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samman1994

Yellowstone or Colorado?

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Hello everyone,

While this isn't related to anything academic, outside of being a road trip to my new program/city, I thought I'd ask your opinion on here and hope to get some feedback on people who have gone through these places. I am going from the West Coast (California) up to the North Easy (Conneticut), and I am planning a little road trip on the way there. My route for the eastern side is planned out already (Chicago to Detroit, to Toronto, then back down to through New York to Conneticut), but my plan for the Western half isn't. There are 2 potential routes I am thinking of, but I've never traveled through these areas, and don't know many attractions there. It's important to note, both these routes go through vegas up to Utah, but diverge in Utah. 

Route 1 (YellowStone):

This route would take me through Salt Lake City (Utah), up through eastern Idaho to Western Yellowstone. From there it would travel through Southern Montana and North Dakota, then down through Minneapolis (Minnesota) and Wisconsin down to Chicago. I don't know what there really is to see in Southern Montana or North Dakota though. I have been to Minneapolis and that is pretty cool, I also have a friend who has a great cabin in Wisonsin right next to Minneapolis that would be great for a day or 2 break from the road trip. But the aspect of seeing Yellowstone and Salt Lake City is pretty cool. 

Route 2 (Colorado)

This route goes through Utah to Denver, Colorado. From there it cuts through Nebraska, and Des Moines (Iowa) to Chicago. Everyone I've talked to has said I should definitely visit Denver. However, I don't really know if there is anything to do in Nebraska, and I have been to Des Moines, and don't really have any interest in visiting it. It would be interesting to see some of middle America though. 

Outside of just different cities/states, the only other difference is time. Route 1 is ~8 hours longer than Route 2; however, this isn't really that big of an issue for me if the cities and sites in between are worth the extra drive to see them. 

 

I have not been to any of these places, nor through most of these states, so I don't know which route is better or more interesting. While I like big cities, I'm more into nature. So waterfalls, rivers, trees, rocks, anything with cool geography would interest me. Any recomendations/ideas? Thank you as always!

Edited by samman1994

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If it were me, I'd do SLC and Yellowstone.  You'd also presumably be able to go by Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorials too.  No particular reason, I suppose, other than finding that it would probably be more beautiful this time of year, more memorable, a little more comfortable temperature-wise, etc.

 

There's not a lot to do in Nebraska or in Iowa.

 

As a sidenote, you also might investigate geocaching.  If you're the kind of person who would enjoy a high-tech treasure hunt, you might enjoy adding geocaching as a component of the trip. :)

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Driving through Nebraska and Iowa is like driving through a cornfield, with the occasional soybean field to break up the monotony. That said, Lincoln and Omaha are both cool Nebraska cities. Des Moines and the Quad Cities are fun in Iowa. Denver is great but expensive. If you can still find reasonably priced lodging, I'd probably do SLC and Yellowstone.

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If you can, just south of Montana, Wyoming has Devil's Tower which is amazing and instead of going through North Dakota, I'd go through South Dakota. Mount Rushmore, The Badlands, Custer State Park, etc. are all absolutely amazing.

Edited by catsareme

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Well Route 1 it is then! 

In regards to housing, depending on weather, I plan to camp everywhere possible (so definitely want to camp in Yellowstone). Should decrease the price of traveling significantly. 

I don't know much about any attractions in that direction though. Any cool places to visit along the way (i.e. like mount rushmore, devils tower, badlands, etc.)? 

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DUDE.. you should take a few more hours to explore eastern utah, like the moab area. it has the arches national park and canyonlands. I was in colorado a couple of weeks ago, and we were only an hour away from moab, so we decided to go, and it was awesome. and then drive north towards yellowstone. been to rushmore, badlands, etc. IMO, they're nice tourist attractions, but all you're really doing is going there, and snapping a few pictures. other than that, there's not a lot of reasons to stick around. yellowstone and yosemite are two places where it's really nice to camp out, hike around, and soak it in. once you reach the midwest plains, you're going to be bored to tears. believe me, I grew up there. but minniapolis is cool, chicago is cool. I hear detroit has really come around. but anything on the east side i've no idea about.

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I had thought about the Arches, but this trip is already going to be 2-3 weeks long, and Moab and the arches will be a decent day or 3 day detour. So sadly I'll have to skip out on those. I do plan to stay at least 2+ days in yellowstone in the slough campground if possible and hike around. 

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