Wyoming & Montana driving

Nick.

Hard Yards
Jun 19, 2018
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Want to do this route in jan, how bad of an idea is it?

what highways are usually opened/closed?

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Summit

Old n' Crusty
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Nov 25, 2004
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Pretty sure you can't drive north - south through Yellowstone NP in January.

Gardiner is just outside the north west entrance and Cooke City is just outside the north east entrance.

  • "Most park roads are closed to regular vehicles from early November to late-April when the park switches to oversnow travel (snowmobiles and snowcoaches).
  • The only road open year-round to automobiles is from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through the park to Cooke City, Montana (via Tower Junction)."

 

Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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Mar 3, 1999
72,448
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Pretty sure you can't drive north - south through Yellowstone NP in January.

Gardiner is just outside the north west entrance and Cooke City is just outside the north east entrance.

  • "Most park roads are closed to regular vehicles from early November to late-April when the park switches to oversnow travel (snowmobiles and snowcoaches).
  • The only road open year-round to automobiles is from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through the park to Cooke City, Montana (via Tower Junction)."

That route does not go through Yellowstone (I think)
 
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dawooduck

relaxed and comfortable
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Oct 26, 2002
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That is a cracker of a drive via West Yellowstone, Driggs, Jackson, Rock Springs, Steamboat, Wolcott, Vail.

Doesn't go through Yellowstone Park so open all year. Flattish a lot of the way, gets snowy and feels quite remote but decent road with Teton Pass to climb and beautiful high winding road country through Bondurant.

Hwy 20-32-33-191-80-789-70

Done it twice in winter in a VW van (2003) and a $400 Merc Cougar 2 door (1985).
 
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Zeroz

A Local
Ski Pass
Apr 8, 2002
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That's a lot of driving. I've done most of the segments on ski trips without any problems

- You're on highways and major roads in areas that are adept at keeping roads open. Snow clearing is kinda their thing.
- But JH to Driggs over Teton Pass is always weather dependent as it's 8400 ft so a storm closes it. May have to wait for clearing.
- You go on the edge of YP via West Yellowstone. Bitterly cold town, 7k ft, roads iced over, driveable, locals using snowmobiles to get around
- Assume this is a ski trip so minor shift is via Kalispell to ski Whitefish and then on to ski Fernie, before Calgary.
 

dawooduck

relaxed and comfortable
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Oct 26, 2002
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Could also include Big Sky and Grand Targee.

The stretch south of West Yellowstone is cold and long but that is part of the adventure. The area is a huge summer rec area but come winter ..... not so much.
 

dawooduck

relaxed and comfortable
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Oct 26, 2002
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Yep kinda blew my mind on my first trip to Jackson that half the motels were closed for winter.

1985 .... dusk is setting in, me n the gf in the 2 door Cougar, Steamboat to Whistler, tyres start slipping as the road freezes up, will we make West Yellowstone, look a light on in the forest, fishing lodge, 3 sledders in the bar and the caretaker, a fun aussie girl, jukebox, shots for all .... stay calm, check the exits it's -12 outside and there are bears in the woods

Fun times in America :)o_O

Probably a Marriot there now
 
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MarzNC

One of Us
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Jun 8, 2017
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When there is blowing snow, may have to take a longer route in Idaho to Bozeman. In good driving weather, can go north on RT32 and skip Rexburg to get to US20. The section of US20 south of West Yellowstone closes fairly often due to low visibility because of blowing snow, even when there isn't an active snowstorm.

Reason I know is that in Feb 2019 my ski buddy picked me up at SLC airport and we went to Driggs to ski Grand Targhee before heading to Bozeman. Had to take RT87 to US287. On the way back to SLC from Big Sky, we decided to take I-15 after going through Virginia City and Twin Bridges.

There was a SkiTalk Gathering at Big Sky that week. A friend (from Washington DC) and his son drove from SLC (son lives in SLC). They ran straight into a snowstorm driving up I-15. Never made it that day. Had to stop in some motel along the way.
 
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CarveMan

Tremendous Slouch
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When there is blowing snow, may have to take a longer route in Idaho to Bozeman. In good driving weather, can go north on RT32 and skip Rexburg to get to US20. The section of US20 south of West Yellowstone closes fairly often due to low visibility because of blowing snow, even when there isn't an active snowstorm.

Reason I know is that in Feb 2019 my ski buddy picked me up at SLC airport and we went to Driggs to ski Grand Targhee before heading to Bozeman. Had to take RT87 to US287. On the way back to SLC from Big Sky, we decided to take I-15 after going through Virginia City and Twin Bridges.

There was a SkiTalk Gathering at Big Sky that week. A friend (from Washington DC) and his son drove from SLC (son lives in SLC). They ran straight into a snowstorm driving up I-15. Never made it that day. Had to stop in some motel along the way.
I got stuck on the wrong side of Teton Pass due to blowing snow one time when driving up from Tahoe. Had to spend the night in Idaho Falls.
 

sli1

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Jun 15, 2001
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Want to do this route in jan, how bad of an idea is it?

what highways are usually opened/closed?

87F20F76-AEF8-4D1F-8F2C-E6A4D2DFD10E.png
I think it depends if you are on a schedule. I've driven from SLC->Butte->Missoula->Spokane->Rossland in Feb. It wasn't snowing and easy driving. We then drove south through Missoula, Bozeman and Jackson Hole. It snowed steadily from JH to Idaho Falls but it was OK. There are lots of skiing options on the way to take advantage of fresh snow (not on that stretch from southern Wyoming to JH though).
 

GS

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
May 20, 2004
14,145
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Yarra Valley Vic
We did pretty much that exact route in Jan 1989 in a little front wheel drive Renault with normal tyres. No dramas, just took it easy in places. Best skiing I had was out from Teton Pass, liked it so much we stayed a week in Jackson and did a few day trips up to the Pass.

Loved the great white expanses..
usa.jpg


Teton Pass and our $1500 Renault from Palm Beach, Florida
usa2.jpg
 

Fozzie Bear

Where's my flapping ears gone.....
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Jun 2, 2014
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I got stuck on the wrong side of Teton Pass due to blowing snow one time when driving up from Tahoe. Had to spend the night in Idaho Falls.

Holiday Inn?

Did the drive a few years ago. On the way back did Teton Village to Reno Nevada, much in a snowstorm, following two thin tracks of snow on the road and not wanting to be one of the many vehicles that seems to go off road. 700 or so miles in one day. Was totally shagged by the time I hit the pillow in some horrendous casino hotel.
 
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CarveMan

Tremendous Slouch
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May 12, 2000
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Holiday Inn?

Did the drive a few years ago. On the way back did Teton Village to Reno Nevada, much in a snowstorm, following two thin tracks of snow on the road and not wanting to be one of the many vehicles that seems to go off road. 700 or so miles in one day. Was totally shagged by the time I hit the pillow in some horrendous casino hotel.
Can't remember but was one of the chains.

Ironically it had an Australian restaurant inside that was run by an Aussie and I had a pie and a Coopers for dinner!
 

Fozzie Bear

Where's my flapping ears gone.....
Ski Pass
Jun 2, 2014
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Can't remember but was one of the chains.

Ironically it had an Australian restaurant inside that was run by an Aussie and I had a pie and a Coopers for dinner!

That was winning as most of the food in that part of the USA is totally shyte. Huge quantities though.
 
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