Hi all - I'm in the process of finalizing plans for our big 2014 vacation to the above three parks. I know my draft itinerary is a bit ambitious, and I am trying to fine tune it to be sure we're not "over-planned," yet still see and do all the things we want to do in our two weeks. Looking for any advice, suggestions - anything you can offer! I'm also posting this on the Glacier and Tetons forums. Reservations already made at Many Glacier, lakeside room with balcony. Thanks in advance!
Day 2: Visit the west side of Glacier, boat ride at Lake McDonald, overnight Glacier Guides Lodge
Day 3: Whitewater rafting through Glacier Guides Lodge, overnight there again
Day 4: Drive below the park, through East Glacier, stop at Glacier Park Lodge - arrive at Many Glacier Lodge in time for the afternoon boat ride and hike to Grinnell Lake. Overnight at Many Glacier Lodge
Day 5: Full day Red Bus Tour of Glacier Park (Going-to-the-Sun Road), overnight again at Many Glacier
Day 6: Drive to Jackson, explore town for dinner, overnight Lodge at Jackson Hole
Day 7: Full day Tetons Tour with Teton Science Expeditions, overnight at LJH again
Day 8: Snake River float trip, Teton Village Tram to top of mountain, last night at LJH
Day 9: Drive North to Yellowstone. Explore lake area, check-in at Lake Lodge Cabins. Do Yellow Bus Tour Lamar Valley Excursion (leaves Lake Hotel at 2:45pm), Overnight Lake Lodge Cabins
Day 10: Drive to Old Faithful, have lunch at Old Faithful Inn, spend day there and on western lower loop looking at geysers, etc. Drive across the center of the "figure 8" to Canyon. Check in at Canyon Lodge Cabins, overnight there.
Day 11: Up early for Yellow Bus Tour "Wake up to Wildlife" Tour (departs Canyon at 6:15am, returns at 11:30am). Spend afternoon exploring Hayden Valley (if not already covered on tour) and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Drive up to Roosevelt/Mammoth/Gardiner areas. Overnight in one of those areas, likely the Gardiner Guest House B&B since it gets great reviews on TA.
Day 13: Whitefish, Montana - overnight at Garden Wall Inn B&B
Day 14: Board Amtrak's Empire Builder in Whitefish, bound for Chicago
I realize this is a lot. Our main focus is scenery and wildlife. We like guided tours, neither of us wants to be stuck driving in the animal jams and having to watch the road. We'd rather have someone else do the driving in the parks and showing us the highlights, giving us some information on what we're seeing. Neither of us are big hikers, but the guided hike at Many Glacier seems like a great idea. Is there anything we're missing? Is it too ambitious? Do you like my choices of lodging? Is my time divided amongst the parks appropriately?
Thank you again in advance for any and all advice...