Yellowstone Trip

Old Jan 7th, 2021, 05:28 PM
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Yellowstone Trip

Hi all,

I love this site as I have always found very helpful info and gotten great details when posting a thread.

My husband and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone (his 1st time and my 2nd without a child and parents). We are flying into Salt Lake City to use our SW points. Our schedule is still fairly flexible in # of days and which day of the week to depart. My thought was to fly out of ATL on 9/2/21 (Thurs) in the afternoon and arrive in SLC in the evening, stay at an airport hotel that night and pick up rental car on Fri AM and head to Jackson Hole. I read in an old forum about taking the scenic route which takes longer, but well worth it. Thoughts?

I thought we would stay 2 nights somewhere between JH and the Grand Tetons since they are not far apart and have a chance to do some hiking.

Then we would head to Yellowstone. I read in an old thread that staying at 3 different locations is recommended because of the distance between. Was thinking about heading East and stay at Yellowstone Lake Hotel for 2 nights, then head to Mammoth Springs for 1 night and then Old Faithful Inn for 2 nights.

When I visited YS years ago, we mainly toured the west side of the park, so I donít really know how much time to allow for the East and North sides.

Ideally, we would like to head back to SLC and fly out on Saturday, 9/11/21.

Nothing is set in stone and I am totally open to any and all recommendations with things that are must do/see, those to skip, lodging suggestions and length of stay. The only thing I am not flexible on is flying into SLC.

Thanks so much for your time!
KristenHecksher is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2021, 05:49 PM
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As long as you accept that there are things to see while going to a destination such as Norris Hot Springs


you can stay at a single location. The last time we were there, we stayed in the cabins behind the Lake Lodge:


They have very small original cabins and roomier ones from the 50s or 60s behind the original cabins.
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Old Jan 7th, 2021, 07:40 PM
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First find out what lodging is available when you want to go. Take whatever you can get. If you do not get what you want, as the time gets close call back frequently as people make reservations way in advance and cancel when they find they can not make the trip.
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Old Jan 7th, 2021, 07:54 PM
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Make reservations in Yellowstone NOW. Seriously. I thought the cabins at Dornan's (in Moose) were a really great idea/value for Jackson area and are right at the South entrance to GTNP. It's 6 hours from SLC to Jackson either by going through Star Valley or through Victor/Teton Pass. The long route through Logan is beautiful--but the long route.
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Old Jan 8th, 2021, 03:48 AM
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Go through Logan. When we took a 6 week trip west I thought it was the most beautiful part of the entire trip. It isn't that much further.
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Old Jan 8th, 2021, 10:49 AM
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The route via Logan Canyon takes about 30-45 minutes longer and is very scenic.

Dornans has a great location only 20 minutes from Jackson if you plan to do things both in town and GTNP. They don't have that many cabins and book up early.

I would check availability right away to see what's possible especially since you're traveling over a holiday. Book what's available now and keep checking back for cancellations if necessary.
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Old Jan 10th, 2021, 10:35 AM
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Thank you for the recommendations so far. We will definitely include going through Logan. I did check into Dornan's and they require a 3 nt stay, so I booked at Flat Creek Inn. I was actually surprised that there was lodging still available in the park, but that is probably due to COVID. I have booked 1 night at Yellowstone Lake Hotel, 2 nights at Canyon Lodge, 1 night in Gardiner (nothing available at Mammoth Hot Springs) and 2 nights at Old Faithful Inn. We have extended our trip 1 more day, to allow for travel back to SLC and an overnight there before flying out.

I would love any recommendations of hikes that are moderate (not strenuous) that are no more than 3-4 hours. We probably wouldn't be able to do, but a few hikes if we intend to cover as much of the park as possible. Also, how much is there to see on the North side as well as the Northeast side of the Park? We never made it up that far in our first trip. I did read that Beartooth Pass is beautiful and worth the time. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 10th, 2021, 08:04 PM
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check out the summer park newsletter on the nps.gov website. It will give you all sorts of info on what services are available. It also lists hikes by area, by difficulty level, etc. Be flexible-trails can be closed due to bear activity.
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Old Jan 11th, 2021, 05:49 AM
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Keep in mind that Dunraven Pass (Tower to Canyon) will be closed for construction so you won't be able to go north from Canyon. If possible, I'd do 2 nights Lake or Canyon and 2 nights Mammoth or Gardiner.

The Beartooth is a beautiful drive in good weather. If the weather is iffy I'd skip it as the pass is almost at 11,000 ft. It will take a good part of a day but you also don't have to go all the way to Red Lodge.

The northern portion of the park is very good for wildlife watching and has a few short hikes I like - Lost Lake Loop, Yellowstone Picnic and Trout Lake. The northeastern part goes through Lamar Valley.

The area between Canyon and Lake (Hayden Valley) is also very good for wildlife watching.

Carry bear spray on your hikes. Have it accessible (not inside your pack) and know how to use it.
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Old Jan 12th, 2021, 04:20 PM
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Thank you, Patty. Is this on-going construction typical and so long-lasting? This is very helpful information and great to know when planning. So I assume that we can go as far as Canyon Village and then head toward Norris and up toward Mammoth Hot Springs. Can we drive the upper section of the loop from Mammoth Hot Springs toward Tower Roosevelt?
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Old Jan 13th, 2021, 05:50 AM
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It's a 2 year road construction project that started in 2020 https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm There's always some kind of road construction in Yellowstone but plans are usually announced far in advance.The north entrance project is widening the entrance and adding more entrance kiosks.

Yes from Canyon you can go to Norris and Mammoth to access to the northern part of the park. Lake and Canyon are fairly close. That's why I thought if there's availability you could stay at one or the other. And if you can add another night to the northern part that would give you time for the Beartooth. Cooke City is another possibility.

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Old Jan 14th, 2021, 06:21 PM
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I took your advice and booked 2 nts at Canyon Lodge, 2 nts in Gardiner and then we have 2 at Old Faithful Inn. Thank you for the link to the park road closures. Even though I have been to Yellowstone, this can still be an overwhelming place. It was an incredible trip when I was there back in 2011 with my younger son and parents that I told my now husband that he has to experience Yellowstone. Personally, I was so much better than the wildlife, we expected to, but did not see in Alaska.

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