Planning a road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park? This article will help you plan a road map for your journey, along with giving you some tips such as where to stay, what to do, and more.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started –
Road Trip from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park
If you need a short break from your hectic life, setting out for a road trip can be the best option. The reason behind suggesting a road trip is its incredible scenic beauty which you can enjoy while driving. A road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park can be enough to refresh your mood in no time.
Yellowstone is the first national park in America, located on the western side of the USA. The journey will probably be long, but it has several opportunities to enjoy a fantastic road trip.
If you are cheered up enough to give it a shot, look no further; in this article, we will share the best recommendation for the road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park.
We will be discussing the best possible transport option you can opt for. Also, we will guide you on when and how you can go to that place so that you do not have to face any hurdles.
Chicago to Yellowstone National Park – Distance and how long will it take to complete the journey?
The road from Chicago to Yellowstone is long enough and covers almost 1340 miles. You will encounter several spots from Chicago like Wisconsin, South Dacota, Wyoming, etc.
Covering 1340 miles can take time, depending on your transportation. If you are planning the road trip without significant halts, you can cover it within 23 hours. However, moving the whole journey in one day can be hectic, so you also have the option to hide the journey within 2-4 days.
You can enjoy the road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park with different transportation, so the time will vary. The distance from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park is approximately 1340 miles, but whenever you are coming with your car, there is a high chance of getting attracted to the road trip’s beauty. This will lead you to spend some extra miles.
Alternatively, you can take transport options like Train, Bus and Drive.
The journey will take almost 43 hours to complete if you choose the journey by train, and the pathway will be different here. The journey begins in Chicago Union Station, from where you can get a train that will take you to salt lake city. It will take almost 34 hours to reach Salt Lake City, and you take a Taxi to Bountiful. This is the shortest journey, and it takes only 9 minutes. From here, you can get buses for Island park, which crosses the Rexburg and takes almost one hour to reach. From there, you can get another bus leading directly to Yellowstone Park, and the journey duration is one and a half hours.
You can choose the flight to reach Yellowstone National Park. The train is available from Jackson Blue to reach Chicago O’Hare. From here, you can take flights to get Billing. From Billing, you can get a car leading to Yellowstone in 4 hours. However, from O’Hare, you can have another flight to reach Bozeman, and from the airport, you can get a shuttle to reach Yellowstone. If you want a smooth trip, you can also take the flight from O’Hare to West Yellowstone, direct flight, and from there, you can enjoy the road trip in a car.
Opting for flight, you can also reach Yellowstone National Park from a different pathway, and the journey will begin in Washington. From there, you can get the flight from Chicago Midway. This is a 5 hours journey; from here, you will reach Jackson, and from then, you can take a car and enjoy your ride.
Chicago to Yellowstone National Park Road Trip Map
Yellowstone is located on the west side of Chicago and in a straightforward way, and if you are riding your car, you can see many visiting places on the way. However, keeping an offline map printed on your own is best. Here we will share the road map from Chicago to Yellowstone.
However, the journey starts from the west side of Chicago, and you have to drive through I-88, and you will end up at the Iowa state line. You can shift the line to I-80 and reach Omaha after driving 285 miles.
You can continue your journey towards the west, and you can get to the spot where I-880 starts. This state line is 16.5 miles long, and you can switch the road to I-29 at the end and from where you can set for Sioux falls.
From here, you can take I-90 West after completing almost 556 miles across the roads of Wyoming, which is well known as the town of buffalo, which ends at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains.
After driving the flat roads, which can be monotonous, you can enjoy the country road from here. So you can take the US-16 for the final 220 miles, and you will end up at the Town of Ten sleep.
From there, you can move north, and from Ten sleep Hyattville road, you can follow Routes 49 and 31, and you will end up at Manderson.
When you enter Manderson, you are just a few miles away from Yellowstone National Park, and to reach there, you can take the US-30 north, and through Route 30, you can contact the US-14.
This is Burlington, and you can easily access Yellowstone National Park’s East entrance.
Chicago to Yellowstone National Park Train
You can cover the whole trip by train, and for that, you need to start from Chicago, leading you to salt lake Station. It will cover almost 1615 miles in 33 hours. The probable fare is $210 for a person. The train from Chicago to Salt Lake Station departs once a day.
To move to the next step, you must take another train from Salt Lake Central Station to Salt lake City, UT, and you can take trains to reach there.
It is just an 8-minute journey for $3, and the availability of the train is high. From Salt Lake, you can get Buses; it takes 6 hours to reach Yellowstone city. The bus will cover almost 520 miles, and the bus fare is $95.
However, the availability of the buses is lower as it departs only one bus a day, so make sure to pre-book the bus when you are making plans.
However, the journey does not end here; you must take a car to reach Yellowstone National park. You can hire a car from there, and it will take only 5 hours to get to the park.
Also Read – Road Trip from Denver to Grand Canyon
Chicago to Yellowstone places to stop between Chicago and Yellowstone National Park
On the way, you can stop at several places from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park.
If you are coming by driving your car, the best advice you can get from people who have traveled there is that you must take at least 5-6 days in hand to enjoy the stops in the midway of the road trip.
Here we have shared some of the best stops to take between Chicago and Yellowstone National Park –
Glacial Drumline State Trail
This is a mini spot near Wisconsin State Park campground, just 45 minutes from east madison. For a quick night trip, it is the best place. It will take only 2.5 hours from Chicago to reach sandhill station campground.
Great River Bluffs State Park
Great River Bluffs State park can be a great stop midway from Chicago to Yellowstone. The state park is located in Minnesota State park in Winona, and after leaving Wisconsin, this place can be an excellent stop to stay as this place has a campground so that you can get a camping option too. The best thing about the site is you can have a look at the Mississippi river after a short hike.
On the midway from Chicago to Yellowstone, you get the spot named Des Moines in Iowa state, and Des Moines is the largest city in the state. The best way to complete the journey from Chicago to Yellowstone is to take a rest from time to time, and for that, Des Moines can be the best place. This city is known for its entertaining purpose, and you can get to visit the museum of John Wayne as it is his birthplace.
You will get a glance of Rapid city after crossing South Dakota, and this place is famous for multiple national parks. You can also see the Historic Town of Deadwood and other forests. The best part is that you can get the wildlife safaris, The crazy horse and Mount Rushmore mountains. You can see the Knees massacre, which is just one and half hours distant from the city. One of the great attractions of the place is the Black Hill View; you can select your accommodation nearby the area.
You can split your trip to Sioux falls as it is in the middle of the journey. This fall is situated on the banks of the Big Sioux River in South Dakota. If you are a nature lover, this place will please you. The site is far away from the busy town’s hustle and bustle.
Also Read – How safe is Illinois for Travel
Things To See On A Road Trip From Chicago To Yellowstone National Park
Regarding road trips, it is not just a mere trip but a lot to see and absorb. When you have the road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone, you will encounter a lot of places. Here we will provide a short list of them so that you do not miss out on them.
- Badlands National park – It is a national park in South Dakota, and you can enjoy the loop road ride from the car. The campgrounds are available here, so you can also hike the hills.
- Wall Drug- this place is the favorite of the tourists and is also located in South Dakota. Over 2 million tourists visit this place annually for its billboards and many other attractions.
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial – This place is near Rapid city, and you can come to this place to see the famous black hills, Iron Mountain roads tunnel, and many more.
- Iowa Cornfield– If you visit the Yellowstone national park, the beauty of the Iowa cornfield will mesmerize you.
- John Wayne Birthplace Museum– This museum is located in the small town of Winterset, which is the museum dedicated to John Wayne.
- Omaha- This is just a neighborhood place. Here you can get a chance to see a zoo and some excellent beer and food.
- Bear Country USA – you can see the bears with different local animals here.
- Devils Tower National Monument – As the name suggests, it is famous for its devilish mystery and beauty.
- Crazy Horse Memorial – This statue was curated in 1948 and is the second largest statue in the world.
- Thunder Basin National Grassland – this flat grassland is located in Wyoming.
- Bighorn National Forest- This place is the oldest national forest in America and is famous for the Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark.
- Shoshone National Forest – 2.5 acres covered. This place is one of the oldest and most protected forests in America.
- Spearfish Falls – after being done with mount Rushmore, you can see Spearfish Falls in South Dakota.
Best Time To Go On A Road Trip From Chicago To Yellowstone National Park
The road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone national park is famous for its wonderful experience of watching the roads and enjoying the weather. For the journey, you must be on the road, which is why checking the weather is crucial.
As you can imagine, the temperature of Death Valley in the Grand Canyon is unbearable, but thankfully, the Yellowstone National Park is not the same. Though some tourists visit the places in July or August, the best time to explore the area is September when you can get the rain with little warmth of summer.
However, the national park is closed in winter, so you must plan accordingly.
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