Itinerary for Funhouse
August 22: Enter the park from the East gate. Stop at Fishing Bridge, park and walk across. This is a good spot for spotting wildlife. Turn right on the loop road toward Canyon. Stop at LeHardy Rapids, then Mud Volcano. Drive thru Hayden Valley and stop if you see people out with long Camera lenses or spotting scopes. Go to the Canyon Visitor Center (nice flush toilets). If you have time, do some of the overlooks on the North and South rims of Canyon. The easiest to access is Artist Point on the South rim. The paved path from the parking lot is level. Overnight at Canyon
August 23: Finish up any Canyon overlooks you didn’t get to yesterday. Head north from Canyon over Dunraven to Tower Fall. (flush toilets here too) Stop at some of the overlooks north of Tower, then at Tower Roosevelt Jct, turn right in to Lamar Valley. This area is rich in wildlife. Again stop if you see a gathering of folks. Drive at least to Soda Butte. Return to Tower Junction. Depending on your time, you may be able to fit in the drive back to Petrified Tree and Blacktail Plateau Dr before you return to Canyon. They are both on the section of road between Tower Jct and Mammoth. Overnight at Canyon
August 24: Head west to Norris. Walk thru this geyser basin. Stop at the Norris Campground and look at the very tiny Museum of the National Park Ranger. Head north to Mammoth stopping at Roaring Mountain and the display for Obsidian Cliffs. I like to stop at Apollonaris Spring, it is just cute to me. You can bypass it if you like. Stop at Sheepeater Cliffs. On your way down in to Mammoth, make sure to do the Upper Terrace Drive, then stop and walk the Lower Terraces. The better bathrooms in the area are the ones between the gas station and the bus parking lot. Check out the Visitor Center. Overnight at Mammoth
August 25: Head south to Norris, then on toward Madison Jct. Stop at Artist Paint Pots. Stop at Madison Jct (flush toilets). As you leave Madison and cross the Gibbon River, turn right in to the Firehole Canyon Dr. Rejoin the loop road heading toward Old Faithful. Stop at Fountain Paint Pots, then turn in to Firehole Lake Dr. This circles back around to re-enter the Loop road across from Fountain Paint Pots. Head south again, stopping at Midway Geyser Basin. From here, head directly to Old Faithful, making the Visitor Center your first stop. Get the brochure at the desk (50 cents) and write down the eruption times of the predictable geysers. Try to see some of those this afternoon. I like to walk around behind Old Faithful, cross the bridge over to Geyser Hill and then work my way down toward Morning Glory Pool (pit toilet here). How much of this you will see this afternoon depends on how your time is running. You may have to save the Upper Geyser Basin until tomorrow morning. I encourage either ice cream or an adult beverage on the 2nd floor deck of the Old Faithful Inn! Ice cream can be bought on the first floor and taken up to the deck. Overnight at Old Faithful
August 26: Finish up the Upper Geyser Basin this morning. There is a very nice ranger-led program at 830 from the Visitor Center thru the Basin. Get back on the loop road and head toward West Thumb and out the South entrance. Overnight at Jackson
Are you all planning to pick up a cooler for lunches and snacks? On the day you go from Mammoth to Old Faithful, you will likely need a picnic lunch this day. There is no food at Norris or Madison (well vending machines, ick) and nothing until you get to Old Faithful.
Here is a link to the Ranger-led programs from 2012. They are usually at similar times year to year.
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.
I decided to go ahead and do an itinerary as I am putting off going out to shovel snow! If it is not useful to you, that is fine!
Edited: 12:10 pm, January 07, 2013