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Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

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Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

We will be driving from the Seattle area to Yellowstone. Our route TO Yellowstone has us going through Idaho-Montana.... We plan to stay an entire 6-7 days in the area. (our children are 10, 7, and 1).

For our route home we are debating whether to go back the same way or go a different route. We are not sure what attractions we will find or other must see. We will have another 6-7 days for our way home.

What can you all recommend?

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1. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

Hi, I'll be doing the same trip one way next week. I would be interested in knowing your route as I have nothing in stone at present.

Washington
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2. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

I "think" the plan is to make our first stop from Seattle in the Kellogg, ID area for the night and then head to West Yellowstone the next day.

We are rv'ing so we have a spot at the Grizzly RV Park for the week.

My husband would like to go up to Bozeman/Livingston for a day and we are debating if there is enough to do there for a couple of days? Anyone?????

If not, where do you all suggest we head to?

What about Idaho??? What's to see and do from Yellowstone through Idah via Boise??????

Thanks!

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3. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

Hi we have done the same trip and plan on doing it again the first week in July, The must see places for us is Viginia City and Navada City in Montana they are great and the kids love panning for gold and the train ride. The other place is thermopolis wyoming it is home to the world's largest miniral hot springs it is great it has a water park the kids love it, and we do to. cody wyoming is also great the have a rodeo every night and it is fun for the kids also. We have a 3-6-and two 11 year old kids and we liked it so much two years ago they want to go again. A week is kind of short we took about 9 or 10 days, just so their is no rush. West yellowstone is great but really their is only so much to look at, so I would not plan on staying in yellowstone for more then 3 days. If you have any more questions just ask.

mandy

ps we are from a little town called Mossyrock it is at the foothills of white pass

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4. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

We'll be doing same trip eastbound. There is so much to see and to do in YNP, enjoy your time there. The kids will love it. Bring binoculars and scope or ask others if you can look through their scope. They offer views of the wildlife otherwise unattainable - unless, that is, the animals are very close. You might enjoy, in Idaho, Craters of the Moon National Monument. Google it for information. FYI, we'll be heading north to Glacier and Waterton National Parks and westbound through Canada for return to Seattle.

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5. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

I'd go back a different route. From West Yellowstone, go toward Idaho Falls as far as Ashton. Take the short detour here on the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. At Idaho Falls go west to Craters of the Moon and then north to Sun Valley and the Sawtooth Mountain area (Redfish Lake, Sun Valley). Spend at least a day in the Redfish Lake/Stanley area. From Stanley take the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway to Boise. You'll see a large variety of terrain including desert, volcanic rock, and beautiful mountains. Have fun!

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6. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

For places to see & do around the Livingston/Bozeman area:

There's great fishing! Be sure to get a license if you don't have one. Some of the rivers are catch-and-release only, so read all the info the ranger gives you at the entrance gate or wherever you buy your license. If you find a nice spot that looks like it's on private property, try to locate the owner to ask permission first - much better to be safe than sorry. There are many public fishing access areas/ pullouts, and many have picnic tables. Bozeman has several grocery stores, Wal-Mart, etc, where you can buy stuff for picnic lunches. Many places provide horses for trail rides.

The drive up from Gardiner to Livingston thru Paradise Valley follows the Yellowstone River & is beautiful. There are hot springs near Bozeman. Between Bozeman & Three Forks, there is a mostly gravel road that will take you to the Madison Buffalo Jump where the Indians used to drive the herds over the edge to harvest meat for the winter months. It's a state park. You can climb quite a ways up the jump - watch out for snakes, tho. Last time I was there, the road nearly shook my car apart - there was talk of paving it, or so I thought.

Float the rivers! I'd recommend the Jefferson River on the west side of Three Forks for this. That's where my cousins go. You may not need reservations for this. I think there are a couple of outfits that provide rafts in this area. I think you can also rent canoes. Visit the Missouri Headwaters State Park - where the Jefferson, Madison & Gallatin Rivers join to form the Big Missouri (a few miles northeast of Three Forks). The Wheat Montana store at Three Forks has great sandwiches & sweetrolls, etc. They have a wonderful bakery there, plus you can actually see the wheat fields they harvest from the store. There is a cattleman's steakhouse/ restaurant right near there where you can eat dinner while watching cattle being auctioned off in the other room (glass windows/ doors keep the bad odors out - most of them anyway). The food is delicious.

Lewis & Clark Caverns are a few miles west of Three Forks. You could head back to West Yellowstone from Three Forks thru Ennis, MT. Nice view of the Tobacco Root Mtns. on west side of road near Pony - you can drive over to Pony to get great pics of Hollow Top Mtn. From McAllister all the way down this road, the Madison mtn range will be on your left (east) side & the Gravelly Range on your right (west). In the Madison Range, see if the kids can spot the Sphinx Mountain - it looks kinda cool. Virginia City & Nevada City are awesome - turn right in Ennis & go west. You can get your family portrait done with everyone dressed in old west garb. At the Nevada City hotel, you can see a two-story outhouse (that should interest the kids!) Go back to Ennis & continue south, then east thru Quake Lake area. Kinda spooky there at times, but very interesting. Stop at the visitor's center to get all the info on this tragic event. This road (US 287) hooks back up to the one coming north out of W. Yellowstone (US 191), just north of town, so turn right & there you'll be back in town.

The drive up the Gallatin Canyon is pretty - sometimes there is a lot of traffic, tho. In Sept '05, we were going back to Three Forks this way in the dark & in the rain, & I hit a deer with my SUV. She was just standing in the road looking over the guardrail at the edge of who-knows-what. I got slowed down enough that I didn't hit her very hard - scooted her down the road a little ways on her side, then she jumped up and ran off lickity-split. I don't think she was hurt very bad at all. Thankfully, the car behind me was able to stop as well, so I didn't get rear-ended. I was so lucky! Plus the only damage to my vehicle was a bent front license plate. The next day my cousin came thru & in almost the exact spot, someone had hit & killed a moose!

Anywho, as you're coming out of the canyon, before the road starts curving to the right to come into the Gallatin Gateway/ Bozeman Hot Springs area, there is a gravel road to the left that leads up to a trail head. Beautiful little drive. Most of the land you drive thru is owned by Ted Turner - you can see his driveway & ranch buildings on the left (south) side of road. He has a very impressive herd of buffalo that are allowed to roam freely across the road, so be careful not to hit any of them. He also doesn't want anyone out on his property (for safety reasons I'm sure - a buffalo can easily kill a person), so if you stop to take a picture, don't go off the road. There are restrooms & picnic areas at the end of the road where the trails start. Beautiful location. I'm sure there are many other areas/ drives/ things to do in this whole area, so don't be shy about asking the locals. Have a super trip, and stay safe. :0)

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7. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

Forgot to mention yesterday (as if that post wasn't long enough - yikes!):

For your return trip - as a kid (well, teenager, actually) I enjoyed going thru Craters Of The Moon, and the arid/ desert climate was fascinating to see that far north. There was a stretch of road where we didn't see ANYTHING but desert hills - didn't see another car for miles. Then we saw a sign, something about nuclear missle silos - kinda spooky... (this was about the time that movie "The Day After" came out.) The little town of Arco, ID, just before you get to the Craters, had a nice cafe that served tasty burgers. Not sure if they're still open, tho. We went back down to join the interstate near Shohone Falls/ Twin Falls. We were told by some folks there that this is the place where Evel Knevel jumped the Snake River - not Hell's Canyon. Not sure if they were correct, but Shoshone Falls was really beautiful.

However, I really like cdudley's plan listed above...I'd love to see the Sawtooth Mtns someday - several years ago, I saw a program on TV about the re-introduction of wolves there, and how the researchers were actually able to communicate with them enough to be accepted as pack members. They would exchange howls & run thru the woods with them. I wouldn't recommend trying to get close to any wolves, but if you see any, your kids might like to see if they'd return a howl or two.

If for some reason you run short on time to get back home - a shorter route would be US Hwy 12 west from Missoula thru Lolo Pass to Lewiston, ID. It mostly follows the Lochsa & Clearwater Rivers thru rugged-looking mountain wilderness & the Nez Perce Indian Res. We've stayed overnight at Orofino on two different trips - nice little town. Motel we stayed at was up against a hill on the west end of town - don't remember the name, but nice, clean room & SUPER price. Can't remember for sure if they have an RV park (most places do these days) - we haven't done the RV thing yet, so don't pay enough attention to campgrounds. Good Restaurant within walking distance (actually, the whole town is within walking distance). Probably not as much for your kids to see going this way, but it sure is a beautiful drive. You probably know what your kids would prefer.... Have fun! :0)

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8. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

Montana Jones: Evel Knievel did indeed try to jump over the canyon near Twin Falls. I know because I grew up there. The launch site for the event is still marked, and I think the townspeople derived a bit of satisfaction that he failed to do it. (He walked into town acting like he owned the place.)

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9. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

Cdudley, that sure sounds like him - you probably know he's from Butte. When I was about 9 years old, my family was eating at the Purple Cow Restaurant in Hardin, MT - they served the tastiest pancakes around. I always got syrup all over, tho, so went into the Ladies' room to wash my hands. There were 2 old ladies in there who tried to convince me to convince my family to stop in Butte to see his show. Can't say it for sure, but I would almost bet the one was his mother!!! When I told my folks we just had to stop in Butte to see Evel Knievel, they were shocked that I'd even heard of him, so I explained about the two old ladies. We never did stop - I suppose my folks had the same impression of him as everyone in Twin Falls! :0) One thing ya gotta admit, tho, he sure was a showman, to get so many people out to watch his jumps.

Denise 1972, forgot to mention the road from Lolo Pass to Lewiston was being re-done when we went thru last time in 2004, so should be pretty nice. Kinda curvey in places, but they were widening it out, and if your RV isn't gi-normous, you folks should do just fine. My brother-in-law drives semi, & he thought he wouldn't have any problem getting thru there, so..... Let us know when you get back which way you picked. :0)

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10. Re: Seattle to Yellowstone and home again...

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