Author Topic: Connecting Transam and L&C  (Read 10783 times)

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Offline karmelj

Connecting Transam and L&C
« on: November 20, 2011, 09:11:57 pm »
Three friends and I will be riding cross country this coming summer.  We would like to start on the northern tier, connect with the TA and go south until grand Teton and Yellowstone.  From there we would like to head east through Wyoming and South Dakota riding through the black hills, seeing badlands national park, devils tower and meeting up with the L&C.  We would appreciate rout advice and road conditions on this stretch!

Offline jamawani

Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2011, 11:34:03 pm »
If you start on the Northern Tier - remember not to start too early.
The North Cascades Highway can be closed well into May.
And Going to the Sun Road in Glacier rarely opens before mid June.
Thus, Memorial Day is about as early as you would want to start.

That said - your proposed route in the Western U.S. is really the best.
There are a couplr of options connecting Glacier to Yellowstone.
I suggest US 89 on the east side of the Rockies rather than the AC route to the west.
Why? Views, lower traffic, plus you definitely want to ride Going to the Sun Road.
US 89 thru Great Falls (nice Riverfront Trail) is sweet.
There is a back road into Livingston north of the Yellowstone River.
Plus the Eastside Road south of Livingston is way, way better than US 89.

From Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone N.P. - take the East Entrance over Sylvan Pass.
Then follow US 14/16/20 to Cody - all services.  Stay on US 14/16/20 to Greybull.
From Greybull you can either take US 14 over the Bighorns to Sheridan -
Or you can go via Tensleep and take US 16 over the mountains to Buffalo.
Whichever way you go you should continue on US 14/16 via Clearmont to Gillette.

The Bighorns have the most beautiful wildflowers in the West.
Plan to stay on top - although it might be chilly.
Also plan for some killer climbs and white-knuckle descents.

From Gillette, take the back road (Wyo 51) to Moorcroft -
Then Take US 14 to Wyo 24 to Devil's Tower.
Stay on Wyo 24 becoming SD 34 to Belle Fourche.
Then take the back road to Spearfish and follow Spearfish Canyon into the Black Hills.

You should consider riding part of the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills -
Nice, plus the highways have a lot of cars.
Rapid City is busy - but you'll probably want to be on SD 44 to the Badlands.
The western extension of the Badlands Loop is unpaved hardpack.
(I really, really wouldn't ride I-90 from Rapid - bleah!)

From Interior, continue on SD 44 thru Wamblee to White River (camping at fairgrounds).
There are a number of ways to cut down into northern Nebraska.
Neb 12 is a really fine ride along the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers.
And that takes you to Sioux City - - - Sue.  (Which is on the L&C)

Offline karmelj

Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 12:16:07 am »
Thank you so much for the fantastic advice!!
We really appreciate the help and advice you've provided in both of our posts!
It looks to be a fantastic trip!
 -Thanks again for the specific answer

Offline karmelj

Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 12:22:41 am »
Oh and we'll be leaving in late June so the whether conditions should be suitable.
Also we have about 10 weeks to complete the tour.  How long would you estimate this rout would take? (we would be riding relatively quickly, but would stop and take rest days at many of the parks)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011, 12:30:14 am by karmelj »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 09:54:13 am »
Just a couple of notes on jama's proposed route.  First, it picks up the Yellowstone Canyon (and Tower Falls) nicely, but it misses most of the geothermal activity (like Old Faithful).  Second, it completely misses the Tetons, which I still think is the better part of the Yellowstone-Grand Teton duo.

If you take that route, I'd recommend spending a couple days doing the bus tour.  It takes about a day to circle Yellowstone, and it's worth that much time (at least!).  There was another bus tour starting in the Grand Tetons and doing the Yellowstone loop, but I don't know if there's one going down towards Jackson from Yellowstone.

What about riding south towards Jackson or Jenny Lake, then turning east over Togwotee Pass (great view over your shoulder!), following the Wind River east then north toward the Bighorn, and picking up the rest of j's route from there?

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Connecting TransAm and L&C
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2011, 05:15:41 pm »
IF you enjoy the Mickelson Trail and Katy Trail type riding, you might consider doing the entire Mickelson Trail route then dropping down and over to Valentine, NE and pick up the Cowboy Trail.  This will take you to Norfolk where you can then either continue due east to Onawa, IA to the L&C or, with less traffic, go up to Sioux City to the L&C.

If you have time, I too would suggest dipping down to the Tetons as they are quite nice.

Offline karmelj

Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 01:27:34 am »

Could you explain where I can find the location of fairgrounds or do you know a place that lists campgrounds in Wyoming and South Dakota campgrounds in Wyoming and South Dakota?


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Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2012, 11:01:05 am »

Could you explain where I can find the location of fairgrounds or do you know a place that lists campgrounds in Wyoming and South Dakota campgrounds in Wyoming and South Dakota?

Google "camgrounds south dakota" and the same for Wyoming and you will find some resources, although I doubt they are complete. If you have a general idea of the towns you will be passing through you can search Google Maps for "campgrounds near [name of town]." Zooming out once the map pops up will broaden the search results. County and town chamber of commerce/visitor web sites can also yield results. If you will be passing through national forests, the search the U.S.F.S. web site for the particular forests. Same thing for any national parks/recreation areas.

Offline jamawani

Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2012, 09:35:40 pm »
Karmelj -

Generally speaking, most western states don't have many camping facilities at their fairgrounds - other than for self-contained units during county fairs - because there is so much camping on public lands nearby.  Also, it would compete with commercial campgrounds in town.  If you want to camp in town it will usually cost - or you can find CouchSurfing hosts.

There are three main public lands agencies - the National Park Service - parks, the U.S. Forest Service - mountains, and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) - desert.  Random camping - i.e. free anywhere - is usually permitted by the USFS and the BLM - but NOT by the NPS.  You just have to be 1/2 mile from a developed site.

The quality of your trip will be much enhanced if you try to avoid town hopping every night.  Yes, it's nice to have all the conveniences of town - but the West is where you have all that spectacular nature.  All you have to do is make sure to pick up supplies in the last town you pass thru.  Also, a basic water filter gives you so many more random camping options.

As you get into the Plains states, you will find many more towns that permit camping at the fairgrounds or a town park.  The Northern Tier maps will cover camping up to Glacier.  Along US 89, there's camping in Choteau, you can ask to camp behind the Warm Springs (usually if you buy a soak ticket they will let you pitch a tent for free), you can beg a spot at the Livingston fairgrounds if you catch the caretaker and there's nothing else going on.

As you get into the Plains states there is very little federal public land - after the Black Hills if you're going thru S.D.  You might consider state fishing access sites on water bodies and wildlife management areas - all searchable via the web.  WORD OF WARNING - Do not presume to pitch a tent on reservations unless clearly permitted by someone.  Native peoples do not take kindly to trespassers.  I have always been treated kindly on many, many reservations - but I do not presume and I do not stealth camp.  Common courtesy.


PS - White River, SD does have camping at the county fairgrounds,
It is a comfortable day's ride from Badlands NP campground at Interior.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 09:41:16 pm by jamawani »