all year round.
Silverton, Durango - make advance reservations for the train. Well worth the money. Also make time to go to Mesa Verde, one of the most historic sites in all of the US.
August 20th - back to Loveland to drop off the RV

Note some of these places are very, very popular. You might not find a campground, but there will be boondocking somewhere not too far away.
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Larry N.

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  • Posts: 5469
  • Westminster, CO
Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2018, 06:18:04 PM »
To add a couple of things to Jackie's excellent post:  Traffic jams can be caused in Yellowstone (and occasionally in some parts of Teton) by bison, bear, elk, eagles, and such. The worst, though, is usually the bison, depending on what you run into. In one case we were going the same direction as the bison were (they were using the road for their travel path, not just crossing), and it took nearly an hour and a half to drive a bit over a mile. While things aren't usually that bad, it can happen, so be prepared.

I'll disagree about taking an RV on Beartooth Highway, as it has steep, tight turns, but it IS a gorgeous drive --just use a car or pickup.

The OP has done great in the revised itinerary. That is plenty for two weeks. I'll add more caution about altitude: drink lots of water. Also, you'll want to drink lots of water. The dry air soaks up your perspiration before you even know you've sweated, so even if you're not thirsty drink lots of water. If you get a headache, drink more water and, especially if you are much over 6,000 or so feet, get to a lower altitude as soon as possible. Even though it's not a problem for most people, altitude sickness is nothing to fool around with, and dehydration can aggravate it a lot too.

I live in the Denver area, and working with Boy Scouts, both in the mountains and at lower elevations in the area, I always have at least one or two scouts (and they are local) who over do things, and we have to get them hydrated and rested before things get really bad.

There are a lot of places on the proposed trip where you are over 10,000 feet -- minimize your exertions in these areas. But you've chosen some of the prettiest scenery in the country so enjoy it -- just use caution.

Also, wherever you are, talk to locals about things in the area -- you might learn a lot.

Addendum: If you elect to take the Durango-Silverton train and don't have reservations well in advance, you can often (we've done it more than once) be at the ticket office when they open (I think it was around 6AM) to get in line for tickets that become available from cancellations for that day.

Also, there is another great train ride that goes between Antonito, CO and Chama, NM -- the Cumbres and Toltec is a wonderful ride (pretty much all day) and it crosses the CO/NM border several times, with a lunch stop where they have a pretty nice cafeteria (used to be box lunches). I actually like it better than the Durango, since you can wander around the rail yard pretty much as you please, and they're not quite so touchy about standing in between cars to get pictures and such.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 06:27:37 PM by Larry N. »
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SopranoKris

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  • Posts: 43
Re: Must-see sights in CO, WY & MT (and recommended campgrounds)
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2018, 10:57:39 AM »
UTTransplant & Larry N.,

Thank you for all your advice! The more we research Colorado, the more we are drawn to the Ouray/Silverton/Durango area. I have found quite a few attractions that even allow you to bring your dog, which is a huge plus for us. Our dog is traveling with us and she get so excited to be included in the activities. Many of the restaurants allow dogs on the outdoor patio seating. Just excellent :)

We even found a train ride near Royal Gorge that the dog can ride with us (open car seat).

Keep the suggestions coming!