Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Rushmore Itinerary

Old Nov 12th, 2016, 10:51 AM
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Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Rushmore Itinerary

Two 60+ couples are traveling to Yellowstone, Tetons & Mt. Rushmore Sept. 6 - 16,2017. Flying in and out of Billings and renting SUV. What is the best route to go around the Yellowstone and Tetons? Dp we go south from Tower Roosevelt or south from Mammoth? We are looking at Billings the 1st & last night. Considering something in Yellowstone, Cody, Red Lodge, and or Jackson Hole. We want to make the best of our time in the parks. We enjoy nature and hiking….not long hikes that would distract from seeing everything. Please give suggestions on must see areas. How best do we use our time?
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Old Nov 12th, 2016, 11:19 AM
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Since you are flying into Billings I think it would work best to take US 89 south from Livingston through Gardiner to Mammoth. On the south end of Gardiner you drive through the Roosevelt Arch into Yellowstone.
I takes about 3 hours to drive from Billings airport to Mammoth. If one or more of you is 62, get an America the Beautiful pass for $10. The pass is good for the rest of your life and is a great bargain.
You will want to drive the "figure 8" in Yellowstone but you will have to take a few hikes to see some of the scenery away from the roads. Two things that you should not miss are the Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful.
If you must stop to take a picture of wildlife, pull completely off the road and park. Do not get too close to buffalo, bears, moose or elk.
Take US 212 to exit the park on the way back to Billings.
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Old Nov 12th, 2016, 12:54 PM
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Having recently driven through the Tetons & arrived in Yellowstone on Sept 16th this year, I will say be flexible. Coming from the north in particular, the weather may dictate your route. It rained & with snow at higher elevations on the 17th and if there's enough snow, since it's so close to the closing date, they are apt to close the highest routes, as they did just after we drove via 212 from Mammoth to Billings on the 21st.

Make plans that are adaptable to the weather. Choose a route in at a lower elevation and make accommodation reservations accordingly. Or have reservations that you can cancel right up until the day of arrival, with backup plans.
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Old Nov 13th, 2016, 01:06 AM
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In Yellowstone I would recommend staying in the Lake Lodge/Lake Hotel area. I've made three trips to Yellowstone and found this one to be the closest to the greatest variety of terrain and sights: lake, canyon, geysers, animals (mainly buffalo), etc. It is a drive to Old Faithful, but staying there would mean a drive to Yellowstone Canyon, to Hayden Valley, etc. I wrote a report of our trip there this past June; click on my name to find it.
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Old Nov 13th, 2016, 04:20 AM
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If you don't have lodging in Yellowstone yet, better try to get it now.

If the ten days includes your flight days to and from then I would want to spend at least 3- 4 nights in Yellowstone and 2-3 in Grand Teton. You might want to split the nights in Yellowstone so that you do not have to drive so far to see each area. Perhaps 2 in the Lake area and one or two elsewhere.
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Old Nov 25th, 2016, 10:03 AM
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Thank you for the great suggestions. We have not to include Mt. Rushmore in this trip because of limited time. We want to enjoy Yellowstone and Grand Teton. This is what we came up with.

Day 1 - Arrive in Billings and stay.
Day 2 - Travel to Gardiner & stay
Day 3 - Travel to West Yellowstone & stay
Day 4 & 5 - Jackson Hole to enjoy Grand Teton
Day 6 - Old Faithful Area
Day 7 & 8 - Cody
Day 9 - Tower Roosevelt Junction
Day 10 - Billings to fly out

We have some of our lodging. Hoping some others open up in January.

Do you have any suggestions for a must see and experience on each day? We want to make the most of our first trip. We would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 12:46 PM
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> renting SUV

Any reason you're renting an SUV? All of the sights you'd want to visit are easily accessible by any car. You'll save on rental & gasoline cost by getting a smaller car. Only if you were attempting some travel on gravel roads -- which I absolutely do NOT recommend in Yellowstone in November -- would you need an SUV.
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