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6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

Manassas, Virginia
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6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

We're GTNP and YNP newbies and need some sage advice.

We'll fly into Jackson from Washington DC mid Sept 2012 and stay in Teton View B&B, Wilson, for three nights. Do GTNP, then head north for six days of touring YNP. We'll spend three nights in Gardiner, MT (Yellowstone Basin Inn) and three nights in West Yellowstone, MT (Bar N Ranch). Our first Yellowstone day will be driving from Wilson, WY to Gardiner, MT, sightseeing along the way, then spend the next two days exploring the norther section of YNP and if time allows, Lamar Valley.

From Gardiner is it possible to do the Beartooth Highway starting out at 9 AM and be back in time for dinner?

We're interested in scenery, thermal and geological sights and wildlife. We're not into fishing or boating. We are seniors and can only manage short easy hikes. We love good food and quiet, comfortable, clean lodgings.

To make the most of our time and see as much as possible, without rushing, are Gardiner and West Yellowstone good bases to start out from? We notice that in-park lodgings are already filling up for Sept 2012. Although there are rooms available here and there, we were slightly put off by TA reviews of in-park lodgings with thin walls, noisy corridors and sticky carpets, hence our choice of gateway towns.

We realise that we may not see all of YNP in six days and have determined not to hurry, but if necessary return another year to further explore. Thank you in anticipation of your kind advise. dannythedoyler71

N. Idaho
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1. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

Both places you have picked for lodging are out of town by 5 or 6 miles. That will add probably 15 minutes or so on to each end of your *commute* to the North and West gates.

You will have less driving to do if you do stay in the park. I usually go over at the last minute, so usually stay in West Yellowstone, but have stayed at Snow Lodge at Old Faithful. It is a newer lodge (opened 1999) so I didn't notice any problems with hearing neighbors any more than in any hotel. You would likely get into lodging for next Sept if you are persistent. Even tho they show booked up there will be cancellations between now and then. Book thru Xanterra as they are the concessionaire for lodging in the park. They also have a generous cancellation policy.

You could definitely do Beartooth from Gardiner in a day. It is 47 miles from Mammoth to the NE gate, which would translate to about 1.5 hours of driving time (barring bison/bear/wolf jams, lol). It's about 2.5 hours over Beartooth to Red Lodge from Cooke City which is just a couple miles past the NE gate. You could go over to Red Lodge for lunch then make your way back, depending on how many stops you make to just take in the amazing scenery. Even tho you are going mid-Sept you will need to check the weather before you set out. This past Sept was pretty good, but there could be snow. Not trying to discourage you , just want you to be weather aware before you set out.

You may also want to get a cooler in Jackson and stock it with picnic lunch items. Sometimes in Yellowstone you are pretty far away from services when it is time to eat.

Next spring and summer I would encourage you all to do some extra walking before you come. Yellowstone is at 6,000' minimum, sometimes much more, Beartooth is 10,000'. The better shape you are in, the easier time you will have even if you are not hikers. You will walk quite a bit, especially at the geyser basins. All on boardwalk or paved trail, but there is LOTS to see!!

I hope this will be your first trip of many. It is such an awesome park! You should get there when the elk are bugling up their harems.

Pam

N. Idaho
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2. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

Just wanted to add this link to sunset times for next Sept. Looks like you would have daylight until 730 or so in the evening so plenty of time to get over Beartooth and back.

http://www.sunrisesunset.com/calendar.asp

Pam

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

Here is a website for the must sees in Yellowstone NP-

www.yellowstone.net/topten

You can see a lot of the park in 6 days but hopefully be hooked and be back for many trips.

Also might enjoy a stop in Cody to see the Buffalo Bill museums. Will miss the rodeo because the last day is September 1.

Enjoy your trip planning.

Manassas, Virginia
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4. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

Thank you DObby for the quick reply and great info. I'll keep an eye on Snow Lodge website in case some dates free up. Great cooler suggestion. You're spot on about being as fit as one can be on account of the elevation. We walked every day for three months this summer past and were in fairly good shape when we got to Yosemite in Sept. It made all the difference. We have now added a couple of nights in Cody as per PeachBelle's great suggestion. Thank you.

Has anyone ever driven from Cody on 120 north, then north west on 296 over Dead Indian Pass and on up to 212, Beartooth Highway? Is part of 296 unpaved and is OK for a rental saloon car? I'll be traveling in mid to late Sept.

Thanks for all the help. dannythedoyler71

Green Valley...
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5. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

Mistakes First Timers Make http://tinyurl.com/3tcd9uy

N. Idaho
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6. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

Highway 296 is called Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and it is all paved. People frequently do both Beartooth and Chief Joseph together.

http://byways.org/explore/byways/2168

editing to add: Great that you did a program for Yosemite! I would just put that same plan in to place for Yellowstone as well.

Pam

Edited: 03 November 2011, 13:41
Manassas, Virginia
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7. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

I just looked at the breathtaking photos of Chief Joseph and Beartooth Highways and now my trip has been extended by three days. Thank you DObby and Pam. dannythedoyler71

N. Idaho
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8. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

LOL! We will make sure you are totally sucked in!

Pam

Columbus, Ohio
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9. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

We were first time visitors to the park this year and stayed at several in park sites. They were located well and saved us a lot of driving time, allowing us to do more and see more.

Dunraven Lodge, at Canyon, was very clean and comfortable, with elevators and quiet. The only things that was different was no tv, other han hat I was as nice as any standard hotel room. It was full and we never heard a sound.

old Faithful Inn West Wing for two nights put us right at the geysers as soon as you step outside the door. Going out early allows you to see all of the thermals, even the small ones, as they are visible in the cold morning air. It has to be

at least 45 minutes from a West Yellowstone hotel to OFI.

The cabin at Lake Yellowstone Hotel, the yellow ones, we're freshy renovated. We missed fitted sheets, other than that the park accomodations were fine and saved us a lot of time. The sun starts to set early in September and if you want to watch wolves or grizzlies, you will be driving back to your hotel in the dark. Don't drive in the dark, I almost found out the hard way.

Manassas, Virginia
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10. Re: 6 Days In Yellowstone National Park

Thank you JoeyG for the sound advice. I made the mistake of driving in Yosemite in September in the pitch black night and it was a drive full of trepidation for myself and my quaking passengers. I won't be doing that in Yellowstone, I promise. I just booked some nights at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge so we'll be close to some great attractions. The very best of luck and safe travelling. dannythedoyler71.