Northwest Loop Closure

This blog post is a bit behind, we have been back to Minnesota and Wisconsin now for a while and we have even pushed off to our fall destinations.  It is finally time to close our northwest summer 2021 trip of looping from Minnesota to Oklahoma to Colorado, and Ouray in Colorado, then on to Moab and Salt Lake City, and turning around in Seattle to come back through Glacier of Montana and Wyoming. Total loop mileage when we arrived back in Minnesota was just 100 feet and 1 mile shy of 5,000 miles!


Ultimately over the summer, we logged 5 more Jeep Badge of Honors badges! They were fun to collect and there are oodles more out there to try to pick up! We will need to go back and give some more a try, we pray for a much cooler summer next time though!

Worland, WY

The Big Horn Mountains are a memorable location for us.  The first time we were here in July 2018 is when we realized we loved to check out the depths of our US forests but we did not have the vehicle for it.  Back then we had to turn around when we were checking out the Big Horn mountains with our RAM 3500 truck. This time we came to tackle the same route and to see what we were missing out on when we pressed back that spot with our much better-equipped Jeep!

Medicine Lodge trail is the access to the ascent up to the Big Horn National Forest and we worked up to the top and came back down on a rocky dirt path labeled “Jeep Trail,” which was indeed very true.  That trail led back into the backend of the Medicine Lodge Campground through the valley.

We could have checked out Yellowstone again, or even gone down to the Grand Tetons, but the less traveled Big Horn Mountains are also spectacular on their own merits. We have yet to see any Big Horn sheep here, but in the summer they are lush green and fun to drive the forest roads.

We set our basecamp in Worland, Wyoming, at the Worland RV Park on the North end of town.  The present owners have worked hard at upgrading the RV park and they are dedicated to ensuring you have a good stay.  Town has a classic Main Street cafe for breakfast and you will find very few fast-food chains here, it is also a fairly small and quiet western town struggling with keeping businesses open.  You will be within driving distance to Thermopolis and it is a good stopover when you have made it over the mountains on Highway 16.

Not sure why the hole next to our site at the Worland RV Park was not addressed, but otherwise the campground was well kept and there was some shade from the sun during portions of the day. Electrical service has been recently upgraded and in the high 90-degree heat their system was performing well. This RV park will remain our go-to park in this area.


Since it has been very dry this summer in the Big Horns, this spot doesn’t seem like a RAM 3500 would have had to turn around but back in 2018. The road was just deep ruts of mud instead of a hard pack road. As we continued to the Northwest from here the road narrowed significantly and just the sheer size of the truck would have been very difficult.


The entire day we spent in the Big Horns these butterflies would constantly be attracted to our Hi-Lift Jack on the hood of the Jeep.


While we stopped for lunch in the Jeep we noticed this particular flower was very busy, super scary white spider and several other beetles making use of it.


You can see here the size of the rocks embedded in this “Jeep Trail” as it is labeled. It is slow going just to keep your teeth in. The trail from the Big Horn National Forest to the Medicine Lodge Campground passes through many different ecosystems. Much of it follows long some deep canyons you from time to time with straddle and otherwise you will be crossing through the middle of plains.


North of Medicine Lodge campground the gorge is fairly rocky and steep, a decent OHV will be required. You will cross the stream a few times and the flora will be lush at the bottom. It is very arid and more desert above it the valley. We met several side-by-sides running this portion of the trail.


The Medicine Lodge campground has a small stream passing behind many of the sites. The shade was a welcome stop, to sit by the little dam here that had Barb’s favorite soul renewing sound of water falling loudly signing out.


Spearfish, SD

To continue East from Worland to Spearfish was just over a half-day drive.  We don’t mind taking Highway 16, however, some people may be more comfortable crossing the mountain range on the more Northern Highway 14.  Highway 14 is wider and more developed with fewer and more sweeping switchbacks than Highway 16.  Both of the highways border the Big Horn US Forest range.

We connected up with some friends in Spearfish and only spent a couple of nights during the peak season at the Spearfish KOA.

Spearfish SD KOA is positioned right along the interstate and we did not hear the highway from the section of the park we were in. They have a significant WiFI system throughout the park. The park is well maintained and seemed to be full every night of the week.


D&R Propane in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, was a perfect stop for us to fill up the completely empty LP tank. Easy in and easy out with an amazing price half of everyone else.


Montevideo, MN

We were running about 12 to 24 hours ahead of schedule getting back to Minnesota, we decided to find somewhere that we could stop overnight and get some power.  We tried several campgrounds we had on the map and most were full of long-term seasonals. Jason needed to connect to work for some training in the morning and the Lagoon Park Campground in Montevideo, Minnesota, served very well for that. It was a bit tricky to find but the sites were perfectly level for just turning off the engine and not leveling or popping the slides out.  We got the last of the non-reservable sites and at $20/night for 50-amp that was a pretty decent bargain.  From here then we continued to our ending point where we closed out the loop just 1 mile short of 5000 miles!

We happened across this city park in Montevideo, Minnesota, completely by accident. It was not on our maps and it sure is now! We had great cell service here for Jason to work a half-day and good 50-amp service. We got the last site, a very level back-in only, but we chose to only pop out one of the bedroom slides that we need to make it more comfortable overnight. The city office is the main entry to the park, located on the opposite side of the highway, you then snake around under the highway to the campground.


1 mile short of 5000 miles this summer! We started next to that picnic table in the adjacent site and returned to this site. We felt like we should just drive around the campground one more time to top it off!