Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   A dilemma... itinerary..... Yellowstone or not? (

LakesideChick Jul 4th, 2010 04:55 AM

A dilemma... itinerary..... Yellowstone or not?
Hi everyone

We have a dilemma. We are travelling in the USA in Aug/ Sept and will be starting in San Francisco and heading from there to Yosemite (3 days in the area) and on to Vegas... we will see the Grand Canyon and Bryce / Zion Nat parks as well. If we can figure it out, we will also see Sequioa Nat Park on the way to Vegas (does this work?)

Anyway, our dilemma is whether or not to invest the time to drive up to Yellowstone, or leave that out this trip and either drive to Denver or loop back around to LA or back to San Francsico.

We have 7 weeks away altogether and would like to spend around 3 weeks on the East coast, so we'll have around a month for the West (and we can be flexible).

Any thoughts?

boom_boom Jul 4th, 2010 01:11 PM

IMHO a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton Nat. Park next door is well worth the time and effort.
And, yes, if you have the time, you can visit Sequoia as you travel from Yosemite to LV assuming you stay on the West side of the Sierra as you go south. If you are going over Tioga Pass to the Eastern Sierra, Sequoia is not an option, but Death Valley is.

althom1122 Jul 4th, 2010 01:21 PM

Yellowstone/Tetons are really wonderful, but given the rest of your itinerary are really far. With 4 weeks, though, you could probably do it. I'd suggest mapping out a rough number of days for each place to get an idea if the extra hundreds of miles would be worthwhile.

stpetereb Jul 4th, 2010 01:43 PM

Skip something else if you must but don't skip Yellowstone!

spirobulldog Jul 4th, 2010 01:57 PM

I probably wouldn't see Yosemite and Sequoia in the same trip. Sequoia has more impressive trees, but the trees in Yosemite are still very good. The big thing that you will be missing is the waterfalls in Yosemite. That time of year, they will most likely be dry. Yellowstone is amazing. The Grand Canyon is amazing, but really it is the only one that you can do in a day. Zion and Bryce can be done in a day, but are better experienced in 2-3 days each.

bratsandbeer Jul 4th, 2010 02:17 PM

Yellowstone is worth the trip. You can check roads and mileage at

starrs Jul 4th, 2010 04:43 PM

I'd skip Yosemite if that meant I could get to Yellowstone.

elnap29 Jul 4th, 2010 04:50 PM

Don't skip Yosemite. It's on your way. I think you could do it all, given the amount of time you have. You might even be able to add a few other spots along the way between Bryce/Zion and Grand Tetons/Yellowstone. As someone els suggested, check for driving times between locations. I think Zion might be about 5 hours from Salt Lake City and then Grand Tetons/Jackson Hole might be about 5 hours north of Salt Lake City. Have fun planning your trip!

LakesideChick Jul 4th, 2010 05:07 PM

Thank you everyone :-) I will have a play on Mapquest and see what we can come up with. I dont want to skip Yosemite as we are driving basically right past it anyway! We have found a lovely bed and breakfast to stay at nearby as well... :-)

How long would you recommend for Grand Tetons and Yellowstone?

starrs Jul 4th, 2010 05:17 PM

At least 3 days - more time if you can manage it.

LakesideChick Jul 4th, 2010 05:24 PM

We can probably allow more... we have plenty of time and would rather see things properly than rush through.

LakesideChick Jul 4th, 2010 05:58 PM

To add to the dilemma... if we go to Yellowstone (I think we will), we will then need to leave Yellowstone and leave the car at an airport and fly to the East Coast. Which airport would make the most sense, from a car rental point of view as well as a place that has daily flights to NY?

starrs Jul 4th, 2010 06:15 PM

Jackson or Cody WY if you don't want to drive very far. You'll probably be on a flight to Salt Lake City, Denver or similar and can fly to any city you want on the East Coast - including NYC.

maj Jul 4th, 2010 06:17 PM

You can play around with this also -- assuming that you are driving up from Salt Lake City (or that area) you would probably hit Jackson and the Tetons before Yellowstone. Then you could probably fly out of either Bozeman or Billings. If for some reason in your planning you are going to Yellowstone first and then ending in the Tetons you can fly out of Jackson Hole. I'm pretty sure that any of these places have daily flights that will get you to New York (but probably none are direct flights). You'll have to check the rates for the car rentals (they can differ) and the charge for picking up at one place and dropping off at another -- but well worth the cost IMO for your itinerary.

Between the two (Sequoia and Yellowstone) I would definitely pick Yellowstone. We really liked Sequoia also, but as far as a quick stop you can see the sequoias in Mariposa Grove. If you are close to Moab, you could add Arches.

LakesideChick Jul 4th, 2010 06:34 PM

Thanks again :-) I might post a link to a map I am playing with in Mapquest later to see if that makes sense. Like the idea of breaking up the trip and stopping at the Tetons first. Ahhh I love holiday planning and I like it even more with all of this help!

LakesideChick Jul 4th, 2010 06:52 PM

OK, heres a link to a Mapquest map... if anyone could see if this seems to make sense that wuold be good.

Itinerary thoughts: (open to ideas)

Days 1-5 Fly into San Francisco (4 nights)
Day 5: Drive to Groveland - booked a bed and breakfast for 4 nights.
Days 6/7/8 Full days in Yosemite
Day 9: Driving day (prob overnight in Lone Pine area)
Day 10: Drive to Las Vegas

We will prob be in Vegas for around a week as we both want to play in some poker tournaments.

(Roughly) Day 17 - Drive from Vegas to Grand Canyon

Day 18/19 Grand Canyon area

Day 20 / 21 / 22 Bryce and Zion (any ieas where to stay in this area?)

Day 23 / 24 Drving from Zion to Jackson via Salt Lake City

Day 25 Grand Tetons

Day 26 Drive to Yellowstone

Day 27/28/29/30 Yellowstone (too long? not enough? We will be interested in photography and doing some easy hikes)

Day 31 Drive to Jackson or another airport and fly to East Coast.

The link on Mapquest is:

ANy thoughts appreciated. Are we hitting too many National Parks? Are they all unique enough that we wont feel that we are seeing the same kinds of things all the time?

starrs Jul 4th, 2010 07:03 PM

If you are interested in photography, be sure to check out the Yellowstone forums -

You are NOT hitting too many NPs. They are unique enough - although you are missing one of my favorites - Arches. I'd do Arches over Zion/Bryce (but that's just me) and I'd add in a night or two at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I LOVE the North Rim. Of course, if your trip is Aug/Sept 2010 you may have trouble getting rooms in any of the NPs.

LakesideChick Jul 4th, 2010 07:13 PM ... heres an updated map.

I will look up Arches... didnt know about it.

If we cant get room in the National Parks themselves we will stay nearby... our (other) dilemma is not wanting to book accom too far in advance so we can stay longer in places. Yosemite is booked as it is close to the start of our trip.

stpetereb Jul 24th, 2010 06:48 PM

You are not hitting too many National Parks, they are unique and wonderful but I do not agree with starrs. For my money Zion and Bryce have much more to offer than Arches. They are close to one another and yet very different. Sunrise and sunset at Bryce are are one of the most beautiful experiences you can have at any of the parks, and once you have driven through Zion, you feel as if you are in a very spiritual place. Getting a place to stay in Yellowstone is the most important as the park is so large. They are all full but they get cancellations and if you call everyday you should be able to get a place.

cferrb Jul 24th, 2010 08:59 PM

I see that you want to stay in Vegas for about a week, because you want to be in poker tournaments. Given that you are doing a lot of driving to get to Yellowstone and Teton, I wonder whether you might want to trade in some days in Vegas for days in Teton and Yellowstone. They really are spectacular, and to me three days there is not enough to enjoy them, especially given how much you are driving to get there.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:15 PM.