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Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

Temple, Texas
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Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

Thinking of a summer 2014 trip. Probably mid-July. Probably flying into Salt Lake City.

I am planning on staying in West Yellowstone and maybe Gardiner. I know all of you will say stay in the Park, but as another Poster said, I enjoy the creature comforts of a nice hotel. I don't like rustic and really don't want to stay in the Park lodging.

Can someone suggest an itinerary for 5-6 days? I would consider staying in Gardiner for part of this time if it would make it easier to see parts of the park.. I was in Yellowstone in the late 90s staying 4-5 nights in West Yellowstone. I simply don't remember the driving being much of a problem and it seems that I got to see a lot. I just can't remember how I did it all in terms of an itinerary. I am an early riser and getting out at the crack of dawn is not a problem.

Temple, Texas
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11. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

What I meant to say in the above post is that at the end of my last full day in Yellowstone, I will head to Jackson.

Spery, Iowa
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12. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

OK, still a good amount of time.

Just a few minor changes if you spend 3 West, 2 Gardiner:

Days can be in any order, depending on weather and your interests, but I would try and divide it this way.

From West I would:

1. Over to Canyon area for Grand Canyon/Falls. I would go as far as Fishing Bridge and catch Mud Volcano and Hayden Valley. Nice hike would be Storm Point- but early start from West to get there for the Ranger led. You can do the rim trails (north and south) and as they are pretty heavily used, should be able to have others around and not bear problems if you stay with/near a few others.

2. Old Faithful area. Hike the entire basin, catching any eruptions you can. Check with Visitor Center for predictions. Usually a Ranger Led hike in the morning if you are interested. Then on down to Black Sand Basin. Elevation gain on the return, but a pretty easy hike anyway. Another option: Observation Point for a view of Old Faithful. It is an elevation gain, but again, a pretty easy hike. As you want shorter days and are returning to West, I would break up the thermal areas into two days.

3. Remaining thermal areas. Midway, Fountain Paint Pots, Norris, etc and drives along the way to or from West.

And now even easier from Gardiner:

4. Early start day: head on over to Lamar Valley, and down to Tower Falls and back over to Gardiner. Nice hike here: Yellowstone Picnic area trail. Just a bit of a gain at the start, then walk as far as desired.

5. Lamar again early if wildlife is a focus, then sights along the road back to Mammoth. Hikes could include the Terraces and walking tour of the Old Fort (self guided)

(Note, some would take part of day 4 or 5 from Gardiner to drive the Beartooth Highway to Rock Creek Vista and back.

6. Last Day I would do pick up places or repeat favorite spots. Catching Lake and West Thumb on your way to Tetons.

Not sure of your order- I would most likely do Gardiner first and West last, just to make the drive to Tetons closer on that day, but a drive the length of the park gives you a nice last look at things. From Gardiner you could make the east side drive over to Tower and down to Lake that way. From West, you could go over to Canyon and one last drive through Hayden Valley to catch Lake. Lots of options, no wrong choice, as it all gets you into YNP!

Temple, Texas
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13. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

thbergs, again thank you so much. I like to plan a vacation to death. I am not the sort of traveler who wakes up and tries to figure out what to do that day. Consequently, I really appreciate your detailed ideas.

Spery, Iowa
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14. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

If you want details, Pam is your girl. We share the same brain, and are detail, planning people :) Now, you need a "Yellow" folder for your print outs and lists. And did I recommend Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple? Love it to guide me through the park and for planning ahead of time.

a couple things to look at:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60999-i481-k54931…

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60999-c170600/Yellow…

Happy Planning!

www.sunrisesunset.com

Spery, Iowa
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15. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

OK, I don't know if this will offend you or not, so feel free to skip it. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60999-i481-k63665…

N. Idaho
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16. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

The Idaho half of the shared brain is checking in and thbergs, I think you did a wonderful itinerary job for Roy!

Pam

Temple, Texas
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17. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

Ok, the fine tuning is getting pretty much in focus. I've made a few changes (I see you shaking your heads!!!).

Started researching Southwest flights and car rentals and discovered that I can save almost $300 by flying into Denver compared to flying into Salt Lake City. Also more friendly flight times in and out of Denver. I know that it is about 4 and 1/2 hours more drive compared to SLC.

Day 1 Fly to Denver from Austin. Arrive about 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. depending on flight. Drive to either Cheyenne, Laramie or Rawlings depending on arrival time in Denver.

Day 2 drive the remaining distance to Jackson and overnight in Jackson

Day 3 GTNP overnight Jackson

Day 4 GTNP overnight Jackson

Day 5 drive to Yellowstone, spend day in Yellowstone overnight West Yellowstone

Day 6 Yellowstone overnight West Yellowstone

Day 7 Yellowstone overnight West Yellowstone

Day 8 Yellowstone overnight Gardiner

Day 9 Yellowstone overnight Gardiner

Day 10 either Yellowstone or Beartooth Road to Cody

Day 11 Cody to Denver International for a flight leaving about 8:30 p.m.

Does this alter any of your itinerary? On Day 5 when I drive from Jackson into Yellowstone, what would be the best way to use that day in Yellowstone?

Spery, Iowa
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18. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

Since you have 2 full days for GTNP, on day 5: I would stop at West Thumb and any other things of interest from the South Gate in, then on over to Lake, as I didn't get you there on any other day. You could go on into Hayden Valley and check for wildlife depending on time and interest. I would then backtrack to the junction and go on over past Old Faithful and other thermal areas, stopping as you have time and interest, and out to West for the night. (This would pick up the southern sections of road I missed on the previous suggestions.)

day 6- Canyon, stay West,

day 7 OF, stay West,

day 8 remaining thermals, Mammoth stay Gardiner. If you caught all the thermals already, you could head over to Tower and take the north road over to Mammoth.

Now, I am not sure of the drive from Cody to Denver? But I might try to make it farther than Cody unless you plan to spend time there? So, a couple ideas:

day 9: If you have done Tower previously, head to Lamar Valley,( if not, you can make the drive down and catch that, then Lamar) and then over the Beartooth (weather permitting) to Cody (cuts one night Gardiner and a day in YNP) . Depending on time, museum or rodeo or both. Poor weather, go through the park out the east gate to Cody.

Day 10 This gives you a full day to see Cody and the museum, then drive a bit closer to Denver for the next day

If you don't plan to do anything other than spend the night in Cody, I would spend the entire day 9 in Yellowstone, then day 10 do the Beartooth or out the east or south gate and head toward Denver, perhaps staying a bit closer.

Again, just throwing out ideas- it is you vacation, so please tell us what your interests and desires are- we will try and throw out things that fit. And changing your mind is not head shaking- you just keep getting more info and more ideas- that is a good thing! Happy Planning!!

Temple, Texas
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19. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

What time should I leave the Jackson Hotel on Day 5? Can't check in until 4:00 in West Yellowstone.

USA
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20. Re: Staying In West Yellowstone; Itinerary?

I'm with thbergs with her recommendation to drive closer to Denver for overnight on the day before your flight out.