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Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Baytown, Texas
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Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

1st trip to Yellowstone. We plan to visit Yellowstone in late July. We will be staying in the Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone the whole time checking in late on 07/24 and checking out 07/28 so we will have only 3 full days (25th, 26th, 27th) to see as much as we can. Any itinerary help would be greatly appreciated. We don't mind getting up early. I get up at 3am for work every day, so anything after 3am is actually sleeping in for me ;-)

(2 active adults, 14 yo son and 11yo daughter).

N. Idaho
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1. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

I usually stay in West Yellowstone. Here's what I would do.

Day 1: Make this your geyser day. Head in to the park, turning right at Madison junction. (Flush toilets at Madison) Just after you cross the little bridge over the Gibbon River you will see a sign for Firehole Canyon on the right. Take this side road. You will meet back with the main road. Turn right heading for Old Faithful. You will pass a couple of geyser basins. You will pick these up on the way out. Head to the Old Faithful Visitor Center. Write down the eruption times for the predicted geysers. (They have pencils there and there is a place to write them down on the back of the OF brochure) Walk around the geyser area and try to time it so you can see some of the neat ones erupt. There is usually a ranger walk at 830 if your family can make it up and into the park by then. It will take you a good hour to get from West to Old Faithful. Eat lunch at Old Faithful. I like the Lower General Store, which has an old fashioned diner type atmosphere and hand dipped milkshakes. It is to the far side of the Old Faithful Inn facing the geyser basin. If you have time, also get ice cream at the OF Inn and take it up to the 2nd floor deck to eat overlooking the geyser basin. After you tour the geyser basin, head back toward West Yellowstone stopping at Midway, then taking Firehole Lake Dr. and Fountain Paint Pots. This will take you all day.

Day 2: Head in to Canyon Visitor Center. (Flush toilets.) Head South from the VC to Hayden Valley. Stop if you see others stopped especially with long lenses on cameras or spotting scopes. This area is rich in wildlife. Do Mud Volcano and then Fishing Bridge. Stop, park and walk across Fishing Bridge. I have seen some great wildlife from here (otters, white pelicans, golden eagle, muskrat). Head back to Canyon stopping at LeHardy Rapids. When you get to the Canyon area, take the road to the right to the South Rim. Do that side first, then recross the bridge to the main road and do the North rim, checking out the overlooks as your time and energy allow. Head back to West Yellowstone timing it so you are there before dark. It will take you a good 1.5 hours to get from Canyon to West Yellowstone.

Day 3: Come back in to the Canyon VC. (Stop for pit stop). Go north over Dunraven Pass looking for bears. Stop at Tower Fall and then at the overlooks to the North of there. Be sure to look back up behind you for bighorn sheep. At Tower Roosevelt Jct, turn right and head out into Lamar Valley a ways, then reverse and at Tower Roosevelt, head toward Mammoth. Do Mammoth, eat ice cream at General Store. Head back to West Yellowstone, stopping at Norris if you have time/energy (I doubt you will!).

Be mindful of sunset times so you can get back to West Yellowstone before dark.

www.sunrisesunset.com

If you are normally up at 3, you'll still be on Central time, so you can plan to be up at 2!! Perhaps you can sleep in a bit. BTW, I like Bear country Bakery for breakfast. Good Breakfast burritos. The thing that always gets me about West Yellowstone is that it is not an early-to-rise town. Most restaurants don't open til 7 and I want to eat about 5:30!!

Pam

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Great ideas from Pam. Here are the must sees for the park-

www.yellowstone.net/topten

We like Running Bear Pancake House in West Yellowstone for breakfast and there is also a McDonald's.

Enjoy your trip!!

Baytown, Texas
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3. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Pam, Thanks sooooo much for your itinerary help. Your tips and suggestions are absolutely fantastic! We will definitely be utilizing this information! As a matter of fact, I have already printed a map and I am tracing out your suggested routes and making notes along the way. Thanks again!

Peach – Thanks so much for the link! Great info! Also, I can tell you, I looked up the reviews on the Running Bear Pancake House and now, not only am I starving, I am dying to try it out! What a great find! Thanks so much for the suggestion!

N. Idaho
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4. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Oops, looks like neither Peach nor I mentioned our collective favorite book, Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple. It is great to help in trip planning and necessary to take along with you. It may be available in your local brick and mortar bookstore and is of course available on Amazon.

Pam

DK
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5. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Thank you Pam for your fine words. I am also planning Yellowstone - but i 2013 (but I like to plan the trip). You gave me some good input. Thanks.

Gaby Denmark

N. Idaho
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6. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Gaby, planning is part of the fun isn't it? Welcome to the Yellowstone forum!

Pam

DK
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62 posts
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7. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Hi - Yes planning is fun. I have fallen in love with the Old Faithfull Inn - so I hope this will be awailable when time comes. After Yellowstone we will drive to Mesa Verde via Moab but I do not know where to stay for the nights. We will not go to Salt Lake.

Regards Gaby

Baytown, Texas
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8. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Thanks again! I will definitely be looking to pick up a copy of "Yellowstone Treasures" ASAP. Thanks for the tips!

Salt Lake City, UT
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9. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Re: "Yellowstone Treasures." I initially got a copy from my library, based on the TA experts' recommendations. I enjoyed it so much and wanted to be able to "mark it up," so I went onto Amazon and got a GREAT condition copy for $12. I'm reading it now and and it's amazing! :)

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10. Re: Itinerary help - staying in West Yellowstone

Pam,

I have been reading all your tips about a trip to yellow stone. You are such a great help! I am also planning a trip to Yellowstone this summer.

It is our first trip there, a family of four with 2 kids (9 and 12).

We plan to fly to Jackson Hole.

My questions are:

1. Is early June (6/1-6/7) is better or late august (8/17-23) in terms of crowdness and weather?

2. I want to do as you said, first day is the geyser day, then stay in Canyon Lodge for 2 nights, maybe move north and stay at Mammoth for another night? Or, Is it better to just stay at Canyon Lodge for all 3 nights?

For Grand Teton park, we plan to stay for 2 nights, what specific area that we should not miss?