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Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

Ny
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Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

Hope it is not too late to start planning my son's graduation trip next June. We (husband, myself and 2 adult sons) are from NY and plan to take an early flight from LGA and arriving JAC around 2pm on Jun 26. We'll have 7 days 6 nights (leaving on Jul 2) to split between YNP & GTNP. Can anybody suggest an itinerary ?

As much as we love camping, it is not feasible for us to fly with our tents and sleeping bags, we opt to stay in cabins and lodges. I did a little research and noticed most of the accommodations within both parks have no vacancy. Is there any tips as to how to secure a room/ cabin within the park ?

We love to do more hiking and if possible go for white water rafting during one morning/afternoon. Our budget is tight but would still like to make this graduation trip as memorable as possible for my son.

Thanks in advance for anybody who can help planning.

Maui, Hawaii
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1. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

I just went into Yellowstone national park lodging and found Frontier Cabins in the Canyon area w/ 2 double beds for $103 for some of your dates. Also I found cabins in the Old Faithful area for some of your dates, I would booked them Quick. In Jackson I have stayed twice at the Pony Express Motel and have reservations again with them this June. They have a family room with 1 queen and 2 bunk beds for $159 w/ a kitchen. Hope this helps you. I can not wait to return this June.

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

Yellowstone is huge- the size of the states of Rhode Island and Delaware and there is much to see and do- here is a link to the most popular places to visit in the park-

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

We did a trip to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone/Grand Tetons as a graduation gift for our daughter in 2007. We loved YNP/GTNP so much that we came back again in 2008, 2010 and are planning another trip for 2013.

When you get to Jackson Hole go to the KMart or Albertson's and get a cheap cooler and purchase water and snacks. That is very helpful when out hiking or wildlife watching in the park.

With 6 nights I would spend 4 nights in YNP- split lodging between Old Faithful and Canyon/Lake area for in park- for out of the park then could split between Gardiner and West Yellowstone. We prefer lodging choices in West Yellowstone.

If you want in park then check on Xanterra website and call them often- people cancel all the time.

Then spend 2 nights in either GTNP or in Jackson Hole. We like staying in Jackson Hole because of the great food choices. Check out the Lexington Inn and Rustic Inn. We like the Wyoming Inn but it is a bit pricey.

Barker Ewing does a great job with rafting on the Snake River- both whitewater and scenic float. We have used them and they are great.

Pam who is one of the DE's will give you lots of info on hiking and she is great at doing detailed daily trip plans if you need help with that.

Good luck and if you have other questions please let us know.

N. Idaho
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3. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

Once you decide on where to spend your nights in Yellowstone (I vote for PeachBelle's split for in-park lodging) then I would be happy to do a detailed itinerary for you if that would be useful to you.

Many of us also use Janet Chapple's book, Yellowstone Treasures both as a help to plan and for use in the park.

If you book in-park lodging, book only thru Xanterra, the park's lodging concessionaire. There are other 3rd party bookers who will make arrangements for you but charge for the pleasure. Xanterra also has very generous cancellation policies, which is why there are often cancellations as the season progresses.

Pam

Ny
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4. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

Thank you so much with the tips!

We finally sat down tonight and dot out our itinerary...

6/26 - arrive at JAC around 2pm, pick up car, cooler and snacks as suggested and head to the lodge somewhere in GTNP

6/27 - do some hiking in GTNP and drive to Old Faithful and stay overnight

6/28 - tour around Old Faithful and drive to West Yellow Stone, stay overnight

6/29 - stops and hikes on the way from West Yellow Stone to Gardiner and stay overnight at either Gardiner or Mammoth Hotel

6/30 - Lamar Valley, Grand Canyon of Yellow Stone, overnight at Canyon Village

7/01 - Hikes and overnight at Grant Village

7/02 - Long drive from Grant Village to JAC to catch the 2pm flight

Can anybody advise how long does it take to drive from JAC to Old Faithful directly ? We really do not leave ourselves much time in GTNP. I actually want to stay in GTNP for 1-2 nights at the end of the trip as we need to fly out at 2pm on the last day. However, I do not see how I can spare another night in GTNP. So, is it possible to get to Old Faithful before dark on the first day after we land at 2pm ? I can then save 1 night here and leave it to the end of the trip.

Thanks again for the help.

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

If your flight is on time then you will have enough time to get to Old Faithful before dark. It usually takes us between 2-3 hours depending on how much we stop. The days will be long and sunset will be around 9 pm.

For the last night I would stay in the GTNP not Grant Village. There is not a lot around Grant Village. That way if anything unexpected happens you will be much closer to the airport for your flight.

Good luck with your trip planning!!

N. Idaho
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6. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

I agree with PeachBelle about staying in GTNP your last night. I would also stay the night of 6/28 at Old Faithful. It seems like staying in West Yellowstone that night is moving just to move. It would be about the same mileage to get to Mammoth area from Old Faithful as from West Yellowstone.

Pam

St. Louis, MO
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7. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

WIth airline fees for extra luggage I totally agree that bringing sleeping bags, a tent, and other camping equipment just isn't feasible. We wanted to camp and drew the same conclusion. I did though want to mention that you can rent camping equipment and that's what we are doing: flying in to Bozeman and renting camping equipment at the REI store there With a reserved camping site at Canyon Campground or elsewhere for $31 a night vs. about $180 a night at Mammoth and $250 a night at Canyon Western Cabins, Snow Lodge, or Old Faithful Inn (if you can even get these), if you like to camp, even with rental costs you can save some big money. We are renting the following equipment for four nights and here are our costs: 6 ft. high 8'4'' by 7'4'' four man tent for $30 for four nights. Three 3.5 inch camping pads and sleeping bags for three people for four nights $30 total cost, and $17 to rent a Coleman stove for four nights. // Really though it's what you want to do. DS 17 is very keen on tent camping in the National Park (His number one choice / likes the camping experience). I did want to mention this option in case this is of any interest to you. // Places in Jackson (I know for sure because I checked this out) rent camping gear too. I'm sure places in other cities do too.

Edited: 2:51 pm, December 15, 2012
USA
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8. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

Just as another angle, a lot of us do fly with our camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag,sleeping pad, even tiny stove & pot) in a checked duffel. The checked-luggage fee of $20- $35 can pay for itself in lodging savings as well as pleasure. :)

Ny
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9. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

Thank you Kathy and denalicat for your extra thought. Good that I did not book any room yet. Most of the hotel/cabins/lodges in the YNP are more than $250 a night and there is none available in GTNP. I was just wondering where else we can stay. However, as we will land at JAC, I wonder if they have similar camping gears rental around the area. I heard that it is a big town. Or anybody has any idea ?

USA
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10. Re: Need help to plan 7 days 6 nights trip to both YNP & GTNP

This will give you an idea of camping gear rentals in Jackson:

leisuresportsadventure.com/camping-rentals/

I imagine there are other options others will offer. But this is a good start to see your choices of equipment.

Edited: 10:47 am, December 16, 2012