Driving in Yellowstone

Feb 11th, 2013, 08:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 86
Driving in Yellowstone

I and my 15 y/o daughter plan to visit Yellowstone next summer and I have some concerns about the roads.

I plan to fly into Jackson hole and rent a car for the duration of the trip(at least 1 week). I have an extreme fear of heights and treacherous roads(Ouray, Colorado to Silverton!!!)

Are there any vertiginous roads in YNP, especially going over the pass to the Lamar Valley? Or are the roads fairly flat and level, with no significant drop-offs?

I would love any advice on which roadways to steer clear of. Thanks so much!
lorijv is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 08:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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These roads are pretty tame compared to some national parks. I don't think there is any need to be concerned. You just need to watch out for all the wildlife is the main thing.

You need more than 1 day there(really about 4) and you may already be late for lodging "in park", which is where I always thinks is by far the best to stay.

Yellowstone is spectacular and you will love it.
spirobulldog is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 01:36 PM
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Gardiner MT is a good place to stay, right on the north edge of the park, near Mammoth. Lots of lodging. West Yellowstone also has many lodging options. Within the park it's pretty much a figure 8 drive, no problems.
sylvia3 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 01:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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There aren't any roads in YNP that come close to the Colorado route you mentioned. Wildlife and cars stopped in the middle of t he road suddenly when wildlife is seen is a far biggers hazards in Yellowstone.
boom_boom is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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agree, the roads will be fine for driving as far as what you are concerned about but the map is deceiving. that figure 8 is a long drive between each area so stay inside the park when you can or you'll be spending most of your time driving.
maria_so is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 11:16 PM
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I share your height fears (don't even consider taking the trip into Denali in Alaska) and found no terrifying areas in Yellowstone. The closest I came to anything approaching unguarded drop-offs was on a side road off the of "figure 8" - not even sure it had a name but it was up near Gardiner and totally unnecessary - we took it as an exploring detour. All roads are paved and wide enough for cars and all the RVs with inexperienced drivers - and room to spare when cars are parked along the side and 2 vehicles approach each other.

Consider staying in 2 places - too much driving each day as travel can be slow due to "animal jams" Perhaps Gardiner and West Yellowstone.
gail is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 04:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Steep curvy roads tend to freek me out a bit.

The person with the fear should drive and go slowly. I find that when someone else drives it's a lot worse as I can't control the car.

Also, stay in a few different places. Many people going to Yellowstone stay in two place in YNP and one in GTNP.
Myer is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 06:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 7
this is a good question! I am planning to go this summer, and just watched a great documentary on Y.stone...it is mountainous! My only experience with mountain type driving was our last trip with my DH between Death valley and Yosemite-(Mt Whitney) where my DH scared the *&^% out of us all by not slowing down enough on those steep roads.... how does that compare? (I am a wimp,where I live, we have molehills LOL)
hsmamato2 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 06:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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As I wrote above, the person with the issue should insist on driving.

When you control the car the can drive at a speed that makes you comfortable.

Otherwise I would close my eyes. I've done that.
Myer is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Here's what I would do with 6 nights. Drive through GT on the way from JH to Yellowstone and stay 2 nights in the Old faithful area (you can access the lake and most geisers in the southern part. You can do a kayak tour at the lake - different perspective and great fun! from there spend a night in the canyon area - hike it down to lower falls. from there head up to stay at roosevelt area for a night or 2 depending on what you want to get done. wake up early and go see if you can find the wolves at lamar valley (we lucked out and saw them right on the road in front of us - a pack of them). You can do the not so long drive to mammoth from here or maybe do a day trip out of lamar valley to the beartooth hwy (very much recommended). Then head back down towards the east side and stay one night at Jackson hole or tetons and see the area there. fly back home. I am assuming you are flying in and out of JH? It would be better if you can fly in to JH then fly out somewhere on the other end?
maria_so is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 01:06 PM
Original Poster
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maria_so....isn't the beartooth highway a bit hair-raising to drive? Does it have steep drop-offs, with no guardrails?
lorijv is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 07:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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eeeek! sorry, forgot about that part. Yes it is at parts but with your fear, perhaps skip it. It is really gorgeous up there though. so more time for yellowstone and tetons then.
maria_so is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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just asked my husband to recall the beartooth highway drive. You can certainly see cars way above you and you can see far below (you get pretty high) but I (we) don't recall steep drop offs. It was more of a slant down (not a drop off per say). Maybe in a few parts. Nothing like Big Sur type of drop offs that I recall.
maria_so is offline  

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