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Short trip to Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore- Need advice

Short trip to Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore- Need advice

Old Jun 24th, 2011, 07:00 AM
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Short trip to Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore- Need advice

My husband and I are planning a quick trip in mid-July so we can see the "highlights" of these Parks as well as the scenery of this part of our Country. We will be leaving Salt Lake by car Monday early evening and plan to stay overnight in Idaho Falls. We will arrive in the Jackson Hole/Grand Teton area on Tuesday. Our thoughts are that we can get a flavor of those parks on Tuesday and part of Wednesday, drive to Yellowstone on Wednesday and spend part of Wednesday and Thursday at Yellowstone. All we really want to do at Yellowstone is see Old Faithful, anything else would be extra. . On Thursday early evening we will start driving to Mt. Rushmore, and stay in Gillette.
Friday we will end up at Mr. Rushmore to get there at night, and spend the night in Rapid City. We fly home mid-afternoon from Rapid City on Saturday, so we can go back to Mt. Rushmore Saturday morning.
I know this is a crazy, rushed itinerary, but that is what we want to do. We know there is a lot of driving, and not much relaxing or down time in the parks.

At this late date, we cannot get reservations at any of the lodges in Yellowstone or the Grand Teton park. Does anyone have good suggestions for nearby lodging? We are not campers or backpackers and like our creature comforts. We have reservations at the Alex Johnson in Rapid City, but I am getting a bit antsy because of mixed reviews on various websites.
Thanks for any help!
Redwood27 is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2011, 08:17 AM
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First, don't give up on lodging. There's a fair amount in the Old Faithful area. Call, call, call for cancellations. Most come up near the end. Other may give you some outside options.

The best time to see Old Faithful is early (7:30 - 10AM) as the sun is behind you and the Lodge and Old Faithful is in front of you.

In addition to this I would spend an hour or two walking around the Basin to see the other geysers, etc.

Geyser Hill is a good way of doing this.

Driving north from OF I'd make a quick stop in the Middle Basin to see Grand Prismatic Spring. The parking lot is about a 10 minute walk from GPS and right off the road.

I would drive to Canyon (Yellowstone is shaped like an "8" with OF at the bottom left and Canyon is on the right side at the middle) and make a couple of viewpoint stops (Artist Point on the south side and pick one on the north side) to see the Lower Yellowstone Falls.

For wildlife your only real choice will be bison. Just below Canyon is Hayden Valley. There are almost always bison there and often walking around and on the road.

Grand Tetons are beautiful but a bit tougher. Maybe somebody else can give you some advice.
Myer is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2011, 10:17 AM
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West Yellowstone will be your best location outside the park for seeing the Old Faithful area if you can't get in on a cancellation. Like Myer's said....keep trying for inside the park!

utahtea is offline  
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