Author Topic: Pierre, SD to Yellowstone  (Read 11371 times)

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Offline denbec

Pierre, SD to Yellowstone
« on: February 19, 2009, 10:52:00 pm »
I'm looking to connect L&C trail from Pierre, SD to Yellowstone and I need to go through Gillette, WY to visit my Sister.  I spoke with some good folks (the Shultz's) who took a similar route last year but they went into Montanna for a good portion of the ride.  I'm thinking of going from Belle Fourche, SD and basically take US 14 across the state of Wyoming.  Has anyone done this route that could offer some info or advice?

Thanks in advance for your help!


Offline valygrl

Re: Pierre, SD to Yellowstone
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2009, 02:37:09 am »
Yes, I did basically that in the other direction as part of a cross country trip.  I would highly recommend it.  See link for google map (ignore eastern portion), there were a few deviations off the 14 (I wanted to go to Devil's Tower, see the badlands, etc).

I've crossed the Bighorns twice, once as you see on the map, west to east, via Worland / Tensleep / Buffalo and once east to west  via Ranchester / Granite Pass / Shell Cyn /  Greybull.  Both were excellent, I would repeat either, but preferred the southern route b/c it was more rugged and remote and higher.  The northern Lovell route is purported to be very very steep (uphill west to east, so downhill for you).

The segment between Gillette and Buffalo is quite empty (hilly, hot in summer, windy) but there are two tiny towns, Spotted Horse (population 2, I'm not kidding) which is just a bar in the middle of nowhere,  and Clearmont which has a bar and a gas station and a park.  It's just enough, but be aware and carry extra water.

Wyoming was awesome.

By the way, when entering Yellowstone, the road between Cody and the park to the west is ok, but if you can manage 120 north to 296 (Sunlight Basin Rd) to Cooke City, that is one of the most spectacular (and remote, and hilly) roads I have ever been on.  Hard hills, but incredible riding - no cars, incredible scenery.  I also hear the Beartooth Hwy (east from Cooke City) is great, but didn't make it there (yet).

Have a wonderful trip.

Offline denbec

Re: Pierre, SD to Yellowstone
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2009, 05:26:05 pm »
Great reply Valygrl - thanks for the advice.  Will finding camping spots be an issue across Wyoming?

Offline valygrl

Re: Pierre, SD to Yellowstone
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2009, 05:51:21 pm »
I didn't have a problem finding camping in developed campgrounds - mix of private, forest service and national park.  There's some opportunities for dispersed forest service / BLM camping, esp. in the Bighorns, but there is a also quite a bit of private property that is very open - so if you are planning to "stealth camp" it might be a bit challenging finding a stealthy spot. 

Other than the bighorns and that section between Gillette & Buffalo, and the Sunlight Basin, there are services less than 50 miles apart. 

Offline denbec

Re: Pierre, SD to Yellowstone
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2009, 09:43:29 am »
Thanks again Valgryl - and here is a possibly stupid question - how do you go about finding campgrounds?  Is there possibly a state map that has them listed?

Thanks again for all your help!


Offline valygrl

Re: Pierre, SD to Yellowstone
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2009, 07:04:20 pm »
No problem Dennis.  I find campgrounds and services by using :
- AAA maps & camp books
- recreational maps - there's a recreational map of the state of Wyoming that shows BLM campgrounds, fishing ramps, that sort of thing - can be purchased in a gas station when you get into the state, probably. 
- free maps / brochures from Visitor Centers / Chamber of Commerce (many towns have these)
- brochures from campgrounds / RV parks - like if you are staying in a KOA, they'll have a brochure telling you where all the other KOAs are - I always end up with a bunch of these things, and just tear out the relevant pages and get rid of the ads.

I tried to use a mapping program with points of interest (like on a GPS) but found it to be unreliable, especially in areas that aren't very populated - stores go out of business, for example.  SO I wouldn't recommend relying on a POI database in a GPS or street atlas program.

I also ask people in towns about what's in the next town - ask about stores, restaurants, hotels, parks.  Most people don't know about camping near them.

Just think it through, you'll get the hang of it really fast. 

Offline denbec

Re: Pierre, SD to Yellowstone
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2009, 07:05:01 pm »
That's great advice for me and others!  Thanks again and happy biking!

Offline litespeed

Re: Pierre, SD to Yellowstone
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2009, 07:01:26 pm »
I have done Pierre SD to Yellowstone. I camped every night (sometimes a few nights) in Pierre, Kadoka, Interior, Rapid City, Hill City, Newcastle, Gillette, Sheridan, Lovell, Wapiti and Yellowstone. Plenty of private and state campgrounds on this stretch. I also had no problem finding eats except on the Gillette-Sheridan stretch (although there was a little restaurant in Leiter) . I did it in one day but should have stopped for the night in Clearmont.

The highest temperatures I've ever encountered on my bicycle touring travels was in the Badlands - 114 degrees.

The climb up into the Bighorns from Dayton is plenty tough but be grateful you are heading west. The drop off the other side down to Lovell is absolutely hair raising - 10 degrees for 13 miles and very winding. I heard from a guy on this forum who climbed this. He stood in his granny gear for 3 hours. When I descended it I passed two motorcycles and a car.

You might consider a side trip to see the Devil's Tower and don't miss the light show at Mt Rushmore. .

The climb up into Yellowstone on 14 is tiresome and heavily trafficked but can't be avoided. Yellowstone is a fascinating place but brace yourself for hordes of tourists in the summer.