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Itinerary Feedback

Columbus, Ohio
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110 posts
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Itinerary Feedback

First – I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to these boards. The information has proved invaluable for planning this trip! We just decided that we were going to try to go to Yellowstone next summer a couple of weeks ago, since then I have feverishly been trying to gather information since I know that lodging books up quickly for that time of year. As of today I have our lodging booked, but would like feedback on if our choices look alright.

Some background info: It will just be me and my husband traveling. We are in our late 20s/early 30s. My husband is an aspiring photographer so we will definitely want to be out and about for sunrise and sunset to get the best shots. I tried to book lodging so that we are close to a variety of locations and won’t have to travel too far on any particular day.

This is what I have planned so far:

June 11 – Arrive in SLC (would love to fly into a closer airport, but as of right now the prices for regional airports seem to be a lot more expensive and the times aren’t as convenient)

Night at Old Faithful Inn

June 12 – Old Faithful Inn

June 13 – Old Faithful Inn (or Lake Yellowstone Cabins)

June 14 - Canyon Lodge Cabins

June 15 – Canyon Lodge Cabins

June 16 – Canyon Lodge Cabins

June 17 - Jackson Lake Lodge

June 18 – Jackson Lake Lodge

June 19 - ?!? Depending on departure flight time, we may need to stay close to SLC

June 20 – Depart

My questions as of right now are:

- Does this itinerary look okay? Will we be too rushed in any one area?

- Should we stay 3 nights at Old Faithful Inn or 2 at the Inn and then one at the cabins in Lake Yellowstone? Originally I booked 3 night at OFI, but started thinking that might be too much and the lake area looks so pretty I thought it might be a nice area to be in for at least one sunset/sunrise. So I ended booking a night there too…and now I need to decide which one to cancel :)

- We will need to depart on the 20th. If we can get an afternoon flight would it be possible to stay in Jackson or is it a better idea to drive leisurely to SLC on the 19th and then just stay by the airport on the night of the 19th?

- Is this a good time to go? I’m a teacher, so unfortunately we can’t go any earlier and I’m assuming the more into summer you get the more crowded everything is…. But some pictures I’ve seen of Yellowstone in June look cold and snowy!

I'm sure I'll have many more questions as my planning continues!!!

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Green Valley...
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1. Re: Itinerary Feedback

Congratulations, you are in for a treat!

You have plenty of time to enjoy the park, so no worries there.

I like your lodging choices, but agree with your reasoning about doing Lake one night and OFI, one less.

Will be cold at night, possibly during the day, but generally comfortably warm.

If in SLC, might be interested in visiting Antelope Island State Park:

www.utah.com/stateparks/antelope_island.htm

Regarding photography, here's an Inside Page that should prove helpful:

For wildlife viewing and photography:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60999-c96653/Yellows…

An Inside Page helpful in packing for your trip (see comments about a cooler, especially - buy a cheap Styrofoam, leave it for the employees):

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28973-c100586/Wyomin…

Two very worthwhile museums to visit:

Cody, WY

www.bbhc.org/home/index.cfm…

North of Jackson

http://www.wildlifeart.org/

As your trip nears, you can keep an eye on the weather, but we all agree, bring clothes for layering.

Green Valley...
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2. Re: Itinerary Feedback

And yes, it's a great time to go. The newborns are up and about, you'll have many interesting photos to share with family and your students.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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3. Re: Itinerary Feedback

Here's my ideas and input...

June 11 – Arrive in SLC. If you arrive in the afternoon, consider staying just outside of SLC in the mountains. You can get supplies, coolers etc prior to heading on to YS.

June 12 – Old Faithful Inn - arrive in the morning. Visit geyser basins

June 13 – Old Faithful Inn - geyser basins again,

June 14 - Canyon Lodge Cabins - early morning at Hayden Valley, then rest of day in the Canyon area.

June 15 – Canyon Lodge Cabins ( possibly consider Roosevelt cabins) - Head to Lamar Valley early, then Tower Falls, Mammoth and back to Canyon

June 16 – Canyon Lodge Cabins - See stuff you did not see before, or take a few hours to drive to Cody WY or a Beartooth Highway Trip.

June 17 - Jackson Lake Lodge - Morning at Hayden Valley, then Lake area for lunch. On to JLL for afternoon and evening shots.

June 18 – Jackson Lake Lodge- Tetons

June 19 - Tetons and Jackson most of the day, then on to SLC for the night.

June 20 – Depart

Iowa
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4. Re: Itinerary Feedback

I would recommend switching the one night to the Lake area; I don't think you'll be disappointed. Dh and I stayed at Lake Lodge two nights; one early morning we got up before dawn and drove to Gull Point Drive. It was beautiful. We were *almost* the only ones there; had the entire drive to ourselves except for one lone photographer parked at the very start of the drive. We drove to the picnic area; it overlooks the lake and has a beach you can walk out on....what a great place to eat breakfast at:-). Really fantastic to see it before anybody else was up and about.

Toronto, Canada
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for Algonquin Provincial Park
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5. Re: Itinerary Feedback

I am married to a photographer (I am the camera boy!), and from my experience you can not really plan this trip. I think your idea to stay in different areas is perfect and take it from there. The wildlife can be anywhere and if he is really into it there may be some long stops on the side of the road. Bring the tripod (essential at dusk/dawn)!

I was surprised how long the drive took from Jackson to SLC (I am usualy doing it at night) so I would usually suggest take your time back unless it is a late flight.

We drove from SLC to WYellow as well, this time we stopped in Idaho Falls which was a nice break depending on your flight to SLC.

I am not as experienced as the others but a night in Mammoth or Gardiner might allow for more time up there (great sunrise shots).

At dusk check out the Lamar Valley for wildlife, similarily between old faithful and WY lots of elk at dusk.

Beware he will come back with lens envy.

Columbus, Ohio
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110 posts
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6. Re: Itinerary Feedback

Sorry I am just now responding to all the wonderful advice I received!

We have decided to cut our stay at OFI to 2 nights so that we can stay one night at the Lake Hotel cabin. Relaxing and having a nice dinner at the hotel and enjoying a glass of wine on the porch without having to worry about driving back to a hotel sounds pretty nice!

After looking more at flight times we have decided that we can fly into SLC on the evening of Thursday, June 10. We won’t be arriving until close to midnight, but it will allow us to get an early start on Friday the 11th – hopefully making it to the West Yellowstone area by early afternoon.

So right now our accommodations look like this:

June 10 – Late arrival to SLC (stay near airport)

June 11 – Drive to West Yellowstone (stopping for a cooler and supplies on the way, also wanting to check out Mesa Falls on the way), night at OFI

June 12 - Night at OFI

June 13 – Lake Hotel Cabins

June 14 – Canyon Lodge Cabins

June 15 – Canyon Lodge Cabins

June 16 – Canyon Lodge Cabins

June 17 – Jackson Lake Lodge

June 18 – Jackson Lake Lodge

June 19 - Drive back to SLC, spend the night in the downtown area (I would love to spend the night in Jackson, but the latest flight I can get on the 20th is at 2:30 PM – am I right in assuming that a stay in Jackson would be pushing it?!?)

June 20 – Depart for home

Unfortunately the more I read the more my list of things to see on this trip keeps growing (thanks Voyaging for the links to the nearby museums)! I would love to drive along Beartooth Highway. The towns of Cody and Jackson also look interesting. Is there a reasonable way to fit any of those into my itinerary? Do these things justify sacrificing time or even a night in the park given the amount of time we have?

Also, since we are really interested in viewing wildlife would it be worth it to give up a night in Canyon and spend the night in the Roosevelt area so that we have quick access to Lamar Valley at dawn and dusk?

Thanks again for all the advice. I love planning trips, but often find myself second guessing my choices. It helps getting advice from the experts :)

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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7. Re: Itinerary Feedback

My best advice is to stick with your plans. We went this past Sept. 1 night at OF- 3 at Canyon and 2 in Tetons. Canyon is not "convenient" for Lamar Valley-- it means driving Dunraven Pass in the dark either coming or going for wildlife viewing in the early or late part of the day. We ventured up there one evening. Saw some pronghorn-- that was it. Didn't try it again. However-- Canyon IS very close to Hayden Valley and seemed to always have wildlife of some sort wandering by. Bison (of course) elk, bald eagle, wolves-- Do make a point of going to artist point at the lower falls (canyon area) in the morning. A rainbow appears at the foot of the lower falls every morning, but doesn't last for long. Makes some great photos. It appears between 9:30 and 10? depending on time of year. Might check for the specific time of year you are going.

In the Tetons-- Oxbow Bend is a nice place to catch some sunrise photos and late morning is really good for Mormon's Row.

There is a gravel road near the Oxbow Bend pull out. Follow it till it dead ends at the river. We saw a moose and her baby there, bald eagle twice, beaver and otter. More good photo ops :)

You will come home with approximately 1 zillion photos :)

Ohio
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for Road Trips
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8. Re: Itinerary Feedback

oh-- one more thing-- Hayden Valley is very cool in the early morning. Fog hangs there since the river runs through and it is low lying ground. Got some nice early shots while there.

Golden, Canada
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for Regina
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9. Re: Itinerary Feedback

By my count you have about 5 days for Yellowstone and 2 for Grand Teton, sounds about right. In other words not really enough time for side trips, but that's up to you. Several people have "done" YNP in less than five days so you could venture out to Cody and drive the Beartooth if you really wanted to. Personally I'd save that for another trip... see how things go though.

Also, while Lamar Valley can be great for wildlife viewing especially early and later in the day, there is a lot of wildlife most everywhere so it isn't absolutely essential to focus on LV. I would simply catch it on return to Canyon one night as evening sets in, you can still be back to Canyon before dark... if no major delays, or at least beyond Dunraven Pass.

Spend the last night in SLC or nearby no harm in that. Have car trouble or travel delays of any sort and hope then you didn't really need to make your plane.

Columbus, Ohio
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10. Re: Itinerary Feedback

Thank you wings and wander for the great advice and feedback. After reading what you have to say about Lamar Valley I agree that is probably best just to stick with the accomodations we have in Canyon rather than try to stay at Roosevelt .

I've been researching airfare (the only thing I haven't booked yet!) and we have decided to pay the extra money to fly into and out of Jackson. This will essentially give us an extra night somewhere since we can just leave directly from GTNP instead of having to drive back to SLC the night before our departure. I've already changed our lodging at Jackson Lake to the 19th and 20th. It will also allow us to stay in Jackson on our arrival night instead of SLC.

Any suggestions on where to add this extra night? I was thinking about staying one night in Cody in between our Lake and Canyon stay, that way we could see the museums in Cody and then drive the beartooth pass on our way back into the park. Is that cramming too much in though?!? :)

Thanks again for all the itinerary help! I want to get all the lodging figured out asap so that I can cancel any rooms we don't need for those people who are just starting to book their summer trips!