IN-Glacier-Yellowstone-Black Hills-IN in 2013

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KarenS144

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Jan 16, 2011
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Southern Indiana
To take my mind off of the depressing knowledge that "da bus" is winterized and in her garage for the next few months, I've been working on our trip next summer/fall. 

We're pretty flexible on when but would like to keep the trip to about 30 days.  So...the highlights are:

*Theo Roosevelt Nat Park, ND for 2 nights after 4 days of driving.  DH wants to fly fish.

*Glacier via Missoula for 3 nights.  Going to the Sun Hwy is at the top of the list of things to do. DH wants to fly fish.

*West Yellowstone for 3 nights via I-90 to US 191 unless there is a reason we shouldn't try that route.  DH wants to fly fish.

*3 nights inside Yellowstone somewhere.  Maybe a day trip to Teton.  DH wants to fly fish.

*3 nights in Cody and do the Chief Joseph & Beartooth loop from Cody.  DH wants to fly fish.

*From Cody, I guess we'll do the southern route through Thermopolis & Casper rather than cross the Big Horns.

*1 night at Devil's Tower.

*3 nights in Custer State Park avoiding Sturgis Bike Week!  DH wants to fly fish. 
Hoping to drive west to east through Badlands.  I've been east to west in a car and don't remember any road hazards that would prevent driving the Moho through.

*A night in Murdo, SD and do the car museum. 

*I'd like to visit Walls Drugs & the Corn Palace but wonder about taking the Moho & jeep into town.  I remember it being pretty congested when I drove it a few years ago but I think DH would enjoy seeing them.

*Then back to IN.  :(

I think I've planned places to stay so that we can dump and fill water tanks EXCEPT at West Yellowstone.  I'm hoping to get a site at Baker's Hole in Gallatin Nat. Forest which doesn't have water (that I can see).  Can we get water in Yellowstone somewhere?  If not, is there a place in West Yellowstone where we can get water?  If we can't get a site at Baker's Hole, we'll try to find a place in one of the parking lot campgrounds in town which would eliminate the water issue.  No plan C yet!

Right now, I'm thinking we'll make the trip in August.  Our 2 boxer furkids will go and I know that will limit some of what we can do.

So.... suggestions & advice are very much appreciated!  I want to get reservations in Yellowstone soon and jump on the rest of them as soon as I can.
 

Frank Hurst

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Sep 21, 2009
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589
There are MH parking lots within walking distant from the Corn Palace and Walls Drugs where you can park your MH with car attached with no problems.

Other advise: Don't try to do to much on one trip. Better to enjoy yourself and go back 2-3 times or more. Even then, you will not be able to enjoy all of that great part of our wounderful nation.

Frank
 

hoozerman

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Feb 21, 2007
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Indiana
Just to make sure you're aware, I've heard that some of those places are great places to fly fish!  ::)
 

Jim Godward

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Mar 6, 2005
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Hillsboro, Oregon
>>We're pretty flexible on when but would like to keep the trip to about 30 days.  So...the highlights are:

*Theo Roosevelt Nat Park, ND for 2 nights after 4 days of driving.  DH wants to fly fish.<<

There are 2 sections to this park, one day is probably not enough.

>>>*Glacier via Missoula for 3 nights.  Going to the Sun Hwy is at the top of the list of things to do. DH wants to fly fish.<<

TR park to Missoula is a long drive and add the time to Glacier, it is either 2 long days or 3.  TR park to Kalispell via Missoula is over 700 miles.  For us that is 2 very long days.  Lots of fishing along the way though.  :)

>>>*West Yellowstone for 3 nights via I-90 to US 191 unless there is a reason we shouldn't try that route.  DH wants to fly fish.

One long day will get you to West Yellowstone, Kailspell to West Yellowstone is over 400 miles.  191 is a beautiful drive, very curvy and I encourage SLOW driving.  There are lots of places to fish on the way.

Realize you will be missing a lot of interesting country.  The badlands at Glendive are interesting and wild.  Miles City is an old dwest town although much of the downtown burned a few years ago.  Billings has some interesting western history as well as does Livingston, much of "The River Runs through" was  filmed there and in Bozeman -Gallatin River south of town.  The Museum of the Rockies is in Bozeman and is good for dinosauers, curator was consultant for Jurassic Park.

Butte is interesting both from a historical stand point but also for the mining going on right now.  Good museum of mining there.

There  is more lots more to MT.  You could spend several summers here and still not see it all.  Unabashed plug for the state!  :)
 

anniemae

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Dec 13, 2011
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132
We are planning a simular trip next year but will leave Florida in March and will not return to Florida until November.  Unlike you we will spend time in La. and Texas before heading north.  I am still concerned we can see it all.  You may wish to pick out just two or three National Parks for a thirty day excursion. So much to see.
 

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
Given that we spent two months touring Yellowstone, another month in Polson, and never got to Cody, your 30 day itinerary gives me pause!  8)

Granted, we all travel differently and have different hot spots, but I would encourage you to consider a little more focus, especially given the amount of fishing required!  ;)

That is a huge (ginormous, larger than life) area to cover and we felt short changed with the amount of time we spent! Matter of fact, since we knew some of that stuff was not likely to go anywhere soon, we are headed back for two more months next summer (!) and we WILL get Cody done!

Whatever way you choose, we found that Montana has been the highlight of our two and half years of fulltiming, and we have just scratched the surfaced. We're just lucky they run us out of there with all that snow and cold every year!

Remember to enjoy the journey, not just the destinations!
 

Olys45

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Mar 18, 2012
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On the Prairies of Eastern Montana
Wow, my first thought halfway through your trip is that it sounds exhausting.... I even live in Montana and could not imagine the drive from Indiana!

If you are going ANYWHERE in the Black Hills by the end of July / Beginning of August, make your reservations sooner rather than later also.

Jim Godward said:
Realize you will be missing a lot of interesting country.  The badlands at Glendive are interesting and wild.  Miles City is an old west town although much of the downtown burned a few years ago. 

There  is more lots more to MT.  You could spend several summers here and still not see it all.  Unabashed plug for the state!  :)

Jim makes some good points about the the scenery out here on the Prairie.  Depending on how adventurous you are, there are a lot of "back country" "gravel" roads (some you have to be careful when it is wet) that allow you to see a lot of interesting country.

Oly
 

SeilerBird

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Feb 25, 2012
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St Cloud Florida USA
Karen - I think you are being too ambitious for a 30 day trip. I would suggest cutting out a few stops and staying longer at others. Keep the others for another trip or you will do too much driving. The west is bigger than you think. Teton deserves much better than one day.

You did not say which 30 days you were planning on. July and August would be the only two months I would plan this trip for. GTTS highway generally is not open until the beginning of July. Snow is a real possibility in September and June.

I will be in Yellowstone and the Tetons during July of 2013, so if you are there at the same time I am we could have a mini rally.

P.S. - Does your husband like to fly fish?
 

KarenS144

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Jan 16, 2011
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279
Location
Southern Indiana
Thanks for the great tips!

It is so hard to decide what to see and what to skip on these trips.  I look at it as scouting trip!  We can decide where we'd like to spend more time on our next visit.  At least that is the way it worked out for our Utah trip in '11.  We found that 3 nights in one park was generally enough to get the feel, see the highpoints and decide if we want to go back and spend more time there.  It worked out that we want to go back to all of them and stay longer.  LOL!

I'm just in the planning stages now so can certainly add days here & there.  I think we have a total of 2 days of 400 miles in one day which makes for a long day.  We generally like to stay around 300/day.  We will take 2 days to get from TRNP to Missoula, then on to Glacier and will stay in Missoula one night on our way to West Yellowstone but I may rethink that and get closer to Yellowstone when we leave Glacier. 

We'd LOVE to do some side trips in the Jeep.  That's why we bought it!  Please share any scenic drives you know of along our route.

@ SeilerBird>  We thinking we'll do the trip in August although July would work too. 

I guess we want to see as much as we can when we can....ya never know what the next year will bring (or not bring).

 

Marsha/CA

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Karen, we flyfish.... ;D  so here is some info:

  • you can dump and fill up with water near "Grizzly Bear RV Park in West Yellowstone.  I think it cost $5.00
  • we have stayed at Baker's Hole, some camp spots are dry and other electric only.  The campground is right along the Madison River.  Fishing is good but not excellent.  Watch for bears they frequent that area.  I think it is 1st come/1st served, so get there around 10 am to get a spot.
  • The best fly fishing  is outside West Yellowstone right on the Madison River.  The Madison is fast/hard in that area, but is well known for excellent fly fishing.  It is full of large browns!  Here is the website for a flyfishing shop/cabins and RVPark about 20 miles west of West Yellowstone, right on the river.  http://slideinn.com/blog/The campground is ecclectic; but the river access is fabulous.
  • The Yellowstone River inside the Park is pretty good; but often gets "hammered" with fly fisherman.
  • Another great, I mean great spot to flyfish is the Big Horn river in Fort Smith.  It is fabulous.  It's not on your itinery; but if you want more info, I can get it.
Mariekee (on here) and her husband are avid flyfishermen and they have fished the "Big Timber" Montana area.  Hopefully she'll jump in. 

We'll be in Montana in July, then heading to Indiana during August.  8)
Marsha~
 

Olys45

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Mar 18, 2012
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On the Prairies of Eastern Montana
KarenS144 said:
We'd LOVE to do some side trips in the Jeep.  That's why we bought it!  Please share any scenic drives you know of along our route.

You could always head West from Teddy Roosevelt and stay just outside of Glendive at Makoshika (Ma-ko'-shi-ka) State Park. There are several "loops" you could make on the gravel roads, or cruise West down I-94 to Terry and then head North out on Mt. Hwy 253. 

Big Sheep Mountain Road is to the West and the XIT Road is off to the East.

On Big Sheep Mtn Road you can run that to Chalk Butte Road to Hughes Road and back to MT 253 then head back South to the Divide and head East out on the XIT road, to the Ceder Creek Road, then to Bad Route Road and eventually you can make a nice loop back towards Terry.

Another neat thing is the Calypso Trail to West of Terry.

Oly
 
T

Trailer traveler

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Karen,

I seem to remember water being available at Baker's Hole just not at each site. No dump station though. According to the Forest Service website

"A campground along the Madison River on the Hebgen Lake District.
Camp sites: 73 camp sites
Electrical Sites: 33
Accessible Facilities:
Fire Grates
Fishing Platform
Tables
Toilets
Water
Trash Pickup: Yes"

We have driven US-191 South from I-90 to West Yellowstone several times pulling the trailer. In my opinion, it is a pretty good road. We have also come in the North Entrance on US-89

Depending on whether your husband wants to fish inside the park or outside, you may want to consider Madison Campground or one of the others inside the park.

We have been to Yellowstone 5 times in the last seven years in late August to mid-September. Canyon Campground closes right after Labor Day as does the chuckwagon ride at Roosevelt Lodge. Other than that, most other faciliites are open. Water levels in the Yellowstone River from the Tower Junction area North towards Mammoth and Gardiner are generally more managable for flyfishing in the late fall. Streams like Nez Perce, Slough Creek, Indian Creek, Pebble Creek, Soda Butte Creek and the Gardiner and Lamar Rivers are worth giving a try.

From Cody if you do not want to go South to Thermopolis, go North taking WY-120 to MT-72 to US-310 to I-90.

Hope you have a Great Trip!!
 

KarenS144

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Jan 16, 2011
Posts
279
Location
Southern Indiana
Thanks again for all the info!  I keep adding places to stay and things to do. 

I'd forgotten about Bike Week and might have been in the area the 1st week of August!  Thanks for the heads up Oly.

Jim, I think adding a couple of days in Bozeman and a visit to the Museum of the Rockies is doable. I appreciate the tip.  I know we'll miss a lot but that's a reason to return!

Marsha, after reading more about the Madison & fishing it, we might try Beaver Creek Campground instead of Baker's Hole.  It looks like there would be easy access to Quake Lake, Hebron Lake and the river.  We'll probably be ready for a couple of nights in West Yellowstone afterwards a few days of no hookups.  I'll save the Big Horn & Fort Smith as bait for another trip.  ;)

I'm still trying to decide where in Yellowstone to stay.  I was thinking Fishing Bridge but am open to suggestions.  DH might get a day of fishing inside the park but there is so much else to do & see, providing him a fishing spot inside isn't high on my list.  Yellowstone is huge and I doubt that we'll see as much as we'd like to on this trip anyway.  Guess we'll just have to make another.  ;)

Thanks again and additional suggestions are welcome!
 

Jim Dick

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Titusville, FL
Karen,

Yellowstone is 2.2 million acres!! You will not see it in one trip. We have been there for three years and there are still many places to visit. Much of it is back country requiring hiking but there are fabulous areas to see.

When you get there, be sure to stop at the book store in the Visitor's Education Center at Old Faithful. We, along with Pancake Bill and his wife, work there. Bill is the South District Manager for the Yellowstone Association who runs the book stores.
 

JCZ

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Nov 9, 2012
Posts
420
Location
Sacramento
With all that you have on the schedule.....sounds more like a 60 day trip.

When in the Black Hills area you may find Deadwood, S.D. and it's history interesting.
 

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