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Yellowstone National Park and area

Wilmington, North...
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Yellowstone National Park and area

Hello Pam, and all,

My husband and I live in Wilmington, NC, but our son lives in Denver so we are going to plan a trip around Denver and Yellowstone Park. I also have a high school friend in Belgrade. At first we were going to fly into Denver, stay several days then make our way to Jackson, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Cody, Sheridan and Rapid City, but we are thinking that is just too daunting and confusing. Instead, we will probably fly into Cody, see the museum and make our way to Yellowstone, stay there several days, then continue south. We do not know the area at all and would like any suggestions you might have about areas, highways, hotels, temperature so we can make our plans. We would really enjoy and appreciate any help you can offer.

Thank you,

Nan

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

Cody is a small airport and I think from the east coast you will find better rates flying into Billings, Bozeman, or Jackson. We've flown into both Billings and Jackson. If you fly in and out of different airports then be aware of high one way car rental costs.

When are you coming? Temps are mild to even warm in mid June-mid September.

You will need 1-2 days in Cody

3-5 days in Yellowstone

2-3 days in Grand Tetons or Jackson

Yellowstone is huge and there is much to see and do- here is a website for the must sees-

www.yellowstone.net/topten

If want in park lodging then stay in Canyon/Lake area and Old Faithful and call Xanterra ASAP. For out of the park try West Yellowstone. We like the Three Bear Lodge. A lot of people stay in Jackson to see the Grand Tetons while others stay in the park. We like the Lexington, Rustic, Wyoming inns and Homewood suites. In Cody we like the Cody Cowboy Village.

The rodeo and Buffalo Bill museums are a must see in Cody.

Check out the national park services websites for Yellowstone and Grand Tetons for great info. Also buy the book Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple for info on lodging, routes, wildlife, etc.

Good luck!! I am sure Pam will give you lots of great advice too.

N. Idaho
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2. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

I'm glad you found your way to asking your question!

I totally agree with Peach, especially about airports. If you fly in to Bozeman the airport is actually in Belgrade so you could see your friend.

It is helpful to know how long you all have for this trip. Peach outlined the basics on number of days recommended. You mentioned Sheridan in your post, was there something there you wanted to see?

Pam

Wilmington, North...
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3. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

Thank you for a wealth of information. We would be coming around June 20th and stay in the area for about 1 1/2 weeks before making our way to Denver. If we fly into Bozeman, could we stay there one night, then go to Cody (we had read that the Cody Cowboy Village was well recommended) stay there 2 days, go to Gardiner (have you heard of the Yellowstone Park North Travelodge, it seems to have good reviews), then make our way to the west and stay at Three Bear Lodge....or would Canyon/Lake area be better? I see there are packages thru the a website: www.travelyellowstone.com, is that the official website? Is that Xanterra? Why do I need to call them right away? Then we could go to Jackson to your suggestions. Thank you so much I feel much calmer and reasonably in control with your help. We will order the book. Our other concern was the openings at the park and the velocity of people. We were originally going to come in May, but it was hard working it out with our family. Thanks again and please keep in touch.

Nan

Wilmington, North...
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4. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

Pam,

We're not sure about Sheridan anymore as originally we were going to fly into Rapid City, but the logistics of all that traveling and not knowing the area caused us to panic and decide to stay more in the Cody, Yellowstone, Grand Teton area. It seems there is enough to see right there.

I do appreciate your and Peach's help. Please keep in touch.

Nant

Wilmington, North...
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5. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

Hi, by the way my name was Peach in high school and college.

Nan

N. Idaho
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6. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

Actually, to get to Cody from Bozeman/Belgrade you will have to go thru either West Yellowstone or Gardiner, so one way you could do it is this, assuming your week and a half is 10 days.

Day 1 Fly in to Bozeman, visit with friends

Day 2 and 3 Overnight in Gardiner

Day 4 Drive out NE entrance. Drive up Beartooth Pass to Rock Creek Vista, turn around and retrace your route to Chief Joseph, take Chief Joseph Scenic highway to Cody. Overnight in Cody.

Day 5 and 6 Re-enter the park at the East entrance, drive to Grand Tetons, over night in Tetons or Jackson

Day 7 and 8 Re-enter Yellowstone and stay at Canyon, Lake or West Yellowstone. Any are fine. You will have less driving if you can get in to Canyon or Lake, but you will have more lodging and food choices if you stay in West Yellowstone.

Day 9 Finish up Yellowstone, exit by the West gate thru West Yellowstone and head back to Bozeman/Belgrade for dinner with friends and overnight.

Day 10 Fly home from cool, dry Montana to hot muggy Wilmington and begin planning return trip.

The Xanterra and Travelyellowstone sites both redirect to http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/ BUT you can tell it's still Xanterra because it still says Xanterra in the upper left.

I most recently stayed at the Comfort Inn in Gardiner which is just below the Travellodge. They both look like they were built about the same time. I THINK I stayed at the Travellodge 10+ years ago, but can't be sure. It would be fine. I would definitely do breakfast at Tumbleweeds Bookstore and Cafe instead of any *free* breakfast that might be on offer. I had an awesome breakfast burrito there that I am still thinking about. It's very small, really a bookstore. She cooks everything on one of those pancake griddles so it is not terribly fast, but gives you time to look around at the books. When I ordered, she started grating a potato onto the griddle. Good grief, my mouth is watering!

I frequently stay at Three Bear, but they fill up fast. I would only stay in the lodge there, not the motel rooms. The main hotel burned down a few years ago (maybe 2008??) and they rebuilt so the lodge part is the new part. No elevators, and kind of a flight and a half of stairs. I like the 3Bear for breakfast but this last time ate twice at Bear Country Bake shop. OMG...huckleberry turnovers were awesome. Peach likes Running Bear Pancake house which is really good as well. If you stay in West, Kelly Inn is good, Gray Wolf I haven't stayed at but is fairly new, Yellowstone Park Hotel is fine. Clubhouse Inn, I think I stayed at a number of years ago, and I think it was originally built as a Fairfield.

I think that got all your questions?? If you are able to stretch to 2 weeks, you could include SD and the Black Hills area. It is a day's travel from Black Hills to Cody.

Pam

N. Idaho
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7. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

Oh...just realized you are planning to go to Denver after Yellowstone, I guess your son would be pretty miffed if you were *in the area* and didn't stop by! lol

Were you going fly or drive to Denver? If flying you can do what I suggested above. If you are driving, after Cody I would come back in to Yellowstone and do the 2 days there, then do Grand Tetons and leave from Denver from there. I have no idea what the air connections are like from Bozeman to Denver, but you could also check Jackson to Denver and fly into Bozeman and out of Jackson if that works better.

Pam

Wilmington, North...
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8. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

Pam,

Thank you sooo much for all this information. It sounds perfect. WOW, let me digest all this and I will be in touch. I looked up the Rustic Inn as Peach suggested and it looks spectacular. If we can get there mid week, the rates are lower. Now, I am starting to get really excited.

Thanks,

Nan

Yellowstone Nat...
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9. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

<< If we fly into Bozeman, could we stay there one night, then go to Cody (we had read that the Cody Cowboy Village was well recommended) stay there 2 days, go to Gardiner (have you heard of the Yellowstone Park North Travelodge, it seems to have good reviews), then make our way to the west and stay at Three Bear Lodge....or would Canyon/Lake area be better? >>

That sounds quite zig-zaggy. (Good word, eh?) Look at a map and consider Bozeman, Gardiner, Canyon, Cody, Denver in that order. And be careful of the one-way charges on a rental car that you pick up in Bozeman and drop off in Denver. I don't know that it will be bad, but sometimes they are a bad surprise.

Wilmington, North...
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10. Re: Yellowstone National Park and area

Hi Pam,

Have you heard of Red Lodge, a quaint old mining town and if so, how far is that from Bozeman and Cody and is there a place to stay? Also have you heard of Colter Bay Village at Jackson Lake and if so, would you stay there? If we stayed within Yellowstone, which places are at the western entrance, is that the Bear Tree Lodge and the northern is Travelodge and Comfort Inn? You are right, we will have to check car drop off rates, good point. I understand it is 8 hours by car from Jackson to Denver. So there is still a lot to consider. We looked up the Rustic Inn and that really looks nice for mid week. Still figuring this out, you have been a great help....you should be a travel agent.

Thank you,

Nan