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First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

Alabama
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First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

My family has planned a trip to Yellowstone Nat'l Park over Memorial Day 2009. We are flying into SLC and driving part of the way the 1st day and will spend the night in Idaho Falls. We will then be spending one night at Mammoth Springs, two nights at Lake Hotel Cabins and one night at Old Faithful Inn. We are then planning on driving back to SLC to spend our final night before flying home.

We are debating if we should cancel one of our nights in YNP to visit Grand Tetons. Do you have any suggestions if we could just do this in a day from our YNP hotel or would it be best to stay the night in Jackson or Grand Tetons?

I am also concerned about weather in late May and know that it will be cold. Should most roads, hotels and restaurants in YNP be opened by Memorial Day? Just trying to be prepared with back up plans if necessary.

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

We did that trip over Memorial Day in 2007 and went back in early June in 2008. I would take a day and go thru the GT and spend the night in Jackson. Take a float trip down the Snake River. You will not forget it. My teenage kids loved it too. In 2007 we flew out of SLC at 4 and drove from Jackson Hole-5 hours that morning. Let us know if you have more questions. Enjoy your trip planning.

New York City
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2. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

Hi tappin, We were there last Memorial day weekend. You could drive by Jackson WY and the Grand Tetons from Idaho Falls to Mammoth or on your return from Old Faithful to SLC, unless you want to spend a full day to participate in any activities. You get the benefit of long daylight hours at the end of May. All roads were open, but it was cool at times with a little snow at times. The park and wildlife were spectacular. Have a great time !!

You can check for scheduled openings on this web site.

http://www.travelyellowstone.com/

Wisconsin
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3. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

First off, who are you traveling with? Are there kids, if so, how old? There is a lot to see and do but what you do depends on the age and condition of the travelers. We went in 2007 with our 3 kids; 5, 2, 1. We spent 2 days here and saw all we could see due to the limitations on the hikes.

If you can't hike very far (we were 3/4 mile max) then you will have plenty of time to head toward the Grand Tetons.

FAIRBURN
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4. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

Yes, take out half a day for the Snake River raft trip in GT.

Illinois
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5. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

I can't comment on the weather but I think the others have given you some good advice.

As far as the Tetons, I think they are definitely worth seeing and I think if you visit that area from one of your days in the Lake area you'll be pleased. It's not too far a drive from that area and on our last visit there we saw several moose, which was fun. The first time my husband and I visited YNP we did drive all the way to Jackson and while I'm glad I saw Jackson, I have no desire to return.

That said, I'm not a huge fan of the Tetons. The mountains are beautiful, seeing moose was great, but we've just always been kind of bored with the Tetons and don't plan to venture that way on our trip this summer. I'm sure others will disagree with me, and I'm sure we've missed some of the park's highlights, but we've just always been much more enamored with Yellowstone. If you only have 4 nights, my recommendation would be to keep your reservations in Yellowstone.

AKJ
Bruceton Mills...
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6. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

I like the Tetons even though I far prefer Yellowstone. We spent a full day there in June, 2008. If you're curious, you can see the trip report and pictures from that visit. Its a beautiful area.

www.alandsuejohnson.com/grand_tetons_2008.htm

Here's a link to the opening dates from 2008. I assume they would be similar in 2009. Lake Lodge and Roosevelt won't be open early June.

The roads are scheduled to be open by then but snow could change that.

I'd spend the night in the Tetons if you decide to go that way. Why waste time driving back and forth. If you route yourself from SLC through Jackson and then to Yellowstone, you get a good look at the Tetons without giving up a day in Yellowstone.

Englewood, Fl.
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7. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

I have to agree with AKJ on the route.... IF the south entrance road is open. Unless you have some particular reason to visit Idaho Falls, your plan seems like an awful lot of round about driving to me. I would also agree that GTNP is worth seeing while you're out there, which you will if you're able to go up through Jackson, but it's not worth giving up an entire day in Yellowstone for.

As for the weather and what will be open. Memorial Day weekend is when the park TRYS to have everything open for the season. They usually have most of the "Grand Loop" and some facilities open sooner, but that mountain weather can be fickle, and depending on snowfall accumulations, some things and even some roads might not be open yet. I've seen cold temps, rain, sleet, ice and even snow in late May. In 2008 that nasty weather lasted into mid-June! I've also been out in Lamar Valley at that same time of year in shorts and a tee shirt with 70 degree temps and bright sunshine, so you just never know.

Your last statement Re: back up plans, is always recommended. Especially at that time of year.

Enjoy your trip!

Alabama
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8. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

Thanks for all the helpful responses. I am curious to see why you think Idaho Falls is out of the way when traveling from SLC to our 1st night in the park at Mammoth Springs. Is there a better route or stop you would suggest for our first night in transit to the park?

Englewood, Fl.
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9. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

My reference to Idaho Falls as being, "out of the way", was to suggest that by going that way you will be bypassing Jackson, and the entire Grand Teton National Park, as well as some of the southern portion of Yellowstone. Since you mentioned wanting to visit GTNP, as others have said here, if you were to stop your first night in Jackson, you could continue in the morning up through both parks to Mammoth.

Which ever route you take I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip.

Vestal, New York
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10. Re: First Time Yellowstone Visitor Needing Itinerary Help

If you are only interested in seeing the Tetons, you could drive through the park from the Old Faithful Inn back to SLC. Personally, I would opt for a night in/near GTNP if you intend to include it as part of your trip.

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