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LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Manchester, United...
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LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Just going to throw my plans out there to see is anyone has any tips they think could help in any way. Please don't tell me to change any timings as it's already booked and I might cry :) I've spent a lot of time researching different places to stay, flights etc and I know driving times may be a bit strenuous in some places. I'm not averse to a long drive though, I doubt my husband will want to pick up much of the driving action! But if I need him to then he will do as he's told :) There's just the two of us, in our early 30s.

Ok, so here's what I have planned for this year...

22 May - fly from Manchester to Heathrow to Los Angeles. Arrive 7:45pm. Collect rental car from airport then drive to Magic Castle Hotel. Things to do in LA still undecided, but I would like to fit in a Warner Bros Studios tour, Hollywood sign, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Boulevard. The usual touristy stuff I guess? We have 3 nights in LA.

25 May - make our way to Yosemite via Mariposa Grove. We are booked in at the Yosemite West High Sierra B&B. Now I know this is Memorial weekend, but I didn't at the time I booked! So I am aware things are going to be busy. We will just have to deal with that! The owner of the B&B has pretty much advised not to make concrete plans as she knows the park like the back of her hand and would make recommendations for us that would probably change our minds. But I won't say no to any tips on amazing things we shouldn't miss out on! Again, here for 3 nights.

28 May - make our way to Napa Valley. We are staying at the Best Western in Calistoga (again for 3 nights). My husband found a red wine called The Prisoner when we were in the US last year, so I have found a winery that stocks this (Orin Swift), and plan on stopping there to pick some up. Maybe even do some wine tasting. I see this stop as being a bit more relaxed and ad hoc. Maybe some spa treatments. Again, any tips on what to do are very welcome.

31 May - drive to San Francisco airport to fly to Jackson Hole. Arrive in Jackson Hole at 9:10pm, pick up the rental car, stay at the Miller Park Lodge for the night before heading up through Grand Teton NP during daylight the next day. I have printed off several maps of major sights in GTNP, but again, any must sees being pointed out are very welcome.

1 June - driving through GTNP to get to Old Faithful Inn. We have an Old House room with a shared bath. I have made dinner reservations at 7:45pm as I believe this can quickly book up. We have 3 nights here. As is the pattern, I haven't laid down specific plans of what to see/do. All work in progress, but local insight or traveller knowledge would help greatly!

4 June - driving up to Mammoth Springs. I initially booked a cabin, read reviews and wasn't too keen on having to go outside to the bathroom if I needed to relieve myself during the night! Today I found a cancellation for a hotel room with a shared bath, so switched to that instead. Recurring theme, but we're here for 3 nights.

7 June - drive back down to Jackson Hole, but stopping at the Jackson Lake Lodge, where we have a cabin. Just a place to sleep before our 10am flight back to normality in the morning. I'm sure I won't want to go home!

I am a keen hiker and would love to do some challenging and rewarding hikes. Husband not so much. So moderate hikes maybe with more difficult ones that I could pretend I thought were easier would be great. He also loves waterfalls, so difficult hikes with waterfalls may get me off the hook!

With regards to bears, from what I have read it would be advisable to get beat spray in Jackson before arriving in Yellowstone, and the brand CA seems to be recommended. I am thinking bear spray isn't needed in Yosemite?

Clothing wise, I have also picked up that we should be packing for dryness, heat, snow, cold, rain, and wind. As well as having a decent pair of hiking boots.

Wow, just typing all of this out has got me even more excited than I was before! Thanks in advance for any help and I apologise this is so long!

Roll on May!

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Bear spray is illegal and unnecessary in Yosemite.

I like that you've planned several nights in each destination. That should give you time to really enjoy each destination.

Pop over to the Yosemite forum for detailed tips on waterfall hikes, Memorial Day weekend, and anything else. There are some folks on that forum who won't see your overall itinerary planning thread here, and you probably would benefit from their feedback. I'm concerned that your B&B owner thinks she knows everything, but maybe she has had time to hike all the day-use trails and really does know it all.

Manchester, United...
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2. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Thanks Pacific, I think you're right! Some Yosemite planning is probably a good idea.

Thanks for the bear spray tip too. It's a bit of an unknown thing to be considering for someone living in the UK. The neighbour's dog is probably the scariest animal I come into contact with!

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

If you have an early flight out of Jackson Hole then do not stay at Jackson Lake Lodge. You will need to stay in Jackson Hole. Travel thru the Tetons could be slow and never know about wildlife jams so should plan to be at the airport and return car by 8:00 to 8:30 am for a 10:00 am flight.

Lewes, United...
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4. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Hi

Welcome to the Road Trips forum.

I see you asked a ton of questions regarding car rental on the California forum. I'm not sure I'd agree with all the responses you got. We have a huge topic on this forum on the Top Qs on teh right of the full screen version. You might well find that useful to read. There's also a useful topic on driving in the USA for foreigners to add to your existing knowledge.

If you've not booked your rental car in Jackson, make sure it's one of your priorities. It's a small airport and the car rental depots are also small. The car choices there are limited and prices go up as they run out of car in mid summer and during ski season!

Bear spray is one of those quandaries. It's illegal in certain national parks, consider vital in others. Some places around Yellowstone rent it out. But the cost of 'renting' a canister is actually often the same as buying a new one, and a new one probably won't have dents or been dropped! I'd go for the new one from a store, every time!

Notwithstanding the advice you will get on this forum and other general forums like the California one, and the personal advice from B&B hosts, it's always useful to have a browse, if not ask questions, on the specific national park forums. The wealth of knowledge avaiable there is amazing.

For those reasons, I'll not comment to much at this stage on your plans for either Yosemite and Yellowstone. PNWF has already offered great advice and she can offer more with her co-DEs on the Yosemite forum. Hopefully, Pam will be watching this topic and will chime in for Yellowstone, or you can ask her questions on the Yellowstone forum.

Glad you now know about the Memorial day weekend and will plan the best you can for that.

For more general tips and advice, you should also browse this forum by using the search function and typing in random relevant words. Also, do look at the trip reports section, as Yosemite and Yellowstone plus all the places in between that you plan to visit have been covered by lots of other visitors, including Brits for that sort of perspective.

Have a great trip,

SWT

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Here is the link to most popular sights in Yellowstone to help you plan your days-

http://yellowstone.net/intro/top-10/

Pam (DObby) is great at detailed trip plans and she also knows a lot about hiking. Denalicat also is very knowledgeable about Yellowstone. I also post often on the Yellowstone forum. Although not a DE we have been multiple times to the park.

Good luck with your trip planning and let us know if you have other questions!!

N. Idaho
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6. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

You are welcome to join us on the Yellowstone as well. tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28973-i480-Wyomin…

I will just say that your distribution of 1 at Old Faithful and 3 at Mammoth is not particularly good in my estimation. (And I will tell you we ALL have our own opinions!! lol) It is early in the season so not everything is open, but I would do 2 at Old Faithful and 2 at Mammoth OR 2 at Old Faithful and 2 at Lake. If you have to do Mammoth, I would do one at OF, one at Mammoth and 2 at Lake. That has you moving a bit more, and I am sorry for that!

PeachBelle can just as easily be a DE on Yellowstone as Road Trips as she is strong in both areas!

Pam

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7. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Dear Pam, it's 1 June, but 3 nights at OF & then also 3 nights at Mammoth so all is good!!

Edited: 21 January 2014, 00:27
USA
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8. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

For my favorite waterfall hikes in Yellowstone...

Osprey Falls in the Mammoth area

Mystic Falls loop in the back of Biscuit Basin in the OF area

Fairy Falls in OF area- detour by climbing the hill for the quintessential Prismatic springs view & photoshot:

http://tinyurl.com/prismaticspgs

hiking guide includes these 3 in Mammoth & OF areas:

www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

Enjoy!

N. Idaho
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9. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Gosh, I totally missed that! Thank you so much Denalicat! My apologies to the OP.

Pam

Henderson, Nevada
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10. Re: LA-Yosemite-Napa Valley-Yellowstone - 22 May to 8 June 2014

Welcome to the US... you will have a wonderful time...

Listen to your lodge keeper in Yosemite... Don't worry about bears there... There are two kinds of bears in the "48" state US... Black bears and Brown bears... despite their name their color has nothing to do with it... Black bears Ursus americanus are found almost everywhere in the US (except citys), are smaller... California bears rarely exceed 200 lbs... They are big chickens, and if you make noise will generally run... (although recently there are reports that in Yosemite they run to the sound of cooking pots banged together... that universal tools to make noise to scare them away... they equate that with food left out...)

Brown or Grizzly,, Ursus arctos or occasionally ursus horribilis bears have a much smaller range... basically the north west corner of the country including Yellowstone and Grand Tetons... through Canada and Alaska... They are much larger, commonly 300 to 500 lbs...and generally are more dangerous...

In Yellowstone never hike alone... ever... two is acceptable... three is good... Bear attacks victims are most commonly solo hikers... less often two, almost never three or more... I would find a hiking companion before I purchased bear spray... remember Bison and Elk can kill as well... all are big animals... If your husband isn't interested (my wife isn't) find a ranger organized hike (free) or ask at the desk if they can help find informal hiking partners...

Back to your trip... Enjoy Napa, drift over to Sonoma one day... find a small winery you like (ask around based on wine you like, ask your favorite for a recommendation for a similar winery... The main Napa wineries have gotten large and busy... we are more likely to go to Dry Creek beyond Santa Rosa... There are wineries in the Lodi area on the way out of Yosemite... Zinfandel is the local specialty...

In Grand Tetons I regularly find moose by the river on the way out of Jackson heading to the park, or in the Snake River below the dam... Elk can be found anywhere... Bison more common on the east side outside the park. Drive out of town in the evening... stop away from other folks as the sun sets...

Yellowstone... the really great thing about staying at Old Faithful is going out after the crowds leave or before they arrive in the morning... last visit in early May my daughter and I walked out on the board walks through the geysers in that wonderful hour as the sun came up... we saw fresh bear tracks (but not the bear) and the largest coyote I have ever seen.

At Mammoth get up at dawn as walk to the terraces... but watch for elk... Last time there my wife watched a particularly large elk, called moose trash a "stay away from elk" sign.... Also at Mommoth ask Randy the piano player about bears... there is a book called "Death In Yellowstone" and while he didn't die his bear attack (solo hiker) story made it...

My favorite place in Yellowstone is the Hayden Valley between Canyon and the Yellow Hotel.... sit at the pull out and watch the Bison herds...

Randy (not the one attacked by a bear....)