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abp Sep 15th, 2005 09:14 PM

yellowstone June 06
Starting to plan our family (children 8 and 10 and they love hiking ...can do 7-8 miles a day)Yellowstone trip and I am overwhelmed! Fly into Salt Lake from Texas, (FFmiles): 2 nights in Grand Tetons, and 4-5 days in Yellowstone: Depart from Salt Lake. What are the drive times from Yellowstone to Salt Lake?? Grand Tetons to Salt Lake? What about many conflicting reports. We usually camp at state parks in TX and stay in the National Parks at a lodge. I am thinking about staying in one nice lodge for 2 nights and do budget cabins at the other places. I thought of staying at 2 different locations in Yellowstone. Will take all of your advice. Thanks again.

christy1 Sep 15th, 2005 09:38 PM

I love Old Faithful Inn. Some find it too rustic but I love the architecture and history. It will still be cold at night in June, so keep that in mind if you're thinking of camping. Staying in two places is a good idea but I haven't stayed in the other lodgings so I can't advise.

You can get drive times and distances from

If you need a guidebook I'd highly recommend Moon Handbook's "Yellowstone/Grand Teton Handbook."

xanthippe Sep 15th, 2005 09:49 PM

Jackson to SLC about 4 to 4 1/2 hours, another half hour+ to go into the Tetons, another hour to go to the Old Faithful area in Yellowstone. I'm giving these times by memory (from a trip just a year ago) so I'm not positive. I recommend highly Signal Mountain Lodge in the Teton area--delightful and comfortable rustic cabins.

My sister and I were there the last week in May in 2004. We saw lots of bison babies running around on stiff legs--lots of fun to watch. We took a hike just a bit south of Signal Mt. even though it was threatening to rain. It didn't rain--we got snowed on! It was beautiful! We parked in the String Lake parking lot and hiked around String Lake (about 3 1/2 miles). There were several turn-offs to longer, steeper hikes--pick up a hiking map at the Visitor Center.

Put Yellowstone or Tetons in the search box above and you will find lots of information.

Have a great trip!

gail Sep 16th, 2005 04:13 AM

Yellowstone is huge - I recommend staying in more than one place rather than trying to find a central spot. We stayed 3 nights in Jackson area, 2 nights in West Yellowstone and 2 nights in Gardiner (North entrance). That worked well.

Budget cabins and Yellowstone are probably mutually exclusive - even the sparest of cabins in the Park are rather expensive. does bookings - check rates and availability for in-Park accomodations. Less expensive options if you stay in motels in West Yellowstone or Gardiner - but of course the experience is different.

We went this summer and to start planning get a map and look at distances. Grand Teton is relatively long and narrow; then the drive thru Yellowstone is on a "figure 8" configuration of roads. Driving times within Yellowstone are not easily predicted - we did not find Mapquest reliable for going thru the park - as you can frequently get stuck in an animal viewing jam that delays you for an hour. For example, we spent our final night in Gardiner and had an early afternoon flight out of Jackson - it was at least a 4 hour drive thru both parks (no reasonable way around - driving thru parks is really the only way.)

Two longer trip reports from this summer (mine and someone elses) give more details here.

Don't know which airline and when, but I would book air as soon as it is possible - we were unable to find a way to sue our FF miles Boston-Yellowstone this summer.

Food within the park is very boring - you can only eat so many hamburgers and chicken nuggets. Worse than Grand Canyon or Bryce, our other recent trip. None of the in-Park lodging includes any cooking availability. Most do not have refrigerator or microwave available. So eating becomes more of a challenge than other places we have been. Bring or buy a cooler, even if you are not camping and stock up on drinks, snacks, picnic stuff.

abp Sep 16th, 2005 06:25 AM

thanks for the infor

KathyK Sep 16th, 2005 07:17 AM

I read alot on this board that the rooms at Old Faithful Inn are "rustic". That may be true of some rooms, but not all rooms. We stayed there the summer of 2001 and had a very nice modern room, tastefully decorated with it's own bath. I loved it there and would highly recommend it.

ellen_griswold Sep 16th, 2005 07:39 AM

Hi abp, you're in for a treat at Yellowstone!
Old Faithful is the coolest, it's like a giant treehouse for adults! :)

The main part located over the rustic lobby is called the "old house" and is very rustic, with shared baths. We stayed in one of those rooms and absolutely loved it, and we are NOT campers. :) It was truly the best time we've had in Yellowstone. The other parts of Old Faithful are more modern and for the most part, nicely done. We were there in july and they're currently renovating Old Faithful and have added a new wing of several (5?) stories. It looks very nice. (more details in my trip report that i'm still working on ~ click on my name if you want to find it)

I'd also recommend Canyon Lodge, not the cabins. The Lodge is right in the middle of the 'figure 8' of the park with easier access to different parts of the park. Also stayed in a canyon cabin years ago and would prefer not to do it again.

But you will get as many opinions here as there are posters, just hope this helps a little.
Regardless where you stay, make ressies NOW as they fill up quickly.

bigtyke Sep 16th, 2005 09:04 PM

we stayed at the Old Faithful LODGE cabins 3 yrs ago. They were modestly priced. We got two cabins - one with bathroom and one without

I think the Roosevelt area has the least expensive (and most rustic) cabins.

Try to stay in 2 different areas in Yellowstone because the driving times are farther than they might appear from the mileage.

warobison Sep 17th, 2005 03:25 AM

You don't mention the exact date in June, but when planning for Yellowstone lodging, keep in mind that the Old Faithful Inn does not open for the season until June 26 in '06. Roosevelt Lodge Cabins open on June 9 and Lake Lodge and Cabins open June 10. All the rest are open.

I agree with the other postings about staying in two different places in Yellowstone; the small inconvenience of moving from one place to the other is a small price to pay for the amount of time it will save you in your driving.

W. A. Robison

laurafromtexas Sep 17th, 2005 07:08 AM

There ARE rustic and affordable cabins in YNP. I know cuz we stayed in them and had a terrific time! Here are my comments copied and pasted from a previous Fodor's comments: "Just wanted to report on our family's trip in August. We LOVED the Roosevelt Lodge cabins. Rustic, but comfortable -- wood floors, two double/queen beds, a desk and table, and a wood-burning stove. In the daytime, the temps were very comfortable, but at night it cooled down considerably. (In fact, it snowed for 1 1/2 hours one day!) My husband built a fire each night and sometimes we were a little too toasty, but that was okay. By 4 a.m. the fire had burned out and we woke up in the morning not wanting to get out of bed. But that added to the experience! There are no baths in the individual cabins, but restrooms nearby are clean and comfortable. The food at the lodge was the best we had at Yellowstone -- fairly inventive and tasty -- and the prices were reasonable. We enjoyed the location, too -- not too far from the Grand Canyon area, near the Tower falls and good fly fishing, and good access to the Beartooth Highway, a very scenic drive out of the Northeast entrance which ascends past the treeline. It was great sitting on the lodge's front porch in the large rocking chairs with a drink from the bar. There are also fires going inside the lodge even in the summer. We also went on the trail ride BBQ -- good for families and delicious ribeyes. We can't wait to go back!"

Clousie Sep 17th, 2005 09:56 AM

Hi abp

I can understand that you're overwhelmed. As hikers, too, I've always planned our multi-week trips (not camping for ages) but for some reason, Yellowstone and Grand Teton so overwhelmed me that I almost chose another place. I think that I kept hearing to make reservations so early, including those for dinner, that I felt it was a really big hassle. However, I was able to get exactly what I wanted for almost two weeks when I made reservations in March for July.

I definitely concur with Christy about loving Old Faithful Inn--location, location. I won't get into the fray about other accomodations in the Old Faithful area, but will say that we stayed in the newer (perhaps there's now a "newest" wing?) and it was a perfectly nice hotel room.

What we liked best about staying in that area was that during the day we were able to drive fairly short distance to nice hikes (Lone Star Geyser, Fairy Falls, Mystic Falls) or even further (approx 40 miles to Yellowstone Canyon or Lake Yellowstone--didn't hike there) Then either early (5am was magical) or later (ditto for a full moon walk through the Upper Geyser Basin) Most of the day trippers were gone, and we were able to see so many of the geysers erupt because of our location. Sitting on the outdoor deck at the Inn was great for viewing some of the geysers in "relaxing mode."

Also stayed two nights at Mammouth Hot Springs cabins, 3 nights at Signal Mt and 2 at Coulter Bay. The latter two were probably nicer, but in my opinion, none had the location of the Old Faithful complex. Again, personally, I would NEVER stay outside the park and do day trips in unless driving is your idea of a "fun" trip.

As a "foodie," (teach classes and love great food) I did not find most of the food appalling. No, it wasn't fine cuisine, but quite acceptable at the Old Faithful Inn, Snow Inn, Mammouth Hot Springs Lodge and Peaks at Signal Mt. Can't say I ate one burger or chicken nugget either. Again, we all have different standards and desires as we vacation, but after a day of great scenery and outstanding sights, I'm perfectly happy with chicken breast stuffed with brie napped' with wild blueberry sauce for a decent price (plus the obligatory bottle of wine)

Not sure of the actual driving time, but from Signal Mt Lodge to SLC airport via Rt 89 and beautiful Bear Lake (stop for great raspberry shakes) it was 296 miles. From Park City to Coulter Bay via 80 and 89, it was 300 miles, approx 6 hours (even better shakes in Thayne!)

Have fun planning. I aways find the Moon Handbooks for each state to be very helpful.

Photodog Sep 17th, 2005 10:47 AM

Instead of flying into Salt Lake City have you thought of either Bozeman 90 miles (excellent Museum of the Rockies)from Yellowstone or Billings about 170 miles (SLC-Gardiner, Mt 375 miles) By coming from Billings can travel over the Beartooth Mts. One of the most beautiful mountain roads you can take. You will enter Yellowstone at the NE entrance and drive through the Lamar Valley and could spend the night at Mammoth Hot Springs Lodge or drive 5 miles into Gardiner just outside the north entrance. Lamar Valley is where most of the wolf sightings are made. Travel early or late in the day and you are bound to see a number of cars parked along the roadside. They climb the high moraines which flank the road and set up spotting scopes looking for the packs. Often seen around Soda Butte.
If you are looking for some out of the way hikes to beautiful locations without crowds try Heart geyser basin or Avalanche Peak in Yellowstone or go up Cascade Canyon to the back sides of the major peaks in the Tetons.

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