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2 plan options in Yellowstone

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I'd love some input on the advantages/disadvantages of each of our options in visiting Yellowstone. A little background: My husband and I are taking our 2 teens on a whirlwind trip of National Parks so our schedule is... well, scheduled. Very. So, no, we don't have more time to stay in Yellowstone and are content to hit the highlights for the kids' sake. We'll be staying in Cody the night before, will have one night in/near the park, and the next night in Jackson. Oh, and this is the night of Sun Sept 9th in question.

We're considering 2 options.

Plan A: Get up from Cody and visit the eastern side of the loops and stay in Gardiner that night. Monday drive south on the western side of loop to Old Faithful, then on to Jackson.

Plan B: Get up from Cody and visit the bottom of the figure 8 and stay in the Old Faithful area IF (big if) we can get a cancellation of a room. Then Monday more sightseeing as we make our way down through the Tetons to Jackson.

I'm hearing rumors the Mammoth Hot Springs are dried up from when we saw them 14 years ago. Is there anything else in that top of the figure 8 that is really "can't miss"?

We considered staying in West Yellowstone but hubby thinks it makes more sense to just take one day to go up to Gardiner and then one day to come back down.

We do have a reservation in Gardiner as a back-up.

Thanks!!

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