Yellowstone and Tetons in July 2016

Jan 17th, 2016, 06:07 PM
  #1  
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Yellowstone and Tetons in July 2016

We will be traveling to Yellowstone next July with our nine yr old. We will arrive via plane to Jackson Hole and spend one night there then drive the next day to Yellowstone. Since we booked late here is the list of hotels we booked per day in Yellowstone...nothing yet in Jackson Hole:
Night 1-Hotel in Jackson Hole (tbd)
Night 2 - Lake Yellowstone Lodge Hotel
Night 3-Canyon Lodge
Night 4-Old Faithful Snow Lodge
Night 5-Night 8- Jackson Hole hotel(tbd)

We need recommendations for a nice hotel in Jackson Hole that we can use as base for exploring the Tetons. We like 4-5 star accommodations. We also need recommendations for routes and activities that are must do/see in these areas. We have never been to Wyoming so family oriented, educational, hiking, fishing animal encounters/observation and sight seen are welcome.

Any good restaurans or shows that we should see would also be welcomed. We ordered the planning guide from Xenterra but we always get such great feedback from this forums that figured we should post our trip to get feedback.

Thank you
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2016, 06:33 PM
  #2  
 
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I would book a mountain view room at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park. The Mural room at the lodge is excellent and the casual Pioneer Grill is as well. Food at Dornan's at Moose is very good. The route is easy. One road takes you from the town of Jackson and/or the airport to Yellowstone. There's one main road in Yellowstone that consists of an upper loop and a lower loop. Your three choices in YNP gives you good coverage of the park and time to explore every stop along the park road. I highly recommend a float trip on the Snake River. If you are in Jackson Hole on a Monday, go to the free Hootenanny at Dornan's at Moose. Excellent local musical talent as well as visiting musicians.

If you can, do the cookout at Roosevelt on the night you are at Canyon.
starrs is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 08:52 AM
  #3  
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Those are great suggestions.

I have a few more questions. How long is the drive in high season from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone?
Also, since we will switch hotels while at Yellowstone Park I was a bit worried about security leaving luggage and personal items in the car while going to see the sights. Any suggestions?

Any recommendations in books with suggested hikes and must see locations inside the park aside from the most popular ones?

Thanks so much for the feedback.
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 09:09 AM
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Keep checking to see if you can get night 5 at Old Faithful.
The Grand Tetons are beautiful but you'll want to spend at least one more day in Yellowstone.
Get a big enough car that all your stuff will be in the trunk out of sight.
If you can get a night at Mammoth or even Gardiner it could take the place of an extra night at Old Faithful.
tomfuller is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 11:55 AM
  #5  
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Any recommendations for hotels in Gardiner? I totally would love to do Mammoth.
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 12:29 PM
  #6  
 
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My favorite part of Yellowstone was Mammoth Falls. It was our last stop in the park and also the best. Mammoth Falls are multiple terraced formations made from travertine deposits as the hot springs made its way out of the ground. There is so much travertine formed that it looks like water falls trickling down some rocks when the geyser makes its way down. Really beautiful, in my opinion.
budgettravelwithkids is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 12:57 PM
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I have never had a problem with security in Yellowstone--and have been going there for almost 40 years. If you click on my user name you will see my trip reports for Yellowstone and another for Jackson/the Tetons with children.

Also check out the nps.gov site for yellowstone and tetons. The park newspaper list the ranger talk times. And you can download a copy of the Jr Ranger booklet before you go. Be flexible on hikes. One year when we went, we were counting on doing some hikes at Canyon and the area was closed off due to a fatal grizzly encounter. Not a usual occurrence--but if the trail is closed, I'm not going on it!!

They have really done a lot with the ranger stations/visitors centers. My kids loved the ones at OF and Canyons as well as the one for the Tetons in Moose. Biking the bike path in Grand Tetons was a big hit.
StantonHyde is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 12:57 PM
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And absolutley do whitewater rafting on the Snake. We always go with Barker Ewing. My kids had a blast.
StantonHyde is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 01:48 PM
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The Super 8 in Gardiner is OK. I stayed for 7 nights on a cot in a one room cabin at the OTO Ranch while I was working on a Passport in Time Project.
If you want river rafting, you can do that from Gardiner.
tomfuller is offline  
Mar 1st, 2016, 04:38 PM
  #10  
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Thanks everyone for the feedback! Still working logistcs and actvities. Will post here once final plans and activites are all booked
Minnie1976 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 05:40 AM
  #11  
 
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I am a bit late but I would keep checking lodging for more options. I don't think I would move between Lake Lodge and Canyon as they are not that far from each other. I would try to switch one night to Mammoth or an extra night at Old Faithful. I second the recommendation to stay at the Jackson Lake Lodge while in the Tetons. I don't know if it is possible or night - but I would try to add an extra night or two. One more night in Yellowstone would be great to go along with 2 in the Tetons/Jackson area.
db6040 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 04:54 PM
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My fiance and I did a coast to coast road trip last July that included both Yellowstone and GTNP.

As far as security - we had my stuff loaded in my SUV from a four month stay in California, no issues whatsoever with security.

We stayed in the Flat Rock Inn in Jackson Hole, and really liked it. I don't know what star hotel it was, but it suited us and was clean and comfortable. We liked being closer to Jackson Hole for the evenings. As far as food goes, we were impressed with the Gun Barrel for an expensive restaurant, and possibly even more so with The Merry Piglets (Mexican), both in Jackson Hole.

We really enjoyed driving around in the mornings and evenings to see wildlife. In GTNP there was a bison herd that stayed in the field near Mormon Row and we would go look for them just about every day. Didn't have the chance to see Lamar Valley in Yellowstone, but spent a lot of time in Hayden Valley and saw plenty of bison, elk, a few bears. As far as Mammoth Terraces go, we weren't really impressed when we went in July because there was no water flowing. I'm sure it's much more impressive with the water flowing, but we spent about 30-45 min walking around on the boardwalks and left. Just our personal opinion of Mammoth. We much more enjoyed the Basins with all the geysers and pools. Our favorite was definitely Grand Prismatic Spring, pictures don't do it justice. For hiking, we really enjoyed hiking back in Cascade Canyon in GTNP after reaching Inspiration Point, but it did make for a long day. We didn't make it all the way to Lake Solitude, but just walking back through the canyon was beautiful and we saw a moose! Also, I recommend going to see Grand Canyon of Yellowstone early in the morning if you can get your son up. We did Uncle Tom's trail around 7am, and it was wonderful to have it to ourselves and see the morning light hitting the falls and canyon walls. During the high season in July we found that we really enjoyed getting up early and enjoying those scenic areas before most others were up and about. Another favorite sunrise place of ours was Schwabacher's Landing in GTNP.

As for driving from one place to the other during high season, we lodged at the Lake Lodge cabins and left around 9am to drive to GTNP and arrived at Jenny Lake in about 2-2.5 hours. We hit a fair amount of traffic, but the speed limit is also 45 mph.

Have fun, it's really a beautiful area and so much diversity between the two parks! We are planning a return trip in July/August 2017 because we loved it so much!
Virginia1990 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2016, 05:40 AM
  #13  
 
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As StantonHyde said above, a float or whitewater raft trip on the Snake River is a must. Our guide was great, he pointed out 6 bald eagles on our early morning trip.

As far as hiking, honestly the most popular trails are some of the best hikes in the park. We find the best way to enjoy them without all the crowds (especially in July), is to be on the trail first thing in the morning - right as sunrise. You will have the trail mostly to yourself - at least going out and at your destination.

If you're planning any hikes where you have to take the boat across Jenny Lake, just be sure you are on the first boat to avoid crowds on the trail.

Depending on the type of hike you're looking for, this site breaks down the trails by difficulty/location and features:

http://www.tetonhikingtrails.com
wave725 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2016, 05:50 AM
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One of our favorite memories from Jackson Hole:
http://jholdtimephotos.com/

Still have the photos on our wall collection, fun and classic!
Fishnlines29 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 10:03 AM
  #15  
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Thank you so much everyone for your feedback!! Below is our final hotel schedule. I need recommendations for tours. I was thinking to do some of the tours offered by Xanterra, but then thought I should check private tours. Any recommendations? The tours I was considering were the Circle of Fire tour and the Evening Wild Life Encounter.

Here is our lodging schedule:
Night 1- Jackson Lake Lodge
Night 2-Lake Yellowstone Hotel
Night 3-Canyon Lodge
Night 4-Old Faithful Lodge
Night 5,6- Riverside Cottages (Gardiner, MT)
Night 7,8-Jackson Lake Lodge


Also, I need dinning recommendations inside the park. What are your most memorable meals?

THANKS!!!
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 10:51 AM
  #16  
 
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The only "tours" I would consider would be the river rafting, a horse back ride, or a Ranger led walk. You will see plenty and being part of a large group in Yellowstone is hard--but I am not a tour person.

Lake Yellowstone HOtel and Old Faithful have lovely dining rooms. Mostly, its cafeteria style dining or you can grab sandwiches/fast food at the camp stores. This is not fine dining!!!!
StantonHyde is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 01:00 PM
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I just returned from Yellowstone/Tetons. There's no memorable food inside Yellowstone at least not in a good way but we did enjoy the historic atmosphere of the Old Faithful Inn dining room (reserve early). In Gardiner we had a nice meal at Raven Grill. It's the only somewhat upscale dining in town though there's not much atmosphere. We also enjoyed our dinner at Peaks Restaurant and breakfast at Trapper Grill at Signal Mountain Lodge in the Tetons. The views are beautiful and the food is a step above park dining inside Yellowstone.
Patty is online now  
Jun 1st, 2016, 01:11 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
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Remember to keep a good distance from wildlife. Your life could be in endanger if you get too close (even just to take a photo). Use a good zoom lens!
wynterrose is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 09:57 AM
  #19  
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Thanks for the feedback about dinning. Are there any recommendations about tour companies? Or is it best to do it on your own. We are traveling with our 9yr old son. So we would like at least to get some educational information for him. Is it best to do a ranger guided tour? Any other options??
Minnie1976 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 10:26 AM
  #20  
 
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Xanterra's tours in the historic buses are fun and good. I like Brushbuck's tours that focus on wildlife photography. They are based in Jackson. I hope you plan to spend time in the Tetons and GTNP too. You can easily to do this on your own without a tour. You'll be given a newspaper listing events when you get to the gate and can see when ranger led hikes will be happening and take a tour if you like. One of my favorites was a tour of the Old Faithful Inn and a hike to standing petrified trees. Stop at the first visitor's center when you get to the park and have him start the Junior Ranger program.
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