The Northern Rockies Travel Guide is a resource for those planning a road trip in the region.
It is especially useful for road trips running from Mount Rushmore, South Dakota to Yellowstone National Park,
Wyoming, and adjoining areas. All the popular attractions
are included, such as Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Badlands National Park,
Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park. Many less famous destinations are also included.
Details include descriptions, links to many references, travel itineraries, and suggested visit times.
South Dakota |
Travel Itineraries - Trip Planner |
Northern Rockies - Colorado/Montana Destinations
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For travelers coming out from the east, the I-70 (or I-80/I-76) option via Denver can make an attractive loop trip. The "can't miss" attraction is spectacular Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Boulder, Colorado. The park offers some of America's finest mountain scenery and one of its greatest scenic drives. A special feature is that the wilderness can be accessed by relatively short day hikes, especially in the Bear Lake area. The amazing Trail Ridge Drive crosses the Continental Divide, topping out at an elevation of over 12,000 feet. However being near an urban area, the park is quite busy in the summer, and camping reservations are essential on the east side of the Divide.
A further detour (I-70 west, then US-24 west) would take you first to Colorado Springs and a chance to visit mighty Pikes Peak. The 14,110 foot peak can be accessed by auto road or an exciting ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway (reservations suggested in summer). There is a gift shop at the top of Pikes Peak (equipped with oxygen tanks) and amazing views in every direction.
In either case, your loop trip would eventually continue north on I-25 to reach the Black Hills or west on I-80 to reach Yellowstone National Park. Visit time: at least two extra days.
Glacier National Park
Travelers who have an extra five to seven days may wish to continue on to spectacular Glacier National Park in northern Montana. The remote park is about 400 miles from Yellowstone, resulting in 800 or more extra miles of driving for most travelers. However it is worth the trip if you have the time. The remoteness of Glacier offers a feeling of wildness and less congestion than you will find in Yellowstone National Park or Jackson, Wyoming. You can usually find a campsite even during prime summer season if you stop early enough in the day. However reservations are recommended for lodging.
The most famous highlight of Glacier National Park is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The scenic drive is considered one of the most spectacular in America. It climbs over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. The most stunning section is the sheer western face of the divide below the pass. Many beautiful waterfalls can be seen in this area as well as wonderful alpine views. Going-to-the-Sun is generally closed due to snow until after Memorial Day.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is the site of the famous victory of the Sioux and Cheyenne over General Custer on June 25, 1876, also known as Custer's Last Stand. The battlefield is accessible and set up for self-guided tours. Ranger talks are given during the day, and guided tours may be purchased from a Native American concessionaire. In 2003, the new Indian Memorial was dedicated, which honors the participants of both sides of the battle. Visit time: a few hours, but it is a detour if you are heading across Wyoming to Yellowstone. Lodging in Sheridan, Wyoming.
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Index to the Northern Rockies Travel Guide
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