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itinerary help for upcoming vacation

Chicago, Illinois
4 posts
itinerary help for upcoming vacation


I know this question has been asked often, but after reading some itineraries, I thought I would try as well! Our family of 4 (2 kids 14/12) are flying in to SLC on Wed 7/18. Our lodging looks like this-

7/18-arrive SLC @ 3:30 pm from Chicago

stay in Idaho Falls

7/19-stay in West Yellowstone

7/20-22-Roosevelt Roughrider Cabin

7/22-7/27 - cabin rental in Kelly, WY-Slide Lake

We'd like to fit in some hiking and fishing (husband and son) and a whitewater trip, which we will probably do once we're in Kelly. Any suggestions as to how to get the most out of our trip from 7/19-22 would be much appreciated!

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
16,252 posts
101 reviews
1. Re: itinerary help for upcoming vacation

Ask and ye shall receive! Take a look at this and see if it works for you.

7/19 Drive to West Yellowstone, about 2 hours from Idaho Falls. Pick up a cooler and some picnic supplies in Idaho Falls before you set out. Don't know how much of an early start you will get with your teen/tween, but your bodies will still be an hour ahead! You should get to West Yellowstone by lunch or before. I would go ahead and enter the park, going to Old Faithful in the Upper Gesyer Basin. Have the kids start looking for animals once you get to about the 5 mile mark. Look in the trees for bald eagle and once the river turns so it is right beside the road, look for trumpeter swan. You are likely to see elk and bison on the stretch between the bridge and Madison Jct. Turn right, then just after you cross the Gibbon River bridge, turn right in to Firehole Canyon Dr. You will rejoin the loop road and continue to head to Old Faithful. I suggest you skip the geyser basins you come to and go directly to Old Faithful area and then pick these up on the way back to West Yellowstone. At Old Faithful, go directly to the Visitor Center, write down the eruption times for the predictable geysers on the brochure available at the desk (50cents). Try to work those in to your walk. If there is a Ranger walk soon, take it, they are lots of fun. You can also sign up for the Jr. Ranger program here which your younger kid. (The older one might enjoy it too, but may not want to acknowledge that! lol) http://www.nps.gov/yell/forkids/index.htm I like to walk around behind Old Faithful and cross the bridge over to Geyser Hill, then walk down the basin on this boardwalk to Morning Glory pool. (Pit toilet here) Then walk back up the path to the main area. I like to eat at the Lower General Store, which is the store you will come to first when you come back from the lower end of the basin. Also save room for ice cream from the Old Faithful Inn and take it up to the 2nd floor deck overlooking the geyser basin. Head back toward West Yellowstone stopping at the other geyser basins and Firehole Lake Dr. on the way. Overnight at West Yellowstone

7/20 Head in to Canyon. Stop at the Visitor Center. Do the Canyon overlooks, especially the Artist Point on the South Rim. If you want to do only one on the North rim, I suggest Brink of the upper Falls. From Canyon, head south in to Hayden Valley, do Mud Volcano, then Fishing Bridge. Park and walk across looking for wildlife. Head back to Canyon area stopping at Le Hardy Rapids. Then head North over Dunraven Pass, stop at Tower Fall and overlooks north of there if road construction permits. Overnight at Roosevelt.

7/21 Head out into Lamar Valley. Some people are able to get their families up and moving early, then come back to Roosevelt for breakfast. That may or may not be possible! In any event, enjoy searching for wildlife in Lamar, return to Tower/Roosevelt Jct, and go to Mammoth. Stop at the Visitor Center. The better bathrooms are near the gas station and bus parking lot rather than the ones in the basement of the VC. There is a self guided tour of Ft. Yellowstone if you are interested. Walk the lower terraces, then Drive the upper terraces. If your time is OK, head a little way south to Sheepeater Cliffs. Head back for Roosevelt. Drive Blacktail Plateau and then do Petrified Tree. Many see bears back in both of these places. I never see a thing, but I keep looking! Overnight at Roosevelt

7/22 From Roosevelt, head south to Canyon. If you want, you can go over to Norris geyser basin and do a walk thru there. If not continue south thru Hayden. Stop at West Thumb Geyser Basin and then head south toward the exit.

Sorry, can't give you any info on your other days!

You might fit a hike in on the day you do Mammoth. Many like Trout Lake. There is a very short trail at Sheepeater Cliff. Of course you will have the walking on the boardwalks at Mammoth as well.

If they want to fish in Yellowstone they need to check the regulations. There is a boat/fishing trip out on Lake Yellowstone that some have taken altho I do not know the particulars on it. It leaves from Bridge Bay Marina. You could do that your last day in the park.

There is also the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery center in West Yellowstone, however with your limited number of days, I would opt for the gesyers over the Discovery Center.

Have fun, and give us a trip report when you get back! We all love to read what everyone else did and saw.


Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
1,356 posts
1 review
2. Re: itinerary help for upcoming vacation

Stop for supplies, Walmart (Pocatello, Blackfoot, Idaho Falls), super Target (exit 319 in salt lake) on the way.

You may consider going all the way to West Yellowstone, only two hours further than Idaho Falls.

The first day you will want to do the Geyser basins including Old Faithful, no fishing the first day, waters here are too hot this time of year. Idaho Falls-West Yellowstone-Madison Junction-Firehole Lake Drive-Old Faithful-Madison Junction-West Yellowstone.

If coming from Idaho Falls, get and early start. You'll be ending the day back in West Yellowstone. Two hours to West Yellowstone. You can stop, breakfast, check in with fly shops or go right on in. Plan is to head to Old Faithful and work the way back doing most of the stops.

7/20 morning. Go to fly shops first thing and get fishing permit, flies information and advice. This day will end at Roosevelt Lodge. West Yellowstone- Madison Junction-Norris Geyser basin-Mammoth (terrace and village)-Roosevelt Lodge. Optional stops Artist Paint Pots, Virginia Cascades Drive, Sheepeater Cliffs, Roosevelt Arch, Gardner, Wraith Falls, Blacktail Deer road, Petrified Tree.

7/21,7/22 One day Lamar Valley the other Canyon and Hayden Valley.

Lamar Day (good day for fishing) Wildlife watching, many locations, Trout Lake short hike, big hard to catch fish, chance to see otters. Optional Cooke City. Fishing Soda Butte creek, Lamar River Slough Creek. Optional hikes Yellowstone River picnic and Specimen Ridge or Hellroaring Creek.

Canyon Day: Roosevelt-Tower Falls-Dunraven Pass-Canyon-Hayden Valley-Canyon-Dunraven Pass-Tower Falls-Roosevelt. Optional choice of two hikes, Mount Washburn or Cascade Lake. Cascade lake good fishing (Grayling).

7/23 Roosevelt-Canyon-Fishing Bridge-Lake Hotel-Bridge Bay-West Thumb-South Entrance-Kelly, WY. Optional side trips. Lake Butte, Storm Point, Natural Bridge, Elephant Butte, Lake scenic cruise.

7/24-- someone else can take it from here.



Fishing is artificial lures/flies. Some waters are fly fishing only. All native fishes are catch and release only. West Yellowstone is home of many good fly shops. Gardnier has Parks fly shop. Fishing supplies at the general stores inside the park are limited to say the least. When you are in the park avoid the Firehole and Madison inside the park, the summer heat and thermal waters make the water too warm for fishing. Much better other places. Good spots: Gibbon River (Gibbon Meadows, Elk Park, Norris Picnic area, above Virginia Cascades), Obsidian Creek, Lava Creek, Lamar River, Soda Butte Creek, Slough Creek, Cascade Lake.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
23,310 posts
354 reviews
3. Re: itinerary help for upcoming vacation

Here are the must sees in YNP to help you plan your trip-


Enjoy your trip!!

Chicago, Illinois
4 posts
4. Re: itinerary help for upcoming vacation

Thank you everyone, for your help!! It is much appreciated and we are very excited to go-will post a trip report when we return!

5. Re: itinerary help for upcoming vacation

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