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Please suggest drive route for Jackson/GTNP/Yellowstone Trip?

Please suggest drive route for Jackson/GTNP/Yellowstone Trip?

Aug 19th, 2010, 01:49 PM
  #1  
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Please suggest drive route for Jackson/GTNP/Yellowstone Trip?

Reposted. Forgot to make it Wyoming specific last time.

========
Hi all,

Our trip is coming up in less than 2 weeks, and I haven't planned the drive route yet! I've been busy trying to figure out where to stay since all lodges inside the park are sold out. We've decided to do "camping", but trying to make it super comfortable with all kinds of provisions and amenities that it might be embarrassing to disclose here. Well, we'll see how it turns out. We might just wimp out still and stay in motels outside the park.

We have 1 week. Tentative itinerary below. Appreciate your feedback and suggestoins! We'll fly in and out of Jackson, WY. Please suggest good day hikes, things not to miss, etc.

1) Wed -- Fly in Jackson, WY at 2 p.m. Pick up rental car. Stock up on food, water from Albertson. (Anywhere else?). Drive to Grand Teton NP and stay at Colter Bay. (or Jenny Lake?)

2) Thurs -- Explore GTNP. Any particular route? Or just loop through the whole park? Do some hikes. Inspiration Point? Can you just hike to the trail head or need to take the boat? Other hikes? Stay at Colter Bay.

3) Fri -- Drive to Yellowstone. Hang out in Canyon area since Canyon Village will close by Sun (9/5). Stay in Canyon Village.

4) Sat. Stay in Canyon Village. What to do here? Lamar Valley?

5) Sun. Stay in Mammoth?

6) Mon . Old Faithful Area? Stay in Bridge Bay or Grant?

7) Tue. Yellowstone Lake and head back to Jackson. Which route? Any other scenic route? Stay in Jackson.

8) Wed. 1/2 day in Jackson. Fly home @ 2 p.m.

Thanks much!
JC98 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 01:56 PM
  #2  
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Please also suggest which parts of the parks are best seen at which time of the day -- morning, noon, afternoon, evening--if it really makes a differnce.
JC98 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 02:39 PM
  #3  
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Some more questions:

1) Would an SUV be much more convenient? Or a minivan is good enough?

2) Possible to squeeze in Bear Tooth Hwy? Many rave reviews here on the drive? How to do it and when?

Thanks!
JC98 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:04 PM
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How many are going on the trip?

I don't camp in Bear Country. The one time I did camp in Yellowstone, we put all our stuff in the tent and slept in the SUV. I've done cross-country trips when we just pulled into sites and slept on the seats - but this was back in the mega-sedan days of Monte Carlos.

GTNP is small. If you are going to camp there for two nights, I'd just set up camp and stay there for two nights (and not break camp and set it back up again).

If you want to stay in a hotel room, there will be rooms outside the parks. Check for places in Jackson for GTNP and West Yellowstone and/or Cody for Yellowstone. We stayed at the Flagg Ranch this summer and I don't recommend it.

Keep calling for rooms in the park - call every day and there's a good chance you can find a place to stay.

If you want to pull in the Beartooth Highway, then I'd definitely do it.

GTNP is small. YNP is BIG! REALLY BIG! Routing is easy - the road is set up in a figure 8. There's a lower loop and an upper loop that makes up the figure 8. You can go in any direction and in any order and it's all good. Even though Yellowstone is big, you can pick a place in the middle like Canyon, set up camp and do the lower loop the first day and the upper loop the next day.

That would have you leaving Yellowstone to the Beartooth Parkway. We stayed in Red Lodge MT and LOVED the little town. We then drove to Cody and I enjoyed the Buffalo Bill museum more than I imagined. A night in Red Lodge, a night in Cody and then back through the parks to Jackson.

That's one option anyway.
starrs is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:09 PM
  #5  
 
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Here's our trip report. The first week routing was a bit disorganized. It doesn't take that long to "do" GTNP but you really don't SEE GTNP until you drive the secondary roads and get out on a trail or two.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...e-crazies-.cfm
starrs is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:23 PM
  #6  
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Thanks, starrs! I was actually reading your trip report before seeing your reply. Lots of good info there. Yeah, sounded like you guys spent a lot of time in GTNP.

We're 2 adult couple, and we're doing "inside car camping"--minivan with back seats folded down flat and disappear into the floor, inflatable mattress, 2 person sleeping bag with temp rating of 0 F. Hope it'll be comfortable.

I haven't looked at the map, but how to do Bear Tooth Hwy? (Actually I got the idea from reading your trip report!) Is it a loop? Where to start from Yellowstone and how to get back to Jackson?

Thanks!
JC98 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:27 PM
  #7  
 
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Camping info for Yellowstone -
http://www.yellowstone.net/camping/canyon.htm

handy dandy interactive map of Yellowstone -
http://www.nps.gov/archive/yell/inte...emap/index.htm
starrs is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:40 PM
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3) Fri -- Drive to Yellowstone. Hang out in Canyon area since Canyon Village will close by Sun (9/5). Stay in Canyon Village.

On the way up you will pass thought Lamar Valley, enjoy the sites on your way. Also stop at Mud Volcano.

4) Sat. Stay in Canyon Village. What to do here? Lamar Valley?

If you don't want to spend more time at the Canyon, then I'd suggest doing the upper circle. Drive north to Tower Jct, then Roosevelt, make the little detour to see the petrified tree stump, include Mammoth Hot Springs, make a quick stop at Sheepeater Cliff and come back across the middle, make sure to take the one way road to Virginia Cascade.

5) Sun. If you're camping move over to Madison Campground and if camping doesn't work for you stay in West Yellowstone two nights. On the way stop at Norris Geyser Basin, Artist Paintpots and Gibbons Falls. After setting up camp, make your way down to the Fountain Paint Pots, Firehole Lake Drive and if time permits Midway Geyser.

6) Mon stay at Madison Campground and visit the Old Faithful area including the Upper Geyser Basin, Biscuit Basin and Black Sand Basin.

7) Tue. Yellowstone Lake and head back to Jackson. Which route? Any other scenic route? Stay in Jackson.

Add West Thumb Geyser Basin Area. You really don't have much choice on routes with out going WAY out of your way. Coming back thought the Grand Tetons take Highway 191 route which will give you great views of the Grand Tetons and takes you closer to the Snake River.

8) Wed. 1/2 day in Jackson. Fly home @ 2 p.m.
utahtea is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:46 PM
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If there's just two of you, you'll be fine in the minivan. That's what I'd do if I were camping in the area. I grew up camping and camped and backpacked a lot as an adult - but I'm scared of grizzlies. There are black bears around where I live and I know they are going to get into the bird feeders, hummingbird feeders and trash cans - but I don't worry about them coming after me. Grizzlies? Ummm...no thanks.

Re the "all kinds of provisions and amenities that it might be embarrassing to disclose here" - that sounds like me too. When the kids were little we'd do cross country trips staying in KOA Kamping Kabins - and we'd use all sort of electric things in camp. I even packed a little TV with VHS for them to watch "in camp". I have a precious picture of them trying to toast marshmallows over an electric heating plate. LOL! They wanted to try and it was too late to build a campfire, so I let them toast away.

I'm a former teacher and hit the road to the Rockies every summer. A lot of the time we didn't even set up a tent - just slept in the Monte Carlo, grabbed a shower and were on our way again the next morning. My ex and I used to do the Blue Ridge Parkway and on some hot summer nights, we'd just rig a tarp in the rhododendrons to protect us from dew, pull out banana chairs, toss on the summer bags and that was it for "camping". One crate of food on the picnic table and one small cooler. Just be prepared for folks to laugh at you. The RVers would do their walking rounds around the campground and sometimes couldn't stifle their laughter until they were out of sight. It's all good. Yep, the mini-van will make for fine camping in Yellowstone - just put up a tent and "claim your spot" if you leave for the day to come back that night. Enjoy!

The Beartooth Highway - There's no loop. It's a gorgeous drive, but would be a heck of a round trip. Our driver lived in Colorado for years and was used to mountain roads, but there's no way she'd turn around to come back down. We LOVED the little town of Red Lodge and our little hotel room was only $100. I definitely think you should stay in a hotel in Red Lodge. The owners also offer a breakfast with a hot item - either pancakes or sausage and biscuits. The morning we were there, he had both.

You can come back south other ways, but we really did like the drive into Cody, LOVED the chocolate shop in Meeteetse and the tiny museum there, loved the Buffalo Bill museum. I'm a big fan of Cody. AND if you come back in from Cody that's one part of Yellowstone you don't have to see during your two days there.

So, I'd do -
2 nights in GTNP
2 nights in YNP
1 night in Red Lodge
1 night in Cody (maybe go to the rodeo)
and head back to Jackon.
I think that's your week.
starrs is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 06:20 PM
  #10  
 
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In case you get confused, you have two similar threads on the US forum. The other one is here -
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...fm#dest-header
starrs is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 06:24 PM
  #11  
 
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starrs on Aug 19, 10 at 10:23pm
Albertson's is great for stocking up, but we loved this little gourmet market in Jackson -
http://www.pearlstmeatandfish.com/
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Aug 19th, 2010, 06:36 PM
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starrs, In case you missed my other thank you, at your suggestion we visited Many Glaciers and drove to Red Lodge on the Beartooth Highway. They were two big highlights of our two-week road trip to MT and WY. HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 06:49 PM
  #13  
 
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I am SO glad, happytrails. Those were two of my favorite things on the trip. I'm glad my suggestions steered you that way.

I loved so much on that trip, I'd love to go back and redo some of it as early as next year.

What did you decide to do about your return? Did you head back over the Going to the Sun road or did you take Hwy 2? If you went Hwy 2, I hope the goats were out!
starrs is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 02:57 AM
  #14  
 
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bookmarking--lots of great info, thank you!!
AnnMarie_C is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 10:54 AM
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Starrs, We drove back over Highway 2 partly because of construction delays on Going to the Sun Road but also so we could see Glacier Park Lodge (which we enjoyed) and the goats (which were nowhere to be seen).

I was reminded that we had been through the south part of Glacier NP when we took Amtrak from Seattle to Chicago.

On return to Seattle I discovered that none of my friends of relatives have ever heard of or been to Many Glaciers.

If you ever go back to Red Lodge, consider staying at Rocky Fork Inn. Kathy provides big, comfy rooms with all the amenities, including a deck with river view.

HTTY
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Aug 20th, 2010, 11:48 AM
  #16  
 
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HTTY, how was your trip? I've been wondering how it went, and if you had good weather. I hope it was great!
kureiff is online now  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 11:30 AM
  #17  
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Thanks, all, for your helpful suggestions! We might consider doing Yellowstone first and GTNP later. That way, if we don't like camping, it's easier to get out of GTNP and stay in Jackson.

Thanks again. Looking forward to the trip!
JC98 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 12:41 PM
  #18  
 
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We just made this trip last month and had a FABULOUS time. You can click on my username for my trip report. HTH!
DejaDeb is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 05:46 PM
  #19  
 
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bookmarking
HunyBadger is offline  
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