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Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

Austin, Texas
posts: 20
Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

I made last min plan and need help on iternary ..

am stayng in Old Faithful Inn for 5 nights and entering the North Yellowstone via Bear tooth Highway on Saturday lunch time.. Leaving on thrusday morning..

We are couples in 40s and we have lots of energy to explore both yellowstone & Grand tetons as first time visitor

I want to see the Yellowstone / Grand Tetons park.. help me with the iternary


Spery, Iowa
posts: 2,785
reviews: 84
1. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

first- congratulations- you have a great start!

Now, what are you most interested in? You can never see it all- but we can help with what you are most looking forward to seeing. Have you checked out the map yet to have an idea where things are, what you might want to see?

Things start shutting down in September, but since you have lodging, you have a fine start.

Do you plan to do a day trip from Old Faithful to GTNP?

And next: do you leave the same way? I assume you have flights booked?

Happy planning- we are happy to help- give us just a bit more to work with and off we will go!!

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 19,253
reviews: 323
2. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

Here is a map and link to some of the things many people want to see in the park- you of course will want to decide what your primary interests are-


Good luck with your trip planning- you are going to love the parks- and just let us know if you have more questions.

Spery, Iowa
posts: 2,785
reviews: 84
3. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

thanks for the link PeachBelle- I forgot to include it!

here is another useful one for planning


N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 12,597
reviews: 89
4. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

Here is a suggestion for an itinerary. You may want to flex it some based on what you want to see and what you do see! Be sure to ask at the entrance gate if any roads are closed. Some have been closed and opened this week with smoke issues. You may have to adjust how you get to things based on that.

Day 1: Enter the NE gate. Stop in Lamar if you see people out with cameras or scopes. At Tower/Roosevelt Jct, turn left and head toward Tower Fall. Stop and take a look. Have ice cream, lol. Continue south over Dunraven Pass, turn right at Canyon and head for Norris, Madison and then to Old Faithful. Overnight at Old Faithful

Day 2: Make this your geyser day. Start at the Visitor Center, walk the Upper Geyser Basin. Write down the eruption times for the predictable geysers on the back of the brochure at the VC (50 cents) and try to work some of them in to your walk. I like to eat lunch at the Lower General Store which is to the right side of the Old Faithful Inn if you are standing with your back to the geyser basin. There are gas pumps out front. After lunch, finish looking around there, then jump in the car and head toward Madison Jct stopping at Midway Geyser Basin, then turn in to Firehole Lake Dr on the right. At the exit, go right toward Madison again, then take Firehole Canyon Dr. If either of you need a pit stop, go on to Madison Jct as they have nice flush toilets there. Head back toward Old Faithful, taking Firehole Canyon Dr. Stop at Fountain Paint Pots and Biscuit and Black Sand Basins if you wish. Get ice cream on the 1st floor of the Old Faithful Inn and take it up to the 2nd floor deck overlooking the geyser basin. Take a look thru the Old Faithful Inn afterward.

Day 3: Head down to Grand Tetons for the day.

Day 4: Make this your Canyon day. Head to the Canyon Visitor Center and tour that, then do the North and South viewpoints as you desire. The easiest viewpoint on the South rim is Artist Point. I also like Brink of the Upper Falls on the North rim if you just want to do one each. There are brochures at both the Visitor Center and at the trail heads to help you pick. Head south thru Hayden Valley, stop at Mud Volcano, LeHardy Rapids and Fishing Bridge. Be sure you park and walk across. You are not looking at the bridge, but you are looking for wildlife in the river and along the sides of the river...or in the trees! Have ice cream at the Fishing Bridge General Store, lol. Return to Old Faithful either by continuing south around the lake or going back thru Hayden Valley and Canyon.

Day 5: Do you need to catch your plane today? If so, I would just head straight to Norris and out thru Mammoth without stopping. If you don't have a deadline to get to Billings, you can stop at Mammoth and look around the terraces. Drive the Upper Terraces which will be on your left as you start downhill from Swan Lake Flat, and walk some of the boardwalks for the lower Terrace. If you have time, get the brochure from the Visitor Center and take the walk around Old Ft. Yellowstone then....have ice cream at the Mammoth General Store!

BTW, just because you have an itinerary doesn't mean you have to stick to it if something more interesting comes up (mama bear and cubs, wolves, pikas (lol), awesome geyser eruption, etc). It's just a guide to head you in a direction from your lodging with an indication of what you might see for the day.

Have fun and we would love to have a trip report from you when you get back!


Austin, Texas
posts: 20
5. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

Thanks Dobby ,speeche, bery

am actually leaving on 6th Day morning to billings.. So what i can do for 5th Day.. Any recommendations

How abt Lake cruise as i want to do some activity wrto that. I heard Yellowstone lake is very nice..

I want to do Geiser , Wildlife, Canyon falls and mountain views with beautiful location for camera.. I dont want to do camping /hiking..



Yellowstone Nat...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 1,637
reviews: 19
6. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

Here is another suggestion for your itinerary. Enjoy Old Faithful Inn, a lovely and historic building.

Each morning, see how you feel, and what interests you on that day. Thermals, wildlife, a little hike? A day trip to GTNP? Stop at the Visitor Education Center and check with the ranger at the front desk as to how you might best follow up on your interest that day. They will be helpful. Each day will be tops.

Will you see the entire park this way? No, but keep in mind that even people here for 40 years have yet to see even all the highlights. There will always be a reason to return. Will you enjoy such a vacation? Oh dear me, I betcha you will.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 12,597
reviews: 89
7. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

Since you have all day on Day 5 (I was hoping that was the case!) then you can leave Old Faithful in the morning, stopping at Norris Geyser Basin. Then go North from there to Mammoth. Stop and do the drive to the Upper Terraces then the road goes down in to Mammoth. Do the Visitor Center, walk the Lower Terraces and see the Old Fort Yellowstone buildings if they are of interest to you. When you leave Mammoth and go toward Gardiner, after you pass the sign for Boiling River parking area and 45th parallel, you will see some pull outs on the left side of the road. On the right is a very steep cliff. Stop (safely) at the parking area and look up at the cliff and see if you can spot bighorn sheep. They are hard to see as they blend very well into the cliffside. Continue North thru Gardiner to Livingston then pick up I90 back to Billings.

A lake cruise would fit in well on whatever day you decide to do Canyon from Old Faithful since you will be in that part of the park any way. You probably would not have time for it on the day you go down to Grand Tetons just because that day will be a long driving day. If you find the geysers don't interest you as much (they are my favorite!! but you might like something different) you can certainly head to Lake area the first full day you are in the park.

Sounds like a good trip!


Bedford, Kentucky
posts: 14
reviews: 43
8. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

First of all, if you are staying all five nights at Old Faithful Inn you have a long way to go from the entrance. You said the northern entrance, but you also said the Beartooth Highway. I think you mean you are coming in the Northeast Entrance which is going to bring you into the Lamar Valley. You have to realize that if you just drive and don't stop anywhere, after you get in the park you are about two and a half hours from Old Faithful.

But when you get to Old Faithful, plan to spend alot of time in the Geyser Basins. Upper Geyser Basis in way more than Old Faithful Geyser. There are literally hundreds of other thermal features. Head out on the boardwalks and see Beehive and Plume and the Lion Group. And walk further to the north along the boardwalks and asphalt and see Giant and Grotto and thermal pools and fumaroles. It is not likely that alot of these geyers are going to be going off, but Old Faithful is not the only geyser with a schedule. Check in the Old Faithful visitor center and you can get times for Castle and some of the others.

Do Biscuit Basin and Black Sand Basin which are only minutes from Old Faithful. Get on up north to Midway Geyser Basin where Grand Prismatic Spring, Excelsior Geyser and Opal Spring are featured.

From Biscuit Basis you can take a 2.5 mile hike to Mystic Falls or a longer hike to Fairy Falls.

If you go east toward West Thumb from Old Faithful you will come to Kepler Cascades and there is a trail head there for a hike to Lone Star Geyser which is on a flat surface which used to be a traffic road.

Don't miss the Canyon Area and spend some time there. You can get there east from Old Faithful by way of West Thumb and the Lake Area. That will take you through Hayden Valley which is one of the best wildlife viewing areas.

In Canyon, stop everywhere you can at every vantage point for both the Upper and Lower Falls and don't miss Grand View. You can't see the Falls from there but your views of the canyon are not to be believed. Don't miss Artists Point either as these are probably the best views of the Lower Falls.

One of my favorites if Mammoth Hot Springs and I would suggest walking the Lower Terrace not just driving the Upper Terrace Loop Road.

But two loop roads I would suggest are the Firehole Lake Drive and the Firehold Canyon Drive (both between Old Faithful and Madison Junction) The first is full of thermal features including Great Fountain and Pink Cone geysers and the cascades and lake. The second has breathtaking views of the Firehole River and the canyon with rapids. You can even taken an authorized swim here in the semi-heated water,

Between Madision Junction and Norris Junction, if you like waterfalls don't miss Gibbon Falls. This is where you can see the rim of the Caldera formed by the great last eruption.

If you get to go south from West Thumb toward the south entrance, I think there are two other great waterfalls down there. You will come to Lewis Falls first, which is also on the caldera. And only about a mile from the south entrance is Moose Falls with an easy trail to the base of the falls.

Hope you have fun.

Hudson Valley
posts: 1,396
reviews: 5
9. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

I like how Pam works in a lot of ice cream. My kind of itinerary! :D

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 8,001
reviews: 29
10. Re: Last min Plan -- Need urgent help on Iternary

>>>I like how Pam works in a lot of ice cream.<<<

Harrumph. I don't know how I spent five days in the park and NEVER had ice cream :(