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Old 03-31-2016, 08:11 PM   #1
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Question about "grades" around Yellowstone

We are heading out to Yellowstone this summer and are planning our travel route. i have never driven in this neck of the woods, let alone with a large TH (XLR 29HFS). We are coming from the east going around the north side of Yellowstone and staying near the west entrance. We will then be traveling south to the Grand Tetons staying at Colter Bay. We will then be heading back east to more flat land.

Just curious how steep the grades really are on our planned route (see attached...)

Thank you for your responses/suggestions...
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Old 04-01-2016, 06:19 AM   #2
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To be honest, your map image is so small I canít tell what roads you are taking. Perhaps you could upload a larger map of your route.
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Old 04-01-2016, 06:41 AM   #3
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You'll find 6% just about the max grade. Not really a problem, however, more so when going down the grades. Don't ride the brakes, let the transmission gears in vehicle do the work of holding you unit's speed down and hit the brakes to slow you the rest of the way down and then get off them so they can cool down.
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Old 04-01-2016, 09:13 AM   #4
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An old truckers rule that has been hand down on the Turbo Diesel Register web site; is what ever gear you pull up the hill in, that is the gear you go down in.

I normally pull in 5th gear up most 6% or greater rises and stay in the same gear going down. But I have one of the newer 6.7L Cummins with the VGT turbo and exhaust brake which will really slow me down.

In your case you have a 6.0L gas engine and I do not know if you have a 6 spd auto or not, but you may want to try a lower gear than drive when climbing a 6% slop. So this way when descending the rise you can control the load through the drive train using engine braking.
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:50 AM   #5
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yellowstone driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevejd235 View Post
We are heading out to Yellowstone this summer and are planning our travel route. i have never driven in this neck of the woods, let alone with a large TH (XLR 29HFS). We are coming from the east going around the north side of Yellowstone and staying near the west entrance. We will then be traveling south to the Grand Tetons staying at Colter Bay. We will then be heading back east to more flat land.

Just curious how steep the grades really are on our planned route (see attached...)

Thank you for your responses/suggestions...
Be mindful of the northeast entrance from Cody, the Bear tooth pass is 10,900 ft, long hard pull hard on tow vehicle.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:00 PM   #6
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We pulled our WJ 3001w through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone last year with a 1500 Sierra, 5.3 ltr. and really had no issues. We came in from the west but left out the east side. You have a little bigger engine and the heavier frame. Don't think you are going to run up the grades at 65 MPH with no trouble, you can but the engine will be screaming in 3rd gear @ 4100 RPM. I was told by GMC that this wasn't an issue as the computer will not let you hurt the engine, however I usually topped the steeper grades in 4th at about 3100 RPM, which was around 50 MPH. About the same speed as any larger trucks you will see. DO watch downhill and use the manual shift feature to keep your foot from riding the brakes. We loved it and hope you have fun too!
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:01 PM   #7
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Also, use your Tow/Haul mode when descending in a lower gear. Your RPM's will be higher, but the engine will help slow you down. Just make sure you have good brakes before leaving. We just replaced ours and it makes a huge difference.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:23 PM   #8
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We came from the south on US191 to Jackson,Wy. pulling a 5thwheel . No problems at all. We also stayed in West Yellowstone,Montana. Stay far away from Beartooth when towing.We went to the top of Beartooth Mnt. in the pickup ,not towing. Us 191 to us 212 was hilly, to Devil's Tower was back the way east for us.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:57 PM   #9
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Looks like you plan to take I-90 out and I-80 back for a round trip. We did just the opposite from Michigan. Out on I-80 and back I-90 thru Wisconsin and the UP. The only grades on the whole trip that I was concerned with was from WY into SD. I took I-25 south from Buffalo WY and a 2 lane thru Ten Sleep to Mt Rushmore. Not sure what Mt range it was called but it was pretty hairy. Really glad I had hill descent mode on my TV it really worked good and hardly had to use the brakes. I toke this route on purpose to give myself a challenge.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:58 PM   #10
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Driving a classA gasser with NO toad..would you guys who have done it coming from the east go straight in from Cody on Rt.14 or choose another route? Is Beartooth both up and down or is it mostly up going in and mostly down heading back east? Aside from the grade.. is the road wide enough & in decent condition? Thinking about coming in that way and leaving from the south through Grand Teton but I could either swap that road choice or use the same one in and out.
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:25 PM   #11
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Never drove anything larger than a PU truck and a popup on Beartooth, but it was tight in some of the turns on the Beartooth.

Going west on Hwy 412 (Beartooth Hwy) out of Red Lodge MT you hit the switchbacks, narrow in some places, that have a pretty good grade; not sure what it actually is; maybe 6?

After the switchbacks it is an easy drive to Cooke City and into Yellowstone.

As for the east entrance, that is no problem. I have seen large motorhomes pulling good size vehicles, seen very long three axle fifth wheels, etc. This is the easiest of the two routes in or out of Yellowstone. But nowhere as nice as the Beartooth.
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:42 PM   #12
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Thanks...I was worried about RT14 to the east entrance...good to hear that is OK. Took a look at the route on Beartooth and it looks like someone was having fun designing that one...
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:43 PM   #13
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From your route you look pretty good except for the road going over Teton Pass on hiway 33 from Victor to Jackson. That is a steep 6% going up and down. Also hiway 26 Moran to Dubois has some grades. Once past Dubois you got it made.


If it were me I would go from West Yellowstone through YNP and out south to the Jackson area.
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:51 PM   #14
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Get mountain directory west . from amazon.
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:17 PM   #15
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Camaraderie....Beartooth is steep and long coming SW from Red Lodge. The road collapsed down the mountain a few years ago so the reconstructed grade and pavement will be fairly new. It snowed up there in mid August and we followed the plow down into YNP. The descent into YSP is more gradual. It was part of the big burn area. A very pretty way in from the north is on US 89 thru Gardiner. Nice scenery. Check park road info for construction areas. Stay on your local time zone and you will have that big RV out ahead of the crowds. Otherwise, very difficult.
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Thanks...I was worried about RT14 to the east entrance...good to hear that is OK. Took a look at the route on Beartooth and it looks like someone was having fun designing that one...
An old Forest service video on the building of the Beartooth. Quite a feat...

https://youtu.be/78HnNT689ac
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:32 PM   #17
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Here is a good reference app or hardback copy. Read the story about how this was developed. Some say it's too high priced but I like it as do some others. Just an option for you.. Mountain Directory for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:33 PM   #18
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Can't thank everyone enough for their input on my route. I know the picture/image was small but that was the about the largest I was allowed to upload (had to keep downsizing it... ).

Here is the "text" version of the route - Coming out of Billings on I-90 west to Bozeman. Then heading south on US191 to the west entrance of YNP (Grizzly Park...). Will head south on US20 down to Jackson, then up US191 to Colter Bay in GTNP. From there, we will head southeast on US26 to Shoshoni (and over to SD...).

I plan on redoing the brakes before the trip. I always use the "tow/haul" mode but will make sure I down shift on the steeper grades (up & down...). We will have the trailer parked for 5 days at YNG and 3 days at GTNP. All day trips will just be with the truck.

Once again, I appreciate all the wonderful suggestions. Have a great day...
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:26 PM   #19
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I'll ditto Steve's remarks...thanks to all. Based on the input...I think we're gonna go out via I80...and end up in Cody where we'll go in on RT14 to YNP...where we have reservations then down 191 to Colter Bay for a few day in GTNP...then out the back door on 26... to eventually take us up to I90 where we can see some of SD on the way home.
We're gonna do this after Goshen so this will be in late August or early Sept. ...Thanks again!
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:44 PM   #20
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Like dalford, I carry the Mountain Directory books (East and West). They are now available in soft cover and quite reasonable.
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