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Old 11-02-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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I am just wondering if anyone has any input for the best route from Memphis to Big Sky, MT around Thanksgiving? I've driven several different ways in the past, but never in winter conditions. Thinking about heading 1-40 all the way west and then up through Salt Lake....any other suggestions? Any tips on roads/areas to avoid? Thanks
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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We've made a few winter interstate trips and my biggest advice would be to always take the route with the most towns to pull off in once you get into snow country. We've had to pull off to let storms pass at hotels. Even one interstate is a longer drive, but has more towns/cities, take that one.
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksmith1234 View Post
I am just wondering if anyone has any input for the best route from Memphis to Big Sky, MT around Thanksgiving? I've driven several different ways in the past, but never in winter conditions. Thinking about heading 1-40 all the way west and then up through Salt Lake....any other suggestions? Any tips on roads/areas to avoid? Thanks

That's a LOOOONG way out of route and there isn't any good way to get from I-40 onto I-15 to Salt Lake City without going through Las Vegas.

Try this, but be aware that whichever way you go, you're likely to hit snow that time of year, especially near your destination. Big Sky is at a pretty high elevation.

From Memphis, go north on I-55 to St. Louis and then west on I-70 all the way to Denver, CO and up I-25 to Cheyenne, WY. Or, you could go up I-29 from Kansas City to Omaha, NB and then west on I-80. Either way, you'll end up in Cheyenne, WY.

From Cheyenne you have two choices, one west and one north. Personally, I'd keep an eye on the weather to make that choice, but it might not matter. I could be snowing either way.

West: I-80 to I-84 just across the Utah line. Then, north on I-15, through Pocatello to Idaho Falls. (There's a short-cut via US-30 from Little America, WY to McCammon, UT, but it's all two lane and goes over a pretty good mountain just before Soda Springs, ID but it does cut off over 100 miles.)

From there, take US-20 east (though it's actually going north) to West Yellowstone. You'll go up Targhee Pass (elev. 7000+). It's a good upgrade and it snows there a lot, but the state is pretty good about sanding it, sooner or later. At West Yellowstone, go up US-191 to Big Sky, but watch out for Moose, Elk or Bears in the road, especially in the part which passes through the National Park.

North: From Cheyenne, stay on I-15 to it's junction with I-90 at Buffalo, WY. Then, west on I-90 past the Little Bighorn Battlefield, past Billings and on to Bozeman. Take US-191 south to Big Sky (it's actually going west, but is marked south until Four Corners where it heads south. Don't miss the turn). On that route, you'll stay pretty much out on the Great Plains where the wind can complicate any snow which falls. But, that'll be even more true on the western route out of Cheyenne, especially in the first 100 miles or so. However, the last 50 miles or so to Big Sky is generally uphill, so it might not be snowing at Bozeman and falling like heck the farther you go.

Just take it easy, pay attention to the weather and don't push it. If you're uncomfortable with the weather, stop and let it blow over.
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