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Thread: Need recommendation for prioritizing places to see along the way to Great Falls

  1. #1
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    Need recommendation for prioritizing places to see along the way to Great Falls

    I've given myself 5 days to travel from just west of St. Louis to Great Falls. I've only done a few ride of around 500 to 600 miles in a single day. I live in NC, so I'm used to twisty roads through mountains. I'm a history nerd, so Little Bighorn is on my must-do list, with about a 3 hour stop. I'm trying to prioritize sites to see along way. So far, I have Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Red Gulch dinosaur tracks, Grand Teton, Chief Joseph Pass, Beartooth Pass, and then some family history around Sioux Falls and Anaconda, MT. If you had to eliminate one of the passes or Grand Teton, which one would go?

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    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARMYMUTT View Post
    I'm trying to prioritize sites to see along way. So far, I have Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Red Gulch dinosaur tracks, Grand Teton, Chief Joseph Pass, Beartooth Pass, and then some family history around Sioux Falls and Anaconda, MT. If you had to eliminate one of the passes or Grand Teton, which one would go?
    IMHO Grand Teton, hands down. That way youll avoid the tourist crush of Jackson. And if youre into history, budget a bit more time at Little Bighorn so you can ride the trail along which the battle unfolded.

    Best,
    DeVern
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    Teton is a massive tourist area? Good to know. I made the mistake of driving through Pigeon Forge in summer. It's like driving through a college campus on steroids - people just walk out into the road.

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    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARMYMUTT View Post
    Teton is a massive tourist area? Good to know. I made the mistake of driving through Pigeon Forge in summer. It's like driving through a college campus on steroids - people just walk out into the road.
    It’s between Jellystone and Jackson Hole, so there is always heavy traffic during tourist season—more so as you get closer to Jackson. And riding through Jackson is just like you described above. The ride along Jackson Lake is nice, and Colter Bay a nice stop, but the ride from the north entrance of Teton through the park to Wilson can take much, much longer than people expect.

    Were I you on the route you’ve outlined, I’d trade Teton for an added stop at Crazy Horse, not far from Mt. Rushmore, with time to take in the museum showing the background behind Ziolkowski’s work on Crazy Horse, along with many of his other works. Just as a frame of reference, all of Mt. Rushmore would fit underneath Crazy Horse’s outstretched arm. I always recommend to people to hit Rushmore early in the morning, then head to Crazy Horse and go through that experience, then enjoy a leisurely dinner and head back to Rushmore for the night lighting ceremony.

    If you can sit through the night lighting ceremony at Rushmore and not have a lump in your throat, better have someone check you for a pulse...

    Best,
    DeVern
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  5. #5
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    Being a history buff, off the Chief Joseph highway you may want to stop in Cody and go to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
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    Definitely Teton and its crush of oblivious tourists. I'd personally skip Rushmore up close for the same reason, viewing it instead from Iron Mountain across the valley. Some of the tunnels on the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway open toward Rushmore, perfectly framing that monument while avoiding the shopping mall crush. However, since you'll be in the Black Hills, definitely ride Needles Hwy. I'd suggest early in the morning to avoid the log jam at the narrow tunnel on top.

    On your way from Devils Tower to Chief Joseph and Beartooth, consider the scenic route:

    From Devils Tower Hwy 24 and 14 to the Interstate
    Quick run on the slab to Buffalo WY
    From Buffalo take Hwy 16 over the southern Bighorns to Ten Sleep - a frequently overlooked but incredible ride
    County Road 49 (Ten Sleep - Hyattsville Rd) north a few miles to Hwy 31 to Manderson then US 20 to Greybull
    At Greybull turn right on US 14 and ride up through twisty Shell Canyon to ALT 14 at Burgess Junction
    Turn left (west) on ALT 14 and enjoy the incredible twisties and views as you drop back into the desert far below
    As you approach Lovell WY consider a side trip on Hwy 37 to check out Bighorn Lake
    Continue to Cody WY with its fascinating history of the west
    From Cody head north on Hwy 120 to Hwy 296 over Chief Joseph Pass to US 212
    Right on US 212 over Beartooth Pass

    Semper fi,
    Pete
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  7. #7
    '14 R1200 GS Adv bigjohnsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    Definitely Teton and its crush of oblivious tourists. I'd personally skip Rushmore up close for the same reason, viewing it instead from Iron Mountain across the valley. Some of the tunnels on the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway open toward Rushmore, perfectly framing that monument while avoiding the shopping mall crush. However, since you'll be in the Black Hills, definitely ride Needles Hwy. I'd suggest early in the morning to avoid the log jam at the narrow tunnel on top.

    On your way from Devils Tower to Chief Joseph and Beartooth, consider the scenic route:

    From Devils Tower Hwy 24 and 14 to the Interstate
    Quick run on the slab to Buffalo WY
    From Buffalo take Hwy 16 over the southern Bighorns to Ten Sleep - a frequently overlooked but incredible ride
    County Road 49 (Ten Sleep - Hyattsville Rd) north a few miles to Hwy 31 to Manderson then US 20 to Greybull
    At Greybull turn right on US 14 and ride up through twisty Shell Canyon to ALT 14 at Burgess Junction
    Turn left (west) on ALT 14 and enjoy the incredible twisties and views as you drop back into the desert far below
    As you approach Lovell WY consider a side trip on Hwy 37 to check out Bighorn Lake
    Continue to Cody WY with its fascinating history of the west
    From Cody head north on Hwy 120 to Hwy 296 over Chief Joseph Pass to US 212
    Right on US 212 over Beartooth Pass

    Semper fi,
    Pete
    What Pete said, but instead of I-90 after Devils Tower take WY24 South to US 14, then US 14 West to Moorcroft, follow US 14/16 along I-90 to Gillette then take US 14/16 to Buffalo WY. A beautiful run out through the High Plains with very little traffic and some cool scenery along the way.

    On your way home hit the Little Bighorn Battlefield then ride US 212 East to Belle Fourche SD
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  8. #8
    Yep, what Pete and John said. Some of this is my day trip ride of the Bighorn Loop.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnsd View Post
    What Pete said, but instead of I-90 after Devils Tower take WY24 South to US 14, then US 14 West to Moorcroft, follow US 14/16 along I-90 to Gillette then take US 14/16 to Buffalo WY. A beautiful run out through the High Plains with very little traffic and some cool scenery along the way.
    Thanks for that, John. I'd always been curious about 16 east of Buffalo but the allure of Ten Sleep Canyon always pulled me along via the fastest route. I'll check it out this time.

    Pete and Glenlivet
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet

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  10. #10
    '14 R1200 GS Adv bigjohnsd's Avatar
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    When you take US 14/16 check out UCross WY where the two highways split. The UCROSS Ranch was once one of the largest in WY and owned a huge portion of the valley to the East. One of the intriguing things you will see are some large concrete grain elevators, remnants of a once flourishing wheat crop in the valley, now all pasture. They are still painted with the logo of a long ago Flour Company.
    The only dumb question is the unasked question!

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