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40th Birthday Northwest Road Trip - CA -> NV -> ID -> MT -> UT -> NV -> CA (Advice/tips/recommendations appreciated!)

TopRamenGod

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Ford Bronco 40th Birthday Northwest Road Trip - CA -> NV -> ID -> MT -> UT -> NV -> CA (Advice/tips/recommendations appreciated!) 40th birthday route.PNG

My lady, our dog, and I plan on setting out this weekend for the biggest road trip we've taken together. 2 weeks, 5 states, 8 cities, the peak of which will be us spending a few of days visiting Yellowstone, few more days Jackson Hole, and the surrounding areas. We've broken up the route so that each leg is no more than 6 hours of driving on the days we plan to travel between cities, so as not to murder each other in the process.

Most of these are places neither of us have ever been:
- Winnemucca, NV - 1 Night
- Boise, ID - 2 Nights
- Idaho Falls, ID - 1 Night
- Bozeman, MT - 3 Nights
- Jackson Hole, WY - 2 Nights
- Salt Lake City, UT - 3 Nights
- Ely, NV - 2 Nights
- Reno, NV - 1 Night

Ford Bronco 40th Birthday Northwest Road Trip - CA -> NV -> ID -> MT -> UT -> NV -> CA (Advice/tips/recommendations appreciated!) IMG_5491

This will also be the longest trip for Yonder (my 2023 Velocity Blue Wildtrak), and we plan on doing a mix of things:
- Nearby off-road trails/OHV parks
- Hiking
- Rockhounding
- Visiting local restaurants, shops, museums, etc.

I plan to update this thread with some photos and maybe some video of the trip.

I'd love to hear any recommendations for must see gems, trails, or any other things of note near any of these destinations and/or along the way!

Ford Bronco 40th Birthday Northwest Road Trip - CA -> NV -> ID -> MT -> UT -> NV -> CA (Advice/tips/recommendations appreciated!) 20231210_165304

(pic of Murphy for the pup lovers!)
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MileHighCitizen

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I've done a similar trip, I stopped in Craters of the Moon in Idaho and it was gorgeous, but skipped Boise, it's just a small city surrounded by farms. Idaho falls is pretty as well.

Make sure you see the Teton mountains, Lake Jenny at the base of them is a great place to camp. Jackson Hole can get pretty crowded. You can't spend enough time in Yellowstone, there is so much to see and it's impossible to find a bad view. I was there for 5 days, and wished I could have stayed longer.

The mosquitos in Montana are no joke...seriously, bring some netting and lots of citronella if you're camping there!

Southern Utah is A LOT prettier than Northern, though the Salt Flats are a cool sight. Southern Utah looks like the old Spaghetti Westerns or a Wile E Coyote cartoon set, truly one of the most underrated spots in the country. Might be worth the extra driving.

Nevada all kinda looks the same, and was probably my least favorite.

edit to say; your pup is a handsome feller!
 

Grumparoo406

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If you've never been to Yellowstone National Park, it would be an absolute shame to get that close and not spend some time there. It is truly one of the most magical places on earth!
 

5GENIDN

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Okay... from a 5th generation Idahoan..... Who has lived in Pocatello, Twin Falls, Boise and
Coeur D Alene.... I know this state and everything that surrounds it... Screw Al... He is wrong.... Boise is nice. A bit different than a lot of places... Just because I live here now does not mean I have not traveled (an lived for a few years else where.....

On this trip... One do not miss is the Stanley Basin! Prettier than Jackson Hole ever pretended to be. AND less touristy..... Red fish lake... Then up through Challis then over and down toward Jackson Hole.... If You have a minute or two more might I recommend Twin Falls for the Snake River Canyon.... Deeper than the Grand Canyon.... Much Much Narrower though..... There are a lot of Base Jumpers that jump into it from the Prine bridge. That should be nothing more than a quick pass by... stop for an hour take some picks and head out... From there you could head North through Sun Valley and over Galena Summit into the Stanley Basin.... I would cut out a day of Boise Just for that although I would probably cut two days out of Bozeman instead... But that is me.... And I would cut a day out of Ely.... Take the extra route. You will thank me for it.... And like Greg said... DO YELLOWSTONE!
 

TahoeTexan

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Highly recommend Red Lodge, MT on the NE side of Yellowstone.
I live in Reno and can provide all kinds of recommendations depending on what you want to do.
I have a coworker who is big into rock hounding. I'll ask him for recommendations.
Feel free to PM me.
 

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HolidayDog

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The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman is great.

Lots of rocks and roads less traveled in Montana. Be alert for animals on roads. Some can be big and dumb.

I just picked up this hot spring guide for my Idaho trip in June. Good activity for long days in the saddle.

https://a.co/d/isnyjar

if you are into history and a scenic detour ( Idaho Falls~>butte~>Bozeangeles) .Butte America is fascinating! Worth a stop for a historical walking tour. Or a wild night in Uptown Butte is Always fun.
 
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Dog

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I will add that the trip through northern NV and eastern OR is BORING... and Winnemucca not a great choice. Have you considered swinging north and trying Klamath Falls instead before heading east to ID?
 

The Beaz

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Depending on your departure time and location no need to stop over in Winnemucca unless you want to. But go drive the sand dunes just North of town. We typically leave San Francisco at about 7am and arrive in Boise at about 6pm. The prettiest part of that leg is all past Winnemucca on US 95. Stop at Quinn River market in McDermitt and pick up fresh homemade chrozio, some of the best we've ever found. More off the beaten path is to take the Steens Mountain loop.

Boise has an excellent food and brewery scene, hit @4door4family for some of the latest good spots. And for breakfast, hit Merritt's for homemade scones! Take a few hours and head into the mountains to Idaho City, old gold town and a nice hot spring.

You can dig for opal just south of Marsing, the first town in ID you'll roll into. Look for Opaline Gulch.

Definity go to Yellowstone, and through it.....and Grand Teton, you are driving all around the edges, with your stops in Jackson Hole & West Yellowstone, might as well see the heart of them both! Craters of the moon is unique and amazing, worth seeing for sure. Between Craters f the Moon and Idaho Falls is EBR-1, nuclear reactor turned historical site, worth a break to look through.

Get to Stanley Basin/Red fish lake weather permitting.

The slat flats are fun to drive, water levels permitting, and I second cutting a night out of Ely, send it at Great Basin NP, only about 1hr SE of there.

That's a lot of area to cover, We've done it many times, take your time and look for all the fun out of the way places! Looking forward to the report!
 

jbellousux

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I agree that you shouldn’t miss Yellowstone. I would enter the park from the Roosevelt Arch, near the town of Gardinner, very early In the morning to get a jump on traffic. From there, do a little research as to the way you want to drop down through the park on the way to Jackson. The pass to get into Yellowstone is also good to get you into the Grand Tetons. Alternatively, you could enter the park from West Yellowstone, which is a reasonably sized town, but I think you’ll see more coming in from the Roosevelt Arch entrance.
Also, from Ely, you should make the short trek east to Great Basin NP. There’s not any significant infrastructure, save for the very small town of Baker. It’s one of the most lightly visited NPs, but that’s part of its beauty. I don’t think you can currently drive all of the way up Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, but it looks like the first 4.5 miles of it are open. I spent a night in Ely, but there’s not much there.
I was in Reno in September. If you like to gamble, great , but the crowd when I was there was very elderly (and I’m 64!). I enjoyed the National Automobile Museum, but little else. The downtown area around the Truckee River is nice, but was overrun with openly drug-consuming/dealing homeless people.
 

BigSkyBronco

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If you’re going into YNP, drive in to the North entrance from Red Lodge, MT. You will travel the Beartooth Highway, one of the most scenic roads in North America, into WY.
 

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Okay... from a 5th generation Idahoan..... Who has lived in Pocatello, Twin Falls, Boise and
Coeur D Alene.... I know this state and everything that surrounds it... Screw Al... He is wrong.... Boise is nice. A bit different than a lot of places... Just because I live here now does not mean I have not traveled (an lived for a few years else where.....

On this trip... One do not miss is the Stanley Basin! Prettier than Jackson Hole ever pretended to be. AND less touristy..... Red fish lake... Then up through Challis then over and down toward Jackson Hole.... If You have a minute or two more might I recommend Twin Falls for the Snake River Canyon.... Deeper than the Grand Canyon.... Much Much Narrower though..... There are a lot of Base Jumpers that jump into it from the Prine bridge. That should be nothing more than a quick pass by... stop for an hour take some picks and head out... From there you could head North through Sun Valley and over Galena Summit into the Stanley Basin.... I would cut out a day of Boise Just for that although I would probably cut two days out of Bozeman instead... But that is me.... And I would cut a day out of Ely.... Take the extra route. You will thank me for it.... And like Greg said... DO YELLOWSTONE!
I agree on the Stanley area, the Sawtooths are awesome!
 

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If you can find it, pick up the book "Idaho for the Curious". https://www.amazon.com/Idaho-Curious-Guide-Cort-Conley/dp/0960356630

I have traveled all over Idaho and would visit (and still do) places already mentioned:
1. Stanley Basin
2. Craters of the Moon
3. Shoshone Falls
4. Balanced Rock
5. Redfish Lake
6. McCall if you have the time. Great views on HWY 55.

So many more.................

If you not going to Yellowstone (why??), I would go the Challis/Salmon route to MT. East ID is nice but 84 can get boring.

You will hate the drive from Reno-Winnemucca-Jordan Valley but at Jordan Valley you can head east to Silver City. Will give you something to do :) and then head north to Boise via the Owyhee/Birds of Prey area. All off road but in a Bronco it will be an adventure..

Oh, and before you get to HWY 78 you will find some ORV parks but they are more geared to bikes/ATV/UTV's.

Forgot to mention, there will be signs in ID that say "You are responsible for you recovery" if something goes south on you so be sure you are comfortable with your off road capabilities and equipment/vehicle. Buy a GMRS hand held and hit the Boise Repeater at https://www.repeaterbook.com/gmrs/details.php?state_id=16&ID=639, a lot of people monitor it including myself and have a GPS.
 
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pakrat

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Ford Bronco 40th Birthday Northwest Road Trip - CA -> NV -> ID -> MT -> UT -> NV -> CA (Advice/tips/recommendations appreciated!) 20231210_165304

My lady, our dog, and I plan on setting out this weekend for the biggest road trip we've taken together. 2 weeks, 5 states, 8 cities, the peak of which will be us spending a few of days visiting Yellowstone, few more days Jackson Hole, and the surrounding areas. We've broken up the route so that each leg is no more than 6 hours of driving on the days we plan to travel between cities, so as not to murder each other in the process.

Most of these are places neither of us have ever been:
- Winnemucca, NV - 1 Night
- Boise, ID - 2 Nights
- Idaho Falls, ID - 1 Night
- Bozeman, MT - 3 Nights
- Jackson Hole, WY - 2 Nights
- Salt Lake City, UT - 3 Nights
- Ely, NV - 2 Nights
- Reno, NV - 1 Night

Ford Bronco 40th Birthday Northwest Road Trip - CA -> NV -> ID -> MT -> UT -> NV -> CA (Advice/tips/recommendations appreciated!) 20231210_165304

This will also be the longest trip for Yonder (my 2023 Velocity Blue Wildtrak), and we plan on doing a mix of things:
- Nearby off-road trails/OHV parks
- Hiking
- Rockhounding
- Visiting local restaurants, shops, museums, etc.

I plan to update this thread with some photos and maybe some video of the trip.

I'd love to hear any recommendations for must see gems, trails, or any other things of note near any of these destinations and/or along the way!

Ford Bronco 40th Birthday Northwest Road Trip - CA -> NV -> ID -> MT -> UT -> NV -> CA (Advice/tips/recommendations appreciated!) 20231210_165304

(pic of Murphy for the pup lovers!)
Two nights in Ely? Oh my.
 

MileHighCitizen

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... Screw Al... He is wrong.... Boise is nice.

.... I would cut out a day of Boise...
lol, ok

No need to be mean, my guy... I was just implying that on this trip he's planning, spending extra time camping in other parts of Idaho would be better than seeing another city just to sit in a restaurant. I would have told him to skip Denver as well and spend time seeing nature in Colorado, nothing against the city itself.
 

Callelk

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One other thing, since you are bringing your pup be mindful of your surroundings. As you probably know, Idaho sits on the Yellowstone Caldera. Not everyone know this but if you are traveling HWY 20 there are areas along the side of the road that have hot water quicksand (ask me how I know:)) and keep the pup away from the hot springs. Additionally, like CA, ID does have rattlesnakes even in the higher elevations so just keep an eye out as it is starting to get warmer out there.
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