Dream Road Trip (Chicago to Yellowstone National Park)

Understand when I say it’s not easy to plan a road trip, but planning a nine-day long road trip over 5000 miles going across 11 states in a pandemic. There were a few essential tips when planning the road trip, especially in the pandemic year. We decided to go just before the fall started and almost the end of the summer. It was around the 1st week of September we decided to start our trip.

The road we should take should have many rest stops (like a big open area for a rest stop)

Plenty of drive-thru restaurants on the way.

Good stockpile of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and N-95 Masks.


Above were the extra precautions we have to take for a pandemic, and now let me take you through the planning we did to execute this road trip because it has to be completed with perfection. After all, we have to come back by Sunday afternoon to have a good amount of rest for the Monday office.

The trip’s starting date was September 6th, 2020, and the ending date should be September 13th, 2020. So we had almost seven full nights and eight days to complete the trip from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park and come back to Chicago. So plan was

Chicago (IL) -> Rapid City -> Badlands National Park (SD) -> Mount Rushmore (SD) -> Jackson (WY) -> Yellowstone National Park (WY) -> Salt Lake City (UT) -> Bonville Salt Flats (UT) -> Omaha (NE) -> Chicago (IL)

Planning for the trip and places to visit:- We will be almost making a 4.5K miles trip. We tried to keep our driving days because we wanted to cover as much stretch on a driving day. This would have helped us to spend some quality time on the places we wanted to visit. We kept our driving limit to 14 hours. 

Below is the list of the places which you can cover on the way to Yellowstone National park from Chicago and vice versa.

  • Badlands National Park
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Yellowstone National Park.
  • Bonville Salt Flats

Day 1:- September 6th, 2020:- We started early on the 1st day of our trip in Chicago keeping in mind that we have almost 13 hours drive to our first pit stop in Rapid City, SD. As we have to cover 13 hours by drive we made sure that we don’t stop a lot in between, and we also prepared the lunch and kept good amount of snacks so that our stop becomes minimal. So we just took 3 breaks for entire day drive, we took the coffee break twice where we did stop in Starbucks drive thru to have coffee, and also we stopped in the rest area for lunch which we prepared from home. This we made sure that we spend more time on road then break.

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