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Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

West, Texas
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Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

Hi, so I've been lurking on this forum for a couple months trying to work out my itinerary. Got some some great ideas and am asking the experts to take a look at my plan.


Aug 10, Leave Seattle. Stops in Spokane and Coeur D'Alene. Stay the night in Missoula, Butte, or Bozeman.

Aug 11:

Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman


Check in at Roosevelt. Check out Lost Lake, Tower Falls, Hike Yellowstone Picnic Area, and drive to Lamar Valley for Wildlife around sunset.

Aug 12:

Wake up at the crack of dawn, drive to Lamar for Wlidlife watching. Drive out to see the Thunderer, maybe ford the creek and a hike a couple miles of the cutoff trail. Walk up to Trout Lake, and drive back to Roosevelt to check out.

Mt Washburn

Canyon (Check out visitors center, walk a couple viewpoints and a mile or two of a rim trail.)

Hayden Valley for wildlife.

Mud Volcano.

Check in at Lake Hotel Cabin.

Aug 13:

Charter boat on Lake Yellowstone for fishing and enjoying the lake. (already booked)

Hike Elephant Mountain trail OR Avalanche Peak.

Stop by West thumb on way to OF Snow Lodge.

Check in to Snow Lodge and go to OF Visitors Lodge for eruption times/trail maps/ etc.

Hike Lower Geyser Basin boardwalks, hike Mystic Falls and Lone Star Geyser. (Possible bike rental).

Aug 14:

Early Breakfest at OF INN.

Drive up to Norris Basin.

Drive up to Hebgen Lake and see Earthquake Visitors Center.

Lower Geyser Basin/Midway Geyser Basin and Fairy Falls hike.

Spend rest of day at Upper Geyser Basin.

Night at OF Snow Lodge.

Aug 15

Way open day. Plan so far is to get to Jenny Lake as early as possible and hike the Cascade Canyon trial. Then do some scenic driving and see a visitor center.

Check in to Jackson hotel.

Aug 16

Early morning whitewater trip at Snake River Canyon.

Checkout of Jackson hotel, stop by Grand Teton Brewery in Victor, and drive back to Seattle.


Im skipping the drive from Norris to Mammoth, and the drive from Norris to Canyon. Am I missing anything?

Is Monday doable? Plan is to see Mud Volcano on Tuesday after hike if no time I run out of time on monday. Other than that.... do I have enough time?

Best Hike at Yellowstone Lake on Tuesday? Do you recomend something other than Elephant Back?

What is there to do at Fishing Bridge? Do you recommend a stop?

Other than Cascade Canyon and the 42-mile drive, what else can I do at Grand Teton in less than a day?

What time do I need to leave OF Snow Lodge to get to Jenny Lake before the parking lot fills up?

Thanks for your time, really enjoyed putting together a plan and appreciate any suggestions.

West, Texas
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11. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

Hey Pam, I decided to fly to Boise to cut the road trip in half. It was really cheap from Seattle and I wasnt looking forward to that drive from Jackson back to Seattle (20 hrs with break stops). The big problem is I won't likely be leaving Boise until 11:30am/12 noon. Mapquest says its a 6hr drive to West Yellowstone and I am assuming a 2hr drive to Roosevelt (where I have a Sunday night reservation).

Its doable I think, but that gives me no time at Mammoth or any other stops. What do you think?

I have a whole new day now, so I can use Thursday to do that day trip you suggested on Weds (early morning Fairy Falls hike then stops on the way up to Norris). Instead of stopping at Norris I would just go all the way up to Mammoth.

Other option is this...I have all 4 days reserved at the Snow Lodge and I can use OF as my base if I cancel my Roosevelt and Lake Hotel reservations. Problem with this is the drive time to Lamar, and I really wanted to spend some time there. I might do this if I can score a Weds night reservation at Roosevelt.

Again, thanks for your suggestions!

Houston, Texas
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12. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

I wouldn't give up the night at Roosevelt since you want to see Lamar valley. Two hours from West Yellowstone to Roosevelt is about what I plan for at 6:30am with no traffic and no stops. Sunset will be about 8:35 and you have another 15 or so of twilight. If you take the loop via Mammoth to Roosevelt you may have a few minutes to check out the terraces and see if you want to adjust you plan later in the week to com back by. (or plan another trip)

Keep you room at Lake. Especially since you have a fishing trip out of Bridge Bay planned.

For you first trip I think it is a good thing to try various lodging and staying at different places in the park to really experience it.

West, Texas
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13. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

So, the trip is set. Appreciate all suggestions made.

Day 1, Drive from Boise to Roosevelt. No stops, no nothing... just driving. Night at Roosevelt.

Day 2, Morning at Lamar, afternoon at Mt Washburn, possible stops at Canyon and/or Mud Volcano.

Day 3, Fishing Charter, stops at Canyon and or Mud Volcano if missed, west Thumb, Upper Geyser Basin.

Day 4, Whole day at Upper Geyser Basin.

Day 5, Drive to Mammoth, back track to Norris Basin, drive to Jackson (seeing sights at GTNP if time allows).

Day 6, Morning at Jenny Lake (Cascade Canyon trail), late afternoon at Snake River Canyon whitewater trip. Night at Jackson.

Day 7, Day trip stops in Idaho, back to Boise for flight to Seattle..

Appreciate the tips from the posters that said I should slow things down... if I miss something, I miss it. Im going to go with the flow. Also appreciate the tips from Pam (especially the times and strategies u gave me, THANKS!).

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14. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

Your new "going with the flow" plan is my favorite way to explore the parks. Enjoy!

Spery, Iowa
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15. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

just a hint on Washburn- afternoon thunderstorms can roll in, so hiking early rather than later may help avoid those and be prepared for a weather change.

Have a great trip!

Yellowstone Nat...
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16. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

thbergs, you are right. it has also been a lot more comfortable in the morning lately, as the afternoons have been quite hot.

Edited: 7:50 pm, July 23, 2013
N. Idaho
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17. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

Glad it is going to work out! You can catch up with your Spokane walk down memory lane another time!

Have a wonderful time.


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18. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

Another idea to throw into the mix:

We did a 30 hr "speed visit" of YNP last month. For various reasons, I let one of my travel companions talk me into doing a tour. We wanted to do Old Yellow bus evening geyser tour, but they were booked up. So with trepidation on my part ( hey--I read TA forums and love to do my own planning!) we signed up for the 8 hr Circle of Fire south loop tour. $78 apiece I think. I have to say my sister in law was right--her(Rick Steves) tour experiences have taught her the value of a good guide. And Adam from Ohio blew us away with his knowledge of everything about the park. We learned so much, saw so much we never would have seen on our own, and had a fun time, too. You have to make sure you let him know any specifics you want to see--he has some discretion as to route. We were a group of 13 in a small 14 passenger bus. Good visibility. Couple people with us were solo travelers. It was truly a quality experience and well worth every penny. Good way to get an overview of the park and determine what you want to focus on during your other days.

Good luck!

19. Re: Solo trip to Yellowstone in 3 weeks!

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