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travelinandgolfin Jan 16th, 2009 10:24 AM

TOP 5 things to do in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons
First, thanks to all who have been providing great feedback in helping me plan this trip. Your feedback along with the websites, etc., have given me a ton of ideas. The trouble is, now there are TOO MANY options! :) (we have 7 days to see both parks in early September).

So....I'm hoping to pare them down a bit and thought that if you could possibly list your top 5 things to do in both parks, that might help me to start editing our agenda down.

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

keymom Jan 17th, 2009 02:34 PM

I'll kick this off with (in no particular order)
Swimming in the boiling pot
Hiking up above Old Faithful
Horsebackriding to cowboy dinner
White water rafting (Jackson)

MiamiBeachMomma Jan 18th, 2009 05:27 AM

Great question!!! We are visiting this summer and I would love to see the comments here!!

LHS Jan 18th, 2009 07:59 AM

-Hiking around the Mammoth formation

-The lower falls trail by Canyon

-Drinks on the Old Faithful lodge balcony, watching the geyser go off & walking the trails

-watching the sunset from our campsite at Madison Junction by the Firehole River

-canoeing out of Coulter Bay on Jackson Lake

bachslunch Jan 18th, 2009 08:45 AM

Here are some good ones I've done.


-hiking a circuit in the Canyon area's South Rim area that goes past Clear Lake and hooks up to the South Rim Trail. Views of the Upper and Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Clear Lake, mud pots, and meadows.

-hiking the Upper Geyser Basin area between Biscuit Basin and Old Faithful. Loads of geysers and pools, plus the Old Faithful Inn.

Grand Teton:

-Jenny Lake/Hidden Falls/Inspiration Point hike -- also continue on a ways past Inspiration Point into the canyon that follows. Great overlook viewpoint, falls, and some nice meadow areas.

-at Coulter Bay: Lakeshore Trail and Swan Lake/Heron Pond loop hikes. Nice mountain range views on the former, nice lake views on the latter.

All are well less than a day's worth of walking and range from easy to moderate difficulty.

jnjfraz Jan 18th, 2009 09:06 AM

keymom, where is the boiling pot? We used to sneak in and "hot Pot" but it was illegal and now carries very large fines.

We live in the area and I've traveled in and trough the park for years.

.Swimming in the Firehole
.See exhibit of 1988 wildfire
.Small Rodeo by West Yellowstone
.Canoe or Kayak on Jenni Lake, the back arms of Yellowstone or Jackson Lake
.driving the beartooth highway

spirobulldog Jan 18th, 2009 10:53 AM

Seeing as Many Geysers as possible around Old Faithful. Castle Geyser was our favorite of the 5 we saw erupt.

Seeing the Old Faithful Inn, perhaps a meal there.

Canyon area, with a hike around or down into it.

Jenny Lake/Inspiration Point/Waterfall Hike (although there is a ton of people on the trail)

Yellowbus wildlife tour.

keymom Jan 18th, 2009 12:28 PM

I mis-typed - it's the Boiling River and it was legal then. Looks like it still is
You drive to Montana to park and then walk back to Wyoming. (about 1 mile?) Take water shoes as the area is rocky.

travelinandgolfin Jan 19th, 2009 08:38 AM

Thanks all. Keep em coming! :)

travelinandgolfin Jan 20th, 2009 09:42 AM

How much of the Jenny Lake/Hidden Falls/Inspiration point/Cascade hike can we do if we have at most three hours of time to do it (so say from leaving the car to returning to the car, three hours max)?

I'm having problems planning this one, as we will have three "half days" in GT....possibly one full day if you count the drive from W. Yellowstone down to Jackson and take that day to do this (but as from my other post), I'm not so sure about keeping luggage in the car while we are out on this hike.

Much thanks.

spirobulldog Jan 20th, 2009 11:22 AM

Three hours would be pushing it. You might have to wait on boats if you don't get there when it opens. Or you can just walk the entire thing. Of course, that would take even longer. I don't think you would have any problem at all leaving luggage at you car for this location. It is a big parking area in front of the dock. Someone would have to be really really brave to break in on that. I guess anything is possible though. I like this hike, but there is a lot of people. I mean a lot of people. We were on the 1st or 2nd boat of the day, and in a not so busy time. I can't imagine being on it when it was busy.

travelinandgolfin Jan 20th, 2009 11:41 AM

Thanks Spiro.

I think we may have to do this on the day we drive from W. Yellowstone to Jackson (we'll have all day on this day).

Funny thing about the luggage. On almost every post I read, folks suggest that visitors use the day of driving from one accomodation to the next to view (like Jackson to Yellowstone or vice versa) and take in the sights along the way, but make no mention of luggage in the car. I just assumed that it was safe. I may have to chance it.

spirobulldog Jan 20th, 2009 02:50 PM

you can always drive the interior for a while and maybe see a moose, if you get through with your hike quickly. We saw one up very close in a pond on Moose Rd. This was not far from Dornans, which has a good pizza/pasta place and a super good Deli/store.

maria_so Jan 20th, 2009 03:02 PM

I'm only going to give you top 2 for each place (I have too many!!!)

Jackson: rafting the snake river
seeing the town and dinner
snake river grill

Tetons: taking the boat across Jenny
lake and hiking up
through inspiration point
and to cascade canyon

overnight kayaking with oars
to grass island.

Yellowstone: kayaking in yellowstone
lake (with oars)

having a swim at the
firehole river

General: animal watching/searching

Favorite geysers: midway (excelsior
& grand prismatic
(I could take pics
of that all day!)


spirobulldog Jan 20th, 2009 04:52 PM

Grand Prismatic is a geyser?

maria_so Jan 20th, 2009 05:19 PM

sorry, spring then. i meant thermal features, not best geysers. after being there for a few days, they all tend to roll together into one category. sorry.

bachslunch Jan 21st, 2009 03:47 PM

I'll echo spirobulldog on the idea of hiking Jenny Lake/Hidden Falls/Inspiration Point in 3 hours total round trip from the parking lot as being tough to do. Your only real chance will be to catch the boat perfectly right over and back across the lake (not so easy), going no farther than Inspiration Point on the trail, then not lingering at any spot along the way -- and even then, that may be pushing it. A line waiting for a boat is certainly possible. I'd personally take more time here -- it's worth it.

travelinandgolfin Jan 21st, 2009 05:16 PM

Understood about Jenny Lake and the boat situation.

Say we can catch the boat one way and had to hike back the other. Also, we go only up to the falls.....would four hours work? Or is that still not enough?


maria_so Jan 22nd, 2009 01:38 AM

in mid september this past year, we were able to get on the boat fairly quickly, hike all the way up to cascade canyon (although we only went to about 1/3 of cascade canyon) and hike back to the visitor's center in about 5 hours. we stopped some along the way and had a nice little picnic by the river up at cascade canyon(the point where we turned around).

bachslunch Jan 22nd, 2009 10:26 AM

travelinandgolfin, I guess you could only go as far as Hidden Falls and go back, but you'll miss a heck of a great view if you stop there. They don't call it Inspiration Point for nothing, at least in MHO.

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