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Suggestions for trip to Yellowstone with two kids

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Suggestions for trip to Yellowstone with two kids

We are flying into SLC the end of may and headed to West Yellowstone for a week. We are staying in West Yellowstone, but would love advice on best route and things to see along the way. Our initial thought is to stay one day in Grand Teton on way up and way back to break up the drive and see more scenery. All suggestions are greatly appreciated.... best routes, best local attractions to take in, unique off-the-beaten-path things, etc. our kids are 12 year old boy and 8 year old girl.

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N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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1. Re: Suggestions for trip to Yellowstone with two kids

It's not really quicker from Jackson to SLC than West Yellowstone to SLC. It's about 5-5.5 hours drive time from SLC to West Yellowstone and about 5 from SLC to Jackson.

I'd suggest you do your last 2 nights in Jackson/Grand Tetons. I assume you are staying at a time share which is why you've got a week. This way you have a full day to do activities instead of having the drive to/from Yellowstone take 3.5 hours out of each day.

What time do you arrive in SLC? You'll want to be to West Yellowstone before dark. If you can't make it before dark consider staying over in Idaho Falls which is where you get off the Interstate and get on to 2 lane roads.

I am going to assume you are coming on or after Memorial Day weekend. The reason this is important is that is when many of the services and Ranger programs start. The roads should also be fully open then. Early in your time in Yellowstone you'll want to stop at Madison Junction Rest Area for the Jr Ranger Station. That's the first stop sign you come to in the park and the rest area is to the right.



Here's a suggestion:

Day 1 - Arrive SLC. Drive to West Yellowstone or Idaho Falls if you can't get there before dark.

OK, the next 4 day's activities are interchangeable since you are staying in the same location, so mix the order up as you like:

2 - Geyser Day! Head in to OF. Get the eruption times for the predictable geysers from the Visitor Center, or from the NP geyser app or from the www.geysertimes.org app or website. (good cell service at OF) Walk the geyser basin out to Morning Glory Pool on the boardwalks, then back on the paved path to the VC area. Pop in to the OF Inn. Get ice cream on the 1st floor and take it up to the 2nd floor deck. Or hot chocolate depending on the weather, hahah. Work your way back to OF via the smaller geyser basins and scenic side drives.

3 - Go in to Canyon. Do the Canyon Visitor Center, the overlooks on the North and South Rim drive (some trail reconstruction in the area but there are enough overlooks that you can get great views of the falls and canyon. Work south thru Hayden Valley (wildlife watching), Mud Volcano, Fishing Bridge, FB Visitor Center (walk thru to the back and out to the lakeshore), FB General Store (ice cream). Go east to Lake Butte overlook to see Yellowstone Lake with the Tetons in the background. Return to FB junction, go south to Lake Village to see the historic Lake Hotel. Return via Canyon for another run thru Hayden Valley and possible wildlife.

4 - Go in to Canyon. Go North over Dunraven Pass to Tower Fall. North of Tower Fall pull over to the lay-bys on the right and look across the canyon to see if you can see Bighorn ewes and lambs on the impossibly steep slopes below the line of columnar basalt. Watch for bears across the way too. North from Calcite Springs to Tower Roosevelt Junction is a good area to see Black Bear. At Tower Junction take a right out in to Lamar Valley. Go at least to Pebble Creek Campground before you turn around. If you want to hike, consider Trout Lake out this way. Kids usually enjoy this one and you might see otters (and maybe bears so have bear spray). Return to Tower Junction. Head back to West Yellowstone.

5 - Go in to Norris Geyser Basin. Walk the Back Basin and Porcelain Basins. There is a huge geyser here that rare erupts but has gone off 3 or 4 times in the last few weeks. Maybe you will be lucky and see Steamboat go! Head north from Norris to Mammoth (road construction). Drive the Upper Terrace drive, then drive down to Mammoth proper. Walk the Lower Terraces. See the Albright Visitor Center. Drive north to Gardiner to see the iconic Roosevelt Arch if you like. Head east to Tower Junction to get in the waterfalls along here and to get another crack at seeing bears. If you have time, stop at Artist Paint Pots on the way back home.

6 Overnight Jackson

7 Overnight Jackson

8 ?? Not sure how many days you have. Is this your departure day from SLC?

There are really no off the beaten path things in Yellowstone that you can see in a short amount of time on a first visit. In fact, you probably won't get all I've listed in, particularly if you have good wildlife sightings!

In West Yellowstone you've got the Yellowstone Historic Center, a small museum about the early travelers to Yellowstone and the GRizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.


Edited: 13 May 2018, 09:32
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