Yellowstone, then Jackson Hole

Old Jun 19th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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Yellowstone, then Jackson Hole

Considering a summer '06 vacation (husband, 18 year old son and myself) flying from NJ to first see Yellowstone - for a few days (3 or 4?), then driving to Jackson Hole/Grand Teton (3-5 days?) for a few days.

We'd like to stay in really nice resorts. Is staying inside Yellowstone the best idea? Which hotel is nicest, best views, ammenities, etc? What about Jackson Hole? What resorts are best?
What would be a good itinerary? We'd like to hike, see NATURE & WILDLIFE...are there excursions that one can take where you see more wildlife or do you drive around yourself?

We'd also like to take a float trip down Snake River...

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 05:09 PM
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Not to sound too sarcastic, but you DO realize that Yellowstone is a National Park don't you? If you are looking for really nice resorts you would be probably happier outside a NP on private property. If you are looking for a really nice resort and want to see plenty of WILDLIFE I think you would be happier with a manufactured experience like the lodge at Animal Kingdom. Very nice resort with giraffes, etc. outside your room to view.

Having said that, my favorite in the park is the Old Faithful Inn - in the more expensive rooms. Rustic elegance, but rustic nonetheless.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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The best view ever from a hotel room was Old Faithful just outside my window.

For a true resort, you will probably like the Four Seasons in Teton Village. The Rusty Parrot Lodge is a favorite in Jackson as well.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 06:50 PM
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Based on a total of 8 days in Yellowstone and the Tetons, I would suggest that you spend 2 nights in Canyon, 1 night in either Tower-Roosevelt or Mammoth Hot Springs, 2 nights in Old Faithful, and then 3 nights in the Grand Tetons. The main roads of Yellowstone form a figure 8 so when you drive from destination to destination, you can see most of the park as long as you don't backtrack. I would stay in the order listed above.

I would start out in a cabin in Canyon. From here you can drive down to Lake Yellowstone to have dinner one night. The drive to and from the Lake from Canyon is beautiful. I did not recommend staying at the Lake since it was my least favorite area of the park.

After a couple of nights in Canyon, head north to Tower-Roosevelt. Staying here one night would be my choice since you could drive out to Lamar Valley to hang out with the wolf gazers. I think these people are out there every night with their high-powered binoculars. The drive to and from the valley is quite beautiful also.

The next day, leave Tower and head to Mammoth. IMO, you can view the hot springs in a couple of hours and then proceed to Old Faithful. You need to see the Norris Geyser basin area. Ideally, you could do this area on the first day in the park before you head to Canyon. If you haven't seen it yet, stop on the way to Old Faithful.

In Old Faithful, stay in the Old Faithful Lodge for two nights. This is an awesome historic hotel! After Old Faithful, head to the Grand tetons for the remaining 3 days. We did the Solitude Float Trips 10 mile snake river trip and it was awesome.

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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 06:57 PM
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This is a quote from Xanterra Parks and Resorts' (the official lodging concessionaire for YNP) website: "Please note that all park accommodations are non-smoking and, reflecting the natural surroundings of Yellowstone, televisions, radios, air conditioning, and Internet hook-ups are not available."

While some people would love this, others do not. A lot of people can't believe that there's not a single swimming pool in the entire park. I recommend you take a look at the YNP website at and read about the lodging and activities available in the park. Then decide whether you want to stay in the park or not.

And the wildlife is just that - wild. I can tell you that you're more likely to see bison in Hayden or Lamar Valley, but there's no guarantee that you will see them. It's the lucky tourist who gets to see a wolf or grizzly bear. I worked there for 5 months one summer and never saw either one. The animals you're more likely to see are elk, bison, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and all sorts of waterfowl.

If you're going to stay in the park, I would recommend you stay at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. It's a very nice, old, elegant hotel on the shore of Yellowstone Lake with views of the lake out your window (if you're staying on the front side of the hotel; the back side faces a parking lot).

Old Faithful Inn has some rooms with views of Old Faithful, but you have to reserve early to get those. My favorite rooms are in the "Old House" (the original part of the inn) with bathrooms down the hall. So if you want to stay at Old Faithful, make sure you're staying in one of the newer wings.

There are many hiking trails all over the park and Yellowstone's website has maps of some of these trails. Otherwise, you can get maps in the park once you get there.

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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 07:21 PM
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Are you ok with beautiful but rustic resorts? What kind of ammenities are important to you? Just as an overview - Lodging within Yellowstone park is rustic by design (i.e., no TV, internet hookups, air conditioning, etc. and don't expect spas). However, you won't miss all that because both Yellowstone and Tetons are gorgeous! Old faithful Lodge is right in the middle of Yellowstone and even though it is very old, it is still a beautiful building that set the standard for luxury lodges in national parks (it was luxurious at the time it was built in 1904 time so don't expect Four Seasons)! As far as rooms go, they are basic (not all have private baths) but the lodge itself is a great experience and fits with the grandeur of the park. It is very rustic with a huge fireplace in the main lobby with 70-80 foot ceilings and exposed beams. It is also highly desirable so you have to make reservations far in advance. You should be able to see pictures on the websites. Also, the Lake Yellowstone hotel is a beautiful old building overlooking the Lake so you might investigate that as well. If you need more luxury, there are some resort type places outside of Yellowstone but typically, I'd say most places are done in a rustic style. In the Teton area, I'd say Jackson Lake Lodge or Jenny Lake Lodge for lodging in the park with awesome views of the Tetons. Jackson Lake Lodge is a full service lodge w/ great views over the lake. Jenny Lake Lodge is basically a cluster of log cabins that are right at the base of Grand Teton. We loved this place but it was very expensive. Approx. $500 per night but you get a 4 course dinner at the dining lodge built into the price so it's not as bad as it sounds. The cabins are rustic but it is so wonderful to walk out your cabin door, sit in one of the rocking chairs on your porch (with a glass of wine) and stare up at the grand teton rising straight in front of you! The dinners were excellent in the dining lodge. Also, you can hike, horseback ride, bike, etc. right from Jenny Lake Lodge. If you want more luxury or standard resort features, there are more modern luxury resorts in/near Jackson Hole proper - just up to your preference. Regarding itinerary - YNP is a big driving park where you do the loop, park at areas and walk/hike to vista points (upper/lower falls, paintpots, etc). My recommendation is to take a few days to drive to each area - if you try to do the whole loop in one day, you might get worn out and start to think about "skipping" the walk/hike to various vistas. Don't do this - you'll regret it if you miss some of the incredible views! Just put a cooler/picnic in the car and be prepared to pull over a whole lot to hike/walk/gawk/and generally take in the park! You'll see lots of wildlife, especially if you keep your eyes open and take your time in driving beyond the main loop to some of the corners of the park. Teton, on the other hand is much more compact and is clearly more of a hiking paradise. You just have to hike into paintbrush canyon (go past the inspiration point and waterfall hike that is approx. one mile and you'll be treated to some incredible views and a nice uncrowded and relatively flat hike AFTER the first mile). The float trip on the Snake is a great idea. I'd say 4 days in Yellowstone with the fourth day driving down to Tetons followed by 3-4 more days would be great. It all depends on your priorities. You'll see lots of postings on itineraries. You'll love these parks!
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 08:32 PM
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My husband and I spent 4 nights in yellowstone in the summer of 2003. Having traveled to many national parks Old Faithful Inn is the worst accomadation I had at a national park. We were unfortunately there in the middle of a heat wave.Even though we live in southern Louisiana we found it was uunearable. It did not cool off until the sun went down about 10:00 at night. You had too sleep with the windows open, then about at 1:00am you would wake up freezing. Yellowstone does not believe in aircondition, this is in every building in yellowstone. They claim that normally they do not need it. I would recommend going in June before it gets too hot.

We were staying in the old faithful snow lodge. It was extremely primitive two beds a oouple of lamps. No ammenties. I enjoy the park experience but felt disconnected from the outside world without tv at night. I was told by the employees that the inn was even warmer because each room only had one window. The food was excellent at the old faithful inn. Breakfast was a buffet you could also order off the menu. excellent breakfast. Dinner was also very good. Keep in mind you will need dinner reservations that you should make several weeks before you leave home.

We stay at the snow lodge for 3 nights.
On the first day after arriving we went on the Fire Basin Adventure tour that is sponsor by the park and led by an park employee. Excellent tour that gave explanation about the geysers and other thermal activity. This as a half day tour that we took in the afternoon.
Went driving on our own that morning. In Haden Valley we saw a herd of Bison. It was amazing.
The next day we went on an all day bus tour The Circle of Fire to give us an over view of the park. It also was very good.

On the third day we drove around the entire park. We went to mammot springs, then the Teddy Roosevelt Inn.
and we spent the night at Yellowstone
Lake. It took all day to make this complete circle. We stop several times and went for a couple of hikes. The Roosevelt Inn is rustic. We did have an excellent lunch their and the Roosevelt Beans is a must try.
Mammoth springs was a small town but did not stay their to advise you on the hotel.

The Lodge at yellowstone lake was a nice hotel if you stay in the main hotel. You do not want too stay in the cabins. Very Primitive.
We stayed in the main hotel it has been restored and is very elegant.

The lack of aircondition was not a problem.
The lake provide an excellent breeze.

Dinner was excellent. Again reservations will have too be made in advance. Breakfast was the same or similar to the old faihful inn.

Old faith inn has the tourist activity where yellowstone lake is a lot slower and quieter.

Their is Yellowstone Lake "Historic" Sunset Tour by 1937 Touring Bus
this tour leaves from yellowstone lake at night. We did not take it because it didn't run on the day we were there. It looked very interesting.
this is the link too the various tours.

Overall the park was beautiful and awe inspiring. We enjoyed the trip except for the heat.
We saw bison that roam all over the park and we saw deer. I was hoping too see more wildlife but because of he heat I think they were not roaming.
We also did not find it diffulty driving in yellowstone.

When we left yellowtone we went too Jackson Hole. We took the Solitude Float Trip down the snake river It is the only boat tour at that time that was allow to start in the Grand Teton National Park.

It took us about a day too drive from yellowstone Lake too Jackson Hole. Again we stopped for lunch and went on a couple of hikes.
the next day we took the float trip.

4 nights for us in yellowstone was plenty depending on how much hiking you are interested in doing. Two nights in Jackson Hole was plenty.

Don't know where you are flying into. Salt Lake was a good starting point. We took a day too drive to yellowstone, We stopped several places on the way.

At least from LA Salt lake is easier and cheaper then Denver too fly too.

I hope this helps.

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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 10:06 PM
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Do stay in one of the Yellowstone park hotels, and book ahead. It's far to get to hotels outside the park. 3-4 days in park is good. Yellowstone and Grand Tetons is one of the best vacations I have taken. In Tetons, take boat ride across Jenny Lake and then hike. Lake is beautiful and taking the boat to the trailhead is well worth it. Don't waste time walking around the lake. Jackson Hole is nice town, touristy. Lots of nice shops.
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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Caniac, could you elaborate on why the Lake area is your least favorite area? Thanks
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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I think Lake Yellowstone hotel was pretty neat, but mainly because of it being older and historic. The restaurant there was very good. I had considered staying at this hotel on our trip, but it was full the nights we would have stayed. We drove down from Canyon one evening for dinner and the drive down was great. After seeing the Lake and the hotel, I was glad that we did not stay there. A three hour visit was all that I needed.

My opinion of the Lake area is simply that if you aren't into boating or fishing, then there are a lot more scenic areas of Yellowstone. The water is too cold to swim. The Lake area is OK, but I just did think it was spectacular like the other areas of the park. Hope this helps!
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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Thanks, caniac; that does help! Sorry to cut into your thread LPOWMACBACK.
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