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How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

London
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How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

Hi all

We have 4 nights at YNP at the beginning of July and was wondering what's the most efficient way of checking out the major spots on the "8" loop.

We got bookings on 4/5 Jul at Canyon and 6/7 Jul at West Yellowstone. How should we spend the 4 days in the park?

We will come into the park via NE entrance after driving from Cody on CJ Highway with a detour to Beartooth Highway (turn round at Rock Creek Vista). Realisticlly how much of the park can we see on the 4th? Any special celebrations on 4th July in YNP?

We also have 2 nights booked at Jackson for 8/9 July.

Thanks in advance

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

If you have a copy of the book Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple then she outlines several sample trip plans for seeing the major areas of the park.

Also look at the must sees here-

www.yellowstone.net/topten

Green Valley...
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2. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

"Any special celebrations on 4th July in YNP?" None that I know of or have experienced. But, park staff and Xanterra staff make the rounds of the visitor areas (e.g., Lake Lodge) and provide a funky, funny little parade. Absolutely no fireworks.

Good for you re: your early reservations and lodging split. Re: the loops, with four days, and many daylight hours, you'll have no trouble seeing it all. And backtracking, a good thing in YNP, you'll see more wildlife and have different views of park areas. Truly, no need to overplan, the road takes you to all of the major sights. There are many trails and day hikes, if interested; they are listed in the park's website.

Park Website: The park website contains an enormous amount of very good information. If what you want is not easily found, use the search box. See “View Map” on home page for interactive map. http://www.nps.gov/yell/

Here's a compendium of advice from TAs, including valuable articles...

Yellowstone Newbies - Things You Need to Know

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28973-c165419/Wyomin…

Nashville
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3. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

4 nights should be a good amount of time. We had a similar time frame in June 08. After a day in Cody, we entered the Park and spent 4 nights in West Yellowstone, before heading to Jackson for 2 nights.

We entered the East gate early and visited Hayden Valley before a picnic lunch near the Lake Hotel. We then drove the lower loop along the lake shore, past Old Faithful and Madison to West Yellowstone. On our second day, we drove the upper loop. We stopped at Mammoth and Tower Falls and spent a few hours in Lamar Valley watching wolves. Dunraven Pass was closed, so instead of driving to the Canyon area, we had to backtrack to West Yellowstone. Our 3rd day was spent in the thermal areas from Madison down to Old Faithful and the geyser basins in those areas.

We spent the morning of the 4th day in the canyon area. After lunch, we had the afternoon to revisit areas. We spent an hour in Hayden Valley looking for wildlife. When we got back to Canyon, Dunraven Pass had opened, so we drove up to Lamar Valley for the afternoon. We originally planned to drive the loop in 3 days and have 1 day completely free. If you can have a full day (or a half day to revisit some areas), you will have the freedom to get a look at the major sites and then explore a couple of areas in more detail.

My last advice is to get off of the main roads. Take Firehole Canyon Road, Riverside Drive, Blacktail Plateau Drive and any other back roads that will get you away from the crowds. We drove Riverside Drive each morning on our way into the park. We saw many elf and Bison. We talked to one person who saw wolves near the road. In Hayden and Lamar Valley's scan the horizon for ravens. They will often circle over a fresh kill and wait for their chance to get what wolves or bears leave behind.

Have a great trip!

Edited: 18 February 2012, 03:10
Nashville
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4. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

Just caught a little mistake. We actually saw elk on Riverside Drive. The elves were actually several thousand miles away at the North Pole.

N. Idaho
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5. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

Lol!! For a minute I was pretty jealous of the elf sighting...

Pam

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6. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

For a minute I thought the secret of the elves was exposed. Gawd! Just imagine the elf jams if word ever gets out!

London
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7. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

Hi

Thanks for the responses. Can I ask which areas in the park these backroads namely Firehole Canyon Road, Riverside Drive, Blacktail Plateau Drive are located?

Thanks

Leicester, United...
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8. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

Hi Nevets,

I was following your thread and the response from tntands about the back-roads sounded very interesting. Like you I also don't want to stick to the Grand Loop rd only. So here is some info that you may find helpful. Apologies if the info is wrong. I'm sure one of the regular knowledgeable contributors would correct me.

1. Firehole Canyon drive : 1 mile south of Madison jct off the grand loop rd.

Link :

nps.gov/features/…madison.htm

2. Firehole lake drive: 8 miles north of OF between Fountain Paint pot and Grand Prismatic. Goes round Great Fountain Geyser. I'm praying it will erupt for me!! Link :

nps.gov/features/…oftomad.htm

3. Blactail deer Plateau is the area between Mammoth and Tower. The drive is more towards Tower/Petrified tree section one way towards Tower. Link:

nps.gov/features/…mamtotwr.htm

4. Riverside drive runs parallel to West Entrance road towards the Grand Loop rd crossing. Excellent for watching Madison river wildlife (and if you are lucky you may see Rivendell and Elrond with his fellow elfs :)

As mentioned the NPS site has fantastic interactive maps and Fodor's also has a good section on scenic drives : http://tiny.cc/91s06

Cheers

Edited: 21 February 2012, 14:53
London
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9. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

Thanks Surpatik for your suggestions.

Nashville
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10. Re: How best to tackle the "8" loop in 4 nights

The info on the backroads was spot on. On Firehole Lake Drive, we came on an elk carcass near the road. There were no animals (other than ravens) on it while we drove, but something (grizzly or wolves) had made several meals of it. Blacktail Deer Plateau Road was closed by snow when we were there. Friends of ours saw Grizzlies from the road on 2 different days. In the Tetons, we did 2 Oceans Road and Signal Mountain Road is known for having Moose frequent a pond near the road. Rangers at the different visitor's centers should also be able to tell you places to try.

Have a great trip.