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Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

Eastern Connecticut
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267 posts
60 reviews
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Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

I apologize for the length of this query. I'm pretty anal when it comes to planning.

Before I book lodging for mid July of 2014 which should be opening up soon, I would appreciate any feedback on the planned itinerary. It's likely to be our one and only visit to Yellowstone/Tetons in this lifetime so I want to see as much as possible. If I could shave a day or 2 off without compromising that, it would help with the budget but is not a requirement. We like day hikes (up to about 10 miles or so round trip but the 1-2 milers are just fine too), getting out early to beat the crowds, wildlife sightings, wildflowers, landscape and wildlife photography, and the golden hour around sunset. We usually pack a lunch so we don’t need to stop mid-day at a restaurant. I've purposely chosen a figure 8 route but feel free to comment if you think it's a bad idea.

Day 1 - Fly from the East coast to Jackson Hole. Stock up on groceries. Stroll around Jackson. Hotel for 1 night in Jackson.

Day 2 - Because of the time difference we will probably be up early and out by 7am. Use this day to acclimate to the altitude. Drive to GTNP. Maybe take in a float trip on the Snake River, drive the Jenny Lake Scenic Dr with a short hike in the area or at Coulter Bay. Drive to the Summit of Signal Mt for sunset. Lodging at Signal Mt for 2 nights.

Day 3 - Try to be on the first boat to cross Jenny Lake. Hike to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Pt and into Cascade Canyon as far as we feel like going.

Day 4 – Drive to the Canyon area of Yellowstone. On the way stop at any Visitor Center, see West Thumb Geyser Basin, Lake Yellowstone Lodge, short hike on the Pelican Creek Nature Trail, maybe hike Elephant Back or Natural Bridge, Mud Volcano area and spend some time looking for wildlife in the Hayden Valley. Canyon cabins for 3 nights.

Day 5 – Canyon area drive/hikes

Day 6 – Canyon area drive/hikes

Day 7 – Drive west to Norris Geyser Basin then north to lodging in Gardiner for 1 night. Maybe a soak/swim at Boiling River.

Day 8 – Visit Mammoth area then drive to Tower/Roosevelt area. Lodging in a cabin for 1 night (Hopefully one with a private bath if I call early enough) Spend some time looking for wildlife in the Lamar Valley.

Day 9 – Drive to Cody via the Chief Joseph Hwy. Visit the Bill Cody Museum. See the night rodeo. Lodging for 1 night in Cody.

Day 10 – Drive back to YNP Tower/Roosevelt area via Beartooth Hwy. Another opportunity to view wildlife in Lamar Valley. Lodging for 1 night in Tower/R cabins.

Day 11 – Mt Washburn hike then drive to Old Faithful area. Lodging for 3 nights at Snow Lodge.

Day 12 – Visit Old Faithful area as far north as Madison

Day 13 - Visit Old Faithful area

Day 14 – Old Faithful area in a.m. Drive to GTNP and hike to Phelps Lake in p.m. Lodging for 1 night at Signal Mt. or Jackson Lake

Day 15 – Hike to Amphitheater Lake

Day 16 – Fly home

Questions:

Do I need the 2 full days to see the Canyon area? Is 2 ½ days for Old Faithful area too much?

Would you change anything? If so, what and why? Thanks in advance for your responses.

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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1. Re: Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

It looks pretty good and it shows that you have done your homework! Good for you!

Here are my thoughts. You have several one-night stands, so I might do Cody on Day 7 after your Canyon days. Stay overnight there, then do your Chief Joseph/Beartooth day and enter thru the NE entrance and do your Roosevelt Days. I would probably combine your Gardiner night into your Roosevelt nights so you are there for 3 nights. Hopefully if you call May 1 you can get 3 nights in the cabins with the bathrooms.

You have a wonderful amount of time and should have plenty of opportunity for hiking, Ranger presentations and ice cream-eating! lol

Pam

Eastern Connecticut
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267 posts
60 reviews
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2. Re: Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

Thanks Pam,

First things first: Where's the yummiest ice cream? :)

Yeah, the 1 nighters are a drag but just how comfortable are the Roosevelt cabins? The description sounds pretty basic. I like a comfortable queen size bed and a decent bathroom. Also, are you saying we should be able to drive from Roosevelt and see Mammoth and Norris sights all in one day?

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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19,051 posts
109 reviews
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3. Re: Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

Do you mean do Norris and Mammoth together on one day? With the number of days you have you would have time to spend your time doing them on perhaps separate days. However, you could do Norris from Roosevelt or from Old Faithful either one.

They usually serve Wilcoxen (not sure that is spelled right) which is a local Montana brand. It is wonderful!

Pam

Eastern Connecticut
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267 posts
60 reviews
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4. Re: Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

If neither area warrants a full day I just as soon combine them and save on 1 night's lodging. I really don't know how long it will take to see each of the various "hubs" in Yellowstone (Canyon, Old Faithful, Norris, Mammoth, Roosevelt). I'm also wondering if I have allocated too much time in the Canyon area since Mt Washburn has it's own day.

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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19,051 posts
109 reviews
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5. Re: Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

It's hard to say how long Canyon will take if you are doing hikes in the area as well. I think you could easily take a whole day seeing the North and South rim overlooks and doing one of the hikes in the area as well. In years past they have offered some very interesting Ranger-led hikes on various rim trails. You might also want to space some of the Canyon viewpoints out over a couple of days. Say perhaps do the south rim and get the rainbow from Artist Point between 945-10AM, then Hayden and the interesting sights down to Fishing Bridge. The next day you might want to do the North Rim and a rim hike. You could add in the hike to Natural Bridge which is south of Bridge Bay and/or the Storm Point hike which is east of Fishing Bridge. In any event, as you see on the park map, Canyon is very central, so it is easy to get most places from there.

Pam

Yellowstone Nat...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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6. Re: Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

<< First things first: Where's the yummiest ice cream? :) >>

Anywhere they sell Wilcoxson's Ice Cream. And I have no connection with that company.

7. Re: Do you see any problems with this itinerary?

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