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Changing hotels every night, worth it?

Pittsburgh...
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Changing hotels every night, worth it?

We are headed to Yellowstone for 3 nights in June for the first time. We will be entering from the south entrance and I have booked a night at Canyon, then Mammoth, then Old Faithful. Now I am wondering if it is going to be too much hassle switching each night but my thought was to not waste time back-tracking with the driving every day. Any thoughts?

Spery, Iowa
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1. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

There are plus and minus both ways. If you are an easy traveling, quick packer, it can be good. You can check out early morning or check in late at all locations, so you can go on your own schedule. You can enjoy the evenings and mornings at a new location without the driving in the dark worries. Some like to settle in to a spot, or have a spot to return to early afternoon when you may be "homeless" until your room or cabin is ready. It is really a personal travel style preference.

If you want help getting an idea how that will work, D0bby is great at an outline. That may help visualize how your days could go.

Edited: 4:40 pm, March 20, 2013
West Yellowstone...
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2. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

I concur with what thbergs says above, but will add that with only 3 days, I'd at least choose two locations (Canyon or Lake and Old Faithful would be top choices for 2/1 or 1/2).

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

If you could manage the reservations then I would go for 2 nights in Canyon or Lake and 1 night at Old Faithful. Keep checking because cancellations do occur.

Maui, Hawaii
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4. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

Personally I like your plan. I always stay in different areas each night. I don't find it a hassle and this way I can really explore each certain area .Like the Bergs say, you can be there in the evening and at the crack of dawn with less crowds and not worrying about driving at night.

Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

I've done it both ways. When you have only a few days for your first visit to the park (and if you are able to pack quickly in the morning), not having to backtrack and potentially get stuck at wildlife traffic jams really allows you to maximize what you see each day. You will be traveling during some of the longest days of the year in June so you will have many hours of daylight for your explorations.

Your room assignment is done by the clerks the night before you check in so you don't have to worry about getting stuck with a bad room because you arrive at your destination later in the day.

On trips where we stayed at multiple locations in the park we each took a small suitcase into the room with just what we needed for that night and the next day, rather than dragging our big suitcases inside. When we got to our final destination in the evening we took a few minutes to re-pack the small suitcase with fresh clothes.

Having a picnic lunch with you each day also helps you use your precious time in the park more efficiently. There are 52 picnic areas in the park, many of which have beautiful scenic views.

I suggest studying the map of the park and making a list of priorities of what you want to see along your drive each day. Don't plan too much; you will be amazed at how different things catch your attention and it is not possible to predict exactly how much time you will spend at each stop. There are always wonderful surprises - especially in June when newborn animals are all around.

The general rule of thumb about driving is to double the miles to calculate the number of minutes of driving time but that does not account for sightseeing stops or traffic jams due to animals crossing the road (and the tourists stopping in the middle of the road to take photos of them).

You didn't mention the dates you are going to be there in June. Check to be sure that the road from Canyon up to Tower Junction over Dunraven Pass is open before you head north from Canyon - to my knowledge they have not yet announced a date for that and it could be 2 weeks later than usual. Once it is open it can close again temporarily due to fresh snow - even in June.

Also, there will be continuing road construction between Chittenden Road and Tower Junction in 2013.

The National Park Service web site for Yellowstone will have updated information about road openings and construction once the interior of the park starts to open in May so keep checking these pages as you get closer to your trip date.

There is a wealth of information for planning your trip to Yellowstone on the NPS website. Here are some helpful links:

Park Maps: www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/mapslist.htm

Open/Close dates: nps.gov/yell/…open_closedates.htm

Road Construction: nps.gov/yell/…map

Enjoy your visit!

Pittsburgh...
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6. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

Wow, thanks for all the info! We will be there June 11-14, family of 4 with a 9 and 19 year old, we are very excited!! I am doing my research, but like you said it is hard to guess how long it will take in any one area.

Great idea with the small suitcase!

Spery, Iowa
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7. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

The 9 year old may be interested in the Jr Ranger Program. You can see the requirements on-line ahead of time, might make it easier to complete is you know going in what you need for it, or if your child would even be interested.

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

another link you might like to get the young one excited

http://www.nps.gov/yell/forkids/index.htm

Use this trip to make the list of things you want to go back and spend more time doing. And college kids can apply to work in Yellowstone :) Mine did- it was great!!

Yellowstone Nat...
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8. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

<< I have booked a night at Canyon, then Mammoth, then Old Faithful. >>

That's not a bad plan at all, especially if you enter and leave through Grand Teton NP as you indicate.

St. Louis, MO
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9. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

I usually like to stay put at the same place for an entire vacation whether it's three nights or seven nights. Our last trip to Yellowstone (about 10 years ago) I stayed in West Yellowstone the whole time, and it was way too much driving and way more time in my car than I prefer. We are doing four nights / three days next August opposite to what we usually do and similar to your plan to stay multiples places --our first night Mammoth, the next two nights camping at Canyon, and our last night at OFI. This is much different than the way we normally vacation, but I think is the probably the best way to do Yellowstone National Park. It helps that our youngest is 17 and that everyone can just bring what they need for the night from the car.

Edited: 2:12 pm, March 22, 2013
USA
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10. Re: Changing hotels every night, worth it?

I think you are lucky to have the 3 lodgings in the park! Staying in different locations makes the exploring so much easier IMHO. The kids can pack their own day packs for the lodgings as part of the adventure.

In each area, simply stop at the visitor's center to see displays and chat with the ranger to find what is of interest to your family in that section of the park. They have maps, geyser & hiking trail pamphlets, lots of valuable resources.

To me, exploring and discovering options is half the fun in Yellowstone!

Edited: 11:18 am, March 23, 2013