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Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

Calgary, Canada
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Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

We're thinking of travelling from Calgary to Vegas (plane) and hiring car to do Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon. Just wondered whether we should be considering Yellowstone instead. Excuse my ignorance (I'm from DownUnder so this is not my homeland) but what would be the best place to fly in to if we did Yellowstone or could we drive. Which would be the best trip? It's unlikely that we'll do a holiday like this again in the US (as we'll be going home next year) so are the two areas similar & which would you suggest? We could have between 1 & 2 weeks for whole trip but don't want to spend most of it behind the wheel. I realise that this is a very broad and subjective question but would be interested in your thoughts.

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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1. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

Are you traveling with children? If so, ages?

Do you like to hike, view the sights, have specific interests?

When is this trip?

The parks really are quite different.

Both locations are terrific, but it depends on your answers to the preceding questions.

Green Valley...
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2. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

I just reviewed your other posts re: Bryce, et al. So, with kids those ages, I'd say, w/o doubt, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park. Much more diversity of sights - e.g., mountains, rivers, waterfalls, volcanic events, wildlife everywhere, things to do rather than just observe. While the weather might be warm to hot, the elevation will result in cooling in the afternoons. You need to make reservations ASAP for within the park. Xanterra is the lodging source for within the park. If they are full up all the dates you seek, try by phone, vacancies often occur. Good locations within the park are Canyon and Lake. If you don't mind basic, it's well worth doing so you won't have to drive in, and out, every day, which can be a hassle. Lodging outside the park means, also, that you might have to leave, for example, Hayden or Lamar Valleys, just as the wildlife gets up close and personal. If you have binoculars and scope, well worth it. We spend 4 - 6 nights in the park each visit. You can spend another 2 - 3 nights in Grand Teton NP, immediately south of YNP.

I also like the S. Utah National Parks, and there is much to see in fascinating rock formations, rivers, hiking, etc. But I believe your kids will like YNP better for reasons noted. BTW, the Grand Canyon North Rim is less crowded and, to my mind, quite spectacular, and not that far from the Bryce/Zion, etc., corridor. Our trip there was a relaxed 12 days.

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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3. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

An idea; reserve lodging in, for example, W. Yellowstone, but keep trying for in-park lodging, and if you find it, cancel your reservations (with fair warning to the establishment, of course). Some of the lodging will have pools.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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4. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

I agree with Voyaging. I think your kids would be much more entertained in Yellowstone/Grand Teton. Grand Canyon and Zion (have yet to visit Bryce...some day!) were wonderful, and we saw both while visiting Vegas, but much less hands on parks. You are best off flying into Jackson, WY. 1-2 weeks is plenty of time to see the parks. You could include Cody with that length of time. If the prices seem too high for Jackson, you could always check into Salt Lake City. I think it's about a 6 hour drive from there.

Your kids will love the wildlife, thermal areas, lake, waterfalls, and colorful features of Yellowstone. The Tetons have some of the best scenery you will find!

Good luck planning!

Catlin, Illinois
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5. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

Hi Adele02,

I checked prices for flying into Salt Lake City from Calgary. Frontier is the cheapest at this time. I picked 2 weeks in June. For YYC to SLC is CDN$600 per person. Car hire would be another CDN$250. Total would be around CDN$2650 before insurance. Flying into Las Vegas would be CDN$400 cheaper.

If it were me I would drive to Yellowstone. Google shows 881 km from Calgary to the north entrance of YS. Estamated drive time of 9+ hours. It is beautiful country to drive thru.

The parks are nothing alike and are special in thier own ways. I would say go to all of them, but that is too much driving. For more information on all of the parks go to www.nps.gov.

Which ever park you decide to visit, come back to the forums. There are many members here to help with all of your questions.

Enjoy your trip!

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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6. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

Interesting idea, driving, above, because you could then see Waterton and Glacier National Parks. Going to the Sun Hwy. is a real treat and you could continue south toward YNP on the west side or, because it is so scenic, return over GTTS, then southbound. There are several roads into the park on the east side; they end, but what an end!!!

www.nps.gov/archive/glac/images/bigmap.gif

You have to consider time available, and you can easily use 5 days just in YNP, 1 day devoted, perhaps, to Grand Teton NP, perhaps 4 days driving RT, leaving you with several more, 3 - 4, days for flexibility and exploring, such as Glacier and Waterton. With this much time, I'd drive the circle route to, and see, Cody, WY, via Beartooth Pass, the NE entrance to YNP, then return via the E entrance. A fantastic drive.

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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7. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

I assume you have gone to the YNP official website. This map is very useful and interactive to show even more detail. It's a large and fascinating park, hence the reason we say, you could spend many enjoyable days there.

nps.gov/archive/yell/interactivemap/index.htm

Calgary, Canada
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8. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

Thanks so much everyone for all the effort you have gone to in answering my questions- I'm so impressed with your helpfulness and appreciate the links to specific websites. I was keen on the Utah/Arizona parks but am becoming more interested in Yellowstone. Is it anything like the Canadian Rockies National Parks? They are so beautiful but I was keen to see the rock formations, hoodoos, desert type landscapes but can see that more variety might be available in Yellowstone.

I agree that driving might be the most economical and more interesting way to go but my husband doesn't want to spend all day behind the wheel. As long as we break the trip up sufficiently and share the drive I'm sure it would be totally enjoyable. We have been meaning to go to Waterton and Glacier NP's so what a great way to start the journey. Thanks again for all your help.

Uden, The...
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for Road Trips
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9. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

Why don't you ask the kids where they want to go? With 9 and 12 they can judge. Show them pictures from both area's. If you want to go more south maybe add Death Valley NP from Las Vegas (Las Vegas-Death Valley-Zion-Bryce-NR-Las Vegas.) Take at least 10 days for it. Will be extremely hot in summer though.

Better climate in Yellowstone. All mentioned places are breathtaking and completely different.

Tet

south jersey
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10. Re: Yellowstone or Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon?

We did the Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon trip last summer with 2 kids and it was AMAZING!! That said, we are heading the Yellowstone this summer, so I can't say which is better. We went to Bryce (my fav), Grand Canyon North Rim (beautiful, peaceful not crowded)

Lake Powell and Zion. We stayed 3 days at each location. The drive from the North Rim to Lake Powell is breathtaking. The nice part was also that the drive from place to place was 3 hours or less, with the exception of of Vegas to Bryce, which was at least 4 hours. Whatever you decide, although different you will make memories to last a lifetime!