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Jackson, Yellowstone, Grand Teton lodging questions - Trip for August 2006

Jackson, Yellowstone, Grand Teton lodging questions - Trip for August 2006

Apr 12th, 2006, 08:08 AM
  #1  
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Jackson, Yellowstone, Grand Teton lodging questions - Trip for August 2006

We have just begun (late I know!) planning a trip this summer to Jackson, Yellowstone, Grand Teton area. We are a family of 4, 2 adults, 2 older teens (19, 15). We only have about a week and for the last three nights of that week we are planning to stay at the Brooks Lake Lodge resort/dude ranch. That does not give us much time left. We would like to visit Grand Teton national park and also see some of Yellowstone, specifically Old Faithful. I have called both parks and we can get lodging at Jackson Lake Lodge (cottages with patios - no view). Does it make sense to book Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton NP for 3-4 nights and then use that as a base for visiting Jackson HOle and Yellowstone/Old Faithful? Or should we stay in Jackson for a night or two and then Grand Teton NP, or take the only southern lodging in Yellowstone - Grant Village, for a night or two. I have not read great things about Grant Village so I am not so keen on that option. Help! I need to make my mind up quickly as rooms are being booked up quickly. I am leaning towards staying in Jackson for 2 nights and taking a day trip to Yellowstone for Old Faithful and then moving on to Grand Teton and from there going to Brooks Lake Lodge. Does this make sense? Susan
Susan56 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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I am taken by your thread because it was a year ago we were in same situation (kids same age) beginning to make reservations for week. I googled Brooks Lake Lodge and am still not sure exactly where it is - and that makes a difference since driving times in area can be longer than one thinks.

Assuming you are flying into Jackson - stay 2 nights in Jackson. (We stayed at Teton Village condos - great with 2 teens since it had 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, full kitchen, etc.)

Spend end of first day and all of second day touring GTNP. Then relocate to someplace in Yellowstone for 2 nights. We also did not like the accomodations available booking 3 months out - shared bathrooms did not do it for me. If you can't get somewhat centrally located accomodations in Park, try West Yellowstone. Hotels are about a mile from western entrance and you can see quite a bit as day trips along 2 park loops.

Then last 3 nights at dude ranch as you planned.

Some other hints. Tell the kids ahead of time that this is not a sleep late vacation. Since there is not much to do after dark, you want to see as much as you can during daylight hours - does not work well if you start at 11 AM.

Bring/buy a cooler to take on day trips. Most of Yellowstone is best seen by stopping along loop road at various turn-offs and walking in to see things (not even a hike - always less than a mile round trip). We were always hot and thirsty when we got back to car. We are not usually picnic people, but that also worked well for mid-day food.

Bring lots of film and binoculars. Animals everywhere.

Buy a guide book that gives descriptions of various turn-offs in a linear route around the park - that way you can pick and choose where to stop and read ahead about the next one as you drive along.
gail is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 09:19 AM
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I have not seen Grant Village, but I would vote for the 3 nites in Jackson Lake Lodge. It's centrally located and even the rooms without a view are a 90 second walk to the beautiful patio view.
cheapbutnice is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 09:58 AM
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I second gail's advice. GTNP is literally minutes out of JH so it does not make sense to first stay in JH then move on to GTNP.

Teton Village is an alternative as you can enter GTNP from just outside the village. If you can stay in GTNP I would do that. JH is not that great anymore. It is unbelievably touristy and very expensive for shopping. Skipping over JH and using that time for touring elsewhere would be a much better choice as you have limited time to see both parks.

Keep calling the park daily to see if they have availability. Rooms open up all the time. As I do not where the dude ranch is I can't say where else in YNP or just outside the park to look for better accomodations than Grant.
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Apr 12th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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Thank you for the advice, I am still stuck on what to do for Yellowstone Lodging. I booked Brooks Lake Lodge for the last three days of our trip (that was all that was available) and I think I will book Jackson Lake Lodge for the first three nights. That leaves me two nights that I would like to spend in Yellowstone, but I don't like the lodging that is available! Grant Village (which is available) gets very bad reviews on Tripadvisor. So, is there a place outside of Yellowstone that makes sense? We would like to be somewhat near Old Faithful and when we leave Yellowstone we will be heading east of Jackson to Brooks Lodge (east of Dubois). Any suggestions? Thanks, Susan
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Apr 12th, 2006, 10:14 PM
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I would stay at one of the many chain hotels in West Yellowstone. It is reasonably close to Old Faithful but you will also want to travel along some of the park loop roads to see things. I understand that you want to see Old Faithful, but that stop is a few hours, at most. You sit and wait for it to erupt, you can walk around thru area of smaller geysers, but then you still have at least a day and a half to see much of Yellowstone.

Get a map of Yellowstone and plan your day trips so that when you head east it will be seeing different things than before. Not sure if you will exit east entrance or farther south near Jackson - not familiar enough with outside Park area.
gail is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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cd
 
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Susan
I would make a reservations at a hotel in West Yellowstone, as was previously suggested, and then call frequently for a cancellation at Old Faithful Inn or the Snow Lodge. They usually always get cencellations and I loved that location
cd is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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I am assuming you are flying into JH. If you don't already have your tickets maybe you could look into flying into Missoula or Bozeman and flying out of JH.

If that is not an option then I would spend the first two nights at Jackson Lake Lodge. Then I would go up to Gardiner and stay two nights there. From there you are able to really explore lots of the park and can stop at Old Faithful on the way up. We have been to Yellowstone the last two years, basing out of Wilson Wyoming (just west of Teton Village) and have done YNP side trips. You can easily enjoy ther drive up from TNP to Gardiner stopping many times along the way, including Old Faithful and have lunch at the Inn and then continue up to Gardiner. The next day you can enjoy the lamar valley and Canyon down to lake and then head out the east entrance staying in or near Cody. Continue the following day down Route 120 through Thermopolis, Riverton and back up to Dubois. That entire drive, except one small section is a scenic byway.

We stayed at the Absaroka Losge in Gardiner and it was great sitting on the hill right above the Yellowstone River. There is an unbelievable restaurant in Gardiner as well. You might also want to check out this website for really connecting with experts on YNP and GTNP:

http://www.yellowstone.net/forums/index.php

That is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. No matter how many times I have been out there, and I have been more times than just the last two years, it still takes my breath away and gives me an inner feeling of total peace.
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Apr 13th, 2006, 06:36 AM
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Odie 1 - I have to check this out. My only concern is that your route sounds like a lot of driving and we are not really up for that. And we would like to not keep packing and unpacking. I was hoping to have one stop/lodging per park if possible and then head straight to Brooks Lodge which is east of Dubois.
Susan
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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I just booked some hotels for this trip, so please let me know what you think. We are going to fly into Jackson and then go directly to Jenny Lake Lodge. I was surprised to find that they had two cabins available for our travel dates. I was originally going to take 2 no view patio cottages at Jackson Lake Lodge, but on tripadvisor I had seen some lukewarm to not good at all reviews. So I opted for Jenny Lake. We will stay there for three nights and then move onto the Holiday Inn SunSpree in West Yellowstone for two nights. I did not find any good accomodations available in Yellowstone so I opted for West Yellowstone. Then we will finish our trip with three nights at Brooks Lake Lodge resort/dude ranch. Comments?

And do I need to book river activities in Grand Teton Park now? We are interested in the Scenic Snake Rive Float trip - or can I wait until closer to our trip date in August? Anything else I need to book now? Thanks, Susan
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Regarding "a lot of driving" - sorry, that is the nature of the area. There is very little in the parks that does not involve a drive from somewhere, and the distances and slow movement of traffic due to unpredictable animal jams make for a fair amount of time in the car.

But the driving involves "drive a few miles, stop for an hour, drive ....".

Starting in Jackson, one must drive thru GTNP, a rather long and thin park, to get to Yellowstone - no reasonable way around it. So to avoid doing that every day, which can take an hour or so, it really makes sense to relocate. Your choice - drive a lot each day or move your hotel.
gail is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Another thought about driving times - we left Gardiner one AM to catch flight in Jackson and it took 4 hours. So plan accordingly.
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:52 AM
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Susan,

Once you get out to Yellowstone you will understand the distances. The Park is HUGE and most people never even scratch the surface. You can see much with short walks, you would see even more if you went backpacking, but again few visitors do this.

You'll love it, have fun!
Dayle is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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There is going to be a lot of driving but the scenery and wildlife is so amazing that you don't even realize how long you are in the car. And as gail said you will be getting in and out a lot to do short walks around geyser basins and to falls and lookouts. I would still continue to call the park daily to see if they have any availability in Canyon seeing as you only have two nights.

If I were to do this trip I would leave Jenny Lake very early AM and head into Yellowstone and do a counterclockwise loop from West Thumb (don't stop now, I would stop on the way out just to break things up some), to Lake, to Canyon, to Norris, to Madison and end up in West Yellowstone.

Day Two I would do a clockwise loop through Norris, Mammoth, Tower (if you feel up to it head out into the Lamar Valley and have a picnic lunch there, you will then have to backtrack but this is some of the best wildlife viewing area for wolves, mountain goats and bighorn sheep not to mention the ever present buffalo), Canyon, to Norris (again covering ground you covered yesterday but you'll see things you missed the day before) and back tp West Yellowstone.

The next day leave and go to Old Faithful, stop at West Thumb on the way out and then head down to Dubois.

As far as river rafting that is a great trip. I have done it three times and still never tire of it but I would make reservations now. Check with Jenny Lake Lodge about dinner reservations (also check about requirements because if I am not mistaken their dining room requires at least a coat if not a tie as well). If you are planning on going into Jackson for dinner I would also look into reservations now if you want to eat at any of the finer establishments.

Go in with the frame of mind that you will be in the car a lot but trust that you will see things that you would have thought could only be created by the imaginative minds at Disney.
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Apr 20th, 2006, 01:48 PM
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stay in jackson, then tetons, then yellowstone and be sure to see grand canyon of the yellowstone (the waterfalls whatever you do and hayden valley)
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