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Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Boston...
posts: 802
reviews: 15
Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Good Morning TA Experts -

Considering the size of the Yellowstone park, is it too naive to assume that we can do one full loop(upper or lower) in 1 day(say 9AM to Sunset)?

The reason I ask his - I did Rocky Mountain NP from Estes Park to Grand Lake - the full length of ~50 Miles and it took me about 5-6hrs making all the in-between stops.

Walker, Minnesota
posts: 249
11. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Highly recommend you get the book Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple. We bought ours from amazon.com.

Spery, Iowa
posts: 2,767
reviews: 80
12. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

<ah! Male, Travelling solo. I enjoy travelling and will take in whatever sights Yellowstone gives me. Plan is to drive around enjoy the scenery, check out the top sights and will probably do some short hiking(would not mind long ones if needed).> no time for longer hikes. plenty of walking on the boardwalks. major sights are magically placed near the roads :)

Coming in during the busy time - July 4th!! Yes, 5 nights including GTNP. As of now, I have reservations in the following order - 1 night in Canyon Lodge, 1 in West Yellow, 1 in Lake Lodge & 2 nights in Jackson. Open to suggestions.

Just thinking loud -

<* Should I ignore Lake Lodge & stay 2 nights in West Yellow??> I like Lake area, others prefer Canyon. They are not far apart, in YNP terms. Lake would be closer to exiting the south gate? Pam can help more with the daily plan and tell you here to go, lol

<* Should I stay somewhere before Jackson like Moran or Teton Village or Moose??> Nope

What are your flight times? Makes a big difference on planning

Edited: 12:24 pm, June 14, 2012
N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 9,712
reviews: 67
13. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

OK, here is one suggestion:

Day 1: Arrive IF, drive to West Yellowstone and enter the West Gate. Head to Canyon. It will take you about 1.5 hours to get to Canyon from West without stopping. How much you see will obviously depend on what time you get in to Idaho Falls. It's about 2 hours from IF to West. Things to see would be Artist Paint Pots (short trail), Canyon Visitor Center, take a short drive down into Hayden Valley looking for wildlife, some of the overlooks for Canyon. The most accessible one is Artist Point. Overnight at Canyon

Day 2: See the rest of Canyon if you didn't see it yesterday. Head north from Canyon over Dunraven Pass. Do Tower Fall and some of the overlooks to the North. At Tower/Roosevelt Jct turn Right and head in to Lamar Valley to look for wildlife. I would turn around at Soda Butte. There is a sign here and you can tell when you get there. Go back to Tower Jct, turn right and go to Mammoth. Do the lower Terrace, then drive the Upper Terrace. Head south toward Norris. If you have any time, do a short stop here. You need to leave here at least an hour before sundown to get to West Yellowstone before dark. This will be a very long day. Do as much of Canyon as you can the afternoon before. Overnight in West Yellowstone.

Day 3: Make this your geyser day. Head to Old Faithful. I usually recommend people skip the Lower Geyser Basin and Midway GB and head directly to Old Faithful, but with your time constraints, I recommend you do things as you come to them. After you make the right turn at Madison Jct, cross the Gibbon River Bridge, then do Firehole Canyon Dr, Fountain Paint Pots, Firehole Lake Dr. (on the left afer Fountain Paint Pots), then Midway. After that, go to Upper Geyser Basin and do the boardwalks there. It is about 36 miles or so from Old Faithful area to Lake. In Yellowstone you double your mileage to get predicted time, so count on about 1.5 hours from OF to Lake. Overnight at Lake

Day 4: This morning, drive north to Fishing Bridge. Park and walk across. Go north again, do Le Hardy Rapids and Mud Volcano. If you want, drive into Hayden and take another look-see, then head back south toward Grand Tetons.

You will do better if you stop in Idaho Falls and pick up a cooler and some picnic fixings. You can keep on the move and not have to find a place to eat lunch. I do recommend ice cream at the Old Faithful Inn. Get it on the 1st floor, then take it up to the 2nd floor deck overlooking the geyser basin.

Here is a link to sunset in the park. It is not recommended to drive after dark in the park as the big black animal shapes take over the road!

www.sunrisesunset.com

This is a quick overview of the park. Many of these days will be long, but if you are traveling by yourself you can probably do it! Not figured in to the mix are the potential for bison or bear jams.

Pam

Boston...
posts: 802
reviews: 15
14. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Thanks Pam & Thbergs !!

I am arriving into IF at 1PM and flying out of IF after 5 nights at 5.30PM. Assuming no delays I hope I should be able to do something for at-least 1/2 day on both these days.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 9,712
reviews: 67
15. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Good. Sunset is around 915 (www.sunrisesunset.com), so even if you stop for a cooler in Idaho Falls you should get to the park around 4-430. You should have time to do a lot of the Canyon overlooks that afternoon!

Pam

Boston...
posts: 802
reviews: 15
16. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Pam - Can I also pick your brain on GTNP?

I do get some feel for Yellowstone, but GTNP seems to be a blank slate for me. I guess from North Entrance to Jackson is ~60miles. Do we drive right through the park or is it a highway?? I like your itinerary for Yellowstone, assuming similar interest & hikes, how long am I looking at for GTNP? Do I need 2 days or can I spend more time in Yellowstone?

Spery, Iowa
posts: 2,767
reviews: 80
17. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

following Pam's guide, you will be going out the South Entrance of Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park. Travel time IN the park is roughly miles x 2. I would guess that unless you can add another day, you will have just 2 half days for GTNP. (arrive afternoon on day 4 from YNP, overnight- I would recommend in GTNP to get the most of it, then head to catch your flight the next day by noon?) You may have time to fit in a float trip? but you would give up time for hiking. the float trips come highly recommended and have great scenic views, sometimes wildlife.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 9,712
reviews: 67
18. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Go with thbergs' recommendation on GTNP. As close as it seems, I never take the time to go down to GTNP!

Pam

Boston...
posts: 802
reviews: 15
19. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Thanks Thbergs & Pam for your insight!

Boston...
posts: 802
reviews: 15
20. Re: Yellowstone Loop in a Day?

Thbergs & Pam,

Thanks for your insight & advice. I had a wonderful vacation in the area and was able to complete the full loop inside the park based on your recommendations!