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Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

Baltimore, Maryland
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Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

My first time visiting with my wife and two boys (12 and 10) and I am overwhelmed by the choices and magnitude of the trip. I have tried to put together a rough itinerary and need to know if I am missing anything, doing things in the wrong order, or other glaring mistakes. Any help is appreciated. Here is the current thought:

Saturday:

Fly to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Stay at Canyon Lodge

Sunday:

Drive to Old Faithful area and tour western geyser basins

Swim in Firehole River Canyon

Monday:

Drive to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Hike Uncle Tom’s Trail and Lower Falls Rim Trail

Drive to Cody, Wyoming for rodeo

Tuesday:

Horseback riding (WHERE?)

Fishing boat charter on Yellowstone Lake

Wednesday:

Drive counterclockwise through rest of Yellowstone

Tour Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Norris Basin

Drive to Jackson Hole/Grand Tetons and stay at Hotel Terra

Thursday:

Take boat across Jenny Lake and hike to waterfall and base of valley at the foot of Tetons

Rent canoes on Jackson Lake

Drive to top of Signal Mountain

Friday:

Float and white water combo trip down Snake River

Spend time in Jackson Hole

Saturday:

Fly home from Jackson Hole

N. Idaho
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1. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

What time does your plane arrive? If in the afternoon, you might want to consider staying that first night in Jackson area. We usually recommend you stop and get a cooler and some lunch/snack/beverages.

Sunday: Firehole River will likely not be open for swimming in June due to spring run-off.

Monday: Where are you spending Monday night? You really don't want to drive back in to the park at dark. There are lots of big dark animal shapes on the road.

Wednesday: This is too much. You can't drive the whole Upper Loop and still get in the 2.5 -3 hour drive down to Jackson.

I would probably re-order your days so that on the day before you head to Grand Teton, you drive out to Cody and spend the night. Don't know the rodeo schedule, but you will do better sightseeing in the AM in Yellowstone, driving to Cody, seeing the awesome museums and then doing the rodeo. The next day you can re-enter the park and head for Grand Tetons.

Do you have any lodging reservations yet? I see one night in Canyon and wasn't sure if you were planning to stay there the whole time.

Pam

Edited: 10:40 am, December 07, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

Some comments or questions-

What time does your flight arrive to Jackson Hole?- if late in the day then you do not want to drive in the park at night and you will want to get a cooler and snacks, etc. at KMart or Albertson's in Jackson Hole. If it is late then stay in Jackson Hole.

Where are you staying in Yellowstone?- all nights in Canyon

Are you staying in Cody or driving back to the park?

Horseback riding- Roosevelt area of the park or near Cody

Here is a link to some of the most popular places to visit in the park-

http://yellowstone.net/intro/top-10/

And as a reminder for drive times in the park- if it states on google or mapquest that it is 30 miles then because of the speed limit, wildlife jams, etc. it will likely take you 60 minutes to drive it.

Good luck and enjoy your trip planning.

Moose, Wyoming
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3. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

If you're looking to go horseback riding while in Cody, the best riding in from one of the many lodges or ranches between Cody and the park's east gate. Here's a list:

http://www.yellowstone-lodging.com/

and the page which shows horseback riding

www.yellowstone-lodging.com/amenities.html

There's also a map which shows their location.

Most of these places offer horseback riding without the requirement that you stay there.

Gardiner, Montana
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4. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

Are you staying at Canyon for your entire time in Yellowstone, or are you moving around? This will definitely impact the when/where of some things.

If you are not already planning to do so, I would recommend staying in the night in Cody when you go to the rodeo, as driving in the park at night is never recommended and it is anywhere from 2-4 hours from Cody to any of the park hotels.

For horseback riding, my personal favorite is the 2-hour ride at Canyon, but that will also depend on where you are staying. Roosevelt is my second favorite for rides.

For fishing on Yellowstone Lake, when in June will you be here? The Bridge Bay marina is scheduled to open for the season on 6/15. If you are coming before that and still want to go fishing, you may want to speak with rafto company you are going on the Snake River with and see if they have any fishing options that you could include on that day. If you will be here in later June when the marina is open, then I recommend trying to plan a morning fishing trip if you can. Weather on the lake can feel like a mini-ocean, and if the semi-regular afternoon storms roll in it can end a fishing trip very quickly and make anyone who may get motion sickness very unhappy :)

Dupont, Washington
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5. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

A great place to go horseback riding is right in the park. There are three corrals run by Xanterra; Canyon, Roosevelt, and Mammoth. I am biased and would guide you toward Roosevelt Corrals. I am a wrangler there and can give you the most info on your time out in the valley. Since your children are so young, I would discourage you from doing a two-hour trail ride (most young children are complaining near the end). The one-hour is a beautiful ride through Pleasant Valley. You may even see some of Yellowstone's wildlife including bison, pronghorn, marmots, ground squirrels, badgers, bears, etc.

If you are able to sacrifice an evening, I would recommend you sign up for the old west cookout. You can get there either by horseback or wagon, either way is extremely enjoyable. On the wagon, a wrangler will tell you stories about Yellowstone during the entire round trip. They are more than happy to point out wildlife and answer any questions you may have. The trail ride may have a bit less commentary, because the wranglers are spending a good amount of time making sure you are as safe as possible on your horse and will give you tips on how to better work with your animal, but they will still fill your head with history, facts, etc, etc. At the cookout, you are served steak, beans, potato salad, corn muffins, the list goes on and the best part? It's all you can eat! There is also a cowboy singer entertaining the guests while they dine. I believe Dallas McCord will return as 2013's cowboy singer and he is a great cowboy poet.

If you do choose to ride in the park, any of the corrals would be a great choice. They all follow the same safety guidelines and are trained in first aid if anything were to happen.

Baltimore, Maryland
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6. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

Okay, this is a lot of very helpful information and great questions. I will need to think about it all. But it appears my first question is where to stay for YNP. Inside the park I am told is old and not very clean. East entrance is far away some say. But if I want a bit more comfort than the park lodges and want convenience what would be my best choice?

Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

If you do not want in the park lodging you will have to drive more but there is some nice lodging in West Yellowstone and a few places imo in Gardiner. There is a nice lodge north of Gardiner at Chico Hot Springs. There are a number of nice places to stay in Cody.

Jackson Hole has the best choice for super nice lodging imo.

N. Idaho
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8. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

Some of the lodging in the park is pretty old, but I've never come across it not being clean.

Having said that, the closest gateway lodging is as PeachBelle indicated West Yellowstone or Gardiner. I prefer West Yellowstone as there is a greater choice for both lodging and eating (and I can sometimes use frequent flyer miles!). It does add time on to your daily *commute* and it is difficult to get to the prime wildlife watching areas at dawn or dusk. You always need to allow daylight time to return to your lodging. It is not recommended that you drive in the park at night due to the many large brown animals that take over the roads! (I've learned that the hard way! I was not paying attention to my time and stayed too late in Hayden Valley, thus didn't leave the Canyon area until almost dark. It was a harrowing 25mph drive from Canyon out to West Yellowstone which took 2 hours. Ugh.)

If you look at Cody, carefully calculate the time it will take you to get to your daily destinations. Double your miles in the park to get the time it will take you to drive.

If you do choose to stay outside the park, consider splitting up your days and spending a few at West Yellowstone and a few in Gardiner so it is easier to access different areas of the park.

Pam

Yellowstone Nat...
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9. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

<< Inside the park I am told is old and not very clean. >>

Someone gave you unreliable info. If you are visiting YNP you will appreciate staying inside the park, as the time saved not having to drive from somewhere outside is so valuable. ENJOY!

Baltimore, Maryland
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10. Re: Need help!! First Family Trip to YNP and GTNP in June 2013

Okay, I have spent more time considering everything and have decided to stay at Canyon for 3 nights and then one night in Cody before moving on to GT. I think my wife will not love the relocation, but it sounds essential to avoid driving at night. Please let me know if I am missing anything critical or making any mistakes in terms of overdoing it. Thanks! Here is the revised plan:

Saturday, June 08, 2013 Travel from BWI to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; stop and get a cooler and some lunch/snack/beverages Canyon Lodge

Sunday, June 09, 2013 Grand Canyon of Yellowstone; Hike Uncle Tom’s Trail and Lower Falls Rim Trail; Horseback riding at Roosevelt Corrals Canyon Lodge

Monday, June 10, 2013 Drive to Old Faithful area and tour western geyser basins Canyon Lodge

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Drive clockwise through rest of Yellowstone; , Norris Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley; Drive to Shoshone Lodge Cody Shoshone Lodge

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Buffalo Bill Historical Center; Fishing boat charter on Yellowstone Lake; Drive to Jackson Hole/Grand Tetons Hotel Terra

Thursday, June 13, 2013 Take boat across Jenny Lake and hike to waterfall and base of valley at the foot of Tetons; Rent canoes on Jackson Lake; Drive to top of Signal Mountain Hotel Terra

Friday, June 14, 2013 Float and white water combo trip down Snake River; Spend time in Jackson Hole Hotel Terra

Saturday, June 15, 2013 Fly home from Jackson Hole