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Yellowstone National Park in 5 days - NEED HELP


Aug 22nd, 2017, 10:31 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 42
Yellowstone National Park in 5 days - NEED HELP

Hello, my friends and I are planning a 5 day trip to YNP this Labor Day weekend, all reservations done, i wanted to share the detailed itinerary with you to get some feedback so we can make changes accordingly - PLEASE HELP

Day 1 - Drive from WYS Airport to Old Faithful Lodge – 34 Miles, check in
Activities divided into 2 parts.
A. Walk 0.5 mile from OF lodge to Old Faithful geyser, 2.5-3 mile hike around mystic falls

B. Drive 7 mile to see grand prismatic spring and fairy falls. Walk the boardwalk to see Excelsior Geyser crater, Turquoise Pool, and Opal Pool. Stroll around Firehole river.
Tip: We can switch point A. And B. and do B first since morning time Old Faithful Geyser will be crowded by the tourist busses and tourists from outside of the park visiting the park. So we can do B. first and then come back and do OF Geyser and mystic falls. Light remains till 9:00PM, we can also ask at the reception when we reach

Day 2 – Check Out and drive to Canyon Lodge – 33 Miles, check in
A. From the lodge starts the 20 mile grand loop road to the see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Things to see along this 20 mile routebr /> 1. Upper falls – can be seen from brink of upper falls trail and uncle tom’s trail (might be closed, need to check at the lodge )
2. Lower falls – can be seen from lookout Point, Red Rock Point, Artist Point, Brink of the Lower Falls Trail, Grand view and from various points on the South Rim Trail.

There are several trails along this 20 mile route, so we will check at the lodge which ones are most famous out of Uncle Tom’s trail, Wapiti Lake Trail and Ribbon Lake Trail
So from Canyon Lodge – drive to wapiti lake trail , park the car– walk the 3 mile trail and cover brink of the Upper Falls, Creek above Crystal Falls, another 0.5 miles (0.8 km) to the trail leading to Brink of Lower Falls Trail. Next is Lookout Point (0.5 mi/0.8 km), to Grand View (0.25 mi/0.4 km), and finally to Inspiration Point (slightly more than 1 mi/1.6 km).

B. Then drive 8 miles to Hayden Valley – check at lodge if we need a guided tour for this?

Day 3 – wake up at your own time, Check out,
A. Drive 14 miles to Mt. Washburn for a scenic overlook, drive through Dunraven pass which is the highest road pass in YNP. Mt Washburn gives you a great view of the entire park
B. Drive 10 miles to see Tower Falls, explore the area, calcite spring overlook
C. OPTIONAL, drive 17 miles to Lamar Valley to see wildlife – optional because we can see how tired we are and if we want to do it or if the lodge recommends then we might, or how much time we have, we will see that day -also if we are doing Hayden valley on day 2, do we need Lamar Valley?
D. Take a stagecoach tour after Tower Fall and explore the pleasant valley - check timings – need timings??

Drive 20 miles to Mammoth Lodge and crash (didn’t get a reservation at Roosevelt Lodge)

Day 4 – Wake up and explore the Mammoth hot spring terraces, Rent bikes and explore the Gardiner Road, hike up the Wraith falls trail, what else can be done here?
Come back and sleep.

Day 5 – wake up, check out and drive 93 miles to BZN, fly back to NYC

Divya123 is offline  
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Aug 22nd, 2017, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Just know that Labor Day weekend will be super crowded so breathe deeply. You have some good hikes planned. Any time you can get even a mile off the main road, the crowds dim considerably.

On the first day--yes, switch A and B

For the Hayden Valley--you pretty just drive through it and check out all the wildlife. The earlier you can get there the better but the buffalo will be there all day and they are impressive. This is a massive animal jam road so just know you will have to take your time. It is worth it and one of my favorite places in the park.

The big draw in the Lamar Valley are the wolves. So ask what the most recent pack sighting has been in the area. In general, they are most visible in the early morning and at dusk--but check on this. I would take looking for wolves over a chuck wagon dinner any day!!

Otherwise, looks like a good plan--just remember the traffic and know that you might not get to everything. I would rather have a plan and flex it vs having no plan at all.

At Mammoth, you can raft the river--but it might be really low now. Check with raft companies out of Gardner.
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Aug 22nd, 2017, 03:43 PM
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To me, it's well worth spending time in both Hayden and Lamar Valleys looking for wildlife. Lamar is more open than Hayden so you can scan farther and wider. Of course what you see on any given day will be mostly down to luck. All of my wolf sightings have been in Lamar but people have seen wolves in Hayden as well. If you see people with spotting scopes set up, it's likely to be wolves or bears. Good luck!
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Aug 22nd, 2017, 06:40 PM
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Go to both Hayden and Lamar. We were there last month - bears and coyote in Lamar...tons of Bull Elk and Buffalo in Hayden. Are you interested in any short hikes beyond what you've mentioned? 1-2 easy/moderate hikes in both areas will get you views and experiences that are very special and different from just driving and looking from the car.
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Aug 22nd, 2017, 08:11 PM
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We went in 2015 and had a shorter trip than yours. We wished we'd had more time for the Lamar Valley. We did see a black bear but no wolves. One thing I really wasn't prepared for was how beautiful the Yellowstone Lake was. We did a short hike out to see it.

Please do take the rangers' directions about the distances from wildlife seriously. Also don't go off the path in the geyser areas. We saw a person get evacuated out because she walked too close to a buffalo. (ie she was 10 feet behind him another witness told us). Not the way you want to end your vacation.
5alive is offline  
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Aug 23rd, 2017, 03:03 AM
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You could also potentially include the Fountain Paint Pot area, which is well worth seeing and close by the Midway Geyser Basin (where Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser are located).

Agreed that Yellowstone Lake is nice. There's also the Mud Volcano area located nearby, which is not large and has some interesting features.
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Aug 23rd, 2017, 06:49 AM
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thank you so much you guys! appreciate the wonderful feedback...

so as i understand

- See both Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley
- Short hikes around Hayden and Lamar Valley
- explore Fountain Paint Pot area around grand prismatic.

thanks again @bachslunch @5alive @capecod73 @patty @stantonhyde

Best, DR
Divya123 is offline  
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Aug 28th, 2017, 06:06 PM
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I was just in Yellowstone in July, and we saw the wolves in Hayden Valley. They came out every evening around 7-8pm, we saw 5 adults and 3 pups. We saw what we assume was the alpha male, largest adult we saw and he was solid black. We saw another male stalk 3 large bull elk in the flat near the river as well. Definitely the highlight of our trip. We sat and watched them every evening we were there for about an hour. We also went early one morning and heard them all howling as they returned to the den site. You should be able to find them, just look for all the cars parked on both sides of the road. I'd also highly recommend renting a scope or binoculars from one of the stores, $20 for 24 hours. We saw a grizzly in the same area that we would have never been able to see without the scope or binoculars, and the wolves were only black or gray blobs without them.

I would also recommend doing The Canyon in the early morning if you can. I personally think the light is gorgeous hitting the falls and the canyons walls in the morning especially. Also, when we were there a lot of the walking paths were closed for reconstruction, such as Uncle Tom's Trail. Not sure if this is still the case, but I believe it was the North Rim that had more trails open vs. the South Rim. Check the Yellowstone Facebook page for updates if you like to plan as much as in advance like me
Virginia1990 is offline  
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Aug 29th, 2017, 02:34 AM
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Probably the first thing you should do upon checkin at OF is check the estimated schedule for the 5 predicted geysers.

Then work your way thru your list after incorporating the eruptions.
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