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Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon road trip

Chicago, Illinois
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Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon road trip

Hi. I'd really appreciate your help. We are a family of 6 (four kids ages 12-3) and are planning a road trip next July/August out West. We have three weeks and I'd really like to be able to start in LA and work my way to Yosemite, then Yellowstone and then Grand Canyon (or different order).

I'm thinking 2-3 days at Yosemite, 3-4 days at Yellowstone and 2-3 days at Grand Canyon with the rest spent on driving and other small pit stops.

Is this too much or possible?


Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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1. Re: Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon road trip

Welcome to the forum. In general, you should have sufficient time. For sure you are very light on Yellowstone and would add more time there for Yellowstone and Grand Teton. You're probably high at Grand Canyon although you'll find ways to use it. Do note that is an immense amount of territory.

Unless you had some LA or California coast desires, LA would not be the best airport for this loop. I would look at Las Vegas or maybe even Salt Lake City. If you are not planning to fly home out of the same airport, do investigate rental car drop fees. Also, given that you're covering a vast amount of territory, make sure the car rental company will allow you into all the states you need to transit. Not so much an issue with majors, but if you go with cheaper car rental (Fox, as an example) there may be territorial restrictions.

Have fun.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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2. Re: Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon road trip

I think it's both possible and it's too much.

I wouldn't try to include Yellowstone in this trip - too much time in the car. But it's your trip and you might enjoy hours and hours in the car with your kids. When my kids were that age, they preferred longer experiences in great destinations rather than long rides to get somewhere.

Houston, TX
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3. Re: Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon road trip

Do be aware that the lodges inside the national parks begin accepting reservations a year in advance, so they have already started taking bookings for next July and August and those are popular months. Yellowstone begins taking them even sooner. (Just for perspective, two weeks ago I booked three nights in Yellowstone at two different places for Sept. 2015 and some types of rooms at the venues were already sold out.) If you haven't already, go to the Yosemite forum here on TA and read the Top Question about where to stay. Then get online and check lodging availability right now, especially since it will be difficult to find park lodges that will accommodate 6 people in one room. Gateway towns like Tusayan, Arizona for GCNP have the same policies and popularity, so it really isn't too early to at least check and see what's still available--might actually determine your timing and itinerary.

I agree that 2-3 nights at the Grand Canyon is probably too much, unless someone wants to hike a lot. Perhaps look at one night there, then on to Page, Arizona for Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Glen Canyon Dam.

Tacoma, Washington
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for Road Trips
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4. Re: Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon road trip

It's dable but it depends how much time of your vacation....

2 long driving days from Chicago to red lodge

--could add 1-3 days to see black hills and badlands area in SD

3.5 days in Yellowstone

1.5 days grand Teton

2 long driving days to Yosemite east entrance at Lee Vining

3 days Yosemite

-- could add 1 day SEKI

1 long driving day from Fresno to grand canyon

2 days grand canyon

3 Long days driving home

-- in Utah and Colorado you have numerous other national parks. On the drive back you could easily do monument valley and Arches/Canyonlands near Moab.

18 days with the odd ons.

It may be better to split this over 2 summers one 2 weeks other 3 weeks in length

One summer...

1 day black hills

3 days seeing black hills area

1 day to red lodge

5 days Yellowstone and grand Teton.

1 day drve to Estes park

2 days rocky mountain national park

2 days drve home

Other summer....

3 long days to grand canyon

1 day to fresno

1 day SEKI

3 days Yosemite and exit through lee vining

1 day drive across Nevada

1 day great basin

2 days Bryce/UT12

2 days Zion

1 day Page

1 day monument valley

3 days Moab

2 days drive home

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon road trip

You need a minimum of 4-5 days in Yellowstone, 2-3 in the Grand Tetons and possibly a day in Cody to see the rodeo and Buffalo Bill museums and wild horses. Also be sure and visit Jackson Hole at the southern end of the Tetons. It is a great western town with nice lodging and restaurants.

There is so much to see and do in these parks- diverse scenery, hiking, wildlife, rafting, rodeo, cookouts, Jr. Ranger program for kids, etc.

Best airports are SLC which is 5 hours from the parks and airports that are very close are JH, Bozeman, Billings and Idaho Falls.

To cut down on driving times in Yellowstone book lodging in the park- split between OF and Canyon/Lake or Rosie. If want a kitchen then out of the park at West Yellowstone or Gardiner. There are over 300 miles of paved roads in Yellowstone.


For the Tetons can stay in the park or in JH.

Some people combine Yellowstone/Tetons and Cody with a trip to Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills of SD and fly in and out of Denver. You would need a minimum of two weeks to do that imo.

6. Re: Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon road trip

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