I have read countless TA Forum topics and TRs on YSNP as well as books (Yellowstone Treasures of course was one) in preparation for my family’s first trip this coming June 2013. I am now organizing my notes and starting to put together daily plans for our entire 2 week trip through the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Cody, YSNP and GTNP. I have put together a “master” schedule with an overview of the entire trip and am now working on individual daily itineraries with specific details. I am printing everything out including maps and directions then organizing it in a 3-ring binder that we can take with us. My wife thinks I am nuts and just laughs, but from reading a number of posts here I am not the only compulsive planner.
Our general plan involves my family of 4 (including a 9 & 11 year old) driving from Michigan. I have the daily itineraries set from the date of our departure on June 9th through the afternoon of June 13th when we plan to enter YSNP via the NE entrance after an overnight in Cody and a tour of the Beartooth HWY up to Rock Creek Vista and back. There is so much to see and do in YSNP that I am a bit overwhelmed on how to organize our time. I know you need to flexible when visiting YSNP, but I am hoping that Pam or one of the other DE’s could provide me suggestions or even fairly detailed daily itineraries for our time in YSNP if they have time.
Here are the pertinent details for the time we will be in YSNP:
• As stated above, we will be arriving via the NE entrance the afternoon of June 13th (expecting around 4PM)
• We have reservation at the Canyon Lodge Western Cabins June 13th – 15th. The only firm plans we have are reservations on June 14th for the chuck wagon dinner in Roosevelt
• We then have reservations at the OF Snow Lodge Western Cabins June 16th – 19th
• We plan to depart YSNP on June 19th via the South entrance for a drive through GTNP and 2 days in Jackson. I am pretty sure I have the details of the GTNP part of the trip all set.
Regarding my family
• The entire family is very active and we enjoy hiking and other outdoor activities
• I have a number of different short hikes I have picked out from the Ranger’s Guide to Yellowstone Day Hikes I will try to work in
• We are also interested in attending some of the ranger lead programs at the various sites if time and schedule allow
• My 9yr old daughter is very into the Junior Ranger Program and will likely do this at YSNP (are their different badges for different areas of the park?)
We are still 3 months away from leaving and countless hours of my day are consumed thinking about this trip. I cannot wait.
Thank you in advance for your assistance.