Drive Time YNP

Old Mar 4th, 2011, 07:36 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 16
Drive Time YNP

We are visiting family in Montana the end of May and will be doing a few days in YNP. I am looking at the following itinerary and would like to know if it is a doable drive. We'll stay in Cooke City and enter the park early the first morning and our first night's lodging would be at the Lake Hotel. The second night would be at OF Lodge, and the third night would be at Mammoth. Would this give us time to see a good deal of the park and would the drive time between destinations be pushing it? Thanks for your advice.
rllit is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2011, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Cooke City to Lake is a nice drive as is Lake to OF. I question the trip to Mammoth. There really is not a ton to do in that area of the park. I would stay either two nights in Lake and one in OF or one in Lake and two in Old Faithful. We saw the most wildlife while we were in Canyon.

Remember, the road is small (one lane each way), the speed limit is low and you can get stuck for a long time if you run into a bison jam or any other wildlife back-up. Trekking all the way up to Mammoth from OF seems like a waste of time.

Have a great trip.
taitai is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2011, 09:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Their interactive map is very helpful.

Click on the link at the page and then for each section of the figure 8 drive inside the park.

Your plan will work great. Three days in the park with two nights IN the park is generous time.
starrs is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2011, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Your plan will work fine. We liked Roosevelt Lodge as well. Mammoth is my least favorite area as taitai mentioned above.

I would vote for OF Inn over OF lodge.
spirobulldog is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2011, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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While I don't necessarily agree that trekking up to Mammoth is a waste of time - while not what they once were, the terraces are still pretty and there are interesting things to see/do between the Old Faithful area and Mammoth - unless you have a compelling reason to spend a night at Mammoth, I wouldn't.

I'd follow taitai's advice and put that 3rd night at one of the other 2 places you plan to stay. You could then use the time you'd have devoted to packing and moving, to do more sightseeing. Which place you chose depends on whether your main interest is animals - Lake puts you a bit closer to the valleys on the east, or thermal features - OF is more central for that.

We made the drive into the Park from Cooke City early one morning (the sun wasn't up yet when we left Cooke City) on our first trip to YS and saw the only wolf we've ever see that wasn't a dot in the distance. It was standing off the side of the road. I didn't have to time to photograph it and look at it, so I chose to take a mental picture. Also saw our first bull elk on that drive.

The wonderful thing about Yellowstone is that the rangers (in fact all the employees I've met there) are eager to help you get the most out of the time you have. Don't hesitate to ask their advice on places to look to for wildlife, good hikes, etc.

Have a great trip.
Floridafran is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2011, 01:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Floridafran is correct. Mammoth isn't a "waste." It just really isn't what it used to be and with only three days, spending one there doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Espcecially, when all the cool animals are in the Valleys and all the thermal stuff is elsewhere. Having said that, we did spend an afternoon swimming in the Boiling River which is in the Mammoth area. That was loads of fun for my guys.
taitai is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2011, 04:07 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 16
Wow, thank you all for the advice. Depending on availability at the hotel, lodge, and inn, I believe we will regroup with the two nights at one or the other and leave out Mammoth. I can always count on Fodorites for their help .
rllit is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2011, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 576
Sounds very doable to me and May is a wonderful time to see the park, lots and lots of baby animals Just check the road reports because some passes are not open until late in May. This is what they are saying currently (but it's been a long winter and storms are still coming through)

May 13, 2011—Travel from the South Entrance to Grant, West Thumb, Fishing Bridge, & Lake over Craig Pass to Old Faithful open to wheeled vehicles. Also, Tower Junction to Tower Fall opens to wheeled vehicles. The road from Cooke City over Colter Pass to the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway intersection to the Long Lake gate shall open as soon thereafter as possible. For information on roads outside of the park from Cooke City via the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, travelers in Wyoming may dial 511; those outside of Wyoming may call 1-888-996-7623, or visit the Wyoming Department of Transportation website at
jnjfraz is offline  
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