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Visit Grand Teton NP / Yellowstone NP vs. Banff NP and Jasper NP

Visit Grand Teton NP / Yellowstone NP vs. Banff NP and Jasper NP

Old Apr 18th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Visit Grand Teton NP / Yellowstone NP vs. Banff NP and Jasper NP

My wife and I are considering visiting either GTNP/Yellowstone or Banff NP/ Jasper NP in Canada. We are goign in early July this year and for around six days. I've read on the forums that many people say that if you go to yellowstone/gtnp youwill see more geological and wildlife bauty and if you go to the canadian rockies it will be amazing scenic beauty but some wildlife. I lovemountains and the opportunity to climb a small/day hike would be great. I also want the opportunity to do some hiking, biking, and river rafting. Clearly the hotels in Jackson Hole,WY are really expensive for a 3/4* hotel compared to Banff area which is ~$100 less/night. Could someone please suggest ideas for me.
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Old Apr 18th, 2012, 12:38 PM
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If you go to Yellowstone and the Tetons I would stay "in park" not in Jackson. Jackson Hole is the entire area, Jackson is the town and is part of Jackson Hole. You can certainly drive to The Beartooth HWY and it doesn't get much better Mountain the The Tetons(as far as mountain beauty). So, you can have some mountain/scenic beauty visiting Yellowstone.

Early July--If over the 4th of July, I'm not sure I would go. Having visited 28 US National Parks, I would say Yellowstone is definately the most complete park. There is something there for everyone.

Most of the lodges fill up a year in advance, so you might not get what you are looking for.
With 6 days, I would spend 2 nights in The Tetons and 4 nights in Yellowstone. In Yellowstone, 2 nights at Old Faithful Inn(not Old Faithful Lodge), 1 night at Roosevelt, and 1 night at Lake Hotel.
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 10:16 PM
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For the official website in the Tetons, www.gtlc.com It's not as crowded in the Tetons as it is in Yellowstone, so lodging shouldn't be a problem. You do, however, have to act fairly quickly.

Jenny Lake Lodge is known for its rustic elegance. The GTLC has their best chefs at this lodge.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 07:09 AM
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Having been to both places on a rather limited budget, I would say drive your own vehicle if you can. If you can't, fly to a major airport and rent a car from there. You can break the bank in either place on lodging. In park is better than in downtown Jackson. If you decide on Canada, fly to either Calgary or Edmonton. I trust you have your passports.
The Rockies are beautiful no matter which country you are in.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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A few years ago I went to YNP and GTNP and I could easily go back if I can convince my daughter's husband to go. I think we might need more than 4 days so she wouldn't go for that long without her family.

Last summer I went to Banff with my wife. While we did only very limited hiking the scenery is amazing. Moraine Lake is in a class by itself.

As far as wildlife is concerned, there is more in YNP but it's repetitive. A lot of bison, bison, bison.

In Banff I saw black bears very close up three times. Once it was a mother and three cubs.

I also saw some elk once up close and twice saw big horn sheep up very close.

I will try to go back to Banff again and add Jasper next time.

You can't go wrong in either place.

I was in YNP near the start of August and had great weather. We were in Banff in mid-July and while it was ok, maybe a week or two later would have been better.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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Forgot to mention. You can see photos of these trips at:

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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 01:45 PM
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Chances of seeing bear, elk, pronghorn,fox all with babies is greater if you go earlier(like June) in Yellowstone. We saw tons of everything. Black bears, grizzly(6-8 occasions). One bear came right up to our car window. Saw a fox right next to the Alpine Slide in Jackson. Saw fox with babies in Yellowstone. Did not see any wolves.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 02:32 PM
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I'm hoping this isn't an either /or and that you will find time to visit both of them at one point or another because they are both fantastic.

The Canadian Rockies are stunningly gorgeous and I would go back to them more often if they were closer. I've been twice to the Banff area and absolutely love it. If you are thinking this might be your only chance I would vote for Banff, the Canadian Parkway and Jasper. We started in Jasper and came down the parkway and had a great trip, lots of places to hike, glaciers and waterfalls, it is simply an amazing place. Add in Glacier Nt Park and Waterton and you'll have the absolute best Rocky mt experience there is.

But Yellowstone and the Tetons are more accessible for me and I've been there so many times they feel like home so it is always wonderful to head back up there and remember the wilderness of this country, see the bison and elk and coyote and eagles and hope for a bear or two. Watching the geysers is always impressive, especially one of the larger ones. The lakes and waterfalls and wide open scenery are the heart of the west.
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