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Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

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Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

Hi,

We're considering to visit grand teton and yellow Stone in the coming summer. We're a family a four with 2 children(12 and 4 years). We're planning to drive from San Francisco in June/July/Aug depending on when we can get the accommodations inside the park. We're looking for some help in planning for this.

1. With a 4 year old, we may take 2 or 3 days to drive there. What is the best route to take with stops for the nights? Is there a better route while driving back to San Francisco to see other attractions on the way?

2. We could not be sure if it is better enter to Grand Teton or Yellow Stone first. There seem to be multiple entrances, so which entrance do we enter from?

3. We're thinking of staying one night in Grand Teton and 3/4 nights in Yellow stone. Is this good enough to cover every thing?

4. To minimize the driving in the park, what are our best options to stay inside the park? If we cannot get accommodations inside the park, we may have to consider something outside but very close to the park. So, please also suggest anything that we can consider.

5. Any other tips/suggestions

Thank you for your time in helping out.

Moose, Wyoming
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1. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

This drive is about 1,000 miles and usually takes us 2 days. We drive SF-Reno-across Nevada-Idaho Falls.

Here's an interesting stop that we like:

http://www.californiatrailcenter.org/

We've also taken a route that goes into southern Oregon and then across Idaho, but that's longer and would take time away from your visit to the parks here.

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

Can't help you with the drive from SF to Yellowstone- possibly post on road trip forum for that info- there are several who post that have done that trip-

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

In terms of Yellowstone then I would split time between Old Faithful and either Canyon or Lake area. Both have cabins that would be good for a family- book only thru Xanterra and keep checking because cancellations occur all the time.

For out of the park we like West Yellowstone for choice of lodging and restaurants.

Here is a link to most popular sights in the park-

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

Pam (DObby) who posts here is great at helping with daily trip plans and when she sees this post can help you.

Do not think it matters which park you visit first. I think that depends on your route to the parks and lodging availability.

Good luck and let us know if you have other questions!!

Yellowstone Nat...
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3. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

<< 3. We're thinking of staying one night in Grand Teton and 3/4 nights in Yellow stone. Is this good enough to cover every thing? >>

Don't even try. Forty years is not enough to see all of Yellowstone National Park. Try to see everything and all you'll do is frustrate yourself. Better to pick out a very few things that really interest you and give yourselves plenty of time to enjoy them in an unhurried manner, Yellowstone style. Let the park come to you and it never fails. ENJOY!

K S
Auburn, California
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4. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

Bill074 is absolutely right. We spent 4 weeks there this summer and felt that was about right to do and see everything we wanted to. I sort of tell my friends that, for one's first trip, they need to (as Bill said) pick a few sights to see with the absolute knowledge that you WILL be back, probably again and again. This summer was our 5th trip and we'll be back in a few years. Yellowstone Fever is highly contagious and there is NO known cure!

Edited: 4:05 pm, December 29, 2013
San Francisco...
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5. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

Thank you all for your valuable input. We're still debating about driving versus flying to Salt Lake City. For now, I'm turning for your help to decide where to stay in the park.

As we could not find any reservations when we started, we ended up picking one at a time as and when they opened up. After several attempts, we ended up with following reservations in July. I'll be cancelling some of these, but wanted to get your input as to what makes a better itinerary with these so that we can cancel the rest of them.

Day 1- Off Inn/ Lake Hotel

Day 2 - Lake Lodger Frontier Cabin / Mammoth Hotel

Day 3- Off lodge Frontier cabin/ Canyon

Day 4- Off lodge Frontier cabin/ Canyon

Some one recommended staying in one place fore two days rather than checking out/checking in a new place every day. I'm not sure if that would be the best to cover the park well. Also, our plan is to cover YSNP before Grand Teton.

Appreciate any help.

Atlanta, Georgia
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6. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

For sure keep the OF Inn so you can see the geysers and thermal areas. I would also keep the Canyon area but do not know about Day 2 lodging.

N. Idaho
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7. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

If you keep the Canyon lodging per PeachBelle's advice, then I would go with Mammoth or another night at OF for night 2. Lake and Canyon are pretty close together, so that is why I would pick the others. I love 2 nights at OF but many feel one night is enough.

Pam

USA
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8. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

Now see.... we all are so different LOL

I would keep Old Faith Lodge Frontier Cabin Day 3 & Day 4 to have 2 nights in OF area. Plus I like having a vehicle right next to a cabin for easy access in & out for stuff LOL.

Then I would keep Lake Hotel Day 1 & Mammoth Hotel Day 2

I absolutely love being in 3 different areas of the park. It's is so wonderful in Mammoth to wake up to herds of elk everywhere. And Lake Hotel is a historic gem & the lake is lovely (I only dream of staying there as I stagger in for my morning coffee in the lounge from my nearby campsite at Bridge Bay)

If you don't want to move 3 locations, I would do Day 1 & 2 at Lake, calling to find a cancellation to consolidate into one Lake lodging room. Day 3 & 4 at OF Lodge frontier cabin.

Have fun deciding what would work best for you ;)

Edited: 8:25 pm, January 07, 2014
Buffalo, New York
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9. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

I have been coming to YNP for 25 years , primarily to fish hundreds of miles of trout streams. If nothing else, what has changed is it has become really CROWDED. Your plan to come in the month of July with two children makes it a further challenge. In my opinion, rather than driving from San Francisco and spending two days of vacation driving 1,000 miles with two potentially rambunctious children, I would fly directly to Bozeman, Montana which is roughly 90 miles from the Park. But, rather than go directly to the Park, I would drive east some 50 miles to Big Timber. Stay at the 12-room Grand Hotel which is cheap, clean, a nifty place, and has great food. From Big Timber I would drive south and east to Red Lodge and go over the Bear Tooth Pass to the northeast entrance of the Park at Cooke City. This drive is the best, reaches almost 12,000 feet, is snow covered even then and the drive from Big Timber at roughly 150 miles would take only four to five hours. From Cooke City you can drive in the Park to Mammoth through the Lamar Valley which is one of the prettiest parts of the Park. Mammoth is good, Old Faithful for one night is good, Lake Lodge is great but, in some ways the lodging is less important (it’s all clean and reasonably priced - the problem is getting the reservations in the first place) as a practical matter than making sure that you have dinner reservations, otherwise you’ll wait around for an hour plus. Not all the lodges take reservations but you can check the Xanterra website to find out which ones do and if it were me I would book them now. You can work your way south through YNP to Grand Teton National Park and on to Jackson, return north back through the Park to West Yellowstone, up the pretty Gallatin Valley to Bozeman and home. As to what to see, sure there’s the geysers and the buffalo, etc. But the Park is more than attractions – it’s the shade of a blue sky you’ve never seen before and not soon to forget; it’s the air that makes you happy to be alive and puts you to sleep at night; it’s taking a bath in the Firhole River; it’s simply the best! Good luck.

10. Re: Driving to Grand Teton & YellowStone from San Francisco

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