Yellowstone and GTNP with kids

Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 08:30 PM
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Yellowstone and GTNP with kids

We are in the planning stages of a vacation (and continuing education) trip to GTNP and Yellowstone in early 7/2016. I have a flexible conference scheduled in Jackson Hole, WY (with lodging provided), so this will be our home base during our stay. We have three little ones, ages 7.5, 5 and 18 months. They are great travelers and (the older two) did wonderfully when we visited RMNP two years ago and did LOTS of driving. They are great hikers (and I'll carry our youngest in a hiking backpack) and can likely handle several mile hikes--with breaks. We will likely stay from 7/3 until 7/10 in Jackson Hole. We will also be traveling from Denver where we have family to Jackson Hole over two days and are interested in any sites along the way as well.

Many thanks for your input on attractions and hikes in GTNP and Yellowstone!

Sarah
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Old Dec 23rd, 2015, 08:07 AM
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I recommend heading west to Salt Lake and up to Jackson via Route 89 around Bear Lake and then on up north. Many years ago we found this to be and absolutely beautiful drive.
Don't forget to do a float trip at dusk for animal sightings on the Snake.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2015, 04:17 PM
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I would want to spend a night or two in Yellowstone if possible. It is a couple of hours just to get into the park and it is huge. If they say that it is all full, call on the phone every day to see about cancellations. They come up often since people make reservations a year in advance and then cancel when they find they can't make the trip.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2015, 08:14 PM
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In the town of West Yellowstone there is place called the 3 Bear Lodge. One of their rooms has been designed to recreate the story of the 3 bears - there is even a cabin that is in the room itself where the kids can sleep - I think they would find it fun. The town itself is right at an entrance to YNP so it is the next best thing to sleeping in the park itself.
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Old Dec 24th, 2015, 08:35 AM
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Sarah:

Click on my user name and you will see trip reports for Yellowstone and jackson with kids. It is worth it to try to stay in Yellowstone for a couple of nights if possible. Also--since you are coming from Denver--I believe I have a trip report on Dinosaur National Monument with kids as well. Awesome stop over place! (that takes a different route than the usual but you might want to do it)

A float trip would be a great idea (not whitewater) but I would leave the 18 mo old at home. You are sitting on a boat for several hours just site seeing--not physically moving around. My kids could not have done that at 18 mos! WE rented bikes from Dornan's (I think) and road the bike path in the Tetons--that was lots of fun. I think you could get a carrier for the little one and maybe tag a long bike for the 5 year old--not sure its doable for your kids, but it is a great view. The visitors center at the Moose entrance is awesome!!

In Jackson--the boardwalk itself and is fun and the antlers. There is an art gallery on the main square that has sculptures of various famous people posed outside the store (Albert Einstein and Mark Twain on benches, etc) that my kids liked posing with for pictures. Breakfast is amazing at the Bunnery but you have to get there early or the line is awful.

Check out the park websites at nps.gov and print out the Junior Ranger booklets-they can start on them as soon as they hit the park! Plus there is tons of info there in the park newsletter on ranger talks and walks--my kids really like those and its good to plan for them in advance.
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Old Dec 26th, 2015, 07:13 AM
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I WOULD NOT use Jackson as a "homebase" IMOP, you need 3-4 nights minimum in the park. You will find it difficult to get the prime spots this late in the date and may be difficult finding anything.
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Old Dec 26th, 2015, 07:13 AM
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I WOULD NOT use Jackson as a "homebase" IMOP, you need 3-4 nights minimum in the park. You will find it difficult to get the prime spots this late in the date and may be difficult finding anything.
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Old Dec 26th, 2015, 07:13 AM
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I WOULD NOT use Jackson as a "homebase" IMOP, you need 3-4 nights minimum in the park. You will find it difficult to get the prime spots this late in the date and may be difficult finding anything.
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Old Dec 29th, 2015, 07:03 PM
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I know that spriobulldog didn't mean to post 3 times but I agree with his posts. I also WOULD NOT use Jackson as a homebase for Yellowstone. It's fine for the Grand Tetons but way to far to drive several times back and forth to see Yellowstone. If you can't get lodging in the park then stay in West Yellowstone. Even if you have to pay out of your own pocket, it will probably be worth it especially with young children.

Utahtea
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Old Jan 6th, 2016, 10:44 AM
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Lots of good walks/hikes around Jackson and in Grand Teton into the mountains and around the lake. Also can take the tram up to the peak and do walks from there so that might be fun for kids. There are some really good books with hikes suitable for kids that you can find on Amazon or once you get there. The kids will also love Yellowstone and there is a junior ranger program discussed on the website. Best to be able to spend some time in YNP (or a border town like West Yellowstone) if possible to be closer. In West Yellowstone there is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center that is excellent for kids and not too big for them to digest. The kids can sign up to hide food for the bears which my kids aged 5 and 7 thought was a ton of fun.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2016, 06:38 PM
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Thank you all so much for the advice! New plan is to drive from Denver to Cody, WY and stay the night in Cody (any suggestions for lodging?). We hope to visit the wild west museum. From Cody, we'll head to West Yellowstone where we have booked a four bedroom condo x 3 nights (my brother, sister-in-law and nephew are traveling with us as well). From West Yellowstone we'll spend three nights in Jackson Hole (actually Teton Village) at the Alpenhof Lodge. We love the Junior Ranger program and our boys completed it last summer at Mammoth Cave in KY.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2016, 07:35 PM
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Nice plan. At the Alpenhof, be sure to have dinner at least once at their Alpenrose restaurant.
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