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Yellowstone National Park Trip

14 posts
Yellowstone National Park Trip

Hi! I am looking for some advice...I am planning a trip for my family (3 boys) to GTNP and Yellowstone August 19-29, 2019. I think we will be flying into Salt Lake City unless I can get cheaper flights into Bozman. Here is my plan

:

Aug 19th - Salt Lake City

Aug 20 - 23 - GTNP thinking of staying in a cabin at Colter Bay Village (thoughts?)

Here is where I am unsure -

I have reservations 8/23 - 8/28 at Canyon Lodge I have been hearing that I shouldn't stay in one hotel while at Yellowstone. Any thoughts on a second hotel? I could cut GTNP short a day and add the 22 to Yellowstone.

I have reservations for the Circle of Fire Tour 8/25 pick up at Canyon Lodge and Wake up to Wildlife pick up 8/27 at Canyon Lodge. We are also doing the horseback ride and cookout at Roosevelt on 8/26. Any other suggestions on what to do? Am I staying in Yellowstone too long? I am not really sure what do. We would love to attend a night sky program are there any in GT or Yellowstone?

Finally, I want to hire a family photographer to take our picture in Yellowstone but am having a hard time finding one - any thoughts? I truly appreciate any help and ideas.

11 replies to this topic
Spery, Iowa
Level Contributor
11,210 posts
181 reviews
1. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

Working with your existing activity reservations:

Aug 19th - Salt Lake City> depending on flight time, may be able to drive part way to GTNP.

Aug 20 -21-22 - GTNP thinking of staying in a cabin at Colter Bay Village (thoughts?)> works well

Aug 23 -24- 25 I would look for lodging at Old Faithful (FYI, 25th is Christmas in Yellowstone!)

Aug 26-27-28 at Canyon Lodge. When is your flight today? you need to be closer to SLC than Canyon if it is not late on the 29th.

I have reservations for the Circle of Fire Tour 8/25 pick up at Canyon Lodge> I would cancel this and tour on your own.

We are also doing the horseback ride and cookout at Roosevelt on 8/26.> that works

Wake up to Wildlife pick up 8/27 at Canyon Lodge.> that works

Any other suggestions on what to do? In GTNP, float trip through the Tetons, time at String Lake. Jr Ranger programs in both parks, and Young Scientist at OF and Canyon.

Am I staying in Yellowstone too long? Not to me! You are allowing time to see things at your own pace, do a few activities, and let boys be boys in addition to seeing the parks. Sounds great to me!

Edited: 19 November 2018, 00:52
Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
7,178 posts
1 review
2. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

>>>We would love to attend a night sky program are there any in GT or Yellowstone?<<<

You will need to wait until next summer to get the dates and specifics for the night programs that will be offered in 2019 but this 2018's schedule that will give you an idea of what will be available. The schedules usually come out in late May. There was also an impromptu star watching program put on by two rangers in the Alum Creek Pullout at the north end of Hayden Valley in one of our trips this summer. I can't remember if it was one of the June or July trips but I know it wasn't on the schedule so sometimes rangers will do it on their own if the night sky is just right.

https:/…2018Summer_Ranger_prog-STRS_OLY.pdf

In 2018, there was an Astronomy Night every every Thursday night from 6/14 to 8/30. You will need to check the 2019 schedule when it comes out to see if the program is still being offered (it probably will) and if so, what nights/times.

https:/…7

Regarding photography in Yellowstone Park. I see that you commented on another thread regarding finding a photographer in the park. On that thread, I commented about Barry Ladd and had a link to his photography page on facebook. Have you tried contacting him? He lives in the West Yellowstone/Island Park area and is in the park daily (either for his work or his photography). He has just started his photography business but I know he has taken wedding photos in the park and some other family/senior graduation photos. He might not be what you are looking for but might be worth contacting him to find out what he is able to do. He might have some names of photographers that you could try contacting.

https://www.facebook.com/barryl.ladd/

The only other suggestion is to look at the list of photographers that are authorized to operate in Yellowstone Park. The majority are wildlife photographers but some might also take portrait photography. You will never know unless you ask. I know Deby Dixon has taken some wedding photos at Mammoth but that was a while ago.

https:/…photobus.htm

Deb

Edited: 19 November 2018, 02:11
N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,178 posts
112 reviews
3. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

I think thbergs has great suggestions based on your current reservations.

The Roosevelt cookout sells out the quickest so might be the hardest to move, however, I'd probably see if you can rearrange those reservations.

Since you are probably leaving from SLC, I'd do your first 3 Yellowstone nights in Canyon so nights of 23/24/25, then 26/27/28 at Old Faithful so you position yourself closer to the West gate for departure.

As thbergs indicates where you stay on the night of the 28th will depend on what time you are leaving SLC. It takes 1.5 hours from OF to West Yellowstone and 5-5.5 hours from West to the SLC airport. To be honest it takes me 6 hours to SLC but I must make more comfort stops than others, lol!! If you have an early afternoon flight you may need to stay in Idaho Falls. If you have an AM flight you might need to be much closer.

IF you get flights out of Bozeman you'll probably be fine with an overnight that last night at Old Faithful unless it's an early AM flight.

As far as your activities in Yellowstone. With the time you've got which is generous but NOT too much, I'd cancel Circle of Fire. This is a one day tour that tries to see all you can on the Lower Loop. Driving the Lower Loop alone takes around 4 hours so you see you don't have much time at any one place. I'd sub in some of the free Ranger walks (see Deb's advice on when to find out next year's program times) at Canyon and OF for the Circle of Fire.

I'd do the Wake up to Wildlife on 24, 25 or 26 and do the Roosevelt Cookout 23, 24 or 25. I'd try to put a day between them if that makes sense?

If you don't want to mess with changing your activity reservations, then what you've got will work well with thbergs' suggestions.

Pam

Spery, Iowa
Level Contributor
11,210 posts
181 reviews
4. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

My concern was re-booking activities for 5 people. If you can, then I do agree with swapping Canyon and OF in my suggestion. You want to make sure you have your Roosevelt with the overnight at Canyon (or Roosevelt) and not your OF night. And if you book the wildlife tour early on, you can use the tips and tricks for sighting them the rest of your time in the park.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,178 posts
112 reviews
5. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

Yes, agree that rebooking the activities might be a problem with that many, especially the cookout.

Pam

14 posts
6. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

Thank you Deb for all your help! I appreciate you taking the time - I will get in touch those contacts and will update! Have a good night!

14 posts
7. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

thbergs - Thank you so much for your itinerary - My new thought is to stay in Grant Village on the 27th to head back to SLC on the 28th - our flight will leave on the 29th of August so hopefully that would bring us closer to the exit and cut down on the drive.

14 posts
8. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

Pam - thank you for your thoughts - yes with 3 kids it will probably take us 6 hours - ugh that's a drive - maybe depending on our flight we can break it up - do you know anywhere a little more than half way that would be a good place to stop for the night?

Spery, Iowa
Level Contributor
11,210 posts
181 reviews
9. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

As you are doing GTNP first, I personally wouldn't move to Grant for the 27th. From Canyon you can exit the west gate, make a stop in West Yellowstone at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center if you want, and head to SLC for closer pre-flight overnight accommodations. If you switched to OF, same thing- exit the west gate. But, your trip, so you can certainly go back out the south gate and repeat your drive that way if you prefer.

Edited: 19 November 2018, 11:46
14 posts
10. Re: Yellowstone National Park Trip

Thank you! I never thought of that I was going to go that way to from OF around to Madison and Norris to Canyon Lodge and then from Canyon to Grant Village for my last day but I can do it in reverse - any recommendations as places to stay by the West Entrance and how long is it from West Yellowstone to SLC ? Thanks so much for your insight!

Btw I got a hold of Barry Lapp and he does take family pictures!! So we are setting it up! Thank you so much!

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