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Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

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Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

Hi guys,

So I have planned to be in Yellowstone from the 8th June to around the 15th June 2014.

I have only just decided to add Yellowstone onto my trip, and already I can see a lot of accommodation is booked out.

As I obviously need to get something locked in ASAP, I am just wanting some advice/thoughts on how I should go about this trip.

I’m Australian, so not super confident about diving on the other side of the road, so hiring a car is pretty much out of the question...

I will be in Denver, and I’m just wondering if I am best to fly to Cody and find accommodation and then organise day trips from my hotel (if this is even an option?), or try to book with a tour group which leaves from Denver?

The main reason I want to go to Yellowstone is to see the amazing scenery and wildlife, and I’m not really into the whole touristy thing?

Really hoping someone can offer me some advice/any advice?

Thank you!

Pittsburgh...
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1. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

It will be very difficult to see Yellowstone without a rental car. The distances are great and I really cannot imagine doing it without a rental car. I also do not think basing yourself out if Cody would work well. Cody is great and I would recommend a night there to see Cody (not yellowstone). In park lodging can probably be had if you keep calling Xanterra and checking for cancellations.

Edited: 8:26 am, October 02, 2013
Spery, Iowa
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2. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

Yellowstone without a car can be much more difficult. Xanterra has tours, as does the Yellowstone Institute and other outside vendors. There is a shuttle bus system, but it is limited. See if it would fit your needs. https:/…

While you are not as interested in "touristy", without a car on your own, unless you have funds for private tours, you will be limited, but can pick and choose tours based on your interests. Both Xanterra and the Yellowstone Institute tours get good reviews. Also, Yellowstone Tour Guides has some great tours, if it fits your schedule and budget. http://www.yellowstonetourguides.com/

Good luck with research and come back with more questions.

N. Idaho
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3. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

I agree that Cody would not be the best to fly in to. It is an interesting town on it's own and is near a gateway, but the distances are long. I would recommend flying in to Bozeman MT. There is Karst Stage transportation (pretty expensive) to get you to Mammoth or West Yellowstone where you will have some choices for excursions in to the park.

From Mammoth:

You can get day or multi day trips from the lodging concessionaire, Xanterra. yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/summer-thi…

There are programs thru Yellowstone Association, which is a non-profit agency that supports the educational mission of the park. If I remember correctly, their summer catalog comes out around Feb. 1.

https:/…experience

There are also private tour guides and companies from both Mammoth/Gardiner and West Yellowstone such as the link thbergs has given you.

Here is a link to the WestYellowstone Chamber of commerce for day tours from there.

www.westyellowstonechamber.com/node/4877

If you are on FB there are several guides who have pages on there. When the official Yellowstone National Park page is back online, I will try to remember to come back and post a link to the page that gives the names of all the tour guides who are officially able to tour people thru the park.

I totally understand your reluctance to drive on the *other* side of the road. Just came back from a sojourn in England and Wales and no way would I drive on those twisty, narrow, hedgerow'd roads. What I will tell you is that if you land in Bozeman you are in wide open spaces. The drive to Gardiner/Mammoth for the first 25 or so miles is on a nice wide 4 lane divided highway. You turn off south to Gardiner and it is on 2 lane, but it is a much wider 2 lane road than I saw in UK. (Havent been down to visit you yet, so no comparison there!) If your flight in to the area is directly from OZ, I would spend the first night wherever the airport is to help you with jet lag, then try the rental car!

Pam

Edited: 8:54 am, October 02, 2013
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4. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

Thank you all for your replies...

I have just re-read my post and I meant to write "fly into Cody and then make my way to the park and find accommodation".

But I am now thinking I might just be best to hire a car.

PA
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5. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

As far as renting a car goes, it is fairly easy to find your way around the park and the roads are also in pretty good shape. It's not like being in a big city or on a busy highway. All the roads in the park are just 2 lanes & speed limit is 45 rmph ( I think). The things to watch out for are people pulling suddenly on & off the road due to animal sightings. And then there the large animals in the road!

Have fun!

N. Idaho
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6. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

In addition to what BlueHighways says, in the park there are lots of pulloffs/laybys so if you start feeling stressed you can pull off and take a break and gather yourself. Sometimes you will happen upon an awesome wildlife sighting when you do pull off for something else. I had pulled off near Biscuit Basin a couple of years ago because I knew I had cell service there and wanted to text my elderly Dad. As I was sitting in the car I looked up and thru the scrub I saw a Mama bison and just born calf. She was nudging it to get it to stand for the first time. I stayed there for at least an hour watching them. I stayed in the car, didn't need binocs and no one else stopped, so it was just *the three of us*, lol! Very sweet.

Unless you get super prices for flying in to Cody, it is still not the most convenient airport. Jackson, Bozeman and Billings will probably give you more choice and position you a bit better. You might also want to see about flying in to one airport and out of another. Two summers ago people were posting that they had gotten good car rental rates for renting in Bozeman and dropping in Jackson. I don't remember anyone posting that this year, but it is worth checking in to. The significant thing would be the car drop-off fee if you don't return to the same place at the end of your trip.

Pam

Newcastle, Australia
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7. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

Forget day trips from Cody; grab a car and go for it! You will not regret it. State side drivers are far more courteous than Australian drivers. In a car you will be able to experience the full glory of YNP.

Have a good trip.

Los Angeles
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8. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

There's nothing more touristy than being on a tour. Do consider renting a car for this trip. The roads from Jackson or Bozeman might seem easier to a newcomer (compared to the road from Cody), but you'll get used to all of them (most of us don't live near roads like the one from Cody, either).

Maryland
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9. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

You really can't enjoy Yellowstone without renting a car. Go for it!

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10. Re: Help! I am feeling pretty clueless...

Thank you all so much, you have convinced me hiring a car really is the best option... I am a confident driver and if the roads are anything like they are around other parts of Colorado I will be fine... I just have to remember "Keep Right"....

So next I have to plan my itinerary, and do it pretty quickly so I dont completely miss out on accommodation...

Where would you all suggest flying into to get to see the "best parts" of Yellowstone in only 7 days?

Think I might have a look around at other peoples itineraries and post for suggestions under a new header...