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Trying to plan a Yellowstone/GTNP trip...I'm lost!

Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
35 posts
4 reviews
Trying to plan a Yellowstone/GTNP trip...I'm lost!

I am in much need of help. I am beginning to think I bit off more than I can chew.

So far I have 2 nights at Roosevelt cabins (June 19 & 20. The following 2 nights 21 & 22 at Snow Lodge cabins. Thats it.

First of all we will be flying to Salt Lake City then renting a car.

I have not yet made airline reservations nor have I reserved a room for GTNP. I did not know where I should stay first. Which Park is closest to SLC? How long is the drive?

I would like to stay 2 nights in the Tetons. Is that enough time? We are 2 seniors in our mid 60s. My husband isn't able to walk for long periods of time without having to stop & rest.We will be mostly sight seeing on short walks.

Thanks

6 replies to this topic
N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,163 posts
112 reviews
1. Re: Trying to plan a Yellowstone/GTNP trip...I'm lost!

OK, we're here to help.

What time do you think you'll arrive in SLC? That timing will dictate how far you can get the first night. You may need to spend the night just north of SLC, perhaps Idaho Falls (3.5 hours away) or West Yellowstone (5-5.5 hours away).

Here is a link to drive times within the park. As you can see Roosevelt is the longest distance from the West entrance so you'd not want to try and make that on your arrival day.

yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/content/up…

I'd still do Yellowstone first, then Grand Tetons which will set you up for your drive back. Jackson is about 5 hours from SLC whereas West Yellowstone is 5-5.5 (takes me 6 but I must stop more than others, lol!).

Even if your husband isn't able to walk much you'll still have a wonderful time and you'll need the 3 full days you'll have with 4 nights in the park. If you have the ability to add a night to the Grand Tetons/Jackson area then 3 nights would be good there. Where you stay on your last night will also depend on your flight departure time.

Here's one suggestion of many on how to structure your days taking in to account your current reservations:

June 18: Arrive SLC. Overnight north of SLC, Idaho Falls or West Yellowstone, depending on your arrival time

June 19: Enter the West gate, drive to Norris geyser basin and see this area, then north to Mammoth to see the terraces and Roosevelt Arch, overnight Roosevelt

June 20: Wildlife watch from Roosevelt out thru Lamar Valley to Pebble Creek Campground, then down to Tower Fall and also backtrack to Petrified Tree (look for black bear back in here) and Blacktail Ponds. This area is very rich with bear sightings the time of year you are visiting. Overnight Roosevelt

June 21: Drive south over Dunraven Pass to Canyon. See the Visitor Center then start on the overlooks on the North and South Rims. Continue south thru Hayden Valley (wildlife) to the Lake Village area to get a look at Yellowstone Lake and the historic Lake hotel. You choice from here is to continue south around to Old Faithful, but I'd backtrack to Canyon for another chance at wildlife, and over to Norris and Madison Junctions. I see more wildlife in this section than swinging down around via West Thumb but it's your choice. Overnight Old Faithful

June 22: See the geyser basin around OF then work your way back up to Madison Junction thru the smaller geyser basins and scenic side drives. Overnight Old Faithful

June 23: Head toward West Thumb geyser basin. This is a small basin in a lovely lake-side setting. It's a short-ish walk thru - might take an hour if you take your time. Then head out the south entrance road to Grand Tetons. If you need a comfort stop, I recommend stopping at Grant Village - either the General Store or the Visitor Center have flush toilets and running water. There are vault toilets in the West Thumb parking lot but they are overused. The staff has trouble keeping up with the volume of bus tours thru there according to what a female ranger from the Grant Visitor Center told me. Overnight Grand Tetons

June 24: Grand Tetons Overnight Grand Tetons

June 25: If you can add another day so you have 2 full days here this would be good:

June 26: Overnight perhaps Park City before a flight back tomorrow?

June 27: Fly home

This adds days to your trip, so not sure if you have the time and budget to add my suggestions.

Pam

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
35,156 posts
508 reviews
2. Re: Trying to plan a Yellowstone/GTNP trip...I'm lost!

Great ideas from Pam. To help get organized get a yellow folder and print out info, lodging, maps, etc. Use yellow sticky notes or yellow highlighter to note things. Buy the book Yellowstone Treasures for greater insight into the area.

We all love to help! Good luck!

Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
35 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: Trying to plan a Yellowstone/GTNP trip...I'm lost!

Thank you Pam & Peach.

Pam the information you gave me was so helpful.

I ran all your info past my husband. He said it all sounds great.

Air is booked. We will arrive in Salt Lake on the 18th around 11:00 AM. We’ll probably get a room in West Yellowstone that night.

Now it’s on to booking a few nights for GTNP area.

Thank you & I’m sure I will have a lot more questions.

Peach

I love your yellow folder suggestion. I all ready have 1 started & labeled Yellowstone. Take a guess what color that folder is. Ha!Ha!

I will also make a trip to the library looking for the book.

You both have been very helpful.

Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
11,636 posts
1 review
4. Re: Trying to plan a Yellowstone/GTNP trip...I'm lost!

18 fly into SLC, leave airport around 1pm with car, plan stop for dinner in Idaho falls or Pocatello and do to walmart/target/local supermarket to get some stuff. night west Yellowstone. You don't want to drive when dark which would be around 9pm

19 north loop , night Roosevelt

20 am canyon, pm Lamar , night Roosevelt

21 Lake area loop around the south to old faithful, afternoon pld faithful area, nuight there

22 old faithful and heyserbasin, night old faithful

23 am to grand Teton, pm grand Teton, night GT

24 grand Teton

25 am grand Teton, pm back to SLC (about 6 hrs not including stops)

26 fly home

with grand Teton the lodging has separate booking sites. outside the park there is a bunch of hotels in Jackson and Teton Village

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
35,156 posts
508 reviews
5. Re: Trying to plan a Yellowstone/GTNP trip...I'm lost!

We like to stay in the park in Yellowstone but in Jackson for the Tetons. We have stayed at Signal Mt. Lodge in the Tetons and it was nice and the food very good.

For Yellowstone splitting between OF and Canyon/Lake area works best imo.

In Jackson we have stayed at about a half dozen different hotels- Wyoming inn, Rustic inn, Lexington inn, 49er inn and Homewood suites.

If looking for budget friendly then Kudar motel and Ranch inn get good reviews here on TA.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,163 posts
112 reviews
6. Re: Trying to plan a Yellowstone/GTNP trip...I'm lost!

Oh good. If you get in at 11, you'll be on the road around noon-ish so it will be totally doable to get to West Yellowstone that night.

"I love your yellow folder suggestion. I all ready have 1 started & labeled Yellowstone. Take a guess what color that folder is. Ha!Ha!"

Thank goodness! Our job is done! We've got you hooked, hahaha!

Now....

General info on the park:

www.nps.gov/yell

Webcams:

https:/…webcams.htm

West Yellowstone hotels:

(Just linked this for someone else so had the page up. Make sure it is sorted by Traveler Ranking not some other silly category TA has come up with.)

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g45399-We…

Pam

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