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Seeking thoughtful advice on Yellowstone/Tetons trip!

Seeking thoughtful advice on Yellowstone/Tetons trip!

Old Jul 20th, 2014, 09:42 PM
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Seeking thoughtful advice on Yellowstone/Tetons trip!

We are going to Yellowstone and the Tetons! Looking for your thoughtful advice on how to SPREAD our time and where to do a few activities. We have three boys going with us ages 16, 14 and 11.

First, activities. We are beginners. Where do you suggest we do the following?
1. 1/2 day fly fishing trip
2. Horseback ride to see scenery and wildlife
3. Whitewater rafting

Second, itinerary. Here's the tentative plan. Questions are embedded:

Day 1: Drive from Fargo, ND to Red Lodge, MT.
Day 2: Leave early from Red Lodge and drive Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone.
(Husband will determine Yellowstone route). We have a condo lined up in West Yellowstone as our base to explore.
Day 3: More Yellowstone exploring
Day 4: More Yellowstone? Go fly fishing in Big Sky? Go fly fishing somewhere else? Thoughts?
Day 5: Head to Tetons. Stay in Jackson or in Tetons? Thoughts?
Day 6: Another day in Tetons/Jackson or head towards Cody, WY?
Day 7: Cody, WY
Day 8: More Cody? Get out of Cody and get to Medora, ND.
Day 9: Drive from Medora to Fargo.
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 04:08 AM
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Day 4 Just stick with Yellowstone, You haven't allowed enough time there, especially since you are commuting outside the park
There is fishing in the park, if that's really that high on your list.

Day 7 I think one full day in Cody would be enough
Day 8 and 9--You might as well spend a bit of time in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

For Yellowstone--spend the better part of a day looking at the geysers around Old Faithful--My favs are Castle Geyser and Riverside Geyser. Check online or with rangers as to their predicted eruptions times. Of course, Old Faithful. Also see Old Faithful Inn.

You might consider a meal at Lake Hotel and also at Roosevelt.

Be sure and see Lamar and Hayden Valleys along with Uppper/Lower Falls/Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.


If your reservations can be cancelled, I would check up until the last minute and stay "IN PARK" at both Yellowstone and Tetons.
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 06:52 AM
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http://www.trailguidesyellowstone.co...k_road_map.php
I just put this on another Yellowstone questions but it may help you as well.
Decades ago I was at the Jackson Hole airport and saw a famous TV fisherman (Gadabout Gaddis). He had just flown in and was meeting his guide.
There is at least 1 good rafting company in Gardiner MT (north of Mammoth). Mammoth has the largest concentration of elk that I saw in the park last August.
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 09:30 AM
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Definitely spend AT LEAST two days in the Tetons. You don't need for than a day in Cody.
And, yes, stay in the Tetons rather than Jackson.
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 11:21 AM
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Thank you all! This is super - I got on the phone this morning (before I read your responses) and it looks like I made some good decisions.

There was a cancellation on a cabin in Gardnier, MT through a company called Flying Pig (they also do fly fishing, horseback riding and rafting), and we will be staying there for 3 nights. I also got in on one night at Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and I managed to get 2 nights at Jackson Lake Lodge in Tetons.

Now all I have to figure out is our exit strategy.
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 01:35 PM
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You'll be thankful that you decided to stay at the Jackson Lake Lodge instead of a hotel/motel in Jackson. Still, you should try to find a little time to spend in Jackson.
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 02:43 PM
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HowardR -
Curious as to why I'll be happier in Jackson Lake Lodge instead of Jackson?
Thanks!
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 06:52 PM
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The answer is simple: Staying the park (just about any national park) helps you achieve the maximum park experience!
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 08:03 PM
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Barker Ewing Rafting in Jackson is an awesome company!! Do the white water, not the float trip. Spend the most time in Yellowstone. Fly fishing is excellent in Yellowstone--Usually an outfitter out of Jackson can do that for you. Try Dornan's in Moose--they might have a guide service.

As for staying in park vs. out of park. Lots of park lodging tends to be more rustic, less comfortable, expensive, and with limited dining options. Not to mention no amenities like a pool or a kitchenette or even a fridge/microwave. For some parks, you just don't have a choice--Yellowstone. Other parks, it is easy to stay outside and drive in--Tetons, Bryce, Zion, etc. Staying at Jackson Lake Lodge is lovely and expensive. We stay in Jackson when we go to the Tetons so we have more options and the same for lots of other parks. I will take comfort over rustic any day when it comes to kids. (and this is coming from someone who considers backpacking in the Grand Canyon for a week over cross country 'routes" --not trails--with ZERO facilities and carrying everything I need, as her ideal vacation!!!)
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:51 AM
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StantonHyde - where do you stay in Jackson?

Anyone have recommendations for places to stay in Jackson and Cody? Clean and comfortable - nothing fancy.

Thanks!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:58 AM
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Loved Jackson Lake Lodge and if they still offer it, the early morning trail ride is wonderful. It's an easy horseback ride that ends in a wonderful campout breakfast. I think your boys would love it!
At Yellowstone I would stay inside the park.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:59 AM
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Campfire breakfast. With Cowboys.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:58 AM
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I've a radically different opinion than Stanton Hyde about the advamtages of staying in or VERY VERY NEAR the park. And, I can assure from first-hand experiemce that facilities that we stayed were neither rushic nor expensive, though admittedly the latter is a relative term. However, I'll add that if you can afford the Jackson Lake Lodge, then you can afford to stay within Yellostone.

In our visits to the Teton-Yellowstone area, we have stayed both int parks and in Jackson, and we much prefer staying the parks.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 09:15 AM
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We LOVE the historic lodges. Have stayed at just about everyone of them(even the remote places like Oregon Caves Chateau). We don't go to these places to swim in a pool(even when we have had kids with us). Some of them do have them though-Wawona at Yosemite, Timberline at Mt. Hood, and Death Valley at the Inn are a few off the top of my head.

Can't say I've had to many critters--everything from marmots to squirrels while staying in a Hampton Inn, etc--But, certainly have had many an experience with those in the park lodges. To me nothing beats the sunrise at Bryce as you can walk out your door and your at the rim. While in Tetons, seeing moose right out your door. Wild Turkeys out your door in Zion and you also can take off up Angels Landing at daybreak and let the others in your party sleep in. Frankly, if we can't get the lodging in the parks, then we save it for the next year. To each his own though.

Many of the lodging options are very fairly priced. Places like Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone or some of the cabins in Glacier for example.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 09:57 AM
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My compliments, spirobulldog, for saying what I was trying to but in much better words!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 11:34 AM
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HowardR and spirobulldog...yes,yes and yes. No contest.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 05:00 PM
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You have to stay in park in Yellowstone--too much of a pain otherwise. The cabins at Old Faithful and Canyon were very nice and roomy for a one bedroom. But Roosevelt Lodge is rather remote from dining options etc. My husband and I left our hotel room in Glacier because the wind was whistling through the cracks in the walls (we were facing a lake), the heat didn't work and it was FREEZING. In Jackson, stay south of town--we are staying at the Virginian which will be fine. Dornan's in Moose has great cabins for only $215 or so that sleep 4. Which is great if they are available.

I think it also depends on how much "regular" wilderness you get. I did a bike ride yesterday and saw 2 pairs of sandhill cranes, blue herons, etc. Saturday we were up in the Cottonwood Canyons and saw moose. I have deer in my yard every morning not to mention birds of prey etc. In the fall, the tarantulas will start migrating down our street. Just hiking the trails in Zion at high noon I have seen snakes, lizards, tarantulas, etc. If you have never seen these National Parks or places like them, then immerse yourself. We choose to live in Utah so that the National Parks are part of our regular routines.

As for expensive--I just checked and a one bedroom cottage at Jackson Lake Lodge is $270. I am getting 2 rooms, plus a kitchen, and a living room for less than that when I go to Jackson next week. I like my space. I do not want all of us crammed in one room. We are not out of our room from 7am-8pm. We often get take out and relax with a bottle of wine and let the kids eat pizza etc. Its just the way my family works.

And when you have kids, it is a FAMILY vacation. If it were my vacation, we would be out the door every day at 8 am, on the trail at 9 and hiking all day. Then come back for dinner and cocktails and an early bed time. My kids can't hike the trails I hike and they don't want to hike all day. That's not fun for them. We have do things that are fun for everybody. So in Jackson next week, we will bike through the park vs. hike it because it will be so stinking crowded. Yes, we will go white water rafting but I may also get stuck going to the %[email protected]# Ripley's Believe it Or Not Museum because my kids LOVE that place.

My dad dragged us all over the place on his schedule and his activities. I always swore I would not subject my kids to that kind of a vacation and I don't. Now if you have kids who love hiking and fishing all day--then thank your lucky stars and get out there!! The rest of us will be having happy hour at the pool!!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 06:47 PM
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Gee, when my wife and I go to places like the Tetons. Yellowstone and the like, we somehow don't seem to spend much if any time at a pool. And, conversely, wnen we go to a resort or a beach area like Cape May, we spend a lot of time at the pool or in the ocean.

And, yes, we are out of our room at 7 or 8 a.m. so that can have as a full a day as possible enjoying these wonderful creations of nature while hiking, rafting, photographing and just plain looking!

And, yes, I may spend a few extra dollars to stay in the park, but I think it's worth it for all the reasons that spirobulldog mentioned and a lot more additional reasons like them.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 06:49 PM
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The Snow Lodge in Yellowstone is a modern hotel. I stayed there some time ago and found the rooms were large and comfortable. Old Faithful is a really short walk from the lodge, and the older historic lodge is also a short walk..you can make a reservation for dinner at the historic lodge.. be sure to walk around the inside and see it. a few years ago there was a pbs series on the national park lodges, Im pretty sure Yellowstone was included. it probably available online or at your local library

the park rangers have regularly scheduled programs.. talks, hikes etc, they are free and are generally pretty good . check the park website for more information.

when you stay in the park you are likely to have no tv and spotty wifi if there is any wifi.. however the whole point is to enjoy the outdoors. a big advantage to staying in the park is that you do not have to be in a line of cars waiting to get in.

in Cody, I highly recommend the Buffalo Bill museum, it has western history and art, native history, ecology and yes Buffalo Bill.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 06:56 PM
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I think Roosevelt Lodge dining is awesome. Had 3 awesome meals there. I had a Huckleberry Sweetbread there for breakfast. It was served in a cast iron skillet. Sort of a cross between cornbread and coffee cake combined.
I do think all the cafeteria style dining at Yellowstone is not worth eating at.
I like the Deli at Canyon. I like Mammoth main dining room and Snow Lodge. Sadly, Old Faithful Inn dining I was disappointed in.
We are going back June 2015. Staying 3 nights at Old Faithful Inn, 1 night at Roosevelt and 1 night at Colter Village Cabins in Tetons.
I do think Dornans Deli/Grocery store is very good. The cabins mentioned above aren't directly in the park, but they are very very close, so that wouldn't be a bad option.
Love both the main dining room and especially the 50's Diner Type in the lower level.
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