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People come from all over the world to see Yellowstone National Park, and the road trip to the park is just as much about the stops on the way as the destination. We’ve put together the four most popular routes to the park so you can choose which way is best for you. Enter to win February 14 to April 11, 2017.
Here are the trips you could win!
Activities and lodging in RED are included in prize package.
All trips include:
Before each winner leaves for their trip, use the four $30 Mountain Khakis Gift Cards to outfit the family. (Shop at mountainkhakis.com.) Plan your trip using a Yellowstone Journal and Yellowstone Trip Planner.
Chicago to Yellowstone Road Trip
Hill City, South Dakota
Things to Do in Hill City Area
- Visit a park. From Hill City, it’s a short drive to Mount Rushmore National Memorial and two national caves, Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument. You can also enjoy nearby iconic attractions like Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park. Less than two hours from Hill City, you can explore Badlands National Park and the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.
- Trains buffs and families won’t want to miss a ride on The 1880 Train (www.1880train.com). The steam train ride travels the 20 miles between Hill City and Keystone, South Dakota. On the way you’ll see you’ll see some breathtaking scenery and often wildlife.
- View four states from Black Elk Peak (formerly known as Harney Peak)), the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains. There are multiple hiking trails so you can take one up and another back down. At the top is a stone fire lookout tower where you can see for miles. If you aren’t up to doing the entire hike, there are multiple stops all along the trails with fabulous overlooks. Bring your camera!
- Head for Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park and go kayaking, paddle boating or canoeing. It’s a peaceful paddle because only non-motorized boats are allowed and there is no noisy swimming beach. Relax and softly cruise along the aspen shores and watch deer, elk, bighorn sheep, hummingbirds, and bluebirds. Paddleboat and canoe rentals are available during the summer months.
- Hop on a bike, walk, or go horseback riding and discover 4 rock tunnels, 100 old railroad bridges and stunning scenery on the 109-mile Mickelson Trail which goes right through Hill City. The trail was voted one of the top 10 most beautiful trails in the world.
- Tour Wade’s Gold Mill and see how prospectors in the 1880’s made their living. You can even pan for gold.
Spend the night in Hill City at the Holiday Inn Express Hill City-Mt. Rushmore. This upscale hotel is in a prime location on Highway 16 makes traveling to Keystone and Rapid City easy. Amenities include a pool, hot tub, free WiFi, and free hot breakfast. (www.hiexpress.com)
Things to Do in Billings, Montana
- Montana’s only Walkable Brewery District, featuring several family friendly restaurants offering Montana cuisine and locally crafted microbrews. The winner can use their gift certificate at Uberbrew which recently won the Alpha King Challenge for its IPA, and has a menu featuring six kinds of sausage.
- Visit a museum at Billings’ Historic Downtown. The Yellowstone County Museum highlights regional culture and history as well as an impressive collective of Native American artifacts. The Yellowstone Art Museum is the region’s premier contemporary art museum – see the Visible Vault. The Western Heritage Center showcases the history of the West and voices of the Yellowstone River Valley. And the Wise Wonders Children’s Museum offers hands-on exhibits for a wide-range of ages.
- Montana’s BEST zoo, ZooMontana (www.zoomontana.org).
- The Reef Indoor Waterpark at The Big Horn Resort features several three-story slides, water playland, wave pool, and more. (www.thereefindoors.com)
- Experience the outdoors and true vistas of Big Sky Country in Swords Rimrock Park, or take them in on the move with Outlaw Zip Line.
- The winner gets event tickets or admission to a museum depending on trip dates.
1 night’s lodging in a family suite at The Big Horn Resort. Resort amenities include a indoor water park, the Waterfront Lounge, and a free breakfast buffet. (thebighornresort.com)
Adventures by www.FlyingPigRafting.com
Things to do in Gardiner, Montana
- Do the 53-mile scenic drive from Livingston to Gardiner. You’ll drive along the Yellowstone River and through Paradise Valley. Keep an eye out for golden eagles and osprey fishing in the river. Elk and mule deer are often spotted along the banks of the river. And, all along the way you will see wide expanses of authentic Montana ranches.
- Take a picture at the Roosevelt Arch, the original entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
- Get a thrill: Go rafting, ziplining, or horseback riding. Flying Pig Adventures can guide you to the fun. (www.FlyingPigRafting.com)
- Go fishing in the Gardiner or Yellowstone Rivers. Just ask a friendly local and they’ll share their favorite spots with you or take a guided trip with Flying Pig.
1-night lodging at Gardiner area hotel.
Yellowstone National Park
Gardiner, Montana is on the north edge of Yellowstone. Drive under the Roosevelt Arch and you’re there.
Denver to Yellowstone Road Trip
Denver Airport to Cheyenne, Wyoming – 108 miles
Things to Do in Cheyenne:
- Take a Train Tour of the Terry Bison Ranch. Feed camels and bison right out of your hand. (Bring a couple of wet naps.) Have a hearty lunch in the Ranch Cafe.
- See a cowboy dinner show.
- Stroll the streets to see the giant cowboy boots. These eight-foot-tall sculptures have been painted by local artists to show Wyoming’s and Cheyenne’s history.
- See a race at Big Country Speedway.
- Use your Trolley Plus Pass to ride the trolley. The pass also includes admission to the Cheyenne Depot Museum www.cheyennedepotmuseum.org, Frontier Days Old West Museum www.oldwestmuseum.org, and the Nelson Museum of the West www.nelsonmuseum.com.
- See gunfights, western skits, and other Wild West activities in Gunslinger Square.
- On the drive out of town, stop to see (or climb) the Vedauwoo’s rock formation in the Medicine Bow – Routt National Forest. (Between Cheyenne and Laramie off I-80 or alternatively you can drive Happy Jack Road.)
Lodging at a Cheyenne Hotel (www.cheyenne.org/hotels/hotels-motels)
Carbon County, Wyoming
Drive from Cheyenne to Saratoga – 148 miles
Things to Do in Carbon County:
- Soak in the Saratoga Hobo Pool fed by a natural hot spring. It’s open 24-hours, 7-days a week and is walking distance from your hotel.
- Go fishing on the Miracle Mile, a blue-ribbon trout stream.
- Hike a trail and watch for wildlife.
- Go whitewater rafting on the North Platte River’s narrow Northgate Canyon or take a leisurely float through the Medicine Bow National Forest.
- Shoot trap or skeet, or do archery at the Rawlins Outdoor Shooting Complex.
- Tour the Wyoming Frontier Prison in Rawlins. On the tour they’ll tell you about some interesting inmates and stories about the prison being haunted. (www.wyomingfrontierprison.org)
Lodging at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort. Amenities include hot springs, a spa, the Snowy Mountain Brewery, the Silver Saddle Restaurant, and a golf course. (saratogahotspringsresort.com)
Wind River Hotel & Casino in Riverton, Wyoming
Drive from Saratoga to Wind River Hotel & Casino near Riverton – 164 miles
Things to Do at the Wind River Hotel and Casino:
- Visit the Northern Arapahgoe Experience Museum inside the hotel lobby. The room tells the story of the Arapaho people though paintings, pictures, videos and traditional artifacts.
- Try your luck at gaming. The casino features slot machines and table games of blackjack, roulette, and poker.
- Use your $50 Gift Card to eat at the Red Willow Restaurant. Try the Indian Country Benedict for breakfast, or their most popular dinner, Lobster and Prime Rib.
- Go on a Wind River Canyon whitewater rafting trip with pickup at the hotel.
1-night lodging at the Wind River Hotel and Casino near Riverton. Amenities include three restaurants, an espresso bar, a casino, museum, and events. (WindRiverHotelCasino.com)
Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming
Drive from Riverton to Cody – 138 miles
Alternatively, you could also drive through Yellowstone’s south entrance and out the east entrance to get to Cody – 202 miles.
Things to Do in Cody, Wyoming:
- Visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, 5 museums under one roof – Buffalo Bill Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, and the Plains Indian Museum.
- Attend the Cody Nite Rodeo, open every night in the summer season.
- Experience what it was like to live in the wild west at Old Trail Town, an eclectic collection of historic buildings created with frontier structures dating from 1879 to 1900.
- Take a wild horse tour at McCullough Peaks east of town.
- Have a steak dinner at Cassie’s Supper Club and dance the two-step to a live country band.
- Listen to Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue, a Branson style variety show.
- Shop the downtown stores for a cowboy hat or boots.
- Watch the Cody Gunfighters on the street in front of the Irma Hotel porch.
Lodging at the Holiday Inn at Buffalo Bill Village. Enjoy the on-site QT’s Restaurant and Bottoms Up Lounge. In the summer, jump in the pool. (www.blairhotels.com/hotels/holiday-inn-cody-en.html)
Yellowstone National Park
Drive from Cody to the east entrance of Yellowstone – 50 miles.
Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip
Lewis Clark Valley, Gateway to Hells Canyon, Washington
Things to Do in Hells Canyon:
- Take a jet boat trip with Beamers Hells Canyon Tours where you’ll stop to check out ancient petroglyphs and a shipwreck site. (www.hellscanyontours.com)
- Have dinner at the Quay Restaurant overlooking the Snake River.
- See the leaves in fall and the flowering trees in spring in Lewiston, Idaho.
- Go sampling at one of the new frontiers of wine-growing areas in the United States. A wine tasting at Basalt Cellars is included with the prize. (www.basaltcellars.com)
- Visit the Hells Canyon Interpretive Center.
Two-nights stay at the Riverside Quality Inn & Suites in Clarkston, Washington. Located on the scenic banks of the Snake River, the hotel includes the Quay Restaurant and Q Lounge. Several riverboats dock next to the hotel and jet boat excursions depart daily. The hotel also provides a free hot, made-to-order breakfast in the restaurant. (qualityinnclarkston.com)
Drive from Fairmont to Missoula – 110 miles
Things to Do in Missoula:
- Tour the Missoula Aerial Fire Depot & Smokejumper Center, the largest active smokejumper base in the country. Afterwards stop for a cold Moose Drool at Big Sky Brewing.
- Kayak on Brennan’s Wave, Missoula’s Whitewater Park.
- Hike the M for spectacular Missoula views. Then take the kids and man’s best friend to Sweet Peaks Ice Cream shop for your favorite and Chicken & Beef Ice Cream for your buddy.
- Be a kid at one of the world’s fastest Carousels and then have some fun with science at Spectrum.
- Visit the Elk Country Visitor Center Museum and walk the nature trail.
- Shop at more than 100 boutiques, galleries, and specialty stores set in numerous historic districts.
- Dine at one of Missoula’s many eateries including the Big Dipper which was rated “Best Ice Cream” by Good Morning America. The winner’s family gets breakfast at Brooks and Browns Restaurant, dinner at the Red Bird Restaurant, and a $40 Happy Hour credit.
- Attend a tasting at a local winery or brewery.
1 night lodging at a local Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula (www.holidayinn.com/Missoula)
Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana
Drive from Fairmont Hot Springs Resort to Big Sky, Montana – 133 miles
Things to Do in Big Sky:
- Do a Zipline Adventure. Ride up, then zip down on this tour which is designed for speed. Embark on the Explorer Double Chair, and take in expansive views of Lone Mountain and the Spanish Peaks of the Madison Range. Once you’re at the top of the chair, let the zipping begin!
- Ride the giant swing, jump on the bungee trampoline, or climb the rock wall in the resort’s plaza
- Attend a live music concert at the resort
- Ride to the summit via chairlift, expedition vehicle, and the Lone Peak Tram with a guide to point out different areas, sights, and more. Arrive to the top where you will take in the ultimate 360-degree scenic view from 11,166 feet
- Play a round of golf at an 18-hole Arnold Palmer course with scenic views.
- Treat yourself to a Gallatin River Hot Stone Massage, aromatherapy, or facial at the Solace Spa.
- Take a guided hike on the Moose Tracks Trail where you’ll see wildflowers, streams, and peaks. Or take a self-guided hike at Beehive Basin which was recently named as one of the world’s 10 greatest hikes. (View summer trail map bigskyresort.com/Documents/Plan%20A%20Trip/Map_SummerTrailMapv3.pdf)
- At basecamp, choose fun activities such as paintball, archery, or a high-ropes course.
2-nights lodging at Big Sky Resort
Yellowstone National Park
Drive from Big Sky, Montana to the west entrance of Yellowstone – 51 miles.
Salt Lake City to Yellowstone Road Trip
Salt Lake City, Utah
Things to Do in Salt Lake City:
- Use your (4) 2-day Connect Passes for admission to 13 of the best attractions in Salt Lake City including Hogle Zoo, the world-famous tram at Snowbird, the Clark Planetarium, Red Butte Garden, Natural History Museum of Utah, and others. (www.visitsaltlake.com/things-to-do/connect-pass)
- Visit the 35-acre Temple Square. While there, research your family’s history at the Family Search Center and catch a practice performance of the Morman Tabernacle Choir. (www.templesquare.com)
- Stroll through the indoor/outdoor City Creek Center, Salt Lake’s premier shopping and dining destination. Don’t forget to use your $40 American Express Gift Card.
- Cheer for a Major League Soccer team with Real Salt Lake.
Lodging: 2-night stay at the Marriott Downtown City Creek Hotel. Located in the heart of the city, this hotel offers upscale amenities and easy access to the area’s most popular attractions. SLC’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment district, City Creek, is right next door.
Things to Do in Pocatello, Idaho
- Attend an event. The Port-neuf Muzzleloader’s Mountain Man Rendezvous spring event replicates an 1840’s celebration where cannon demonstrations and canvas tents and teepees set the stage for an exciting weekend. Every August the impressive Shoshone Bannock Indian Festival draws over 2,500 dancers from throughout North America. Or attend a concert. A rocking good time is had by all at the Revive@5 summer concert series held every Wednesday in Old Town in conjunction with the Farmers Market. There are also summer concerts on Thursday at ISU, and Friday and Sunday at Ross Park.
- Visit a museum. Pocatello’s Museum of Clean (www.museumofclean.com) celebrates vacuum cleaners, chamber pots, and other quirky cleaning items. It’s squeaky-clean collection of sanitation dates back to the 1800s and takes about two hours to peruse. Up for something even older? At the Idaho Museum of Natural History on the campus of Idaho State University (imnh.isu.edu), you can see the huge bones of ancient bison and sloths.
- Take a hike, a bike ride, or climb lava. Pocatello’s City Creek Trail network has 52 miles of hiking and biking trails. The picturesque path crosses 17 bridges over the creek, all within the city limits. The Lava Cliffs located at Ross Park provide climbs for both novice and expert rock climbers right in town. Climb the “Sunny Side” which faces southwest, perfect for cooler weather. Or climb on the “Shady Side” to stay cool in the summer.
- Stroll down Pocatello’s Old Town (www.facebook.com/old.pocatello). This historic district showcases its history as an old railroad town. There are hundred-year-old buildings housing antique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and watering holes. Every first Friday of the month, Old Town hosts Art Walk. Local artists display their art and musicians perform at businesses. Dine at the local restaurants such as Mama Inez known for its large, traditional Mexican dishes or Buddy’s for fresh-made pasta.
- See a grizzly bear. While in Yellowstone, you very possibly might see a grizzly bear. But, it will be from a distance away (let’s hope.) See these beasts up close through a glass wall at the Pocatello Zoo in Ross Park (zoo.pocatello.us) where two transplanted grizzlies roam in a natural setting and fish out of their own trout stream.
1 night lodging at Black Swan Inn where each room takes you to another world. Room themes include under water, tropical, Egyptian, and forest decor. (www.blackswaninn.com)
$150 Visa Gift Card for 1 night lodging in Jackson Hole, Wyom.
Yellowstone National Park
Drive from Jackson, Wyoming to the south entrance of Yellowstone – 57 miles.
Lodging is for one room for up to 2 people. Location of lodging is based on availability and may be substituted for equal or greater value. Activities and passes are for 2 people. “Suggested activities” are not included in the prize package. READ OFFICIAL RULES [PDF]