With lots of great help from here, I was all planned for a trip to Yellowstone during 2013. However, a change of plans put the trip on hold which, given the Government shutdown around the same time, was probably a blessing.
So now I am back planning for the same time this year and I would love your comments and advice on my itinerary. I realise from my research last time that I need to be prepared for any kind of weather, and for than reason I'd prefer to air on the side of caution. If people think we are better to lodge outside of the parks at that time of the year, then that's what we'll do.
Thur 25 Sep: Arrive at LAX at night. Overnight in LAX hotel.
Fri 26 Sep: Morning flight to SLC. Hire car and drive about half way (perhaps Idaho Falls). Will be jet-lagged and aren't keen to travel much further on our first day.
Sat 27 Sep: Continue on to West Yellowstone. Visit the bear/wolf place and perhaps catch an IMAX movie.
Sun 28 Sep: Full day guided tour of Yellowstone. We'd like to use a guided tour to get our bearings, learn a bit about the area, and work out the highlights that we want to revisit. Overnight West Yellowstone.
Mon 29 Sep: Drive ourselves into Yellowstone. Overnight in mammoth.
Tue 30 Sep: Drive to OF inn. Overnight. (There is presently still accommodation at both OF and Mammoth, but I know I need to make some decisions fast).
Wed 1 Oct: Drive to Jackson Hole. We can go out the South gate or West gate of Yellowstone depending on the weather. Bar T. Wagon dinner that evening if the season is still running.
Thur 2 Oct: Day tour of Grand Tetons (either guided or self-drive).
Fri 3 Oct: Relaxing morning exploring Jackson, drive in the afternoon half way (perhaps Bear Lake?)
Sat 4 Oct: Continue on to SLC. Afternoon flight to LAX. Next few days at Disneyland.
So how does that seem? It's the nights of the 29th and 30th that have me most concerned. I'm wondering if I should spend the 29th in WY and the 30th as an extra night in Jackson. That way, if the weather is awful, we can explore the townships instead and have plenty of dining options. But in the same breath, staying in Yellowstone seems to be part of the experience and the OF inn looks like an amazing experience. Please share your thoughts :)
Also, I'm not sure if it makes any difference, but I can reverse the order and do Jackson/Grand Teton first.
Thanks in advance.