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Trip to Yellowstone

Old Oct 10th, 2005, 07:47 AM
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Trip to Yellowstone

We are thinking about a trip to Yellowstone in June 06.. Looking for some helpful info as I am clueless on this part of the country. Which airport should we fly into? What are some good moderately priced hotels/lodges to stay at. What are the must sees? We are a couple in our 30s with a 13 year old daughter. Thank you for any advice..
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Old Oct 10th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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Go to "The Total Yellowstone Pages" for more than you ever wanted to know about Yellowstone. It is an amazing source of information! Do a search. If you have trouble finding it, let me know.

Also, I would suggest seeing the Grand Tetons as well.
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Old Oct 10th, 2005, 03:48 PM
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Yellowstone is fabulous and you should combine it with the Tetons. We've flown into Bozeman Billings Jackson airports and try to fly home from a different location. Driving distances are extensive. Some people fly into Salt Lake City. Go to the bookstore and buy either Fodors or Frommers Yellowstone Tetons guide and read it thoroughly. The Yellowstone lodging is through a concessionaire, I think Xanterra.com. Grand Tetons is gtlc.com
You should stay in park lodges. Depending on how much time you have pick 2 in Yellowstone and 1 in the Tetons.
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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We did GTNP and Yellowstone this summer with our 2 teenagers. Our first adjustment (being from east coast) was the vast distances necessary to see the parks. Unlike some other National Parks we have visited, there is really not a central location where you can park your family and take reasonable day trips.

As far as airports, Jackson, Billings, Bozeman or even Idaho Falls or Salt Lake City are options - all depends on your tolerance from driving from airport and cost - we experienced sticker shock at cost of flights from Boston - far cheaper to fly to west coast from Boston than to Yellowstone area. Salt Lake City is about 6 hour drive and generally has least expensive flight options, but you lose 2 days of your trip in drive time. We ended up flying into Jackson (connecting in Denver) Also, our choice took into consideration type of equipment for flight - I do not like very small planes, especially over mountains.

Then enter the debate about in park or out of park. Because we made plans late, we ended up with 3 nights at Jackson (Teton Village), 2 nights in West Yellowstone, and 2 nights in Gardiner. That worked well for us.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 04:51 AM
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Thank you for all the help!
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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We made the trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons for the first time with our 16 year old son. Here are some suggestions:
1. I like to save money when I can so we got a great fare into Salt Lake. The drive is 6 hours, but you see some beautiful country on the drive and that is what we wanted to do. Get a good map, the drive was easy.
2. We stopped on our way out of Salt Lake and picked up picnic supplies including a cheap cooler. This not only saved in the cost of meals for lunch (dinner was always in a restaurant), but we had the flexibility of stopping whenever the mood or view took us. This was very helpful in Yellowstone as there are great picnic spots all over and the concessions can be crowded at lunch time. Also, you don't want to be in a great area and have to leave it or adjust your time table around finding a place to buy a meal.
3. We stayed one night in Jackson Hole (went to the Rodeo - great fun) and then one night in the Tetons (the cabins there are OK, not fancy). You definitely want to make reservations for Yellowstone park - one suggestion I got from the boards was to make my reservations for whichever lodge was available (they are not all created equal). Then I monitored the reservation website - people change plans all the time and rooms not available one day are the next. I was able to eventually get rooms where I wanted them, and Xanterra was very good about the changes I made. The main thing is to get in the park.
4. We stayed two nights in the Snow Lodge and one night in the Canyon Lodge. Because Yellowstone is so large next time we will try to stay one night in different lodges in the various areas of the park - less backtracking.
5. There are no televisions or cell phone signals in the park - so plan on some quality family time - take cards, games, etc. Our son complained, but we really spent some good time together in the evenings playing cards and talking.
5. We took a different route back to Salt Lake through Montana and Idaho and saw even more beautiful country.
You will have a wonderful time - I look forward to returning one day.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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You can fly into Pocatello, Idaho, and drive ~3 hrs to West Yellowstone. OR Cody, WY, is only about an hour into the park. I wouldn't stay in the park necessarily; there are several towns right on the park borders (like Gardiner, MT)that have many clean, modern, inexpensive motels, and you're just a few minutes from the park from any of these places. The park lodging is dated and very expensive; and frankly, the park is very easy to do (it's a figure 8 loop road), even if you stay in one motel every evening. Be sure to pack your picnic lunches, the picnic spots are everywhere, and the food in the park is not so great (not so bad, but...). Dining at the Yellowstone Lake Hotel is a very nice experience, if you can get reservations.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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We did Big Sky, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons last month.

We flew into Bozeman, drove 45mins to Big Sky. Stayed there at the start and end of our trip, with lodging inside Yellowstone and Tetons in the middle.

We stayed at the Lake Lodge in Yellowstone and in Colter Bay in Grand Tetons. I would recommend both!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 04:45 PM
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We had a great trip to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons this summer. We stayed in the cabins at Canyon. This was a central location for us - we were willing to make the drives to the other locations. Some of the best wildlife sightings were the dusk drives back to the cabins. It stays light very late in the summer so dusk could be 9:00 or 10:00. We flew into Idaho Falls. It was an easy drive to Yellowstone from there. The drive back from Grand Tetons was harder as you go over a tall mountain. We waited too late in the day so had to do it in the near dark. In terms of "must sees" - swim in the Boiling River by Mammouth (take shoes that can get wet); ride horses to the Roosevelt cookout (can do this the same day as the Boiling Pot); hike to the observation point above Old Faithful. If you have any interest in fishing, you should fish the Yellowstone River and Lake. Also fun fishing in Grand Tetons. We bought collapsible poles at the Wal-Mart in Idaho Falls. Be sure to find out the fishing regulations, get license, etc. This was a great trip for us. I can't wait to go back!
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Old Nov 4th, 2005, 03:23 PM
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We have been to the park 3 times and our favorite lodgings are Lake hotel, Old Faithful Inn (not lodge) and the cabins at Roosevelt. We have stayed in other areas and cabins and all have been spotlessly clean and comfortable but small. We think part of the romance of the trip is staying in the park and I didn't find it too spendy. Book early. We bring some picnic stuff with us so we can splurge on nicer dinners and maybe a lunch or two. The dining room at Lake Lodge is our fav, also like Old Faithful Inn and Roosevelt Lodge and Mammoth for eats. Swimming in the geyser heated Firehole River was a highlight for me on my last visit. Have fun!
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 08:23 PM
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When we were there a few months ago, the road to Roosevelt was cut off, which meant that people staying there had to go a LONG way to get anywhere. I'd imagine that it will be done by next summer, but you might want to check.

I did a long trip report on this, but to sum it up, we flew into Bozeman and (after heading off to Banff, Jasper, and Glacier), spent four nights in Yellowstone and two in the Tetons. I would definitely stay in two different places because the driving distances are so long. We spent the first two nights in Mammoth (Springs, is that what it's called?) in a cabin (nothing fancy, but clean--didn't have a bathroom, but we were right next to the bathhouse), and then spent the next two in Canyon (once again, nothing fancy, but clean enough, and it had a bathroom). The distances were about perfect. We did Mammoth, Lamar Valley, etc. at the beginning, then the bottom part at the end. We were able to see everything we wanted to in four days, plus swimming in the Fire Hole and soaking in the spring up near Mammoth. We stayed in a tent cabin in the Tetons. I almost died when I saw it, but it turned out to be a fun experience! But we were going as cheaply as possible without camping.
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Old Nov 6th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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If you plan on staying in the park now is the time to make reservations. There are only three places that are close outside the park to stay, West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Cooke City. (www.us-national-parks.net) As others have stated try to fit the Grand Teton NP in aslo, you will be glad you did.
One of the areas of the park least visited is the Lamar Valley (Tower Jct/Roosevelt Lodge-Cooke City), this area was untouched by the fires of 88 and is the home to several wolf packs and a large Bison herd. You also stand a good chance of seeing bears in this area, the early morning and dusk are the best time for "critter" watching. Time permitting continue on past Cooke City and take in the Beartooth Highway and the Top of the World going to Red Lodge MT, this is another area of unsurpassed beauty and a road less traveled. The road was closed this past spring near Red Lodge due to mud slides but will be open by next next summer. Under the best conditions it will not open until around the 1st of June due to snow.
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