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Jackson to Billings Mid-May

Phoenix, AZ
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Jackson to Billings Mid-May

My daughter and I are driving to Billings, MT for a May 19 flight. We planned to spend one night in Jackson and then on to Billings the next day. We are not in a huge hurry and would love to see some of the Park. What would be the most scenic route, how long would it take and is it worth the extra time?

Burlington, Iowa...
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1. Re: Jackson to Billings Mid-May

Looks like going through the park using the south entrance, past Lake and out the east gate is your best choice. Then on to Cody and north to Billings. The route out the Northeast entrance will not be open yet, same with the Beartooth Highway unfortunately.

Mapquest has the trip at 7 hours which it will probably be more since you want to sightsee a little. I don't think you'll have much extra time so a side trip to Old Faithful or Canyon is probably out, unless someone else chimes in saying otherwise.

Billings, Montana
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for Yellowstone National Park
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2. Re: Jackson to Billings Mid-May

It depends what you're interested in seeing once you're in Yellowstone Park. The route that jenmarie suggested is 281 miles. If you take that route you turn at Fishing Bridge to go out the east entrance and Cody. From Cody to Billings its a pretty "blah" drive through some very dry country. You would miss Hayden Valley and the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone (Canyon) unless you drove another 16 miles past Fishing Bridge and then backtracked before going out the east entrance. Plan on 1 hour extra for the 32 extra miles along with the time it takes you to stop at the falls (probably about at least 2 hours). Between the south entrance and Fishing Bridge you could probably drive without stopping so you should be able to squeeze in time to go up to Canyon.

If you're interested in seeing Old Faithful, you would need to turn at the West Thumb junction and go that direction, stop at Old Faithful and continue north and out of the north entrance at Mammoth/Gardiner. Continue on to Livingston and go east on I90 to Billings. This route is 323 miles. Once you hit the interstate you will be able to go faster so probably time-wise it's pretty close to going through Cody. You would be able to view more of the park while driving through on this route.

Deb

Burlington, Iowa...
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3. Re: Jackson to Billings Mid-May

Thanks for your opinion Deb. I knew it wasn't the most scenic but I have never driven it so wasn't sure if they'd have time to squeeze anything in. I'm glad they will be able to.

Phoenix, AZ
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4. Re: Jackson to Billings Mid-May

Thanks. This is very helpful. One last question... what if we went to the Canyon via Fishing Bridge and then continued out the North entrance. It's really no longer than backtracking out the east entrance. Would that be a more scenic route? And a follow up... if we have to choose between squeezing in Old Faithful or the Canyon/Falls, which would you recommend?

Ennis MT
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for Yellowstone National Park, Ennis
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5. Re: Jackson to Billings Mid-May

Which would you rather see?

I would choose Canyon over OF, but that's my preference. I think that the drive through Hayden Valley and past Canyon is more scenic. Then, as you said, you could go out the North entrance to Billings. It's a little longer, but after Livingston you'll be on the freeway, so can make better time.

Billings, Montana
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6. Re: Jackson to Billings Mid-May

The distance from the south entrance to the north entrance via the west side of the park (West Thumb, Old Faithful, Madison, Norris, Mammoth) is 95 miles.

The distance from the south entrance to the north entrance via the east side of the park (West Thumb, Fishing Bridge, Canyon, Norris (Dunraven Pass is closed when you'll be there), Mammoth) is 97 miles.

So, it all depends on what you're interested in.....do you want to see Old Faithful or if you're more interested in seeing Yellowstone Lake and the falls? While wildlife can be everywhere, you will have a better chance of seeing grizzly bears and wolves by going through Hayden Valley (between Fishing Bridge & Canyon) then you will see between West Thumb and Norris and the west side. This handsome grizzly was putting on quite the show last weekend at the lower end of Hayden Valley.

…photobucket.com/albums/ad123/Deb1741/Facebo…

Deb

7. Re: Jackson to Billings Mid-May

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