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srq5000 Mar 31st, 2004 03:41 PM

Need advice on Yellowstone/Teton itenerary
My wife and I will be flying into Salt Lake City on September 3rd. So far, I am planning on staying the first two or three days in Jackson to see Teton Nat?l Park, and the remainder in the Yellowstone area. I was originally planning to stay in West Yellowstone for the entire time that we will touring Yellowstone, but am not sure if this would make it difficult to do the Beartooth and Chief Joseph. My wife refuses to stay in any park accommodations because of previous experiences in other Nat?l Parks and also from reading some negative reviews by others. We prefer chain hotels that offer more amenities. I would not mind moving from hotel to hotel in different areas in order to see everything and not having to constantly drive all the way back to one hotel. I would also like to end the trip at a West Yellowstone hotel so I can just hop on Rt 20 then I-15 all the way to SLC. Since I was never in this part of the country, I need some assistance in my planning. I would also welcome your comments on the plans above. Is this too much time in the Tetons (we want to raft on the Snake River and also do some photographing, along with a few walks on the easier paths (no major hikes). While in Yellowstone we want to see all the major sights and still do some of the shorter nature walks. Unfortunately I can?t extend my vacation time any longer than this so I would like to make the most of it. I would like to get everyone?s input and suggestions on the following itinerary, thanks!

Friday, Sept. 3: Arrive in SLC at 7:00 pm with overnight stay in SLC.
Saturday, Sept. 4: Leave SLC early around 7:00 am and head to Jackson, WY - arrive approx 2:00 pm with overnight stay in Jackson.
Sunday, Sept 5: Teton Nat?l Park then overnight in Jackson, WY
Monday, Sept 6 (Labor Day): Either whole day in Teton and overnight in Jackson, WY, OR just head up to Yellowstone later in the day and stay overnight up there.
Tuesday, Sept 7: Will either already be in Yellowstone or traveling to Yellowstone in AM - Need Suggestions
Wednesday, Sept 8: Need Suggestions
Thursday, Sept 9: Need Suggestions
Friday, Sept 10: Need Suggestions
Saturday, Sept 11: Either spend another day in Yellowstone or head back to SLC and stay overnight and try to do things in SLC on Sunday.
Sunday, Sept 12: Either drive back to SLC and maybe have time to see the temple before preparing to leave the next day for home, or will already be in SLC if departed Yellowstone the previous day and have a whole day in SLC.
Monday, Sept 13: Flight back to PA.

HowardR Mar 31st, 2004 04:42 PM

Two days in the Teton is hardly too much!
You are going to this area at a great time of the year. The crowds have left. The weather is still good. And, the trees are starting to turn their fall colors. It's a photographer's paradise. Make sure you drive down Antelope Flats Road to see and photograph the Moulton Barn and the bison. Oxbow Bend is also a must for picture-taking, especially that time of the year.
Further, you'll see plenty of wildlife that time of the year, which is the mating season.

amyx Apr 12th, 2004 09:46 AM

I would stay in the Old Faithful Snow Lodge on Sept 7 & 8 and explore the geysers on the 7th and the lake area on the 8th. The OF Snow Lodge looked quite nice and I am pretty picky with lodging myself. On the 9th I would check out the hotel early and spend the day exploring the Canyon, my favorite area in YNP. At night check into Mammoth Hot Springs cabin, which wasn't too different from a typical motel outside of the park. Stay there for 2 nights. On the 10th, explore the hot springs in the AM, and head out to Beartooth highway before lunch. You can lunch in the town right outside the park. You might need the whole afternoon to do beartooth. Head back to the park and spend some time at the Lamar Valley animal watching before sunset. You can spend the next morning (the 11th) exploring Norris Basin before exiting the park via West Yellowstone. Have a quick lunch there and you should be back in SLC before dark Saturday night.

The next day (Sunday) I would definitely attend the Morman Choir at Temple Square in the morning. You could visit the Olympic Park in Park city in the afternoon if you are looking for things to do.

I feel it is essential to stay inside the park at YNP to save more time. It felt like quite an amount of driving even though we stayed inside the park. Trust me, there are worse hotels outside of the park than the ones I recommended above. For example, I would stay at any hotel inside YNP over the Best Western (Ruby's Inn) in Bryce, Utah any day.

In Grand Teton, Signal Mountain Lodge was quite nice, right on a lake. However, it's a smaller park and staying in Jackson might be doable, if you insist.

HowardR Apr 12th, 2004 01:12 PM

The Teton is definitely doable from Jackson. There is a good choice of simple hikes in the Teton.
I recommend the Frommer's guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. It includes a good selection fo easy hikes.
Bring lots of film.

bob_brown Apr 12th, 2004 01:45 PM

To a certain extent itinerary variations out there are often the norm.
I see no reason why you could not stay in West Yellowstone and drive to Red Lodge via Cody and traverse the Chief Joseph Highway during the trip. I did just that last summer; in fact, we even drove in the northeast Gate and followed the road along the Lamar Valley for several miles before retracing our steps back the turnoff for the Beartooth.

I think you will have ample time to do what you plan. I do think you are being a little foolish to rule out staying in the park at all.

I an one of the major bashers of Xanterra accommodations in the park. I can work myself up into a lather describing some of my awful rooms at high prices. I enjoy being able to take a few swings at Xanterra over prices, poor quality, tiny rooms, etc. Like my son said, that's one way I get my jollies.

But on the other hand, there are some tolerably nice cabins and rooms, too. If you could find a Western Cabin at Canyon or the Lake Lodge, I don't think it is total ripoff. Some of the rooms with two double beds at Old Faithful Inn are ok as well.

There is an old Scottish saying of "Don't cut your nose to spite your face." So reconsider; no need hurting your travel plans over some non critical thinking. Learn when to pick and choose.

amyx Apr 12th, 2004 05:24 PM

Xanterra being the monopoly in lodging/restaurants in Yellowstone, I was actually surprised that they didn't charge more for things. For example, we were both quite satisfied with their breakfast. I would order something small like pancakes for around $4. They were fine pancakes. My husband usually got the buffet for $8 with really good coffee and OJ included. The buffet had all the normal items including eggs, sauage, bacon, french toast, fresh fruit etc. It didn't compare to the buffet at Bellagio's in Vegas, but it beat the $7 one at Shoney's (a chain) in the town we live and that doesn't even come with coffee or juice. At Mammoth we had them pack a lunch bag and it was about $6 for a sandwich, an apple, a drink (OJ) and chips. Dinner was a disappointment at Old Faithful Inn but was a nice surprise at Old Faithful Snow Lodge. The entrees were in the $12 - $18 range, nothing too outrageous.

I just booked rooms at Mt. Rainier and Olympic NP in Washington state, and neither park (not run by Xanterra) offers lodging (with bath) for under $100. On the other hand, Yellowstone provides a variety of cabins for under $100. We stayed at Mammoth cabin and found the room quite tolerable.

dindle Apr 18th, 2004 06:55 AM

I live just over an hour away from Teton and go there often. I would have to say that two days is not too much at all - there is much to see and do there and September is a great time to visit.
Having said that, I will also agree with several of the posts that have recommended you stay in the park. Although you may not get the amenities that you have at an out of park hotel, the time you save driving in and out of the park will be worth it. It takes a long time to drive those roads (We've done it many times, so we know.) My favorite park lodging is Jackson Lake Lodge in Teton. It is beautiful, with clean moderate rooms at prices that are reasonable (for Teton). Jackson Hole has soom good deals on lodging that time of year - look around and don't settle for super high prices. Be careful about booking your Yellowstone rooms - there are web sites that look like "official" park sites that will book the worst room at a high price. Stay away from the Lake Lodge (not the Lake Hotel). It is a dumpy place with high prices. Enjoy your trip!

chewy1 Apr 30th, 2006 12:27 PM

Did September there two years ago...great trip. Float fished the Snake River for cutthroat trout, went to Oxbow Bend at Sunset (phenomenal), drove from there over the Hatchet for a steak (in Hatchet), also enjoyed
Jenny Lake, and Jackson Lake Lodge.

ccrosner May 3rd, 2006 10:54 AM

We did this trip almost five years ago now and were fine with our in park accommodations--but we didn't stay in the cabins. At Jackson Lake Lodge, we were in one of the outer motel-like rooms with a view. It was fine for us but your wife might think it was tired. At Old Faithful Inn, we had a renovated room in one of the wings with two double beds. Like an upscale Holiday Inn. Nice bathroom with a hunting lodge decor. And we had a room at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel that looked out to the lake. It had two queen beds and a nicely sized bathroom. The largest of our accommodations.

Coming from the East Coast, I think their prices are reasonable (we also stayed in Xanterra lodging in Utah/GC two years ago--Bryce is the worst of all we've stayed in). Food in Yellowstone is not memorable. That would be my biggest complaint. But it's all worth it to be in the parks--you can't beat the surroundings!!!

rubigayle Jun 30th, 2006 09:07 PM

I just booked Ruby's lodge at Bryce- is it really that bad? It sounds like my 12 year old son's dream motel. I also booked inside the park- Which is worse?

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