Scenic route from IL to OR?

I'll be driving from northern Illinois to Portland, OR in a little over a week and I'm looking for advice on the best/most scenic route to take. My plan is to take about 6 days to get out there so that I have to time to stop and hike/bike places. I will have 2 mountain with (2 of us going), and some hiking equipment but not a ton. Looking for suggestions of can't miss places along the way, or even a full itinerary.

The tentative plan was to do Badlands, SD, Mt. Rushmore Devil's Tower, WY, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park. However Yellowstone and Glacier are flexible if there is something more worthy. Also the route is very flexible, I don't mind going out of the way to see something worth it. This is likely the only trek across country I will do for a very long time so I want to make it enjoyable.


Sadly the 6 days is not flexible. I have to work up until one the day before the drive, and move into my new place/start work back up in Portland a little over a week later.

here is the map of the route I have planned so far:,+il&dad...

3 Answers

  • Ryan
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I am assuming you are from the Chicago area?

    I-90 is the only way to go if you want to visit the places you want to visit. Glaciet National Park is out. So is Badlands.

    Day One:

    IL to Mitchell, SD (~10 1/2 hours plus)...Stop by the corn palace...

    Day Two:

    Mitchell, SD to Keystone, SD (~4 1/2 hours plus)....

    The Badlands has to be out. You don't have enough time. You should drive in the morning, spend the afternoon at Mount Rushmore, and the evening driving to Gillette, WY

    Keystone, SD to Gillette, WY (~2 1/2 hours plus)...

    Day Three:

    Gillette, WY to Yellowstone NP (~6 hours plus)...

    The time at Devils Head is going to have to be quick. You should get to Yellowstone by the late evening (~7 or 8 pm).

    Day Four:

    Explore Yellowstone.

    Day Five:

    Yellowstone to Boise, ID (~6 1/2 hours plus)...

    Spend the morning and afternoon in Yellowstone. Spend the evening driving to Boise.

    Day Six:

    Boise, ID to Portland, OR (~6 1//2 hours plus)....

    Since you have a lot of time, you could stop off at the Columbia River Gorge.

  • 9 years ago

    For all that you would like to visit, 6 days is just not enough time. Trust me, 6 days for one or the other - 6 days driving or 6 days visiting the places you listed (Mt Rushmore, Glacier Ntnl Pk). I've been to all the places on your list... your not allowing for much time to enjoy these places.

    The flexible part of your trip should be included as concrete places to visit - well worth it. Everywhere on your itinerary has plenty of hiking and biking possibilities.

    The one thing I would suggest adding to your trip to Portland, when leaving Glacier, head back/down to Missoula, head south to Lolo and take hwy 12 west to Lewiston, Idaho. The drive is beautiful. From Lewiston, head west to the tri-city area of Wasington (Pasco/Kennewick/Richland) and take hwy 14 west in Wash (along the Columbia river) crisscrossing the river at several locations (some tolls, some free), to Vancouver and on to Portland. Enjoy!!!

    Source(s): Professional Truck Driver 25 years experience
  • 3 years ago

    street 32 (Sheridan Rd. / Lakeshore Dr.) runs each and every of how from Milwaukee to Chicago and follows ideal alongside with the lake. possibly no longer the main scenic in some aspects, yet you will discover some astounding spots alongside the way. Plus that's extremely elementary to stay with - reliable success!! ** I recommend scuffling with off interior the smaller suburbs north of Chicago, there are some incredibly astounding eating places and shops**

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