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Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

Washington DC...
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Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

Trying to plan an early June family trip. Our 6 year old is a pretty decent hiker - he especially likes hikes that involve rock scrambling! We are planning on a one week trip. Debating between spending the whole week around Teton, staying in Teton village, mixing hiking days with activities like the tram and alpine slide, float trip, indoor swimming (condo in village has access to club with indoor pool). In this scenario we might also consider one longer driving day doing a day trip up to the Old Faithful area.

The other option is to try to split our time between Grand Teton and Yellowstone. But I am not sure its worth the hassle to secure in-park lodging for the Yellowstone portion - all sold out now of course, so this would require multiple calls to keep checking for cancellations. I'm thinking save Yellowstone for another trip.

I am assuming there is enough to do for a week mostly around Teton to keep us happy? (I also have a husband who likes afternoon naps - assuming that will be my and the 6 year olds pool time!)

N. Idaho
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1. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

Well, it sounds like you are not being pulled by the lure of Yellowstone's thermal and wildlife sights, so perhaps you should skip it. It is perfectly OK to do the trip you want to do and not feel you have to see what everyone is seeing. You should not let anyone (including me, lol!) *talk* you in to something you are not crazy about.

A day trip in to Yellowstone from Jackson area is a LONG windshield day.

Pam

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2. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

Your son probably will enjoy the junior ranger program in the park(s):

www.nps.gov/grte/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

Thanks Pam. Actually I am very tempted by Yellowstone's sites - that is why I posted this question - to help me figure out if I am making the right decision! I am just trying to balance the 'ideal trip' (which would probably include Yellowstone) with the somewhat less stressful in terms of planning, and easier in terms of pacing option of just Teton.

N. Idaho
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4. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

If you are in any way tempted by Yellowstone (and it is the most wonderful park in the world....but really...don't listen to me, lol) then you should spend some days there. It IS worth the hassle to check the website every day for Xanterra to get a couple of nights at Old Faithful and a couple of nights at Canyon or Lake depending on what is open during your time frame. If you have 7 nights, does that include your flight days? So only 5 days for touring? I would split 3 for Yellowstone and 2 for Tetons.

Some people have posted they have had luck saving their date parameters into the Xanterra website, but that was the old website and they have a new one now. If you are on the computer at work, (and don't have your computer usage tracked, lol) I would pull up Xanterra when I walk in in the AM and refresh it hourly during the day.

On hike you should be sure to do with your son is Storm Point. Storm Point itself is rocky, but there is a terrific marmot colony just before you get there!

Pam

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

I agree with Pam about seeing Yellowstone. It is my favorite national park!! If you cannot find anything in the park then make back up reservations in West Yellowstone and then keep checking for in park lodging and cancel the West Yellowstone lodging. Many people do that!! We went last September and I got some of my lodging in Feb. and the rest in June.

Jackson, Wyoming
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6. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

With all due respect there is no way in Hades I'd take Yellowstone over GTNP, but as you can see we all have our biases. That siad as much as I HATE Old Faithful its magic for the little one. A long day looping it with the Canyon is somehting a lot of folks visiting the Jackson area do but if you can get a night at Flag Ranch or Roosevelt there's a lot of great stuff up there.

There's a popular mis-perception that Yellowstone is better for wildlife than GTNP. GTNP was rated Number one for wildlife observation in North America above Yellowstone and all other American/Canadian places b the travel channel. Far better for moose and bison and wolves and grizzlies are now far mroe plentiful than just a few years ago. If you hike black bears are up and down the Teton Front. If he is a decent hiker and you get out really early Lake of the Crags would be amazing but likely a bit much for him. Think about renting a canoe and doing Leigh and String Lakes. Great hikes with rocks for little ones would include Laurel Lake, Goodwin Lake, Granite Hi-Line Trail, and SO MUCH MORE. I can't type that well but I'd be happy to let you know all I've accumulated over 40 years.

Hudson Valley
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7. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

My daughter is six and we've been the past five years to the general Yellowstone area. She loves the geysers, thermal features and bison in Yellowstone. But if planning is too much with lodging, staying in the Tetons is totally fine too. Both have a lot to offer and you will enjoy a trip either way. Mixing the hiking with some other activities sounds perfect for a kid.

I don't know if I would do a long day trip to Yellowstone. Unless you get lodging there, I would probably just stick in the Tetons. I would aim for something around Old Faithful if you can. A lot of geysers to see there and a nice visitor's center.

In the Tetons last year my daughter and I did the ranger led hikes to Phelps Lake and Taggart Lake - both were great. I don't know how much your son can hike, but we also enjoyed Jackson Peak outside the park (requires driving a dirt road) and Surprise/Amphitheater Lakes. Although these are longer in mileage, we thought they were fine since the grade was reasonable.

Washington DC...
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8. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I managed to secure one night at Old Faithful Lodge, so I think we are going to rent a condo for the full week around Jackson, but go up to OF for one night. I think this is a good compromise for us. Thanks pudgy_groundhog for the hike suggestions. My son is a pretty good hiker; I hadn't read about Jackson Peak yet so may check that out!

Hudson Valley
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9. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

That's good you got a night at the Old Faithful Lodge. This area is a lot of fun!

Jackson Peak is outside of the park and does require driving on a dirt road. We were able to make it to the trailhead in our rental car, but check conditions. It's a fun hike - hardly any people and some great views.

Driggs, Idaho
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10. Re: Teton only vs. Teton and Yellowstone - with 6 year old

I think that is a wise decision to at least see Old Faithful. I have a six year old boy, and as much as Old Faithful got a bit old for me, I've really enjoyed revisiting it with him, and seeing it again through his eyes. If we want to avoid crowds, there are plenty of thermal areas that are less crowded and equally as fun nearby. We usually do 3-4 trips to Yellowstone a year, and typically one of them is a day trip to Old Faithful. It makes for a long day, which I'm ok with, but I'm glad that you have decided to stay one night there. You will enjoy it, especially the minimal crowds later in the evening or first light. Check out the Lower Hamilton Store for a great place to eat dinner with the 6 yo. Good Food - Fast Service.