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West Yellowstone- 3 days

New Jersey
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West Yellowstone- 3 days

Hello,

Flying into BZN tomorrow, landing around noon, and then driving to West Yellowstone.

We will be staying there for three nights. Any suggestions on itineraries for each day?

We want to see Old Faithful, hopefully do some fishing on Lake Yellowstone, also see the geysers the "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone", Lamar Valley, Boiling Springs but also open for suggestions!

I can still cancel the hotel room for the last night, would it be worth it to do so and stay in Gardiner for the last night to be closer to Mammoth Springs? From there we will be driving to Glacier National Park before driving back to Bozeman to fly home.

Thanks for any input!

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1. Re: West Yellowstone- 3 days

If you are planning on a guided fishing trip on the Lake, you will need to make a reservation through Xanterra. I would suggest going out in the morning, as storms can blow up quickly in the afternoons this time of year and spoil the outing.

I think that spending your last night in Gardiner would be a good idea - it will position you better for seeing the northern sections of the park.

If you look at the map on the YNP website, you'll see the Figure8 layout of the roads, and also where the main sights are located. You can then decide which section you want to explore each day. Other than that, I don't get into "detailed itineraries" - IMO, they're counter-productive here.

Enjoy your trip!

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Gardiner
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West Yellowstone...
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2. Re: West Yellowstone- 3 days

I think if it were my trip, I'd

Day 1: arrive in Bozeman, pick up rental car, grab some lunch to eat on the road, then head towards the park via Livingston (191 to 89 to Gardiner) and enter at the north entrance. (If you drive through West, you may arrive before you're even able to check into your hotel, and you will have spent valuable daylight hours trying). I'd stop briefly at Mammoth for a walk around the hot springs, then head straight to Old Faithful, which will take you about 1.5-2 hours (from Mammoth).

Once you've seen Old Faithful erupt, and no doubt a few others in the distance, you can decide what you'd like to do with any remaining daylight you have, keeping in mind that it will take you about an hour to get back out to West Yellowstone. You can use the remaining time to walk around the Old Faithful area (miles of boardwalks!) or check out a few of the other geyser basins north of Old Faithful on your way back to West Yellowstone.

In addition to the reason stated above for entering via Gardiner, this may also be your only opportunity to see the sites along the road between Norris and Mammoth. And you will have plenty of opportunity to see the road between West Yellowstone and Madison Junction.

Day 2, I'd take HeyPaula's advice and make arrangements for a morning visit to the Lake for your fishing excursion. It is a little shorter to go via Old Faithful again, but in my experience, the traffic on the main road between Madison Jct. (where you join the Grand Loop Road from the west entrance road) and Old Faithful is a real hold-up and makes it worth considering driving north to Norris and cutting across to Canyon, then down via Hayden Valley. Either way, plan on a minimum of 2.5 hours and hope to be surprised that it takes less time than that. After your fishing trip, I'd suggest working your way back up the east side of the park (through the Hayden Valley) and visiting the Grand Canyon area. If you have daylight and steam left after visiting those areas, check out Norris Geyser Basin before returning to West Yellowstone.

Day 3: Enter the park and head north again towards Norris. Cut across the middle again, towards the Grand Canyon, but this time turn left at Canyon Junction and enjoy a scenic drive over Dunraven Pass to visit Lamar Valley as early as you can manage to get there (maybe take the scenic Virginia Cascades drive this day - it is a short distance in on your way between Norris and Canyon). Enjoy the wildlife watching in Lamar before traveling along the north section of the park back towards Mammoth and up to Gardiner.

You didn't mention if you're traveling as a family with children, but if so, check out the Jr. Ranger program which will keep them very involved in their visit to Yellowstone (and Glacier!). You will find opportunities to sign them up at Mammoth, Madison Jct. Information Station and Old Faithful.

Also, review the newspaper that the rangers at the entrance gate will provide when you enter the park. There will be a schedule of ranger-led activities including hikes, informative talks and slide shows contained within and they will help you fill out the days, which will go far more quickly than you are probably imagining!

Edited: 02 August 2014, 23:29
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3. Re: West Yellowstone- 3 days

So what did you do? Would love to hear how you went about it and your favorite spots.

New Jersey
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4. Re: West Yellowstone- 3 days

Thanks for your advice to enter through the north entrance. I would not have thought of that and it worked out really well. We only stayed in Yellowstone two nights because it was rainy and then headed up to Glacier which we absolutely loved. It was a great trip.

5. Re: West Yellowstone- 3 days

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