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Daily itinerary help - YSNP June 2013

Grand Rapids...
posts: 15
reviews: 1
Daily itinerary help - YSNP June 2013

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.

Grand Rapids...
posts: 15
reviews: 1
11. Re: Daily itinerary help - YSNP June 2013

I was not pulling your leg, I am truly a Mechanical Engineer....

As you indicated, planning the trip is half the fun of a vacation (for some folks). The researching and organinzing helps me to not only discover hidden gems but allows me to customize my vacation to suit my families interests. I understand that some folks like to "go with the flow", but I have been on those types of vacations and they are not for me.

I have been all over this forum since last June when we decided to go to YNP and booked our hotels. As I was trying to figuring out what we were going to do each day in the park I was getting "locked up" on how to organize our 5+ days in the park. That is why I decided to ask the great folks on this forum for some assistance/recommendations. The other parts of our trip are easier to plan since the travel schedule somewhat dictates the plans based on the location.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 11,819
reviews: 86
12. Re: Daily itinerary help - YSNP June 2013

Itinerary for JerryB89

2 adults, 2 kids age 9 and 11

June 13 Enter Yellowstone from the NE entrance. Ask at the gate to make sure all roads in the park are open. You will come thru the Lamar Valley which is rich in wildlife. Be sure you stop if you see people out with cameras with long lenses or spotting scopes. I like to stop at Soda Butte (very evident small butte on the left right beside the road). I like to walk around behind it to look at the cliff swallow nests on the back side. Also scan the valley and the tree line. You might see wolf, bears or moose. Turn left at Tower Junction, assuming Dunraven Pass is open. At this point, I would just head for Canyon as everyone is probably tired of the car. If you have time, go to the Canyon Visitor Center and get the kids set up with the Jr Ranger program. It is one program for the whole park. Check in with the Rangers to see if there are any good wildlife spottings around and to see if there are any hikes they recommend. Evening program at the Canyon Campground? Overnight at Canyon.

June 14: Go west from Canyon to Norris. I would skip Norris for now. Turn north to Mammoth. Stop at Sheepeater Creek if you would like to see a close up example of columnar basalt. Head on to Mammoth. As you break off the flats, stop at the waterfall, then go on to Mammoth. Turn left in to the Upper Terrace Drive. Then go on down in to Mammoth proper. The better bathrooms here are the ones between the bus parking lot and the gas station. Do the Lower Terraces then maybe check out the Visitor Center. Stop at the General Store for ice cream. You might enjoy the walking tour of Old Ft Yellowstone. Head east toward Tower. There are a couple of water falls along this road if you are interested. You can also do Blacktail Plateau Dr which is next. Many see wildlife along here altho I have only ever seen the tail of a chipmunk headed down a hole. I always drive it though! The exit to Blacktail is right by the entrance to Petrified Tree, which is a good place for black bear as well. At Tower Roosevelt Jct, if you have time before your ride/dinner trip, go south to Tower Fall stopping at the overlooks either on the way down or back. Do your dinner at Roosevelt. Return to Canyon via Dunraven. Overnight at Canyon

June 15 Today, cover Canyon to Fishing Bridge and down beside Lake. Head south on the Loop Road, doing the North rim viewpoints (if only one, I like Brink of the Upper Falls) and the South rim (Artist Point is the easiest access on both rims. It is a level walk out to it. ) There are usually some Ranger-led hikes in the Canyon area if you are interested. Return to the Loop Road. Go South through Hayden Valley stopping if you see people out with cameras with long lenses or spotting scopes. Continue South picking up Mud Volcano, then go to Fishing Bridge. Park and walk across Fishing Bridge as this area is rich in wildlife. I’ve been able to spot otters, golden eagle, muskrat, white pelican from here. You might check out the FishingBridge Visitor Center. There are also some good hikes around here. There has been a Ranger-led hike in previous years to Storm Point just east of Fishing Bridge. There is also a nice easy hike back to Natural Bridge just south of Bridge Bay Marina. It’s on an old road bed. Head back north and do LeHardy Rapids, then north again thru Hayden and back to Canyon. Overnight at Canyon.

June 16 Head to Norris this morning, then around toward Madison. Do Artist Paint Pots. (I’m not sure if you are interested in either the IMAX theater or Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. If so, this would be a good point for that.) As you go south from Madison, you cross the Gibbon River Bridge. After that turn right into Firehole Canyon Drive. Rejoin the Loop Road, head south. Take a right into Fountain Flats Dr and take a look at the hot pools. Back to the Loop Road and south again. Stop at Fountain Paint Pots, after you head south again, turn right in to Firehole Lake Dr. If there are people around Great Fountain Geyser, stop! This one is awesome to watch. Back to the Loop road and head to Old Faithful. You might consider ice cream from the ice cream parlor on the first floor of the Old Faithful Inn. Take it up to the 2nd floor deck overlooking the geyser basin. The adults can have fermented beverages! You might do the Ranger program at the Visitor Center this evening. Overnight at Old Faithful

June 17 This is your big geyser day! If you can get everyone up and out, there has been a Ranger hike which starts at the Visitor Center at 830. Do the walk thru the basin and go down the boardwalk to Morning Glory pool. (Pit toilet down here) If you don’t do the Ranger walk, I like to go to the left from the front of Old Faithful, walk around behind Old Faithful and cross the bridge to Geyser Hill. Tour this and then start thru the geyser basin. As you return to the main area, I like to eat lunch at the Lower General store which is the first building on your right by the gas station. After lunch, finish up what you missed yesterday, such as Midway Geyser Basin, Biscuit Basin and Black Sand Basin. If you are looking for a nice hike, consider Fairy Falls or Lone Star Geyser (another one on an old road bed). Overnight in Old Faithful.

June 18 Use this day to pick up anything you missed before, revisit something you want to see again or pick up some hikes. The Rangers at the OF Visitor Center are great with suggestions for hikes in the area. Finish up the Jr Ranger program.

June 19 Depart for Grand Tetons

As always, use this as a guide for what might work for you and your family. If you see something interesting, forget the itinerary and enjoy.

Let me know if you have questions.


Grand Rapids...
posts: 15
reviews: 1
13. Re: Daily itinerary help - YSNP June 2013

Thank you so much Pam. This is great!

posts: 347
reviews: 14
14. Re: Daily itinerary help - YSNP June 2013


15. Re: Daily itinerary help - YSNP June 2013

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