We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

London
Level Contributor
11 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

Hi,

My friend and I are going to Yellowstone. We are both very disorganized and hence I'm writing for some suggestions! We reach SLC airport at 9 pm on thursday Oct 20. Our flight back is 9 pm SLC on 24th Oct.

Q1) should we drive down to Old Faithful from SLC airport or stay somewhere in the middle?

We have bookings at Old Faithful on 20th and 22nd Oct. We also have one night's booking at Madison campside on 21st Oct. Neither of us have done camping so we thought it might be a good experience to try it out. We still need one more night's booking on 23rd Oct. We were thinking of going somewhere north.

We have looked at different itineraries but aren't sure what we should do! Any suggestions/recommendations will be welcome. Also, I was thinking of rafting but for that will need to go all the way to Gardiner. Is it worth it? Please let us know!

Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
5,313 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

It is at least a 5 hour drive from Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone and the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. From the west entrance to Old Faithful it will take you about a hour to drive.

#1 I'm confused......In your post you say you're arriving at Salt Lake City airport on October 20th at 9pm AND you have reservations at Old Faithful for October 20th. If those dates are correct there is no way that you will be able to drive to Old Faithful with that late of arrival to SLC. If you could clear this up for me that would be great.

#2 You said you're staying one night at Madison campground. Are you buying camping gear somewhere between Salt Lake City and Yellowstone Park? At the mininum, you will need a tent, good sleeping bags (it will get below freezing at night), and a good pad. For just one night of camping it would be cheaper to get a motel room in West Yellowstone or Gardiner (north entrance).

I always tent camp in Yellowstone (I go multiple times each year) Our last trip of the year is in October. In fact, we are going this Friday- Sunday when you will be there. I never tent camp in October because it is usually just too cold and windy so it's our one time we stay in hotels. We're staying in Gardiner Friday night and West Yellowstone Saturday night.

Deb

Driggs, Idaho
Destination Expert
for Grand Teton National Park
Level Contributor
3,331 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

To add to what Deb said, I have to add that we think its an 7 hour drive, not to mention the hazards of wildlife on the road and possible weather which will slow you down.

If I were you, I wouldn't even bother w/the first night anywhere but SLC. What if your plane is delayed? But if you are on time, check in to a nice place, get a good night's rest and leave no later than 5 am to get to YNP by lunch.

I'm confused about the camping as well, as they certainly don't supply your camping gear, and if you have never camped before, it might not be the greatest experience if you aren't prepared. All they do is direct you to a empty tent pad, complete with a fire pit and picnic table, the rest it up to you to come prepared.

Most rafting is closed now for the season - even if it is nice weather, there is not enough critic mass to keep the operation going. If you find something different, that's great and let me know what you still find open.

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
Level Contributor
18,001 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

The OP has posted elsewhere twice before, apparently providing ignorant or confused itineraries and/or unrealistic ideas, based on comments and questions by those who helpfully responded. The OP has not shown the courtesy of a response to that help. I think the same type of posting is evident here.

Driggs, Idaho
Destination Expert
for Grand Teton National Park
Level Contributor
3,331 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

Dean - LOL. I would say this was harsh comment, but I agree in this case. It looks like a joke. A wierd one at that. Maybe one enjoys seeing the time and effort spent in resonding, even though we are volunteers and our time might be spent better elsewhere. Thanks for pointing that out.

Driggs, Idaho
Destination Expert
for Grand Teton National Park
Level Contributor
3,331 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

To OP credit, she did review prior hotels mentioned in places of destination asked about in TA forums. It would be nice to get feedback to our questions though so she can benefit to the doubt.

Yellowstone Nat...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
2,297 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

Old Faithful on the 20th, Madison campground on the 21st, back to OF on the 22nd, and somewhere else the 23rd ... this makes no sense. Given the time the flight arrives on the 20th, make that SLC on the 20th and it makes a little more sense. If it isn't a camping trip, don't plan on camping. That makes a little more sense, too. (If you want to go on your first camping trip, Yellowstone in October is not the place to start fresh out of the egg.) Maybe if the OP revisits this thread we can be a little more helpful.

London
Level Contributor
11 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

I'm really sorry. We aren't dumb people (have a PhD guy and Masters from top-tier schools!) but you all correctly pointed we are being very silly. My friend and I are not Americans so please be easy! And this thread isn't a joke. If you want I can send you flight and hotel bookings.

#1. We thought Yellowstone was a 3 hr drive which is why we booked Old Faithful (my friend's fault!). It may be best to drive half way towards Yellowstone. If you could give suggestions on where we could stay will be great.

#2. Old Faithful only had space available on 20th and 22nd which is why we have these two days and not 20th-23rd Oct (qismet!).

#3. We are planning to rent out tents and sleeping bags and carry them from SFO to Yellowstone. Again all lodges in Yellowstone are closed which is why we thought we camp out on two days. From the sounds of it this is a bad idea.

I know this is badly organized! But as I said if I didn't feel so desperate I wouldn't have posted this. We are quite excited about this trip and with Thursday looming we need to get our hotel bookings/stay/ itinerary sorted by tomorrow. I'm sure many of you have good experience of Yellowstone so your suggestions will be of good use to us.

Sorry again if you find all this very immature as I admit it is.

London
Level Contributor
11 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

having had a re-think. This is what I think we could do. Please give comments urgently!

1) Thursday night: Land at 9 pm. Stay at Sleep Inn Suites Idaho Falls (as its midway to Yellowstone).

2) Friday day: Mud volcano, Canyon Area - Artist Point, Inspiration Point, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Lower Falls (thinking of hiking if possible)

3) Fri night: Gardiner

4) Saturday day: Lamar valley (morning) have heard good time to see wild life. tower falls, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth

5) Saturday night: Old Faithfull Snow Lodge

6) Sunday day: Geyser areas from Madison to Old Faithful and Firehole Drive / Falls. Upper Geyser Basin

7) Sunday night: Back to Gardiner?!

8) Monday day: Will have sometime as our flight is at 9:50 pm. Dont know what to do

9) Monday night: Flight back at 9:50PM SLC

I found this site which gives info on hiking trails.

http://www.yellowstone.co/hikes/hiking.htm

Is it good time for hiking? If yes is there anything you can recommend considering the time we have in Yellowstone.

Many thanks!

Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
5,313 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

Sounds a lot better. Gardiner is a good place to stay Friday night as it will put you in the northern range of Yellowstone Park for easier driving to view your Saturday itinerary plans.

I would suggest staying in West Yellowstone Sunday night instead of going back to Gardiner. If you don't have any luck seeing bears and wolves in the park you can go to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. http://grizzlydiscoveryctr.com/

Hikes.....right now the bears are in their hyperphagia phase where they are in a eating frenzy to get ready for hibernation. You will need to be sure that you have a can of bear spray with you (on your belt) and be alert at all times. Ask at the visitor centers which trails would be best for you. There will be some trails that will be great this time of the year and there will be others that I would not go on this time of the year.

Drive the Blacktail Plateau Drive between Mammoth and Tower. It is a one-way dirt road that goes 6 miles off the main paved road. Watch for black bears there. Also watch for black bears just west of the Tower/Roosevelt Junction and between Roosevelt and Tower Falls.

Anywhere you see people pulled off the road with scopes (especially in Lamar and Hayden Valley) stop and ask to look in their scopes. Most people are very open to allowing you. The wolf packs in Lamar and Hayden are very active right now.

My grandson and I will be in Gardiner Friday night and West Yellowstone Saturday night for our annual October trip. Pretty much our plan is to do the northern part of the park Friday and Saturday morning and then we'll do the lower loop Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning/early afternoon before heading home. I drive a dark gray ford escape (small suv) with Montana license plates (first number on the plate will be 3). I will have a big orange magnet on the back that says YNET and there is also tie-dyed moose and bear stickers on the back along with a "I love Yellowstone" sticker. If you see us at a pullout please come over and talk to us. This is a picture of us hiking in Glacier Park this August to give you an idea of what we look like.

…photobucket.com/albums/…374.jpg

We'll probably do one or two short hikes in Yellowstone on this trip so if we do run into each other somewhere and you want you can tag along with us. We each carry our own can of bearspray and bigger groups are better for hiking, especially at this time of the year.

Deb

Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
5,313 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: Yellowstone itinerary help! leaving Oct 20-Oct24

Somewhere before you enter the park but a small cooler and stock it with snack supplies along with drinks (water and what ever else you want). You won't want to drive all the way out of the park just to find something to eat. Having the cooler and snacks will allow you to spend quality time inside the park. Eat a good breakfast, snack the day away, and then eat a good dinner when you return to your lodging at nighttime.

Since most everything is closed down you will be a long ways from any restaurant. The dining room at Old Faithful Snow Lodge closes on the 23rd but the grill will be open until beginning of November. All other dining options inside the park are closed already.

For the best chance of seeing grizzly bears and wolves on a kill you will need to be out at sunrise or within the first few hours after sunrise so plan on early mornings.

Watch for animals on the road especially if it is dark and/or snowy and icy. Slow down to give yourselves plenty of time to stop. Yellowstone Park is at a high elevation and the roads can turn nasty pretty quickly at this time of the year. If you slide off the road it will be a long wait until a tow truck can come get you out.

Deb