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Easiest way to get to Yellowstone from Illinois


newdadzilla

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Hello,

What is the easiest way to cross over the Rockies? We are flatlanders and have no experience pulling a trailer over mountains and would like to start out slow and easy. We would appreciate any information you could share on this topic. We would like to avoid the hairpin turns and steepest grades as much as is possible.

Thanks in advance

Colleen

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No matter which way you go, you will have to go up and down some grades to get to YelIowstone. If you want to take interstates, I-80 or I-90 do not have the high elevation and steep grade that I-70 does. I-80 to US-287 at Rawlins will take you into Yellowstone through the Northeastern part of Grand Teton National Park. In my opinion, Grand Teton is definitely worth visiting.

 

I-90 would take you through South Dakota and if you have the time give you the opportunity to see Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and other attractions in the Black Hills. Continuing West, Devils Tower and the Little Bighorn Battlefield are not far out of the way.

 

Continuing on I-90, you have a choice of four entrances to Yellowstone. Since you said you want to avoid steep grades, I would not recommend the Northeast entrance. You can get to the East entrance by taking US-310/212 at Laurel to MT-72 to WY-120 to US-14/20 at Cody. This route does not go over Beartooth Pass. Cody is in my opinion worth a visit. There is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum Complex, Old Trail Town, the nightly rodeo, and a number of other attractions. From Cody you can make a loop in the toad or tow vehicle of the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and the Beartooth Highway. Red Lodge makes a nice stop for a break or something to eat.

 

If you were to stay on I-90, you can take US-89 South at Livingston and enter the park through the North entrance. If you were to continue West on I-90, US-191 will take you to West Yellowstone and the West entrance.

 

If you do not like traveling on the interstates, US-20 will take you from Illinois to the East entrance of Yellowstone. This is the route taken across the country by John Steinbeck that he describes in his book "Travels with Charlie". These links show attractions along US-20 in Iowa and Nebraska . This route takes you through Thermopolis, WY which has hot springs, a dinosaur museum, the Legend Rock Petroglyph site and other attractions.

 

There a more possibilities, but these should get you started.

 

What ever route you take, I hope you have a Great Trip!!

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No matter which way you go, you will have to go up and down some grades to get to YelIowstone. If you want to take interstates, I-80 or I-90 do not have the high elevation and steep grade that I-70 does. I-80 to US-287 at Rawlins will take you into Yellowstone through the Northeastern part of Grand Teton National Park. In my opinion, Grand Teton is definitely worth visiting.

 

I-90 would take you through South Dakota and if you have the time give you the opportunity to see Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and other attractions in the Black Hills. Continuing West, Devils Tower and the Little Bighorn Battlefield are not far out of the way.

 

Continuing on I-90, you have a choice of four entrances to Yellowstone. Since you said you want to avoid steep grades, I would not recommend the Northeast entrance. You can get to the East entrance by taking US-310/212 at Laurel to MT-72 to WY-120 to US-14/20 at Cody. This route does not go over Beartooth Pass. Cody is in my opinion worth a visit. There is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum Complex, Old Trail Town, the nightly rodeo, and a number of other attractions. From Cody you can make a loop in the toad or tow vehicle of the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and the Beartooth Highway. Red Lodge makes a nice stop for a break or something to eat.

 

If you were to stay on I-90, you can take US-89 South at Livingston and enter the park through the North entrance. If you were to continue West on I-90, US-191 will take you to West Yellowstone and the West entrance.

 

If you do not like traveling on the interstates, US-20 will take you from Illinois to the East entrance of Yellowstone. This is the route taken across the country by John Steinbeck that he describes in his book "Travels with Charlie". These links show attractions along US-20 in Iowa and Nebraska . This route takes you through Thermopolis, WY which has hot springs, a dinosaur museum, the Legend Rock Petroglyph site and other attractions.

 

There a more possibilities, but these should get you started.

 

What ever route you take, I hope you have a Great Trip!!

Thanks for the info well wrote.. Wish we had a thank you button I'd pushed it..

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No matter which way you go, you will have to go up and down some grades to get to YelIowstone. If you want to take interstates, I-80 or I-90 do not have the high elevation and steep grade that I-70 does. I-80 to US-287 at Rawlins will take you into Yellowstone through the Northeastern part of Grand Teton National Park. In my opinion, Grand Teton is definitely worth visiting.

I agree with this advice, having lived in WY for many years, but I would point out that you may want to consider going out one way and returning the other. A lot also depends upon how much time you have for the trip as there is much to see along either the I-80 route or I-90, but unless there is some strong reason, I would not consider taking I-70 even if you are from the south, near St. Louis as it would still be farther.

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Colleen, the EASIEST would be I-90 to I-25 south in Wyoming to Casper. Pick up Hwy 20/26 to Dubois, WY and then 89N into Grand Teton Nat'l Park (a must stop) and continue north into Yellowstone using the south entrance. That is 1530 miles from Chicago.

 

Another EASY route would be I-90 to Livingston, Montana and pick up Hwy 89 south into the north park entrance. It is 1485 miles.

 

The SHORTEST is I-90 and taking either 14A/14 or 16 at Buffalo, WY on to Cody, WY and using the east entrance into Yellowstone. This route will give you mountain driving and a steep descent into Yellowstone. This is 1400 miles from Chicago.

 

I predict that once you get there you're going to feel very comfortable driving mountains/hills that you'll want to explore more of the surrounding areas. Once you do a steep uphill and downhill you're a pro. You'll know what your truck is capable of doing and how you feel about it. Do a little at a time. The prettiest spots are in the mountains. Have a good trip!

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...The SHORTEST is I-90 and taking either 14A/14 or 16 at Buffalo, WY on to Cody, WY and using the east entrance into Yellowstone. This route will give you mountain driving and a steep descent into Yellowstone. This is 1400 miles from Chicago...

If you do not feel comfortable with Mountain driving, do not take US-14A. It has a 10% grade in one section called the "Oh My God Hill". Of these three routes across the bighorns, US-16 has the mildest ascents and descents of the three. If you want to go to Cody, the route that I described in post 2 from I-90 at Laurel, MT does not include any steep grades.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I agree with trailertraveler about I80 to Rawlins, North to Lander, then to Thermopolis. This is the Wind River route through the Indian reservation grounds, it has no mountains from Rawlins to Cody. From Cody into Yellowstone is all uphill.

From Indiana, our route is to enter via either Cody -East, or through Jackson-South. If we head North from Rawlins, we always stop at Thermopolis to soak in the hot springs, there is a small RV park right in town-beside the highway.

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I also agree with Travel trailer, The rout through Rawlins is very nice and one that a first timer will find easy. Going over 14/A is not a good first route. I over heated a car trailer combo on that route many years ago. You will love the Tetons and Yellowstone, stay as long as you can because there is no way you can see it all in one trip but the added time helps you try. In our many trips to the area we always saw the most young wildlife in early June. Bring a spotting scope and binoculars if you can.

 

ENJOY

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You did not say when you want to go through Yellowstone, which can make your routing choice more difficult. This year may not be the same as last year due to less snow this winter, but There is only one road, open for vehicles, year round IN Yellowstone and that's between the northeast entrance and the north entrance.

 

We arrived in April of last year to four feet of snow in the lowest elevations of Yellowstone. The grand loop road didn't fully open until mid June. Getting through the east or south entrance would have been impossible in April and May.

 

Don

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