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Plans have changed and we're now going to Colorado and Wyoming

(34 Posts)
ultrababy Mon 19-Feb-18 15:21:00

Looking for some ideas of what we must do for this trip. Just as a breakdown.
2 nights Winter lake
1 night Saratoga
1 night Riverton
3 nights Teton National Park
2 nights Yellowstone Park
1 night Cody
1 night Casper
1 night Cheyenne
2 nights Denver
Any tips for restaurants and activities would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Mon 19-Feb-18 20:57:47

You will spend a lot of time driving. I really want to do this trip. I picked up a load of brochures at the recent Destinations Show. I will post later regarding who produced them.

BubblesBuddy Mon 19-Feb-18 21:08:55 This has interactive guides for each state.

RusholmeRuffian Mon 19-Feb-18 21:47:25

I wound spend a night in Boulder rather than Denver

TittyGolightly Mon 19-Feb-18 21:48:12

Boulder gets my vote too. 2 nights there was nowhere near enough for us.

ultrababy Mon 19-Feb-18 22:03:26

So maybe instead of Cheyenne go to Boulder and stay for two nights and Denver for one?

OP’s posts: |
MrsMogginsMinge Mon 19-Feb-18 22:03:30

There’s an amazing road on the way into Cody rather unpleasantly named Dead Indian Pass. Totally stunning though and worth a bit of a detour on your way through. Wyoming is ridiculously scenic.

ultrababy Mon 19-Feb-18 22:04:24

Thanks for all your replies by the way.

OP’s posts: |
TittyGolightly Mon 19-Feb-18 22:34:37

Wyoming is ridiculously scenic.

With a ridiculous shortage of highway service stations (as I discovered whilst driving back to Colorado from Nebraska following the total eclipse with a full bladder and about 8 million other cars 😩).

BubblesBuddy Tue 20-Feb-18 22:16:45

2 nights in Yellowstone is not enough. Animals and scenic areas are spread out so you won’t do it justice. Try not to do 1 night stops. You will just be packing up and driving. You won’t get to savour anything or see very much.

lucydogz Wed 21-Feb-18 16:41:26

The tour books are very sniffy about West Yellowstone and usually suggest that you stay in the lodges in the park, which we found uncomfortable and overpriced. West Yellowstone is cheaper and they have a brilliant am dram company that do regular performances. They sound cheesy but are brilliant. We did roughly what you're doing and loved it. Are you doing Chief Joseph Highway? It's so beautiful. Cody is dull, but it has an excellent museum.

BubblesBuddy Wed 21-Feb-18 18:11:44

Do you go to Yellowstone for Am Dram? That would never have occurred to me! We would be wanting to see wolves and bison and the geysers. They are in different areas.

Travelling in the USA, where distances are huge, is all about being precise in what you want to see, checking out the highlights and making sure you have enough time to do it all. Continual travellling into a national park is very time consuming if you want to see the best of what it has to offer.

inniu Wed 21-Feb-18 20:49:56

Get a very good guide for Yellowstone. We went last July and saw bears and wolves because our guide was very good. Lots of people don't see them.

ultrababy Thu 22-Feb-18 09:44:23

Thanks everyone. I had read that we should stay in Yellowstone. So I have already booked and paid for Yellowstone Lake Hotel.
I pretty flexible with all the other bookings though. Anywhere better than Cody we could stay?

OP’s posts: |
lucydogz Thu 22-Feb-18 16:07:06

If it's OK with you, I'll tell you the highlights for us.
Flew into Denver, 1st night Boulder, then out early in the morning. Drove through Medicine Bow National Forest and stayed at Centennial. We would have taken in Estes Park, but were too early in the year and it was snowblocked.
3rd night, Pinedale (south west of Riverton). We drove via Rawlins which, if you do go by, has an old prison that is interesting to visit.
The drive into Grand Tetons NP is beautiful from theron.
Jackson Hole is a dull tourist trap.
We had one night in Grand Tetons (which is enough).
Then 3 nights in West Yellowstone, spending our time travelling round the park.
I by far preferred the areas outside of the park. Once you've seen one buffalo, you've seen them all. Especially as they're surrounded by crowds of tourists taking photos. Ditto geysers.
[at this point we made a detour up into Montana, but I can't remember the itinerary. However, we stayed in Bozeman, a very pleasant university town, and a night in Martinsdale, north on Highway 89, and then the 294. Martinsdale is tiny, and has a great little hotel. From there, you can visit Castle Ghost Town, one of the many abandoned ghost towns in the area. We also visited Helena, of which, the least said the better.]
I loved the drive from Tower Junction, on the NE corner of the park, to Red Lodge via Bear Tooth Pass. Just wonderful. and not blocked with other tourists.
Red Lodge is a good place to stay, with an old-fashioned cinema.
We then stayed at Cody. Nowhere special, but a good museum.
Then - another favourite - Thermopolis. A green oasis with hot thermal springs. One of which is free for the public to use.. Also, an area of ancient petroglyphs nearby, which are fascinating (especially if you get a guided tour).
Then south. We stopped at Steamboat Springs - a useful stop, nothing more). But then south to Leadville. One of my favourites. An old prospecting town. Really interesting. You can hire pushbikes and do a day cycling round the old mine workings (which is a hell of a lot more fun than you'd think).
Then back to Denver (nothing special)

To be frank, the towns are not what USA holidays are about for me, but I love the landscape, and the people. Try and stay in at least one B and B. You usually sit round and have breakfast with the other guests and host. That sounds terrible, but we always had an interesting meal.

In short, the highlights for me were the drive to Red Lodge (in fact, most of the driving), Thermopolis and Leadville.

Have a great time!

ultrababy Thu 22-Feb-18 19:05:57

Thanks so much Lucy. To be honest it wasn't my choice of holiday. I wanted to go to Sardinia. But DP became fixated with a Yellowstone documentary so thats where we're going. Also meeting up with friends in Denver.
The deal is that I plan and he drives.

OP’s posts: |
lucydogz Thu 22-Feb-18 19:56:06

Very different from Sardinia! But I'm sure you'll have a great time. I'd recommend that you both are covered to drive. Outside of the cities, driving in the States is easy, and it'll make it more interesting for both of you.
Remember also that American radio stations are truly awful. It's interesting to listen for a while (they're generally either religious or VERY right wing, plus you lose the signal pretty quickly) but I'd recommend you take music or audio stuff along.
Do try and leave plenty of time outside Yellowstone (you've probably guessed that I preferred the areas out of the park - the documentaries don't show all the other tourists)

ultrababy Thu 22-Feb-18 20:04:06

Oh my god yes the radio stations. We did a road trip of California two years ago and couldn't get over the rubbish radio they had. I am looking forward to it. We're taking the children this time so keen to find things they would be interested in too.

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BubblesBuddy Thu 22-Feb-18 23:39:45

I love looking for wild animals. I love the buffalo! If you’ve seen one you’ve definitely not seen them all.

The main thing about the Usa is that the distances are long. Driving is easy. Take turns in driving. Stay more than one night in each place but make sure it’s a good place to be with enough to do.

I like smaller B and B type places too. I do however think it’s worth seeing wonderful sights even if others are doing the same thing. If you want to avoid crowds you would never see anything world class. It’s a case of making a judgement and not travelling in high season if you want a little bit more space.

inniu Fri 23-Feb-18 11:44:13

Near Teton NP I can recommend Dornans Scenic Floats on the Snake River. We also went boating on Jenny Lake. Both great for kids. As was mountain biking in the Tetons.
Might not be on your route but we had a lovely time in Bear Lake camping in Utah.

rogue8 Sat 24-Feb-18 07:36:16

Well, for us - the point of visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP was the landscape and the best way to do that is to do as many of the trails as possible in your time there. It’s impossible to see such a vast away in one day, let alone a week or a month!

We flew into Denver - 1 nt
Cheyenne - 1nt for the famous Frontier Rodeo
Thermopolis - 1nt for the hot springs & Dinosaur Museum
Cody - 1nt for river rafting & local rodeo
Yellowstone - 4 nts (would have stayed more nights had I’d been able to book more!) We like hiking so managed the main sights AND hiking up to Mount Washburn via the Dunraven Trail. Obviously, we covered most of the touristy highlights but to escape the crowds, you need to do some trails since most tourists are too lazy to walk more than an hour or two.
Teton NP - 6nts - Horse Riding & Boating on Jackson Lake plus we hiked quite a few of the numerous trails. It was great to stay put and relax more here - we had a 2 bed cabin in Colter Bay Village and met up with US family members. 1 nt is definitely not enough - that’s like saying you can do the Lake District in 1hr!
Jackson Hole - 1nt before flying home to the UK.

lucydogz Sat 24-Feb-18 08:33:32

Yes,we did Cody rodeo as well. I'd forgotten. I didn't like it as I think rodeos like this are cruel, as the same animals are used days on end.

ultrababy Sat 24-Feb-18 10:14:31

I thought I had it all planned and now I'm not sure.
I had wanted to stay in Teton NP but our friends suggested Jackson Hile as being better for the children in the evening.
I'm also very unsure about going to a rodeo. They all want to go but it doesn't sit right with me.

OP’s posts: |
rogue8 Sat 24-Feb-18 10:34:30

My DC were 10 & 13 and are good walkers - just as well since we did miles everyday. Stopping a night here and there was exhausting - our 2nd week when we stopped for 6 nights was a welcome relief. We’ve never experienced the rodeo before but the Cheyenne frontier days Rodeo was spectacular & memorable. But, there are plenty of other activities on offer. We really enjoyed river rafting at Cody plus hiring a self driven boat on Jackson Lake. Have a great time.

lucydogz Sat 24-Feb-18 10:35:09

There's rodeos put on for tourists, like Cody, which seem to run continually, and seasonal ones, like Pendleton, which run for a short period. The former put animals through a lot of stress every day, which is cruel imo. We didn't think about it until we chatted to some Americans about our visit to the Cody rodeo.

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