Yellowstone NP & GTNP - Preliminary Plan

Old Jun 9th, 2008, 07:49 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,204
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 1 Post
Yellowstone NP & GTNP - Preliminary Plan

In the very early stages and trying to get a feel for the parks - GTNP and YNP.

Looking at early or mid August 2009.

Arrive in Jackson by noon. Spend afternoon in GTNP. Sleep in Jackson.

Day 1
Spend the day in GTNP.
Arrive in YNP in the evening.

Stay 5 nights in YNP.
2-3 Old Faithful
2-3 Canyon Village

Are these far enough apart?
Are these locations convenient to sights, hiking, wildlife and anything else of photographic interest?

Arrive back in Jackson in the evening and spend 2 nights (1 day) there.

While in Jackson (at start or end of trip) 1/2 (AM) rafting.

Total length of trip would be 8 nights and 7 1/2 days.

Comments appreciated.

Myer is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2008, 08:21 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We've been to YNP and it's a great trip! Breathtaking and awesome park. As a family, it's our favorite national park.
When in Jackson, go to the Alpine slide. It's next to the Snow King Lodge. Very fun with or without kids. It's a hoot!

When in GTNP, take the tram up the mountain. Be sure to take something warm up with you as temps really can get cold up there. We did the mild snake river tubing ride when our kids were little. We saw lots of wildlife.

Jackson is a cool cowboy town with lots of shopping.


YNP is huge and there is lots of driving! You will see lots of animals! We saw mostly bison and deer, although people have seen bear once in a while too. Like I said, lots of driving and tons of photo opps. You will be amazed. Be sure to see the "hot pots". They look like huge tubs of bubbling clay! So cool!

The main lodge is beautiful! Very quaint and historic. There is a huge fireplace in the middle of the lodge. It's awesome. That is our favorite hotel.
Make your reservations for hotels asap, as national parks get filled up very quickly.
I would recommend getting the Foder's book on YNP. They have the best tips.

Have a great trip!
janiesue is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2008, 08:44 PM
  #3  
maj
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,139
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sounds like a good plan for Yellowstone. Those places in YNP are good choices. I would make reservations now -- you can change them without penalty if you have a change of plans.

My only suggestion would be to stay the last two nights in GTNP -- example Signal Mountain, Jenny Lake or Jackson Lake Lodge (also make reservations soon). Jackson is a neat little town, but you can see it on your first day there. That way you won't have as far to travel from YNP at the end. If you are talking about a float trip (not rapids) you can take it from one of the above lodges. It takes about a half hour (I just timed it last week) to drive from Signal Mountain Lodge to the airport (without stops) and about 15 minutes from Jackson to the airport. So not much difference there on where you stay.

We just got back and can't wait to go again. Have fun planning.
maj is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 05:31 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you would benefit from 3 nights at Old Faithful, depending on your accommodations. The Snow Lodge is the better choice, particularly the more expensive Snow Lodge Cabins.

Some of the rooms in the old wing of the Inn are lousy, to put it kindly.

The lower grade cabins around Old Faithful would be condemned by many city governments!!

I know that is a strong comment, but they are old and not well furnished.

Canyon also has some good accommodations, but be careful what you select. Western class cabins are the best. Frontier class is not awful. Pioneer class cabins are best described as spartan. The decor is early grubby.

I think the locations are far enough apart to give you two perspectives.

The views of the water falls and the Canyon of the Yellowstone are just about worth the trip.

I also enjoy greatly wandering around the geyser basins. Of the somewhat predictable geysers, Castle and Grand are my two favorites. Old Faithful is a little more predictable than those two because Grand usually has an eruption window of 4 hours, with 1 hour on either side of the central time being the most likely time.

Great Fountain near the Paint Pots is also a spectacular show.

I think the prettiest one is Riverside because its spray arches over the Firehole River.

A neat hike along a fairly level road and trail leads from the parking area to Lone Star Geyser.

Lone Star is something of an anomaly because its is well away from the other geysers. It erupts about every 3 hours. When my wife and I go, we usually have our lunch with us. Then we find a shady spot and have our lunch while waiting for the first stage of the eruption.

The Upper Firehole River is close to the geyser and many people like to wade in the stream. That part of the park did not burn in the great fire so the walk down there is through green trees and bushes.

From Canyon, the drive across the connector road to the Norris Geyser Basin goes through a badly burned area that is slowly rejuvenating. Some of the hottest temperatures during that huge burn were recorded in that part of the park.

Also Canyon is close to the trail that leads up to the viewing tower on top of Mt. Washburn. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Tetons.

To sum it up, I think you have planned well. Bear in mind, however, that some of the cabins around the park are not plush accommodations. Unless you are on a very tight budget I would opt out of the so called Pioneer Cabins and the Rough Rider Cabins at Roosevelt.
bob_brown is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 06:13 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,456
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We have visited the park many times..One of the best places for wild life viewing in YS is the Lamar Valley in the early morning or late evening/dusk. You can expect to view Bison, and the possibility of bear and wolves is also excellent. The Hayden Valley area is another. On one occasion several years ago in the Lamar we were lucky to see 9 bear between Tower Jct and our campsite in Pebble Creek. In fact one black with two cubs had been in the camping area earlier during the day.

http://www.nps.gov/yell/

If time permits drive the Bear Tooth Highway, US212, between Cooke City and the town of Red Lodge, nothing like it.
RedRock is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 06:28 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,305
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would take away one of the nights in Jackson and add it to GTNP. The splendor of the park "demands" at least that much time. As a photographer, you'll be in paradise!
HowardR is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 06:53 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 576
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My only suggestion would be to stay the last two nights in GTNP -- example Signal Mountain, Jenny Lake or Jackson Lake Lodge (also make reservations soon). Jackson is a neat little town, but you can see it on your first day there.

I could easily spend 2 or 3 nights in Jackson and it can be a nice contrast to the parks. BUT, I've lived in this area most of my life so I'm used to the spectacular scenery.

www.vinorossoidaho.com
jnjfraz is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 07:57 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,204
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 1 Post
Thanks for the responses so far. Keep ideas coming. Thanks.

I think in lodging I'm looking for a combination (in no particular order) of reasonable price, convenience (getting there and sights), attempt to keep lodging changes to a minimum and a convenient getaway to the airport after the last night.

I definitely don't need luxury or poshness (if that's a word). Clean and comfortable would suffice. Location, location.


Myer is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 08:06 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 977
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It looks pretty good but I wouldn't bother with even one night in Jackson. If you're there by noon, you can be viewing the Tetons by 1 and then stay at Signal Mountain Lodge. This places you in a convenient place for shooting sunset/sunrise from Signal Mountain, a well known photo spot. Oxbow Bend and your best chance at moose photography are also only a couple of miles from the lodge.

Unless you're going hiking the Tetons can be done in a few hours at most IMO. Great views from the car if the weather is right.

Add the two nights you'll gain to Yellowstone

2 nights at Snow Lodge (Old Faithful area)...an easy drive from Signal Mountain.

1 night at Mammoth after touring the west side ofthe park including a stop a Grand Prismatic & a walk through the Norris Geyser Basin.

2 nights Canyon for access to The Canyon of course

2 nights at the Lake Hotel
(just for the luxury)

This creates a loop to prevent having to spend time backtracking to lodging.

Mammoth is easily seen in a couple of hours but the old military building are cool. It also makes a great early departure point for a day in the Lamar Valley.

Ending at the Lake Hotel saves the best lodging and food for last and gets you nearer the south end of the park for your departure.

Images of our '06 trip are here:

ttp://www.pbase.com/peterb/yellowstone_06






peterboy is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 09:56 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 576
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The antler motel is clean and decent price.
jnjfraz is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 10:17 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,305
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'll have to disagree with peterboy when says, "Unless you're going hiking the Tetons can be done in a few hours at most IMO. Great views from the car if the weather is right."
It would be sad indeed to journey to this area and relegate one of our nation's most beautiful and majestic areas to a few hours of views from a car!
Sure, maybe the Teton doesn't have all the excitement and reputation of Yellowstone, but still, it is an experience to savored for more than a mere few hours!
HowardR is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 11:16 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,204
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 1 Post
Once I've travelled all this way and I'm in GT, I don't expect I'd just drive thru without some out-of-the-car stuff.

I think I'd like to spend an AM rafting and want an easy drive to the airport when leaving.

Also, no need to pamper myself. Why start now?

If I can do this without staying in Jackson, fine.
Myer is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 11:18 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,305
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PS: Get a copy of Frommer's Yellowstone Grand Teton National Parks guide. It's handy guide that'll be an invaluable tool in your planning.
HowardR is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 11:29 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,700
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Myer,

Note that the tram one poster mentioned is actually at Jackson Hole ski resort, not in GTNP. Plus, it was taken down a couple years ago and has not been replaced yet as far as I've heard. Big bucks to do that! Ski area owners couldn't get local gov to contribute toward the huge cost.

There are several nice, shorter hikes in the Grand Teton area. One of my favorites is the Swan Lake Loop out of Coulter Bay. Highly recommend for wildlife.

Dayle is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 11:33 AM
  #15  
maj
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,139
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just another note on the accommodations. We just stayed at Snow Lodge -- high range room. The hotel is new, clean -- only problem with our room was the noise level (which has never bothered me before). We had a room on the second floor right above the entrance. Not sure what any other rooms are like there, but we heard doors slamming loudly continuously until around 11PM and beginning again at 6AM. For that reason I would try to get a cabin there.

At Canyon, besides the cabins, there are also two lodges (right next to each other). I don't know if you can request one over the other. Cascade Lodge is the older one with 3 floors and no elevator. Dunraven is newer with an elevator. Other than that, they are similar. We have stayed in both (high range rooms) and were happy with them.

Everyone has an opinion (including me), but there is no really wrong way to do it. We tried moving around this last time (actually had to because we decided to go only 2 months before) and still prefer to stay in only two places (actually Canyon is our favorite -- because of the location and would probably just stay there again for the whole time).
maj is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 03:28 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 977
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry if I appeared to ignore the Tetons. By all means, get out of the car and walk around. If you start from Jackson in the AM, you can take a leisurly day getting to Signal Mtn. Lodge via the Tetons.

Also, you'll pass through it on the way out of Yellowstone so you get a second crack at it if you wish.

I'm also a fan of the leisurly loop in Yellowstone. I hate backtracking; especially on a shorter trip. Just my style.

That's the beauty of a vacation. It's yours to with do as you please.
peterboy is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 04:58 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,305
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Still, peterboy, I still strongly disagree with your earlier statement that the Teton "can be done in a few hours at most." A few hours hardly does justice to one of nature's magnificent gifts to enjoy.
HowardR is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 05:11 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,700
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Myer,

I might add that the one and only time I stayed in a lodge at Yellowstone (and paid big bucks, for my budget) I also got not one, but two, unacceptable rooms at the Snow Park Lodge.

The first room was on the second floor above the entrance and cigarette smoke came up into my windows in clouds! The room I was moved to was next to the GIGANTIC water heaters and was extremely noisy. They said that no others rooms were available.

I had no sleep.
Dayle is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 06:45 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,204
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 1 Post
This is some great info. Thanks.

I'm starting to think that cabins are the way to go.

Interesting that in Grand tetons there appears to be more than one lodging company.

It looks like Signal Mtn reservations are handled separately.
Myer is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 11:37 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 147
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great questions and answers, and while we're on the subject, ...is Roosevelt Lodge a good spot (but not rough rider it cabins) if one wants to be in the Lamar Valley early in the a.m.?
suz24 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:18 PM.