Pls Help Plan Colorado & Wyoming Trip!!!

Jul 5th, 2005, 02:55 PM
  #1  
Viv555
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Pls Help Plan Colorado & Wyoming Trip!!!

Hello All -
Have been lurking for a while as I begin compulsively (it pays off) planning next summer's family trip out West. After being overwhelmed by all the choices and underwhelmed by our 10 day or so window, I've decided to recreate a trip from my childhood and fly into Denver, do Rocky Mtn National Park, Grand Tetons and hopefully a bit of Yellowstone. That's the easy part!
Now I really need the experts' help with the details!!! Travelers: myself, DH, and two boys, 12 and 15. Can really use some help with accommodations (we thought about RV-ing but probably eliminated that as would be carless then, and worried about mileage)- so clean, convenient recommendations would be great..reasonable. I know we definitely want to go rafting on the Snake River....and other than that would like not to travel with hordes of people, so off the beaten path stuff would be great too. Moderate exertion in terms of hiking, etc.
Any and all suggestions would be appreciated - it will be late June, July of 2006.
Really looking forward to all your input!! Thanks!
 
Jul 5th, 2005, 04:03 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 358
The trip sounds great. If possible book a multi city airline trip so you dont have to backtrack. Fly into Denver and out of another airport such as Jackson or Salt Lake City. I'm not sure what to advise on Colorado but in Wyoming try to get lodging in Yellowstone park lodges or cabins. Generally the prices are reasonable. I dont know how far you can book ahead but once you have dates check the web site for prices.. Plan at least 4 days in Yellowstone. Old Faithful area is a good home base, the Snow Lodge is OK and newer. Other nice areas are the Canyon Lodge area or the Lake hotel areas. Check out the web site for lodging, I think its Xanterra. If you want cheaper lodging West Yellowstone has all the chain motels, fast food and its 45 minutes to Old Faithful. In the Tetons the Jackson Lake Lodge is wonderful with family cabins that are not too expensive. They also have a few nonview rooms in the main lodge that are inexpensive. The web site is gtlc.com. I would do a few days in the Tetons to relax and sightsee. Do a rafting trip south of Jackson, many rafting companies in the area, we used Parker Ewing. These parks are huge, go to Barnes Noble and buy a Fodors or frommers guide book on Montana Wyoming to get ideas. Keep us posted on what you decide.
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Jul 5th, 2005, 04:42 PM
  #3  
Viv555
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Well thanks Hilda - already those cabins at GTLC look perfect (compromise between the $475 AP rooms and renting sleeping bags in the tents). Perfect! I already have a fodors guide on order through half. As a child I stayed at Aspen Lodge in Estes Park, Colorado - doesn't look like quite the same place it was, but it seems there's a reasonable alternative too - would be great if Rocky Mountain had something equivalent to those Colter Bay Cabins - no TV and radio, woo hoo! Looking forward to more suggestions!!
 
Jul 5th, 2005, 05:09 PM
  #4  
Viv555
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...and the xanterra site has perfect options too! i emailed the, but would you happen to know how far out they allow booking? thanks!
 
Jul 5th, 2005, 05:13 PM
  #5  
LN
 
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One big problem with flying into one town and out of another (Denver, Salt Lake) unfortunately the car rental companies are not allowing one way drop offs any longer. I just finished this week trying to get a car for a similar trip.
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Jul 5th, 2005, 05:31 PM
  #6  
Viv555
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Is there a major airport in Wyoming? I seem to remember flying out of there (actually I also remember flying into Jackson 100 years ago, in the winter....).
What about food? Once you're in the parks, it would seem you're fairly captive to whatever dining options they offer - at least in Yellowstone.
 
Jul 5th, 2005, 05:43 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Viv, you can make reservations in the parks up to a year in advance.
I would suggest doing it NOW as they fill up fast.
RE food and lodging:
Have you done a search here?
You're going to places that are extremely popular with Fodorites and widely discussed.
There's a myriad of trip reports including every kind of lodging within and outside the parks,
in addition to reviews of dining establishments.
Also check tripadvisor.com, another excellent resource.
You will find something for everyone.
Have fun planning!
wanderluster is offline  
Jul 5th, 2005, 06:05 PM
  #8  
Viv555
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Well, can't make resvs till October/November when DH knows his schedule...but am reading some reports on Trip Advisor (were you spying on me?) that are making me consider W. Yellowstone - anyone familiar with Hibernation Station vs similarly priced lodging in the park. Pros and cons? As always, mixed review on the more reasonable lodging options in the Parks.
 
Jul 6th, 2005, 01:50 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Viv, Jets fly into Jackson airport including Delta. Also Casper and Cody . We have flown into Bozeman and Billings Montana on Northwest jets. Bozeman is about 90 minutes from West Yellowstone and its a lovely drive. I have booked quite a few multicity trips and never had problems getting a car rental. I was in Wyoming Montana 2 weeks ago and we picked up in Wyoming and dropped off in Kalispell Montana. They will charge a drop off fee but its worth it not to backtrack and see different things on the way to the next airport. I've used Hertz, Avis and Enterprise out there. Many chain hotels are in West Yellowstone as well as fast food eateries. I dont know the hotel you mentioned. Its not bad to stay in West Yellowstone but the park is better. The lodging will be very basic but its all about location location location. You will be OK making reservations this fall when you know your schedule, they will have plenty of availability. If you call early you can get non view rooms or cabins at a better price. I never want to pay extra for a view as I never sit and look out the window. If you stay inside the parks you will probably eat in the park lodges, too far to drive elsewhere. The food is OK, reasonably priced but not gourmet. Some of them have food court style options, especially the Snow Lodge. The Jackson Lake lodge and Jenny Lake lodge have nice dining rooms with chefs.
hilda is offline  
Jul 6th, 2005, 08:29 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 361
I have used www.vrbo.com (vacation rentals by owner)for places to stay in Estes Park, next to Rocky Mountain National Park and have been very pleased.

Sue
sjde53 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 05:09 AM
  #11  
 
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I'm not sure if you have looked at the Y of the Rockies in Estes Park. I've only stayed there off season - I'm not sure how crazy it is in June. I also don't know when the Roof Top Rodeo is in Estes Park - but it's near this time and it's a lot of fun.
julie_Colorado is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 05:13 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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The roof top rodeo kicks off July 12th this year - so probably too late given your timeframe. I would look at the Y of the Rockies as it is very similar to Colter Bay Cabins (and in a prettier location).
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