Mid August Teton and YNP

Feb 22nd, 2013, 04:02 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 364
Mid August Teton and YNP

Hi All,

Last year Iposted a potential trip to include YNP and Mt Rushmore and since it was too hard to do, we decided to plan it out again next year. We are dropping Mt Rushmore. Our flights are booked (Sat to Sat into Salt Lake City). So we are now locked into the 1 week. Our flight unfortunately gets in very late and departs very early the following Saturday. I know I have to get the lodging done, but could you please tell me if theitinerary below is OK or if I should change:

Sat-sleep in SLC due to late arrival (1 night)
Mon-drive to Jackson Hole- (2 nights)
Tues-Grand Teton Park
Wed-Drive to Mammouth Springs YNP-1 night
Thu-YNP lower loop stay near Old Faithful (1 night)
Fri-drive to SLC (1 night)
Sat-fly home early flight
P67742 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 04:39 AM
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Personally, I would try and get stuff done on the first and last days as well.

Mammouth is my least interesting area. I would try for the Canyon area.

You didn't mention if you're travelling with kids, how active you are or whether a 5 or 6 hour drive is too much or if you have two drivers. So I'll try do maximize based on what I might do.

It's 4.5 hours from SLC to Jackson. I would drive a couple of hours right after you arrive. That way you should have most of Monday available for the sights.

If you do that I might move one night from Jackson to YNP.

On Friday I would leave for SLC around 3PM planning to arrive by 9PM. Maybe even a little later.

SLC airport is not only small but very, very close to downtown and easy to get to.

What's an early flight? 6AM or 9AM. You could stay in the motel style rooms at Little America. Nice, inexpensive and you can park right outside the room so no valet is required. You could get up, put luggage in the car and be at the airport in 15 minutes. Better than staying right at the airport.

We haven't gotten to what your interests are in each park but we can look at that after you decide how much you can squeeze out of your days.
Myer is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 05:20 AM
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more info-family with 2 teens. My inlaws and aunt/uncle's family may also join us. We just want to cover the major highlights. We travel extensively. The only person that hates car ride is me but with breaks and nice scenery, it's fine. We drive from NJ to Toronto and New Hampshire (6 to 10 hours) many times.

1. our flight on Sat gets in at 9pm. We can certainly pick up rental car and drive out. Is this what you suggest?

2. day 2-should I just book 1 night in Jackson?

3. Then where should I break up the 3 nights in Yellowstone. Should I take a different route driving to and driving back.

4. Flight following Saturday leaves at 8:25 so yes we can plan to arrive SLC around 9 pm, sleep at airport or near airport hotel.

Thanks much.
P67742 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 09:03 AM
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1. I like the idea of driving a couple of hours after arriving. Maybe some others can suggest a sleepover spot enroute. That way you can get up in the morning, have breakfast and be in the park by noon or a bit after. That gives you most of another day.

2. I don't know if you want to spend time in Jackson. Call Signal Mountain Lodge or one of the others in Grand Teton. Great setting. I stayed at Signal Mtn Lodge. It's very close to Signal Mountain, Oxbow bend, Schwabacher Landing, Mormon Row barns. Also, Jenny Lake (boat ride and nice scenic, popular hike).

The above are sights and scenery locations. Depends on your interests.

3. It depends on your attitude towards changing lodging. Yellowstone is a big park and you don't want to drive much in the dark as you can hit something.

Old Faithful and Canyon are two good area but other combinations may be suggested as well.

From Canyon or Old Faithful you would probably drive back thru West Yellowstome. It's about 5.5 hours so leaving 3-4PM is fine.

4. I remember when I was there the suggestions were that the places near the airport are not really that nice (they used other terms). As I wrote, downtown is very close.

I stayed at Little America. It's a very nice hotel but they have motel style rooms beside the main hotel. It's two story and has drive-up parking. You can get up in the morning, load the car and be at the airport in 15 minutes. Then after returning cars(s) check-in and have breakfast.

Do you have a list of theings of interest or does that come next?

As far as the parks are concerned, I view Yellowstone as more of an attraction park while Grand Teton is more of a scenery park. Others may have different opinions.

You can see my photos at:
Myer is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 01:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Another vote here in favor of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone for one your Yellowstone days -- it can be coupled easily with Yellowstone Lake and the geothermal features nearby. The geyser basins (Lower, Midway, Upper at a minimum) are a must for your other day there.

I'd spend just a day on Jackson itself. You can stroll the town and see the shops and try the eateries, visit the National Wildlife Art Museum, and take a history-based tour of the town followed by a quick look into the charmingly dusty little local history museum.

One day at Grand Teton should ideally start at the Jenny Lake area for some hiking to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and into at least the start to Cascade Canyon (taking the boat across Jenny Lake is a good time-saver). Assuming you have time, head to the Colter Bay area after that. Or better yet, see each on a separate day.
bachslunch is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 01:51 PM
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A day in Jackson is plenty. Drive to the Teton NP through Teton Village. It's an area that has grown from nothing to a resort unto itself.

Try to spend 2 days in the Tetons, there is plenty to see. Stay in the park, there are several options.

I spent a summer there and loved it.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 03:26 PM
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Here is basically what I was able to find based on lodging. I can always keep checking, but how does this sound for mid-August?

Sat-sleep in SLC due to late arrival (1 night)

Sun-drive to Jackson Hole-have lunch, then stay in Grand Teton - (1 night)

Mon-Jenny Lake in am, 2pm drive to Canyon Lodge for 2 nights

Tues-upper loop (mammouth hot springs) drive back to Canyon Lodge

Wed- go visit Old faithful and drive to Grant Village ( 2 nights)

Thu-Old Faithful area

Fri-drive to SLC (night)


Old Faithful lodging not available for number of rooms I need so for now, I am holding Grant Village.

Some questions, On Friday is drive to SLC too long, should we head out around 5 pm on Thu and leave park. Are there any major sights that I am missing?

P67742 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 05:12 PM
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Keep your reservations for now and call very often. Most people make reservations a year ahead before they have any idea what they can do. Then as the dates get closer reality sets in and they want their deposits back so they start to cancel.

Call, call, call. Eventually you'll get your dates.

Why would you leave on Thur if you have a Sat flight. The drive is about 5.5 hours. Slightly long for one person but if you have several drivers should not be a problem.

Considering what these parks have to offer you don't have much time. I would squeeze out as much as you can. You can leave 3-4PM on Friday.

Where are you planning on staying Friday night? I suggested a very good place.
Myer is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 06:11 PM
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Thanks for your suggestions. So far, plan looks decent based on your comments. I will keep calling for openings. If I can get Old Faithful lodging, is that preferred over Grant...I assume so.

Myer-I will also research Little America and see if I can find availability.

P67742 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 04:11 AM
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When I was there I didn't pay much attention to Grant & Lake. I stayed in Old Faithful area and then worked our way up the west side and around to Canyon.

We did drive thru Lake and Grant on the way down The east side on the way to Grand Tetons but other then one hike we took to Natural bridge in Lake I don't remember anything.

I think that area is more boaters, etc due to Yelloestone Lake but maybe others can comment.

From Grant to OF is 17 miles. Not a long drive but a drive.

I think the Upper Geyser Basin is worthy of walks during different times of the day. The predictable geysers are in the Upper Basin. Also, Morning Glory, Grand Prismatic Spring.

Keep Grant until you get some thing in OF area.

OF has several lodgings: OF Inn, OF and Snow cabins. Something will open up as cancelations happen. They will.

I'm just looking at your last plan. I wouldn't bother with Mammoth Hot Springs. We went thru there and it was dry. I don't know if that the current state but quite a few have commented it's not their favorite area. Mine neither.

A good thing about getting OF lodging is that from Canyon you can go west to Madison and down to OF. That goes right thru the geyser basins and Grand Prismatic Spring. Even if you don't stop there it's only a few minutes back up from OF.

OF is much more than just OF geyser. The whole area looks like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. You can spend a good part of the day wandering in the geysers.

I made a list of Waterfalls and selected the ones I wanted to stop at. Read my report. Also, with a bit of effort there are some great views of the Lower Falls (over 300 ft high).

The funny thing is that Tower Fall (no "s" at the end) in Tower -Roosevelt used to be good but they closed the hike to the bottom (dangerous I think) and growth of trees caused a very bad view. People still flock there, parking, services, etc and go to see it but you see nothing.

Other falls along the road are ignore. Rustic Falls is small, right on the road but nice shape. It looks like a staircase. One other car with a few people stopped there.

Undine Falls Just east of Mammoth can be viewed at a bit of a distance right along the road. It's a large, triple-layer falls. We stopped and there was one other car there.

Back to the Big Lower Falls. There are several excellent spots on the north and south sides. Artist Point, Uncle Tom's trail on the south side.

On the north side there are several places pretty close. You can feel the spray.

My least favorite place to view falls is at the brink. Watching water go over the top and you see nothing.
Myer is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 05:55 AM
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great info, thanks! I will keep calling. Hopefully OF lodging will open up. It was changing as I was on the phone with them so I think something will come though. If Mammouth Springs not worth it, then that removes a bit up driving up north and we can spend more time with hikes, etc.
P67742 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 06:05 AM
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Myer-I just checked out your pictures. Absolutely gorgeous. Love all your captions too. I am going to show my kids later. Thanks.
P67742 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 08:39 AM
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For Yellowstone in a very short period of time I might concentrate on OF area, then north to Madison, across to Canyon and based in Canyon go up as far as Tower and down a bit into Hayden Valley and its wildlife.

There's a lot in the OF area. The whole geyser basin up to Morning Glory. Drive a couple of miles to the Mystic Falls trailhead and do that relatively short hike to the falls. Also very close is Grand Prismatic Spring. The best view is not at the spring. Drive a mile back towards OF and park in the Dairy Falls parking lot. Do the first mile of that hike until to come to Grand Prismatic Spring on your right and an unofficial trail up a hill on the left. Go up for fantastic view (photos of both views on my web site).

Leave a part of the day to travel between Canyon and OF. You may want to drive the loop at Firehole canyon just below Madison.

A lot of people were jumping into the water and swimming there.

So the area between Old Faithful and Madison can keep you busy.

When in Canyon, early and late when wildlife is most active drive down from Canyon just a few minutes to Hayden Valley. Bison are gigantic and cause traffic jams.

There are many views of the amazing Lower Falls from either side of the Canyon.

If you wan a challenge, less than 10 miles north of Canyon is Mt Washburn. This is the signature hike of Yellowstone. It's 2.5 miles up to a ranger station. The trail is a very easy, smooth dirt road that's used to bring supplies up to the station. If you're luckey you may see big horn or pron horn on the way. We saw some but on the next mountain.

So, what's the problem with that hike? Well, it starts at 8,800 ft elevation and goes up to over 10,200 ft. After a minute I was sucking for oxygen. Walk slowly, stop frequently and drink water. It could be cold at the top.

You have to get there early as the parking lot fills up. On second thought, this takes a good part of the day and you may not want to do that. But a thought.
Myer is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 12:30 PM
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That should be Fairy Falls and not Dairy Falls.

A few other typos but you should be able to figure them out.
Myer is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Thank you. SO detailed and excellent!
P67742 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2013, 03:16 PM
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An update. Slowly gettin gthe reservations I need. After arrival, driving to Park City to spend the night. Should get there by 10:30 pm.
Day 1-Next day-drive to Jackson, booked 4:30 pm whitewater rafting.
2-will go to Jenny Lake, thru GTNP, then up to Canyon. We are still waiting for rooms to open up. (On a plus note--I have enough for 6 of the 7 and if needed we can bring a sleeping bag. I also have 4 nights with 2 Q in each room at OF Inn). This gives me the flexibility of going either to OF for 2 nights or to Canyon for 2 nights.
Preference will be Canyon for 2 nights so we can stop along way, Lake yellowstone, mud volcano, etc...falls, Hayden, to Canyon.
3-Lamar valley, grand canyon, upper lower falls hike if didnt finish the day before.
4-drive to OF. En route stopping at geyser basins
5-OF area
6-OF area, then drive out West Yellowstone. Maybe stop at Idaho Falls and potato museum along way, reach SLC late.

How does this look?
P67742 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2013, 04:53 PM
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Where is your lodging on Day 1? Signal Mtn?

I think you're short-changing Grand Tetons. Beautiful scenery.

Skip anything to do with Upper Falls. The name is misleading. Nothing compared to the 300 foot Lower Falls. And there are good places to view it on either side of the Canyon.

If it allows you to spend more time in GTNP skip Lamar if you're going to Hayden. A good time for wildlife is very early or early evening. Hayden will be full of bison and maybe a few deer along the way if lucky.

You won't really do much in the Grand Canyon. Just views unless you go oncertain time-consuming hikes. You can get excellent views and Red Rock Point on the north side and Artist point on the south side. I'll have to check my photos where there were nice views of the canyon.

We spend 3 nights in Canyon but did some hikes you just won't do with those on the trip. Three of our hikes just won't be appropriate.

Where do you have lodging so far?
Myer is offline  
Mar 7th, 2013, 04:16 PM
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In Jackson, I booked Cowboy Village so that we an do whitewater rafting at 4:30 pm. We are a family of 7-my family (2 adults, 2 teens), my sisterinlaw, and my inlaws wo do need extra time moving around and need to rest. So driving from Park City, they can go and rest while we whitewater.

Next day-GTNP, I can spend more time there and see how it goes.
For YNP-here is lodging that i reserved but still not optimal. I really dont want to carry a sleeping bag from home or purchase and then have to carry home.

2 nights cabins (1 double bed and one with 2 doubles). Will go with this unless Western rooms with 2 Q don't open up. But this means 1 child does not have a bed.

I do have 4 nights at OF Inn (YEAH)will let go of 2 nights once I get canyon to work.

To optimize coming in from south entrance, i think its best we do Canyon for 2 nights, then OF for 2.
I have been searching everyday but I do have some options in any case.

Thanks for the additional tips. We def. will not do Mammouth and we can see how much we cover while at Canyon. We will do hikes while laws rest.
P67742 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 05:02 AM
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There's a waterfall called Tower Fall (not Falls). There used to be a hike to the bottom that is closed due to danger. The trees,etc have grown to the point where the waterfalls is barely visible.

There are others that are much more visible and more worth your time. For some reason (maybe because there's a snack bar and big parking lot) many people park there and walk over to the falls. Not knowing about other falls they just go. Don't bother.

My guess is that you'll be returning to SLC via Yellowstone West Entrance (Madison). If so, it really doesn't matter whether you go to OF or Canyon first. Plan you route based on accomodations.

Just keep calling twice a day. As I've written before, people book a year in advance on spec. When they realize the trip won't happen or won't happen as planned they cancel.

I'm going to Glacier NP in Montana with a friend. I booked lodging in two placed way in advance. When he booked his plane tickets (I hadn't book my plane tickets yet) he booked coming and going a day early. This was because of a better deal with air miles. It took me a month of calling to get that day earlier and move the second reservation to a day earlier. But I managed.

Call, Call, Call!!!
Myer is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 05:22 AM
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yes will do!!! Thanks much
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