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Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

Atlanta, Georgia
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Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

We decided a few days ago that we wanted to take a trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton next year. It is me, wife and two kids, who will be 9 and 7 at the time we go.

We are looking at going the first week of June 2013 and probably flying into Jackson Hole if we can. We will definitely go for a minimum of 7 nights, and might try to stretch to 10 if we can.

We want to see all the big sites and maybe some off the beaten path sites as well. We might also want to do a rafting float trip out of Jackson. Both kids love the outdoors and have no issues with hiking so long as it is not strenuous.

Since I want to get lodging reserved as soon as possible, my main question revolves around how many different locations should we consider staying at within the park and how to maybe work Grand Teton into the trip as well. Can both be done on a 7 day trip without feeling rushed?

While I know all the main sites to see (Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, etc.), what are some off the beaten path places we might want to head to within the park?

Cleveland, Ohio
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1. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

We stayed three places (Lake, Canyon, and OF) but you could just stay at the latter two and get an excellent overview of the park.

USA
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2. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

We loved Roosevelt roughrider cabins & their close location to Lamar valley for wolf & other wildlife viewing potential. The Roosevelt lodge was great for rocking on the porch & the meals were hardy. They have cabins with 3 double beds for the same price as 1 bed.

For off-the-beaten-path, I loved the trail up Bunsen peak & the Lamar river trail. The former has awesome views of the park and the later has wide-open views of the river valley with the ability to turn around at any point.

I always recommend the Stormy Point loop trail for families as it goes to a nice beach on the lake & by a huge marmot village. There is usually a ranger-led hike there every morning if the schedule remains the same.

I'm sure you'll get great advise from the Y-Stone destination experts too.

Spery, Iowa
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3. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

Yes, you can do both- with 10 days you could add a night in Cody if you want. First week of June can be iffy with weather however- read a couple trip reports from this year- snow and road closures for YNP. Beartooth highway will probably not be open yet. 2 places works well for Yellowstone, if you were going later I would have you add a night at Roosevelt- more off the beaten path feel. Separate location for GTNP. Happy planning!

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

A great time to visit- we've been twice in early June and once in late August in the past five years. Your kids will love all the wildlife. Early June is a great time to see all the wildlife babies.

Agree with all the above- make your reservations now- split time between Old Faithful and Lake or Canyon in YNP. In Grand Tetons can stay in the park or in Jackson. Also schedule a day in Cody- kids will love the rodeo.

We like Barker Ewing for scenic float and whitewater trips. They are excellent!!

Here is a map and link to the must sees for YNP-

http://yellowstone.net/intro/top-10/

We've flown into Jackson, Billings and Salt Lake City- just depends on where are the best rates- also be sure car rental has unlimited miles.

A great birthday or Christmas gift idea is the book Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple- excellent info on the park.

Good luck with your trip planning!!

Parsippany, New...
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5. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

Hi, are you committed to that week? If not, I would actually recommend going the last week in June and into 4th of July. We did the same trip and ended it for 4th of July in Cody. They have their big rodeo for the 4th. On the 3rd they had an AWESOME old west style 4th of July parade. I also recommend the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum. The kids will really enjoy it.

My kids were the same age when we went. We flew into Jackson and stayed at the Buckrail Lodge (HIGHLY recommend it!). We went to GT and did the float trip with Barker Ewing. That night we did a chuckwagon dinner with the Bar-T-5. Your kids would love that! Spent 2 days in GT and then went to Yellowstone for 4 days. We stayed at Old Faithful Snow Lodge, cabins at Mammoth, and cabin in Canyon. I liked staying at the 3 different areas. From there we spent 2 days in Cody.

Couple of hints even though you didn't ask for them...get your kids their own cameras and binoculars for the holidays. You will see so much wildlife and they are going to want to use your binoculars and camera and then you miss the view. I made a nice photo book from Snapfish for both the kids after we got home that way they'll always have the pictures of their trip of a lifetime. Lastly, be careful of any hikes in the first 2 days you are there. The altitude change is very dramatic.

Have a great time!

Albany, New York
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6. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

I second the Roosevelt roughriders!!! We stayed at OF cabins, Lake Lodge cabins and Roosevelt roughriders...and Roosevelt won us all over by far. It had the best food in our opinion in the park, and having a cabin without a bathroom did not both us at all ( and we are NOT camping people) They bathrooms are immaculate and the proximity to Lamar Valley makes Roosevelt a top pick for wildlife viewing early mornings!!!!

Spery, Iowa
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7. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

Roosevelt opening for 2013 is June 7th

Atlanta, Georgia
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8. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

Thanks for all the info. This is definitely a good starting point. I am leaning towards a split between OF and Canyon. Looks like Roosevelt is already pretty much booked for all of June and July.

Still trying to figure out if we should just drive up to Mammoth one day or stay there for a night.

So far, here is a very, very rough itinerary.

June 5 - Arrive in Jackson (Get supplies)

June 5-8: OF Snow Lodge Frontier Cabins

June 8-12: Canyon Frontier or Western Cabin

June 12-15 - GT maybe based in Jackson

June 15 - Depart

Any suggestions/further advice is welcome. More time, less time in certain areas? Staying in other areas, etc.

Parsippany, New...
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9. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

As much as I loved the little cabins in Mammoth, I think I would agree with you and not stay there overnight. There wasn't that much there that would warrant an overnight. Old Faithful area definitely warrants the most time. Mammoth is probably 1/2 day. Canyon could be 1/2 day to a day depending upon how much hiking you want to do. We spent a lot of time driving around especialy in the valleys looking for wildlife.

Did you check out Cody? I really would try to squeek out a day there if you can. It's a great town.

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: Planning first trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton

If you have the time then yes a day in Cody is well worth it. I also agree about not staying in Mammoth area.

Good luck with your trip planning!!!