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Fodorites' Recommendations for Yellowstone & GTNP

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I have been compiling a list for some time now from posts I've read on Fodor's. A few items may have come from other sources. It's a list of things we should do, see, etc., while visiting the GTNP and Yellowstone area. We are going in Sept 06, so the list is definitely slanted for that season, but I still think it might help others planning their trips. It is not complete, but with so many traveling this summer, I figured now would be as good a time as any to post it. If I have missed something you loved in this area, please post it here.

For sharondi and others who have asked how I plan for trips:

*Road conditions: 307-344-2117
*Xanterra (Lodging Reservations): 866-439-7375

YELLOWSTONE:

*Swimming in the geyser heated Firehole River a highlight.
*Various geyser basins (Norris Geyser Basin is the best IMHO)
*Swimming in the Fire Hole and soaking in the spring up near Mammoth: Near Gardiner (northern entrance to Park) is a place called Boiling River (not in most guide books). It is just past Continental Divide sign with a parking lot. It's a convergence of river and hot spring, so that you climb over rocks and sit in a natural jacuzzi - there is a sign at the parking lot describing it.
*In Gardiner, eat at Park Street Cafe.
*Elks rutting often congregated in a meadow at Mammoth Hot Springs
*The meadows several miles towards W. Yellowstone are great places to see the rut. Early morning fog coming off river with sun rising in background makes for excellent photos.
*See Artist Point in canyon area.
*Lunch or dinner at Old Faithful Inn.
*Places you might see GRIZZLIES:
1. Sedge Bay to Lake Junction
2. Hayden Valley - Elk Antler Creek and the Mary's Mountain Trail area.
3. Tower side of Dunraven Pass
4. Swan Lake Flats
5. Sylvan lake area to fishing bridge area
*Places you might see WOLVES:
1. The Hayden Pack is being seen regularly, best viewing can usually be done from the Grizzly Overlook (has a log "fence" around the perimeter of the paved area. Located high, overlooking the river, just before you head down into the flats of Alum Creek). The white alpha female makes a great spotting object. Griz are also bit players in the Hayden Pack drama frequently, as you would expect.
2. The Agate Creek pack is frequently visible from the pullouts above Antelope Creek, on the north side of Dunraven Pass. Their rendezvous site is also a long ways off, but plenty visible to anyone with a scope. The crowds form daily at that string of pullouts. It's one of the best shows in town lately. Grizzlies and a lone moose make cameo appearances, just to spice things up.
*In Canyon area, try eating at the Soda Fountain in the general store, (Delaware parks, not Xanterra.)

TETONS:

*Wildlife caravan: September 6 – September 30, Daily 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; For reservations call the Moose Visitor Center at (307) 739-3399. Limited to ten vehicles. Dress warmly and bring binoculars or spotting scopes. Check in at the Moose Visitor Center at least ten minutes before the tour. This activity is free of charge.
*Oxbow Bend Wildlife Watch: September 6 – September 30 Daily 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. No reservations required. Join a ranger at the Oxbow Bend Overlook for an evening wildlife watch. Stop by anytime from 6:00 pm. – 7:30 p.m. to scan the Oxbow for birdlife and large mammals.
*Sunset at Signal Mountain is spectacular.
*Mormon Row at sunrise is fabulous.
*Take 4-5 hours and drive the GTNP "loop" and stop at every "pull out".
*Take the boat ride across Jenny Lake and hike/climb to Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point.
*Drive down Antelope Flats Road to view the bison close up and to see the Moulton Barn. (Both are great photo ops.)
*Have lunch or dinner outdoors at Dornan's (at Moose in GTNP).
*View the whole range from Signal Mountain. It is a panoramic sweeping view of the whole thing--don't miss sunset.
*Museum of the Plains Indians at Colter Bay
Drive to the String Lake parking lot and do some hiking in the Tetons
*Great mountain views with possibility of moose at end of Schwabacher Rd.
*Ride tram up mountain, closing down fall 2006.
*From Signal Mountain, it's a 5 minute drive to Oxbow Bend and Jackson Lake Lodge. The area between them is one of the richest wildlife habitats in the world.
*Places you might see MOOSE:
Willow Flats Oxbow Bend
Wilson Road (access in Moose Jct) at dawn and dusk.

JACKSON:
*Supplies: Albertson's at 105 Buffalo Way; K-Mart off Rte 189/191
*Bar-T-5 Chuckwagon show and dinner in Jackson

STAR VALLEY:
*On U.S. Highway 89, along the Idaho border and 35 miles south of Jackson, Wyoming, and within 100 miles of Teton & Yellowstone National Parks: beautiful area, scenic drive and pioneer towns.

CODY:
*For supplies: WalMart on west of town; Albertson's on east side of town.
*Buffalo Bill Historical Center highly recommended, $15 adult, entrance ticket good for two consecutive days; Smithsonian-like museum.
*Trail Town, may look like a tourist trap, but it is one of the neatest and most unique western museums
*Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, housed 11,000 relocated Japanese during WWII--west of Cody toward Powell, on Alt 14.
*Maxwells, easy walk from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Open for lunch and dinner; pick up a good loaf of bread at the cash register--their sourdough is a mild sourdough with a crispy crust.
*Sierra Trading Post Outlet Store, 1402 8th. Street
*COLT (public bus for $2) and 4 person bicycle rentals

I'm hoping this will begin a good resource thread for Yellowstone/GTNP vacationers. Have a safe and wonderful trip! :)

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