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Nolarioca Sep 4th, 2014 07:56 PM

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park in Mid October. Please Help!
Hi, I have been doing some reading on this forum and found many interesting posts about trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton from Bozeman, MT. This is the best forum I found, but I didn’t see anything about a trip on October. I will be flying into Bozeman on Oct 11 and need to back in Bozeman on Oct 17th. It will be me, wife and 2 kids (5 and 6 years old). I learned that many lodges and roads will be closed in the parks. Could anybody offer some trip ideas and suggestions for that time of the year? We will be renting a car at the airport and we would like to sight see, entertain the kids and enjoy nature. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Not many days, but we are trying to make the most of it...

What do I have in mind? meaning - what have I been reading about?
Chico Hot Springs
Bear Tooth Highway (it will close on Oct 14. So we will have to get to it within the first 2 days of the trip if it is indeed a good idea)
Teton Pass - Wyoming Highway 22
Gardiner, MT
West Yellowstone, MT
Junior Ranger for the kids
Maybe a boat ride? Raft?
Mesa Falls

Thanks for reading and if you have something to share please do. We don't have anything defined other than the fact that we are flying in on Oct 11th. Thanks again. Eduardo

kureiff Sep 5th, 2014 09:16 AM

Your kids will probably enjoy the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. They have great dinosaur exhibits, and my daughter has loved going every year since she was three or four years old.

I like Chico because I like the restaurant. The pool is a very basic soaking pool and maybe not so fun for kids. My daughter did enjoy the flaming orange dessert when she was five or six years old.

It could be very cold for a raft trip.

Nolarioca Sep 5th, 2014 10:31 AM

Thank you for your reply! I will definitely add the museum to our itinerary.

tomfuller Sep 5th, 2014 10:56 AM

The rafting on the Yellowstone out of Gardiner was busy last month (early August) but it probably cooled off since school started.
West Yellowstone and Gardiner are both tourist towns. I'd pick one or the other but not both.
The road construction on US 20 between West Yellowstone and Idaho Falls is horrible. I hope they get it done before the snow flies.

Nolarioca Sep 5th, 2014 11:01 AM

Thank you tomfuller for the great info.

panecott Sep 5th, 2014 12:14 PM

I was in the Grand Tetons in early - mid October and the rafting places were all closed for the season, by then. Also, the boat rides on the lakes had just ended.

I imagine the same would apply to Yellowstone, which is further north.

I actually had a few days of snow in October in the Tetons and had to turn back on a day trip to Old Faithful b/c the road was closed due to the snow.

A week isn't very much time in which to see both parks, especially starting and ending in Bozeman. Maybe you should just concentrate on Yellowstone, where you can easily spend a full week.

I was in Yellowstone in February and Mammoth Hot springs Lodge was open, as was the Old Faithful Snowflake Inn. Check the NP website for closures and availability.

panecott Sep 5th, 2014 12:17 PM

BTW, there was far less snow in February 2012 in Yellowstone than there was in October in the Tetons a couple of years earlier.

Go figure! Weather can be unpredictable.

kureiff Sep 5th, 2014 01:11 PM

There was snow on the Beartooth Hwy this last weekend. Mostly sleety and it melted quickly, but it was cold up there!

voyager61 Sep 5th, 2014 01:22 PM

Go to Livingston, MT for a day or overnight. It is a cute little Western town with a lot of vintage neon signs and some great views of the mountains from the downtown. The Murray Hotel is a cool place to stay and has a really great restaurant.

You're really going to have to keep an eye on the National Park Service website for road closures/weather. Jackson, WY, next to Grand Teton National Park is touristy but very nice town with fun shops and good restaurants.

Gardiner and West Yellowstone don't have much to offer visitors except a place to shop, sleep and eat when daytripping into Yellowstone, and a place to sign up for other tourist activities like rafting, horseback riding, etc.

If the weather allows, definitely go to Old Faithful, have lunch at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and walk a bit in the geyser basin.

rjasnumberonefan Sep 5th, 2014 04:39 PM

I went to Chico in the middle of May this year. I spent the night here on my way to Glacier from Yellowstone. My grown daughter wanted to pass on the pool because she feared the cold air. The ladies checking us in talked her into it. So relaxing and warm, we stayed until the pool closed at 11pm. I imagine the thought of a pool in cold weather to a 5 or 6 yr old would be a blast for vacation.
We were inside the main lodge and rooms/halls looked like something out of an old western. Loved it and the claw foot tub in the restroom down the hall.
I'd love to spend time in midwinter there and enjoy a dogsled, a cracklin' fire in the gorgeous hotel lobby and a soak in that hot spring with snow everywhere.

As far as W. Yellowstone or Gardiner, I'd spend the day roaming around Jackson. Shop, eat, take pictures, and catch a ride up the mountain in Jackson Hole.

sludick Sep 5th, 2014 05:02 PM

We've been to Yellowstone a couple of times in early-mid October and stayed in West Yellowstone (have a timeshare condo there). Just know that most of the town closes down then, although there will be a couple of restaurants and a few shops still open. (FWIW - when we stayed there in late January, it was a hoppin' place - this is just very low season.)

It would probably be a good time to get rooms at the Snow Lodge in Yellowstone. No crowds. With so much closed, of course, you will want to plan ahead for gas and food - keep a cooler for drinks, snacks, and lunch stuff.

You will very likely have snow at least once, so be ready for that.

kureiff Sep 6th, 2014 07:46 AM

Rja, winter is my favorite time to visit Chico. :)

Nolarioca Sep 8th, 2014 10:18 AM

Thanks to everybody for the great replies! Great info and sincerely appreciated.

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