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YNP/GT trip pricing

cocoa, FL
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YNP/GT trip pricing

We are looking at a trip to YNC/GT next year (Late may or Early June)and have to travel on a limited budget.

What can we expect in way of expenses for tours, etc - and what tours shouldn't we miss?

What about meals - what should we budget for daily meals for 2 people? Since we are flying in from Florida, cooler and bringing food is not an option for us - we will need to eat out or buy local for all meals.

Lodging - are the less expensive Pioneer/Frontier options good? We don't mind roughing it a little- but do need our own bath in the room!

Your help is appreciated!!

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: YNP/GT trip pricing

I would visit the parks with your own car, that way you can stop when you want. You could pick up a cooler in Jackson to help save on food costs.

How many days are you planning? Where are you flying into? Check rates in Billings MT, Bozeman MT as well as Jackson WY. There also are many free or cheap ranger guided hikes and talks.

Visit www.nps.gov/yell and www.nps.gov/grte

The cabins at Old Faithful, Canyon and Lake have private baths, many at Mammoth and Tower do not. To check out lodging visit www.travelyellowstone.com

cocoa, FL
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2. Re: YNP/GT trip pricing

We are planning 9 days total - flying into Salt Lake City (most likely) - and giving 1 day on each end for travel time with 6 full days in YNP/GT - is that too much time? How should we split our time in YNP to see it all without too much rush? We enjoy (short) hiking and picnicing, and will have a rental car to travel at our own pace.

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3. Re: YNP/GT trip pricing

Agree with the advice to pick up a cooler-even if you give it away before you leave, you will save a lot of money if you can avoid eating out every time you are hungy. After lodging, food will be your biggest expense, so if you bring in drinks, snacks, and lunch fixings, even if its just PB&J or cold cuts, you'll really save a lot of money. Also, if you find yourself near Gardiner or West Yellowstone, you can probably get a better meal at a better price in these towns than in the park. If you do eat in the park, head for the cafeterias rather than the full service restaurants. The food in these is adequate and much more affordable. Anyways, if you were going to budget for 3 meals a day for two people, eating in the cafeterias, I would say $60-$75 a day-someone please correct me if I'm way off?

Six full days is in no way too long-a very nice amount of time IMO. We've always spent 5 nights in YNP and have usually spent 1 full day in the Tetons.

The Pioneer/Frontier options are very good. That is what we are doing again this summer, each has its own bath, and to give you an idea, this is what we are paying for this summer:

Mammoth: $123 before tax for 4 people

Canyon: $80 (including tax)

Lake Yellowstone: $145 before tax

(Sorry, for some reason I don't have the pre-tax rate for Canyon, but it is our cheapest stay).

So, Canyon is by far the cheapest. We last stayed at Canyon 16 years ago and it was not nearly as nice as Lake-smaller and darker, but was still just fine. However, the location is great, and I think I read that they are redoing these cabins in the fall so I think they would be just fine. I'm also pretty sure you can book now for next summer-I would do it as soon as you have an idea of where you want to stay to have the most choice. You can always change. I booked our rooms for the very end of July/early August on January 2nd and had my choice of lodging except for Roosevelt and cabins at Old Faithful.

I'm not sure about tours. Personally, I would skip them. You can do fine exploring on your own. The only organized activity we've done is the Roosevelt Cookout which was very fun but also very pricey. Furthermore, I don't think you need to plan out what you're going to see each day. We always head out each morning in one direction or the other, stop at whatever highlights we pass, stop when we see wildlife, find a picnic area when we get hungry, etc. If you wind up staying in more than one location, it would of course make sense to cover the area closest to where you are staying each day, but I've never understood the need to schedule Yellowstone. With 5 to 6 days you'll have plenty of time to explore at your leisure.

So besides food and lodging, your only other fixed expense will be the $25 7 day admission fee. Also, don't forget gas-you can fill up in the park and it's usually higher than outside the park. Other than that, you shouldn't really have any expenses unless you want souveniers.

Green Valley...
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4. Re: YNP/GT trip pricing

Reality Check, if I may. The Pioneer and Frontier Cabins are very basic and, well, unfinished; not motel like. Some with sink in the bedroom, very small toilet/shower combination, but at least they are in your cabin. If you are like most, you'll use the cabin for crashing at night, and spend most of your time seeing the many sights. So, expect the bed and bathroom, not much more. Unless you get a Western Cabin type accommodation. If you call Xanterra, the park's concessionaire, they can guide you, as can the website.

Official Lodging and Tour vendor for Yellowstone National Park (Call them frequently, cancellations occur.)


With re: trip planning, don't underestimate the park's own website, which contains a lot of very good information and an interactive map.


A cheap Styrofoam type cooler, purchased in any grocery store, will enhance your trip, in two ways. One, as noted, it will reduce costs. Two, by having food and beverages available, you can either stay on the move or, importantly, stay at certain locations to observe the wildlife.

Tours? Sure, you can, but you don't need to. Once you review the map, you'll see that the roads are, essentially, tour guides. Follow the roads, follow the signs, it works out. So, I agree with librarychick, relax, drive carefully, watch for the wildlife, enjoy walking the many boardwalks/walkways in the geyser areas.

Bring binoculars, you won't regret it.

This Inside Page has more than you need, but the tips will prove useful.

For wildlife viewing and photography:


5. Re: YNP/GT trip pricing

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