Yellowstone Road Trip

Table of Contents

Yellowstone National Park was a bucket list item for Steve. (I’d been there once and was keen to go back.) It’s a long drive out there so while we were in the neighborhood, so to speak, we thought we’d stop by Grand Teton, which neither of us had been to. The Badlands made a nice break on the way out, and we were able to get a taste of Rocky Mountain National Park on the way back. (On my first trip to Yellowstone we drove all the way to Seattle and back. I think this itinerary is a much better use of two weeks.)

Food and Beverage

We didn't keep statistics on what we spent on food. We took a cooler with us and generally ate breakfast in our room and packed a lunch. We ate dinners out.

Lodging

We didn't keep statistics on lodging. We recommend staying in Yellowstone if you can afford it and find an opening. The wait to enter the park can be long and so are driving distances.

Transportation

We drove about 4,442 miles. We'd planned to haul our trailer but gas prices spiked so it was more economical to drive our car and stay in motels.

Entertainment

Our only entertainment costs were entry fees for the national parks.

Days 1-4: To Yellowstone

The Plan: We needed to break up the drive out to Yellowstone at some point and we decided the Badlands was a good place to do that.

The Reality: It was a nice break and the Badlands are a worthy place to stop for more than a night. We were able to fit brief hikes in the day we arrived and a longer one the day we left. We also spent a night in Rapid City and hit Mount Rushmore.

  • Day 1: To Albert Lea, MN ~ 612 miles
  • Day 2: To Badlands National Park ~ 443 miles
  • Day 3: To Rapid City, SD ~ 62 miles
  • Day 4: To Yellowstone National Park ~ 492 miles

Days 5-8: Yellowstone National Park

The Plan: Yellowstone was the primary reason for the trip and we planned our four days here carefully.

The Reality: We saw everything we wanted to. Another day would have been nice so we wouldn’t have felt so rushed. 

  • All the major scenic areas
  • Cascade Lake hike
  • Mt Washburn hike
  • Elephant Back Mountain hike

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and the destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Days 9-10: Grand Teton National Park

The Plan: It’s so close to Yellowstone and we had the time so why not stop here too?

The Reality: The Grand Tetons are just as beautiful in their own way as Yellowstone and definitely worth a visit. Once again we could have spent longer here but enjoyed the time we did have.

  • Cascade Canyon hike
  • Hermitage Point hike
  • Teton Village
  • Jackson

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and the destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Days 11-15: To Home

The Plan: We came home by a different route specifically so we could touch on Rocky Mountain National Park. Dinosaur National Monument was conveniently located in between the two national parks. It was about 2,156 miles home. 

The Reality: While we didn’t have nearly enough time to experience Rocky Mountain, we did see enough to know that we need to go back! 

  • Day 1: Vernal, UT
    • Fossils at Dinosaur National Monument
    • Hiking the Fossil Discovery and Harper’s Corner trails
  • Day 2: Hot Sulphur Springs, CO
    • Driving through Rocky Mountain National Park
    • Hiking to Lake Haiyaha
  • Day 3: America’s Best Value Inn, North Platte, NE

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and the destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Resources

For Yellowstone, in addition to the national park website, we used:

For Grand Teton National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, and Rocky Mountain National Park we used the National Park Service website.

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keychain ornament

Is it a moose? An elk? Whichever it is, we saw them both. Keychains make good Christmas ornaments.