Illinois to Yellowstone

Discussion in 'Let me tell you about my trip' started by MaestroMarine, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. MaestroMarine

    MaestroMarine New Member

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    Hello all.

    Cabin fever setting in with single digit temps heading our way..

    no better time to start trip planning!

    thinking of a trip to Yellowstone (and maybe Glacier Natl Park as well.. since we’ll be in the neighborhood)..

    any recommendations on layovers between point A and B...?
    Best campgrounds once there.

    it will be me, dw, 9yr old dd, and dog.

    really wanting to “get out there” more than just regional camping.

    thanks!
     
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  2. Ratherbecamping

    Ratherbecamping Active Member

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    Following. This is my dream trip!

    Looks like you’ll go through SD? Lots to see there if you haven’t been. Badlands, Mitchell Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park. We were in a huge traffic jam surrounded by bison on a wildlife loop and my kids loved it. We really enjoyed Deadwood but recently watched the show. I think all the campgrounds at Custer are nice but definitely book all camping ASAP. We just checked availability daily until we found something. Stop at Devils Tower on your way too if you have time.

    I haven’t been to Yellowstone or Glacier since I was a kid so no help there.
     
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  3. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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  4. RonDad

    RonDad New Member

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    If you go near the Rushmore area, check out Crazy Horse Memorial too. Another rock sculpture, but much larger and quite a different construction story.
     
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  5. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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  6. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    If you’re serious about Yellowstone this summer and are needing campgrounds you need to reserve like yesterday. If this summer is anything like last summer here it’s going to fill up very quickly. Happy to answer any questions about NW Wyoming
     
  7. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    If you come out on 90 and are driving from the Chicago area, there is a nice campground in Chamberlin, SD that is right on the east side of the river. About a 10.5 hour drive which would be a good day. Definitely can recommend a stop in the Black hills if you have time. In regards to YS, I would plan for about 3 days to see the north loop of the park and 3 for the south. Canyon is nice for the North, and Grant for the South, although there are other campgrounds such as Norris on the Western side. As noted, you need to make reservations ASAP for YS, highly recommend staying in the park if you can to reduce drive time and see more. Glacier is nice too, we always stay at St. Marys on the east side. You could easily do two weeks just with trip out, stop in Black Hills, YS, Tetons a day or two and trip back (Thermopolis is a great stop for a day). This is without even seeing Glacier. I will agree that the beartooth highway is a great drive, but you should come in on 94 for that one.

    I think I would try to get reservations at YS first, then sit down with a spreadsheet and google maps and figure out your itinerary. These longer trips do need planning as the areas are popular and things fill up.
     
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  8. Chad Bonnema

    Chad Bonnema New Member

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    Doing this exact trip this summer. Went KOA in some places and State/National Parks in others. I will say we are fortunate not to have too many problems with reservations. However, like others have said, MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS NOW! As of a month ago, spots were still available...today, not sure. Good luck MaestroMarine!
     
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  9. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    just outside YS, is Chico Hot Springs. Still a great stopover three decades after our first visit. Its a hotel. Never asked about camping.
     
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  10. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Chico is one of our favorite weekend getaways. No camping on site but there’s a couple of FS campgrounds between there and Gardiner and North gate. Awesome pool and great restaurant 767EA935-ADD8-417D-AD16-DAE154F88C47.jpeg
     
  11. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ Gold Supporting Member

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    Mount Rushmore KOA. Nice CG and not far from Mount Rushmore. Also a well stocked camp store.

    Just a note, we visited Glacier NP in August of 2010. While checking in we got the bear aware talk. We were specifically asked if we had pets with us. We didn't, when we asked why we were told to make sure pets are never left alone in the park or camper! They do have black bears and grizzlies. We camped in St Mary CG. Yes, black bears did wonder thru the CG while we were there.

    As for Yellowstone. Grant Village CG is really nice. But someone else said, you need to make your reservations yesterday!!
     
  12. CamperMike

    CamperMike Active Member

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    We traveled to Glacier and Yellowstone a couple years ago in the popup. It was an awesome trip. We stayed in many glacier CG in Glacier which was awesome. It is hard to reserve though. In yellowstone we stayed in Madison campground which I really liked.. just down the road is the firehole river which has a fun little swimming area as well. We also stayed at Bridge Bay CG in yellowstone. Most of the sites there are wide open and would not be very nice; we got lucky and got a site overlooking Yellowstone lake which was awesome, but you couldn't choose your site so it was the luck of the draw. On the way there and back, we chose to stay in hotels. I don't like the idea of driving most of the day then popping up and then take down before leaving... We also made a drive through badlands on the way home which I think is worth a short side trip.
     
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  13. firepit

    firepit Well-Known Member

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    [:D]
    My advice is swing down to nebraska and pick me up[:D]
     
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  14. Allamakee County

    Allamakee County Member

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    Leigh Creek Campground outside of Ten Sleep, WY. Rustic, near running water, also 8 miles from town where there is a brewery for refreshments AND they have showers for $3.
     
  15. littlebritches

    littlebritches Member

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    My sister and I did a Tetons/Yellowstone trip in 2019. We stayed at Gros Ventre Campground for three nights (after picking her up from the airport) and showered in Jackson. This allowed us to do the tourist visit to Jackson, tour the Tetons and go rafting (scenic and whitewater). Then we moved to Canyon Campground in Yellowstone. This put us in central Yellowstone so we were pretty close to the south loop and the north loop. We only had 3 days in Yellowstone. I would recommend at least 1 or two more if you really want to see most of it. If you want to do any serious hiking, you would need to plan more time. Yellowstone and the Tetons have top speed limits of 45 miles per house with many areas with lower speeds so plan accordingly - it takes a long time to get from point A to point B. As has already been stated - make your reservations now. When I made mine in January for August, they didn't have any that would work on the website so I called them directly and they were able to find one for me.
     
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  16. popup 61

    popup 61 Member

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    Doing a very similar trip this July. The DW and I just went to the dark side , so overnights will be a little easier i hope. We are coming from NEPA in the Poconos and will be stopping in Nebraska the first night for a quick stop over for sleep, then onto Montana and boondocking at one of the many fishing access areas along I-90. Then onto Emery bay campground near Glacier National Park. staying there for 3 days. then onto rainbow point campground near Yellowstone. Staying there for 3 Days. Then have it figured to drive 4-5 hours a day and then camp all the way back home. I had to reserve all the sites 3 weeks ago as many were already filling up. When visiting Glacier or Yellowstone it is very convenient to stay in the park , but incredibly compacted into a campground so if that's for you, go for it. Remember, all the campgrounds in Yellowstone don't offer w/e/s except fishing bridge, which is closed for the year and doesn't allow popups. Glacier has zero campgrounds with any hookups so if that's an issue , look outside the park.

    As far as places along the way, don't miss the Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, Badlands National Park while in SD. Devils tower is another don't miss.

    Another thing to remember, When traveling from the east into Yellowstone, Think about which way you are going into the park. The East entrance means you most likely have to drive over the Bighorn Mountains, which are beautiful , but can be taxing on your TV. The NE entrance to the park means you have to tow over the Beartooth highway, another taxing tow on your TV. The south entrance from Dubois, and you have to climb the Togwotee pass, doable , but still a long pull. The easiest in my opinion is through the East through West Yellowstone.

    Any other questions feel free to ask.
     
  17. Zephyr

    Zephyr Active Member

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    Drive out along the Oregon Trail in Nebraska and Wyoming, lots of historic sites to visit.

    Thermopolis, WY: go to the hot springs, soak at the free state-run bath house, visit the Wyoming Dinosaur and go on a dig. Private campground at the south end of town, SP south of town at Boysen Reservoir

    South of the Black Hills: Museum of the Fur Trade near Chadron NE. Camping at Chadron SP.

    We were in Yellowstone in September as Old Faithful Inn, etc were closing for the season. Even off-season, the crowds were the worse that we've ever seen there. Driving was a crawl and getting a parking spot often required a wait.
     
  18. Campgrandma

    Campgrandma Member

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    We stayed at Flagg Ranch in Yellowstone. It’s midway between Yellowstone and the Tetons. Nice campground, with wildlife. Take the horse ride offered! Had a semi close encounter with bison— just back away slowly. Also recommend the river trips close by. One of my best trips ever!
     

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