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mad99 Jan 5th, 2021 06:18 PM

Las Vegas to Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone - Route Suggestions
Hello, we have a West trip planned for mid June to early July. We are flying into Las Vegas for costs reasons. Our first destination is Mammoth Hot Springs. Looking for route suggestions along with estimated drive time. I’m not sure the current drive times calculated on Google Maps are effected by weather events. As a side note our last destination is Bryce Canyon.

I appreciate any advice offered! Thank you.

oldemalloy Jan 6th, 2021 02:45 AM

Did you do a thorough analysis of costs for this trip? Flying into Vegas might be cheapest, but it is 18 + hours from there to Mammoth hot springs, which looks like one or two nights lodging on the road depending on what time you get in to Vegas.

look into going from Salt Lake City. If you can get in early enough you could be at West Yellowstone before dark on day one. Then day two drive through the park to Mammoth Hot Springs. Do up Yellowstone, maybe some Grand Tetons and down to Bryce. See if it will be less expensive to go back to SLC to return the car or to head down to Vegas.

This lets you spend more time in the places you want to see rather than in motels near the highway on the way up to and back from sin city.

Jean Jan 6th, 2021 08:44 AM

I don't think the drive to Mammoth would take 18 hours in summer, but that's still a lot of driving... probably 12-13 hours if you take the most direct route (I-15). The likelihood of "weather events" is pretty low, but there could be traffic congestion at points within Yellowstone. And then you have to make the drive back to Bryce and presumably back to LV Airport.

How many days in Yellowstone? If not at least 5 days, I would fly into an airport much closer to Yellowstone and then out of Vegas... or skip Yellowstone on this trip. Yellowstone is huge. Over 3,000 square miles with more than 350 miles of paved roads. The drive between Mammoth and the south entrance takes over 2 hours, between Old Faithful and Fishing Bridge takes at least an hour. The speed limit within the park is 45 mph (but lower in many areas), and you don't want to drive faster than that anyway or you might miss something.

It would be easy to organize a really great trip out of Vegas to multiple parks/areas in Utah and Arizona without the long slog to and from Yellowstone.

Patty Jan 6th, 2021 01:37 PM

Google Maps lets you change your departure date to June. The only difference between now and June is you'll be able to enter via the West Yellowstone entrance. Drive time will be a minimum of 12 hours. How long do you have for this trip? I would also look into flying into Salt Lake.

mad99 Jan 6th, 2021 03:58 PM

We are staying 3 nights in Mammoth then 4 nights at the Old Faithful. From there we are spending 2 nights in the Grand Tetons. After that we have 1 travel day and then 3 nights in Zion, 1 night at the North Rim Grand Canyon and end our trip with 2 nights in Bryce. We have a travel day back to Vegas flying out the next day. It’s not just my me and my husband on this trip. My daughter and her family are also coming. They are a family of 6 so the difference in airfare for them is times 6. We had this trip planned for 2020 but due to Covid had to cancel. We had great flights flying In and out of SLC last year. It was perfect!

I appreciate everyones comments. We still have some time to decide our options. Thank you.

oldemalloy Jan 6th, 2021 04:14 PM

Southwest has some good fares right now, at least for one more day if you do not have flights yet.

sounds like a great trip. I would switch the end of the trip so you are at Zion last as it is closest to Vegas.

have a great trip

mad99 Jan 6th, 2021 05:07 PM

Zion would be ideal but we are trying to avoid July 4th in Zion as well as Yellowstone. Unfortunately (and not so) we have miles with American Airlines. Thanks for help!

StantonHyde Jan 6th, 2021 06:12 PM

I wouldn't go to Zion in July for any amount of money--but people do. From GTNP tp SLC is at least 6 hours and then about 5 hours from SLC to Zion--so that's an 11 hour driving day. I hope your daughter's family does not include young kids. I would do Yellowstone, Bryce, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Do Zion, Canyonlands, Arches in some other spring/fall trip. You are going to need a lot more time for driving. (I live in SLC and regularly visit down south and yellowstone)

mad99 Jan 7th, 2021 04:26 AM

Why wouldn’t you go to Zion in July?

janisj Jan 7th, 2021 08:19 AM

Originally Posted by mad99 (Post 17199290)
Why wouldn’t you go to Zion in July?

It is very crowded and very HOT

Patty Jan 7th, 2021 11:13 AM

How many nights do you have between flight arrival in Las Vegas (what time do you arrive?) and your Mammoth Hot Springs reservation?

mad99 Jan 7th, 2021 04:18 PM

We have not booked our flights yet. We are either taking a late day flight on Thursday and grabbing a hotel room at the airport and head out in the morning or fly in Friday morning. Our Mammoth reservation begins Saturday night.

mad99 Jan 7th, 2021 04:22 PM

We were in Zion July 1991 and I know it’s hot. I’m sure the crowds will be incredible but since our grandkids are coming we need to come in the summer. Our dates are the earliest possible. We are staying at the lodge so hopefully that helps us with first dibs on the shuttle. The shuttle will be new to me and I am prepared for the crowds....kind of....

oldemalloy Jan 7th, 2021 06:33 PM

For those hot days, plan to do your hikes early, go to have lunch, chill in the pool at your motel, then if you want more hiking, go back. Late in the afternoon.

mad99 Jan 7th, 2021 06:37 PM

That’s our plan to get on the first shuttle in Zion. Hoping it works out!

StantonHyde Jan 7th, 2021 06:48 PM

Staying at the Lodge in Zion does give you a shot at the shuttle. But there is no pool. You really would be better off staying at Cable Mountain Lodge--where there is a pool and you walk across the bridge/river right into the park, where you catch the shuttle. Figuring that the park will still be under Covid restrictions this summer, you will need to be up at that shuttle stop by 7 am--you will want to do that for hiking anyway. It will be ungodly hot. No wildflowers, tons of people, etc. I would tell the grandkids that they can find a way to get to Zion at a later date on their own, because that is how miserable I would be. Or--go to the Kolob Canyon section of Zion which is higher in altitude and not nearly as crowded.

If you get to Vegas on Friday and you don't have to be to Mammoth until Saturday, you can go straight up I-15 and have plenty to do/see with stops along the way. Hoover Dam is really cool. Cove Fort might be interesting. Salt Lake City has an amazing Natural History Museum--like beyond cool--with tons of dinosaurs and lots of info on the various past and present Native American tribes in Utah. In Blackfoot, there is the Potato Museum. I am not kidding--totally worth an hour of your time. In Idaho Falls, there is the Museum of Southeastern Idaho that gets amazing travelling exhibits on subjects like the race to the South Pole, Darwins voyages, etc. You could stop at the Herriman Ranch along the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. I would definitely do the drive in 2 days and take your time.

If you search my user name, you will see trip reports for Las Vegas and Zion with teens, for Zion, Bryce and Yellowstone with young kids, and Grand Teton NP/Jackson with young kids.

janisj Jan 7th, 2021 08:51 PM

Staying at the Lodge is best -- been twice and loved it, but not in the middle of summer. Its sooooo convenient. But . . . no pool

Just FYI -- there are no on-airport hotels at McCarran. You'll likely end up at one of the nearby Strip casino hotels - the good thing they practically give away rooms in July/August (except on weekends and over the 4th)

Honestly . . . I'd seriously consider dropping Zion (especially for a 3 generation group). Fly into SLC and concentrate this trip to the north (Yellowstone, Teton, etc.) and give Vegas/Zion a miss. You could visit Zion and other SW parks over a future Spring Break.

Patty Jan 8th, 2021 10:02 AM

With 2 travel days I'd take the most direct route (15 to Idaho Falls and 20 to West Yellowstone) and overnight around Salt Lake.

DaveS Jan 8th, 2021 12:33 PM

Heat and school aged kids are almost a given when you want see nature. While we did many temperate location July/August trips we also went to several hot or hot/humid locals like Belize/Costa Rica (Osa)/Yosemite/Washington DC-Williamsburg/Disney World (OK- not nature). I was bothered more by the heat than the wife and boys, but we all had a great time.

With Zion I agree the lodge location is great, but stay in Springdale with a pool in July. Cable Mountain Lodge is closest to the entrance, but we prefer the Cliffrose about 100 yards further and quieter location. Both are on the Virgin River, our boys liked splashing around in it as much as in the pool. Depending on their age take the grandkids to swim in the Firehole River in Yellowstone.

mad99 Jan 9th, 2021 04:08 AM

Thanks everyone! We will consider all of your recommendations and comments.

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