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Asking for help now!

South Jersey, USA
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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10,768 posts
11 reviews
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Asking for help now!

Hi all,

I have been researching and reading until my eyes are crossed and I'm still confused about things so I figured this would be the best place to come for answers/suggestions!

First, we will be coming in July of 2010, flying in from the East coast and renting a car. We will have a week to 10 days for this trip. We are 4 adults all in our 50's, are reasonably fit, love the outdoors and hiking. We also want to visit and stay one or two nights in Grand Teton NP. Also will try and do this trip as budget friendly as possible, but not to the point that I will give up something of interest!

Would like to at least get our accommodations booked inside the parks, as I know from dealing with the Grand Canyon, they do book up quickly.

Airport? At first I thought Jackson, but I don't know how big this airport is and if it's the "right" one to fly into or is Salt Lake City a better choice or would you suggest another airport. Don't mind the extra driving time from them. Any thoughts on this?

Lodging for GTNP, would you recommend inside the park? Some suggestions that would fit our interests?

For Yellowstone this is where I'm a little overwhelmed! I can't seem to figure out which area. I'm leaning more towards Canyon for 3-4 nights (is this enough?), but would also like to see Old Faithful for sure. Would driving from Canyon to OF be doable for a day or should we spend a night here as well? Is there any other place in the park that we should look into for spending a couple of nights?

Of course I'll have lots more questions as it gets closer to our trip, but for now I'll stop here! I'm wide open for itinerary suggestion as well!

Any and all information/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks all


Bruceton Mills...
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1. Re: Asking for help now!

If you haven't seen it, try this. We tried to organize a lot of planning information to help people making their first visit. There's some sample itineraries too.


When you're through with that, there's a link to the Tetons information on the left. It has links to the accommodations in the park.

You don't have to stay at Old Faithful to enjoy it. No reason not to spend a night there either.

Take a look at Roosevelt too. Maybe you'll be early enough to get a cabin with a bathroom. If not, the common ones are a short walk away. I like Roosevelt almost as much as Canyon.

Ennis MT
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for Yellowstone National Park, Ennis
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2. Re: Asking for help now!

The airport in Jackson is small, but handles a lot of air traffic, especially during the summer season.

Other choices would be either Bozeman or Billings MT.

Many people fly into either SLC or Denver because of the cheaper fares. However, Denver is a 9-10 hour drive from YNP and SLC is 6 hours - so you need to factor that into your decision. I would choose paying a little more to get closer, but that's just personal preference.

Canyon is the most central area for lodging in YNP. I also like the Lake area - nearby, but a little less congested. Spending a night or 2 at OFI would give you a base in that southern area of the park for exploring the thermal features, and maybe even taking a drive into West Yellowstone for the day. You can see OF as a day trip from Canyon also. One other day trip you might consider is a drive to Cody WY - lots to see there and a nice drive too.

I've probably confused you with more choices than you thought you had, but I hope not. You'll have a wonderful trip - just take the planning a section at a time and come back with anymore questions!

Mount Laurel, NJ
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3. Re: Asking for help now!

We're flying from Philly to Bozeman (tomorrow!!!), renting a car and driving to OFI for 3 nights, then 3 nights at Canyon, 2 nights at Signal Mountain Lodge, 1 night in Cooke City, drive over Beartooth, stop in Red Lodge for a break, then staying overnight in Bozeman for the late flight home on July 4th.

I made our YNP & GTNP ressies about a year out.

When I was researching this trip last year, I looked into flying into Jackson, but the flight and car rental were just too much $$$, Billings & Bozeman were just about a wash price-wise, SLC was cheaper to fly into, but the rental car was more + the driving times didn't appeal to me.

Good luck with your planning - have fun and relax - this forum is a great place for info!!

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
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4. Re: Asking for help now!

Hi, its fun to see you searching out the other great parks in the West :-)

Flying into Jackson is great, but car rental may be more.

SLC is about 5 hrs to Jackson. You have to consider plane transfers, car rental and drive time and that's alot of variables. If it is only a small amount higher to go into Jackson including car rental, then I would. If it is alot then I would pick SLC or Billings/Bozeman.

It isn't just Old Faithful you will want to see but the whole west side of the park. For that reason it might be better to spend at least one day in either Old Faithful or West Yellowstone.

Same goes for the north end of the park. I think it is hard (but certainly possible) to do a day trip to Mammoth from Canyon. It would be better to spend a night or two either there or Gardiner or Roosevelt.

GIve yourself at least two days for Grand Tetons.

South Jersey, USA
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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5. Re: Asking for help now!

Thanks all for your quick replies!

AKJ, your site was VERY helpful and your pictures are just beautiful. Originally I thought just one night/two days at GTNP, but now I think we will need more!

Kbecjeans, it is very different being the one asking for help, but I will do it! :-)

I'm still researching the area, but I think Canyon will work great for us with maybe a night here and there! Now all I have to do is figure out the airport business, but I think I have a little time there!

Again, thank you all for your help, I'm sure I'll be back soon!


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6. Re: Asking for help now!

american & delta both have decent flights into jackson from several major cities. there are some direct flights to salt lake city & then a short flight to jackson. also check flights into idaho falls, especially if you are using frequent flyer miles.

if you have 10 days you can make super trip out of this. my suggestion would be to stay at several differnt places over the course of your trip. we love moving around simply to see the different lodges. my suggestion would go something like this.

-1st night in jackson (lots of great options)

-2nd & 3rd night in gtnp (jackson lake lodge, colter bay lodge, signal mtn lodge, or the dornan cabins)

-4th & 5th at lake yellowstone (i love the hotel but there is also the lodge & western cabins)

-6th & 7th around the canyon area (then on to cody on the chief joseph hwy)

-8th in cody, wy (got to see the rodeo & buffalo bill museum)

9th & 10th back in jackson to rest up & enjoy the town. you're also close enough to gtnp to go back for a day trip if you want to do another hike in that area.

book rental car early & google "alamo coupon codes". you may have to try several before you'll get on that works but i got a full size car for 9 days for less than $250 on alamo this year.

as you have already mentioned you'll need to book anything in the national parks very early.

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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7. Re: Asking for help now!

We've flown into and out of Denver, SLC and Jackson Hole. Denver is ok if you are also doing the Black Hills of SD. We did that in 2008. SLC is not a bad choice at all if you can get good airfare. We flew into Las Vegas and did the Grand Canyon and then went to YNP and GT and flew out of SLC in 2007. This year we are doing Jackson Hole because we have direct flights from Atlanta. I personally like direct flights better. In terms of areas we like Jackson Hole for the GT and like Old Faithful and Lake Yellowstone for in the GCNP and West Yellowstone for outside the park. If you are planning a trip for 10 days then try to go to Cody for a day and enjoy the rodeo and museums. The book called Yellowstone Treasures is great for routes, wildlife, lodging ,etc. Enjoy your trip planning.

8. Re: Asking for help now!

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