Carolina Griswald comes to SD and WY? What else to visit???

wnc2500

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I live in NC, hunt in SC 90% of the time, and am blessed to be able to hunt in MT for two weeks out of the year. HuntTalk is a site that I have learned tons from, and I appreciate you all, and the wisdom you have shared either for my questions, or allowing me to tag along to others.
My wife and I are planning on visiting SD, and WY next week. It is strictly a Clark Griswald "Vacation" trip. (I know a lot of you know the reference). It is just she and I visiting Badlands, Rushmore, Deadwood, Cody, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons. Is there anything in any of those areas that is a must see? Meaning, not necessarily from a "visit WY brochure", but something that I just have to visit? My plans are of course a good bit of driving, and i definitely want to see Old Faithful, Prismatic Lake, any and all wildlife along the way. She wants to see Deadwood. My dad has seen Badlands before, and raved about it. If you guys were coming to Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina, I would have a list of things for you to see. Now, shoot with what things I must do, that i did not call out, or any tips and tricks for any of the places that I mentioned. For example, I was told by a friend to be at Yellowstone real early the day I visit so as to not be so crazy with the huge amount of traffic.
Thanks for any and all ideas on things that are either in these areas, or ones that I did not even mention.
 

Rancho Loco

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Pass on Rushmore and Deadwood, but that's just me.

The counter girls/guys at the YNP gas stations have the best intel on critter sightings.
 

rwc101

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North Carolinian living in Wyoming here.

Sounds like you have a pretty good itinerary. I found Rushmore to be underwhelming, but definitely stop by if it's on your bucket list. The Crazy Horse Memorial isn't too far if you stop at Rushmore. A Griswald vacation through Wyoming would probably stop by Devil's Tower as well. Buffalo is a neat little town to spend a day or two in. Lots of history there. Plus, you get to drive through the Bighorns on your way to Cody/Yellowstone. Lots of small towns with their own character along the way. I'll stump for the Medicine Bows and Laramie as well. Look up festivals and events in small towns you visit. There's a number of unique ones.
 

wnc2500

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North Carolinian living in Wyoming here.

Sounds like you have a pretty good itinerary. I found Rushmore to be underwhelming, but definitely stop by if it's on your bucket list. The Crazy Horse Memorial isn't too far if you stop at Rushmore. A Griswald vacation through Wyoming would probably stop by Devil's Tower as well. Buffalo is a neat little town to spend a day or two in. Lots of history there. Plus, you get to drive through the Bighorns on your way to Cody/Yellowstone. Lots of small towns with their own character along the way. I'll stump for the Medicine Bows and Laramie as well. Look up festivals and events in small towns you visit. There's a number of unique ones.
You are going to laugh at me, but I read CJ Box's books, and some of the towns he has called out are the one and the areas you mentioned above. Thanks for the specific feedback.
What part of NC did you live in? We live in Asheville, in western part of the state.
 

rwc101

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What part of NC did you live in? We live in Asheville, in western part of the state.
I lived in Roanoke Rapids until high school. Parents kept their boat in Little Washington, and it sometimes feels like I spent more time there than at home. Had family out in Banner Elk, so I've spent a lot of time around Boone and Asheville as well. I love the western part of the state.
 

Sawtooth

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The Buffalo Bill Center on the West in Cody Wyoming is a must see. Gun collections and one of the best collections of old west painting in the country. Five different museums in one place might sound like a nightmare to some but it allows each individual in the group to spend more time in their area of interest. All five museums are very well done and you can easily spend a whole day there.
 
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ZBB

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I’m originally from Lead, something that I would say is a must in the Lead-Deadwood area is to get a burger at Lewies in lead. Lead has the homestake/lab museum, and deadwood has its share of tours as well. I think Mount Rushmore is cool if you read the history on all the boards they have. But if you just want to see it, you could see that and crazy horse from the highway pretty well. I would also say the buffalo bill museum in Cody is a must too.
 

Fj605

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The cemetery tour in Deadwood is kind of cool especially if you watched the Deadwood series on HBO. Crow Peak Brewing and Sawyer Brewing in Spearfish, SD are good watering holes. Devil's Tower is cool.

The drive through the Big Horns is prettier than I-90 through Billings. I've driven the Big Horns through Buffalo and Sheridan and they're equally enjoyable.
 

genesis273

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Another NC-ian here.
We were in Yellowstone and Grand Teton the other week. There's going to crowds all along the west side of where Grand Prismatic to Old Faithful are, so be patient. I did enjoy Lemar Valley. Just seemed much more quiet with less tour buses and more critters to see.

Grand Teton is simply amazing! Don't look nothing like Grandfather Mountain! :oops:
 

wnc2500

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Another NC-ian here.
We were in Yellowstone and Grand Teton the other week. There's going to crowds all along the west side of where Grand Prismatic to Old Faithful are, so be patient. I did enjoy Lemar Valley. Just seemed much more quiet with less tour buses and more critters to see.

Grand Teton is simply amazing! Don't look nothing like Grandfather Mountain! :oops:
How early did you go into Yellowstone? I am prepared for stop and go for sure.
 

wytex

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For some history visit Fort Phil Kearny and the Wagon box site.
After you're tired of crowds come on down this way as rwc101 said. Go through Thermopolis and head on down hitting up Saratoga and then over the Scenic byway to Laramie. The Snowy Range is beautiful and plenty of snow up high where you will come over. We've got Jubilee Days in Laramie all next week. Stay the night, visit the Geology museum on campus.
Head out of town up 287 to 34 and Sybille Canyon for a neat drive to I-25 and back towards home. That takes you through Tom Horn country. Hit the road early morning and they may be feeding the big bull elk right next to the road at the G&F research center in the canyon when you go by.
Might as well see the whole state.
Always a few hungry trout to catch as well and you can buy a 1 day fishing license.
 

btweedy

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South Dakota
Hiking the badlands is awesome. Keep your eye out for rattlesnakes.

If you have never seen Rushmore, it is definitely something to see with the historical context and details that can be found while there. It is not as big as people build up in their mind but worth seeing. I have taken customers there quite a few times. You are not far from the Alpine Inn which is a restaurant serving only filet mignon and vegetarian dish for dinner and a german menu with many options for lunch.

Lewies is great just on the other side of Lead as mentioned by another person.

We go to Yellowstone often for family trips and motorcycle tours over the last 15-20 years. Below is the list/route I give to friends and family taking a motorcycle trip to Yellowstone for first time (sorry for length):

This is in no particular order geographically or preference. They're all good.​
Powder river pass (lower big horns).​
- Go west out of buffalo WY. Goes to Ten Sleep WY. Take to Cody WY to get into Yellowstone​
Shoshone Lodge:​
- cabins near a creek. Just outside the east gate to Yellowstone park. Affordable, very nice, restaurant on premises www.shoshonelodge.com/
Old faithful: go to this prior to going to Yellowstone falls if you are going to Red Lodge.​
Yellowstone falls:​
- there is an upper and lower. Leaving Shoshone lodge, you turn at Yellowstone lake and head north. This takes you to these two falls and into Cooke city Montana to bear tooth pass and into red lodge. grand loop road to cooke city​
Bear tooth pass:​
- one of the best roads and scenery I have been on. Goes from Yellowstone (Cooke City) to Red Lodge Montana. Couple cool lookout areas. One on a bridge high above a creek and another with a view of a waterfall​
Red lodge Montana:​
- ski town. Yodeler motel (reservations). Cool downtown area. When you leave red lodge, simply go back over bear tooth pass to see it from the other direction. It looks different. Head back towards Cody via Chief Joseph highway​
Chief Joseph scenic highway:​
- to Cody Wyoming. Beautiful highway. Many lookout areas. Stop at bridge over steep canyon and dead indian pass lookout​
Burgess Junction (upper big horn mountains):​
- big horn mountains. Tons of views. Two hotels. One rents atvs and quads to explore the area. Restaurant. Great place. Mid range price. Open camping allowed in the big horns (camp wherever you want with a tent)​
There is a lot of campgrounds and anything right by Yellowstone near the river on the east side is good. Good fishing too. Just use the bear boxes for food and make sure you know general safety for camping in areas where there are bears.​
 

Sandpounder

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There are some great routes listed already. Its Rendevous weekend in Pinedale next weekend (7/11) I think. That is crowded, but also pretty cool. I am not sure I would take a Griswold style station wagon on this road, but I want to take the Hyattville to the Mountains down to Red Grade Road and Greybull sometime this year. Part of it is quite a bit different from NC from what little I know of NC. I have taken an old Buick LeSabre over a lot of it, but I am not sure of the condition for the rest of the road. So here is a wild route, go from Badlands to Rushmore/Deadwood, south to Fort Robinson, NE, down Sybille Canyon like wytex said, over the Snowy's from Laramie, up along Seminoe Reservoir to Casper find the Oregon trail stuff, north to Buffalo and a little more to Ft. Phil Kearney, and some other Battle sites already listed, west and south to Thermopolis over the Big Horns, northwest through Meeteetsee to Cody, loop through YNP and GTNP, south to Pinedale, over the Lander Cut-across from Pinedale to Lander to Sinks Canyon, back over the Big Horns one of the other routes, hit I -90 to Devils Tower. If you have a month I guess.
 

davinski

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Western Colorado
Lots and lots to see around the Black Hills. I grew up there so am a little biased. There are tons of caves with public tours that vary from easy to as difficult as you want to make them. SD Mines has an excellent geology and paleontology museum. Outside Sturgis, Ft. Meade has a cool little cavalry museum and Bear Butte State Park has a pretty good little museum of native stuff and info. Not sure if they still let you wander around the sweat lodges. I understand the park facilities have rather gone downhill lately though. Definitely get out of there before the Sturgis bike rally starts in August if that's not your bag, travel is about impossible. Deadwood main street and Saloon #10 are cool, as is getting a peek into the open cut gold mine in Lead, you can walk right up to the edge. All good ideas listed previously too, Devils Tower is very cool up close.
 

Sandpounder

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Lots and lots to see around the Black Hills. I grew up there so am a little biased. There are tons of caves with public tours that vary from easy to as difficult as you want to make them. SD Mines has an excellent geology and paleontology museum. Outside Sturgis, Ft. Meade has a cool little cavalry museum and Bear Butte State Park has a pretty good little museum of native stuff and info. Not sure if they still let you wander around the sweat lodges. I understand the park facilities have rather gone downhill lately though. Definitely get out of there before the Sturgis bike rally starts in August if that's not your bag, travel is about impossible. Deadwood main street and Saloon #10 are cool, as is getting a peek into the open cut gold mine in Lead, you can walk right up to the edge. All good ideas listed previously too, Devils Tower is very cool up close.
Thanks for those suggestions. I am only about two hours away and haven't been to any of those places except Devils Tower I guess.
 
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