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Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

arlington, texas
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83 posts
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Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

In trying to create a "Memory" for our little granddaughter, we are taking her on a two week trip in July, leaving Texas and driving to Mt. Rushmore, coming over to Yellowstone, down to Jackson Hole, and back home to Texas. We are taking our 9 year old grandaughter to YNP in late July, staying on the 22 at Old Faithful Inn, the 23rd at Lake Hotel, and the 24 at Old Faithful Snow Lodge (This is what we could get this late and feel lucky we got to stay in the park at all!)

My husband and I are both disabled. Neither of us can walk too far without sitting down for a few minutes to rest and will not be able to hike. We do have a wheelchair and have found it great to use with one of us pushing the other for a while and then swapping places..so I know we can get to go on short walks wherever a wheelchair can go. (Think of all those people you see hunched over the grocery store shopping carts, and you'll understand why pushing a wheelchair relieves the back!)

Here's my question: With only 3 days in the park plus a half day as we leave and a half day as we arrive on the 22nd, what should we plan to do? I have been to YNP 3 times so am somewhat familiar with the area....but never as a disabled traveler.

I know some sites will be more accesible than others....any suggestions? We just need a place that doesn't involve walking more than 1/4 mile or a bit onger if we can push a wheelchair. What about Mammoth Hot Springs....can we "sit" anywhere there or push a wheelchair? What I mean is are there benches around? I seem to remember this....but I may be confused about the place I was in....somewhere that had terraces you could climb up on?

What should we do that our 9 year old would enjoy? We hope to attend some Ranger talks. We thought we might take her to the Grizzly Center....any thoughts on that?

Any particular suggestions for places to eat in West Yellowstone? We have heard about a place called Eino's....any thoughts on that?

Where would you suggest we go to look for wildlife and at what time?? We have a car and can drive anywhere....just not walk too far from the car. When I was last there 10 years ago, we saw several bears around the Lake Lodge, including Lucy...is she still alive? We also saw moose. I'd love for her to see wildlife and ddon't mind getting up early.

And last, If we leave Cody and drive into YNP and over to Old Faithful Inn, do you think we should or should not drive over the Beartooth Highway...is this what it's called? The road from Cody that goes up to Red Rock. I wonder how much longer it would take us to go over over this road....and then of course, we'd be entering the park from up north and driving down to Old Faithful. I hate "Is it worth it" questions, but is it worth it? If we did this, we would miss the drive from Cody into the Park...and I would assume that, too, is a beautiful drive. Is the Beartooh Highway so fantastic we really shouldn't miss it?

I know these are a lot of questions...but if any of you could answer any of these, that would be helpful. Thank you in advance.

Apple Annie fromTexas

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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1. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

On the Yellowstone NP website, I searched using the term "accessibility" and came up with this helpful list.

search.usa.gov/search…

This information will help guide you to the areas most accessible for your particular needs.

Your granddaughter could sign up for the park's Junior Ranger Program.

www.nps.gov/yell/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm

But, you'll want to read the above and determine the extent to which you can participate.

Wildlife will be everywhere, it's just a matter of being in the right spot at the right time. Dawn and dusk in the Lamar and Hayden Valleys are usually fine times to see wildlife. However, Bison, Pronghorns and other animals will be around most of the daylight hours.

To enhance your pleasure, try to bring some good binoculars (for all of your use), but not opera glasses. Also, when you see folks with spotting scopes, inquire; they almost always will say, "take a look".

Stop at the valley and other viewpoints and wait. Be patient, you might see wildlife.

Bring a camera so the kid can take lots of photos! Bring an extra battery and a battery charger, plus a replacement card if necessary.

Bring a cooler for beverages and snacks. While outhouses are available throughout the park, dining is not, so you'll want food with you - or drive to dining facilities.

Hope this is a start for you folks. Have a great trip.

Everett, Washington
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2. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

Most of the walkways around the geyser areas are pretty level but are wood deck so some are bumpy. Most are not too long and yo can usually get an idea of how far from the parking lots the walk will be. Also it is fairly open so (depending on maturity level of your granddaughter) you may be able to let her go ahead a ways but still be in sight. Main caution would be trust level that she would never get off the path.

Mammoth is OK as far as seeing the terraces from the bottom but the path on the upper terrace loop has some stairs and some not so level spots. I tend to pay attention to steep more than anything when pushing my wife's chair. There were places I had to leave her due to stairs so I could take some pictures from up higher.

Yellowstone Falls viewpoints might be a problem. As I recall there are some stairs at some and the non-stair paths can be very steep in a few places. Mostly constructed in CCC days in the 1930s.

Being able to walk some if you can do a few stairs you might find regular restrooms in older visitor centers easier to find than the wheelchair accessible ones. New visitor centers are super easy to access and all ADA compliant. At Mammoth the whelchair accesible restrooms are via an elevator from the rear ramped entrance to the basement up to the 3rd or so floor in the Admin offices. Accesible but not as convenient.

Be sure to have handicap parking placard (or plates) but even so many of the parking lots will fill up their HC spots early at popular spots. Yoy might have to be patient and wait for someone to leave.

Personally I find I (as an able bodied person) can walk faster and go much farther pushing my wife's chair. The handles do support some of my weight. Like a dog sled driver sort of. We've gone all over many places like London, Walt Disney World and Las Vegas with me pushing her all day without getting tired at all. So I do know how it helps.

PNW
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3. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

The geyser basins near Old Faithful are fairly flat. Black Sand, Biscuit are short and level. Fountain Paint Pots goes a bit up hill and Midway (Grand Prismatic) has a pretty good incline up to the hot springs, but it is a ramp.

Be sure to drive Firehole Drive, just south of Fountain Paint Pots. You can see several features from the car on this loop. White Done erupts every 20 minutes or so, and it worth waiting for.

Mammoth is on a steep hillside, which is what makes for the beautiful terraces. You can drive the loop at the top of the hill to see the tops of the terraces. You also drive right by Orange Mound Spring.

West Thumb is fairly flat and has boardwalks and the parking lot is right next to the basin.

If you can do any stairs at all, you can get to some of the viewpoints of the Lower Falls at Canyon. I think at least one has no stairs.

We always spend at least a day "driving the loop". We just take our snacks and camera and stop for whatever is along the road. It's a chance to get off our feet for a day.

Winnipeg, Canada
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4. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

As a disabled traveler who is coming alone this summer I found the book Yellowstone Treasures great for explaining what is handicapped accessible and what is not. I use a walker and it needs the same kind of access as a wheelchair when you are a solo traveler.

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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5. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

How wonderful that you are making this trip with your grandchild. What a memory to cherish. I found some of the best wildlife viewing right near the roadways. Buffalo by the score in the Lamar Valley, badgers there right by the parking lot, elk along the rivers, pronghorn a little farther away (binoculars help), butterflys in the flowers around water, etc. - the trick is to just take things a little slower and really look. Hope you have a wonderful time.

arlington, texas
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6. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

Thanks for all of your valuable suggestions. I hope all of you out there will continue to send even more! I love this site. It's just priceless, isn't it? I never travel anywhere without it. I'll be sure to post when we return. Ann

Hannibal, MO
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7. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

Are there benches along the geyser basin paths?

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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8. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

Are there benches? Yes.

9. Re: Suggestions for handicapped grandparents with grandaughter

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