Going Places: Head To The Rockies In The Shoulder Season For Crowd-Free, Cheaper Travel

Apr 20, 2017

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley is just back from the American Mountain West.

“We went 1,600 miles,” he said. “Drove from Colorado, through Wyoming where the speed limit is 80, so that means everyone is doing 90.”

Brumley and his son spent the night in Sheridan, Wyo., and then went to Little Big Horn.

“We drove up to the gate at about 9 in the morning and nobody was there,” he said. “There wasn’t another car, the park was open, the visitor center was open, so they put the movie on just for us.”

The shoulder seasons – spring and fall, especially – are good times to visit the Mountain West, Brumley says.

“We didn’t have a single reservation,” he said, “and never had an issue.”

Spontaneity Can Help

Brumley and his son flew to Denver, rented a car, and went north.

If you’re in the off-season, you can often wait until 3 p.m. to book a hotel room the night you want to stay, and find a great deal.

“There are so many vacant rooms in a city like Sun Valley that they’ll drop the rates,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to wait it out and look for a better deal.”

You’ll also find discounts and specials at restaurants and tourist attractions and, of course, plenty of scenery. Brumley and his son drove toward Idaho, never out of view of a mountain peak, he said, before returning the rental car in Boise and flying home.

“I’ve driven through Idaho I don’t know how many times, but I always for whatever reason bypass that town,” Brumley said. He says that was a mistake: Boise is worth your time.

“Great cafes, great restaurants,” he said. “A very lively town by the state capitol.”

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"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunes Google Play or Stitcher.