Debating where best to go for a family of four from Texas. Kiddoes are 9 and 15. Thanks!
Obviously, both are spectacular----but Yellowstone is one of the most unique places on earth: gysers, boiling mud pots, canyons, waterfalls, buffalo, elk, wolves.......and the list goes on. You simply can't find all the thermal features collected in any other spot, and it has beautiful waterfalls in the park and the Grand Tetons for a day trip. I'd do Yellowstone because it is an education in and of itself.
I echo that sentiment, especially with kids that age. Consider taking a float or rafting trip on the Snake River, go to a Wild West cookout, see grizzly bears and wolfs at the Grizzly Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Old Faithful, Mammoth hot Springs, and everything in between!
West Yellowstone is a great place to stay with kids. They have just about everything kids would want and its right next to the West Entrance to the park. Check out the many ranger led walks they have through the park as well. Make sure you stop at any of the Activity desks through the park(Canyon, Mammoth, Lake Yellowstone) and see what they have to offer. You can rent a boat at the marina and the Cookout at Roosevelt is really a blast and well worth it. Overall I would think it would be a great place for kids to enjoy
For a family who wants to see a lot of different things, Yellowstone. As has been said Yosemite is spectacular but unless you want to do a lot of hiking in forests once you've seen the scenery and the waterfalls there isn't much else for kids.
Yellowstone, Yellowstone, Yellowstone. Yosemite is Grand and awe-inspiring, but very crowded and not very big (in relation to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is about 1,000 square miles with amazing wildlife, scenery (Plus you get Grand Teton National Park, which is as Grand as Anything in Yosemite)...
Geysers, hot springs, animals, mud pots, camping, lodges. Can you tell that Yellowstone is one of my favorite places on Earth?
Wildlife viewing is constant, elk, buffalo, deer, moose around nearly every corner. Great fishing both in the best trout streams and rivers in the Country and beautiful, crystal blue lakes. Teton and Yellowstone in one trip is a lifetime of memories.
I was just wondering if you asked this same question in the Yosemite forum. I'd be curious to know if the answers in that forum would be all "pro-Yosemite". Having only been to Yosemite, I can't give you an informed answer. Hopefully you'll be able to visit both in your lifetime!!
I'm currently working my way through all of the Nat'l Parks in the West. Glacier and Yellowstone / Tetons are next on my list this fall. From all of the parks I've seen so far, you can't really go wrong no matter which park you choose. By the way, my favorite trip so far has been a 2 week trek I took through Utah. I visited Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, and the Grand Canyon. Zion NP is my absolute favorite NP.
Observation based on May 2008 visit: Yellowstone has very diverse forests:
1) Lodgepole Pine
2) Lodgepole Pine
3) Lodgepole Pine
4) and..oh, yes -- Lodgepole Pine
I overdosed on Lodgepole Pine, which is as aethetically as pleasing as viewing endless rows of cornstalks in Nebraska.
Geothermal attractions make Yellowstone unique, but after viewing one or two of these, the novelty of the educational experience wears off.
Yosemite is infinitely more beautiful with its rugged granite forests and DIVERSE ecosystems. The crowds are an issue -- then simply STAY AWAY from the valley during peak summer months -- go up its higher elevations.
I've been to both many times. They are different. The kids will like Yosemite, because kids make their own good time and they are old enough to appreciate the beauty of Yosemite.
But, it is so crowded in the valley, I'd never go again when school is out. And you as adults might not enjoy it, either. It is truly, "that crowded".
So, I vote, quite easily, for Yellowstone. As noted above, so much to see and to do, for all ages. The "crowds" center on the major attractions but there is much more to see where the crowds thin out dramatically.
We return not just to the park, but during our stay there, to many of the same places because of the ever changing wildlife viewing.
My "mantra" is: bring good binoculars (cameras are not as effective, regardless of their power); if you see traffic stopped, see why; if you see someone with a spotting scope, ask what they see; bring (or buy) a large cooler for beverages and food so you can stay in place observing w/o having to return to cafes; keep away from the wildlife, just observe. BTW, some might think of Bison as lumbering animals; anything but. Even walking, they can set a good pace, they just appear slow.
You will all have a great time in Yellowstone.
Do try, IMO, to stay in the park. You can always go "outside", say, to West Yellowstone, for a break.
Hey guys I think the OP's trip has come and gone (2005). Not to worry. I've replied to people years after the fact myself. I always wonder how these threads get resurrected.
Resurrected, I've observed, almost always by a new TAer, as in this case. But, appreciate their interest/enthusiasm.