Last minute trip to Rocky Mountains
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Aug 20, 2012 1:59 PM Last Post By: ianw6705
Aug 19, 2012 6:26 AM
Last minute trip to Rocky MountainsHello,
My husband and I are going on a very last-minute trip to the Rocky Mountains. We arrive in Denver next Thursday (23 August), and have the first night's accommodation booked there - but nothing else booked apart from that. We have a car, and are planning to drive through the mountains, stopping to do some hiking here and there, and spend three nights at Yellowstone national park. What we have just realised is that as it's the end of the summer holidays, it's a bit tricky to find accommodation.
What we'd like advice on is:
- recommended places to stop on our route from Devnver - Breckenridge - Rock Springs - Jackson - Yellowstone (for moderate hiking - no hard core climbing)
- finding accommodation at short notice in these areas - has anyone just turned up in peak season before; do there tend to be cancellations? (We're looking at budget accommodation online, but may bring our tent too to give more options)
Aug 19, 2012 10:46 PM
1Welcome to Thorn Tree.
I will try to be gentle.
Are you going from Denver to Rocky Mountain and then to Yellowstone? Yes, you will be approaching Labor Day. Expect everything to be packed. I advise reservations as soon as possible.
Breckenridge, CO is not "on the way" to either Rocky Mountain or Yellowstone Park if you begin your journey in Denver. The fastest route from Estes Park, CO at the east entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is to take US-287 north to Laramie WY and then take I-80 to Rock Springs. Rock Springs is a rough mid point in what is an all-day drive and then some to Jackson WY from Estes Park, CO. Rock Springs is not a tourist town. It’s a place to stop, eat, and maybe catch a night's sleep. The "Moderate Hiking" is in Rocky Mountain National Park or in Grand Teton National Park North of Jackson, WY. You can find trails as "moderate" or as "hard core" as you wish in either park. The Park Service sites have trail maps.
Unless the cancellation occurs between the person in front of you being turned away and the clerk saying "next," it won't do you much good. I actually saw my late father do that once at Grand Canyon National Park, but that was over 50 years ago. It certainly has never happened to me since then. They call it "peak season" for a reason. You may need reservations whether you stay in a motel or stay at a campground. I certainly would not "turn-up" in Jackson, Grand Teton, or Yellowstone around Labor Day thinking I'd have a chance for a cheap room.
You have some work to do. The sooner you complete it the more enjoyable your trip will be. You should also be clear about your route.
Aug 20, 2012 4:12 AM
2Zeldasdad ... it might be the case that our intrepid OP is talking about the Rocky Mountains generally, rather than Rocky Mountains NP specifically. But the point still stands - Yellowstone NP is a huge distance from the confines of Denver and the regional ski-towns such as Breckenridge.
And it seems to me fairly pointless providing assistance, because (a) accommodation would be really hard to find, and (b) the OP has not advised how long this trip will be. And in any case, a trip to Yellowstone NP is a truly wonderful thing - but it is something of an expedition, done properly - and requires planning, researching, and thinking. Perhaps I am just old-fashioned, but heading off to Yellowstone NP for a few days is not a little consumer goodie, like picking up your smartphone.
Have a good time, OP - but really - much better to plan a proper trip to YNP say next June, and arriving into Salt Lake City rather than Denver could help too.
Aug 20, 2012 7:08 AM
3Ianw6705, I don't disagree with what you say. I know nothing about organic_claire. She sounds like a newbie from overseas. I do question her judgment, but as the old saw goes, good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment. If she and her husband do try to take the trip she describes, they will acquire lots of experience. I don't want her to "overdose" on "experience." I was trying to help.
Aug 20, 2012 7:15 AM
4I've sent you a couple of PM's with details from our carefully planned June 2005 trip to Yellowstone. If this is your only opportunity to see it, go and fit in what you can. If you could return for a better-planned Yellowstone trip, this time explore Rocky Mountain NP and the wonderful natural areas of Colorado, perhaps venturing west via Grand Junction to Arches National Park staying in Moab, UT.
Aug 20, 2012 7:33 AM
5Quickest route to Cody, WY (East entrance gateway city, 1 hour from Yellowstone) shows about 7.5 hours of drive time from the Denver airport. Not quite as impossible as the original route suggested.
Aug 20, 2012 1:59 PM
6Being a little more (actually a lot more) negative, it's more than 10 hours driving from Denver to Grant Village in east-central Yellowstone NP, and that's not including any stops at all - for food and gas, let alone any quality activities - and via the most boring highway route.
Realistically, two full days each way, to bother doing it at all. Stay in Colorado, I suggest - it's wonderful anyway.
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