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Dream trip itinerary...

Illinois
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Dream trip itinerary...

In mid June we have reservations as follow.

3 nights in Tahosa Cabin on Edelweiss Mountain (A couple days to see Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse/Dances With Wolves Movie Set/Chuckwagaon Dinner.

7 nights in a rental about 15 minutes west of Livingston, MT Aspen Hill Retreat. A couple days we will drive to Yellowstone and a 3rd day thru the park as we head south to Grand Teton. We plan on visiting the Museum of the rockies in Bozeman, plus Virginia City & Nevada City. A day to Chico Hot Springs and maybe a cowboy cookout. A visit to the rodeo in Gardiner. Possibly a scenic float or whitewater on the yellowstone river. Time exploring the town of Livingston. Wondering about taking the Yellowstone in a Day tour and the wagon ride/cookout thru Xanterra?

2 nights at Signal Mountain Lodge. Scenic float on the snake river or is this pretty much the same as on the yellowstone? Drive in to Jackson and explore.

So what does everyone think? Sound like too much? We are six adults travelling together with no kids. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. We are slightly worried about all the driving especially to/from yellowstone from the livingston area. Thanks in advance for any input.

N. Idaho
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1. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

Where you are staying in the Livingston area is not really convenient for visiting Yellowstone so you are right to worry about that. If Yellowstone is your goal, I would recommend you try for in-park lodging or at least in Gardiner or West Yellowstone. The park itself is huge so there is lots of driving even if you are staying in or just outside the park.

Many like the chuck wagon cookout. My concern is that it would be late when you finish and you would have to drive thru part of the park in the dark and then an hour or so to your lodging after you reach the N. gate. This is not recommended as there are many big dark animals who seem to think the road is theirs! lol

I would not think either Chico or Livingston warranted a full day each unless you are going to hike. There are some lovely hikes on either side of the Yellowstone River valley.

Pam

Green Valley...
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2. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

If thinking of museums, then two "must sees" are:

Cody, WY Don't assume from the name, fantastic!

Buffalo Bill Historical Center A fascinating and world class complex (with cafeteria); plan on at least three hours. For all ages. http://www.bbhc.org/home/

National Museum of Wildlife Art – Another remarkable museum. North of Jackson on the road between Jackson and the south entrance to Grand Teton National Park. http://www.wildlifeart.org/

Lodging - absolutely agree with Pam, way too far and you'll put several hundred miles driving just inside YNP. I'd prefer inside the park, but if not, as said, West Yellowstone and/or Gardiner. You'll probably want at least two full days to explore the park, three is better; it is a huge area with much to see and cannot be rushed.

For lodging INSIDE the Park - http://www.travelyellowstone.com/ Xanterra is the YNP contracted lodging resource. Other agencies might charge a nonrefundable fee and they have to contact Xanterra themselves which you can do for free.

To get reservations in the park - (1) Monitor the Xanterra website continuously, and if you can, (2) call several times a day as cancellations often occur.

If nothing available, reserve lodging outside the park but know the cancellation policies. If you do get Xanterra lodging, cancel those reservations.

We prefer, for lodging locations, Canyon, with Lake a close second, for that part of the park. Old Faithful area for one or two nights for that side of the park.

Edited: 15 November 2012, 01:51
Illinois
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3. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

Thanks to you both for your advice. Much appreciated. Unfortunately because of our group size, the experience some want and what others can afford I think we are probably stuck with what we have. We will arrive late afternoon on a wednesday, hoping to relax and enjoy the home on thursday, friday drive to yellowstone, saturday Gardiner rodeo and evenin cookout somewhere, sunday Museum of the rockies/Virginia City, Monday return to yellowstone, tuesday scenic float or whitewater on the yellowstone, leave on wednesday heading south thru YNP hitting the sites we may have missed and spending wed/thur night at signal mountain lodge. Sounds like a lot of driving, but I'm thinking we would have further to drive to Virginia City/Chico/Bozeman if we stay in the park so we have driving no matter what we do. I am definitely feeling a little frazzled about all the driving though. Not too mention there really are not accomodations for our party size in the park and would have to do 2 rooms/cabins. That would be cost prohibitive. I was also thinking about trying to find a private tour company that would pick us up in livingston to tour yellowstone?? less driving for us.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

I agree Livingston is too far to see Yellowstone. If you do not want to stay in the park then look for a cabin or condo in either West Yellowstone or Gardiner. These towns are adjacent to the park. Yellowstone is huge- the size of a small state and there is much to see and do. Here is a link and map to some of the most popular areas to see in the park-

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

Your location is acceptable for the Black Hills but you will still have to drive at least 30-45 minutes or more to see the main sights in the Black Hills.

Good luck!!

Ennis MT
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5. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

I agree with the above posters about using the Livingston area as a base for visiting YNP. Have you examined the YNP map to see how much driving will be involved within the park - after you get there from your rental? Rather daunting IMO - and this is coming from someone who doesn't have a problem driving 10-12 hrs. a day on cross-country trips. You can do it, but it will reduce your experience of the park to a "drive-by", rather than actually being able to stop and explore the sights.

I would also reconsider the drive to Bozeman/Virginia City/Nevada City for the same reasons - lots to see and do in those areas, but not enough time for it in one day..

Illinois
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6. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

Ok now I am feeling a certain amount of panic. If it was just my husband and I things would be different. Sooo many people to keep happy. UGH...

Billings, Montana
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7. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

I can understand the allure of having a vacation home rental when you have a large group to keep content. A vacation home just allows you the opportunity for more relaxation and socializing then any cabin/hotel rental inside Yellowstone Park could ever provide.

If that type of socialization and relaxation is what your group is looking for and you want one place that is centrally located to easily access Bozeman, Virginia City, Nevada City, Chico, and Yellowstone National Park then the Aspen Hill Retreat outside Livingston will work. I googled it and it looks like a nice place. It is from what I can tell about 5 miles northwest of Livingston on a country road. You will have mileage to travel on each of your daytrips but as long as everyone knows that and accepts it then it is very doable.

It is 54 miles from Livingston to Gardiner so I would plan on 1 hour from your vacation home to Gardiner without any stops. You could easy do daytrips into the park from the vacation home as long as you realize that you will just be scratching the surface. Look at it as a "scouting trip" for future trips. : ) I would do one day trip that would take in Lamar Valley, over to Cooke City for lunch, then back to Chico for dinner (make reservations). The next day trip would be to Mammoth, Norris, and over to Canyon to see the falls and then back. I would save Old Faithful for seeing on the way down to the Tetons.

I would not do the cookout through xanterra, simply because it would have you driving back through the park in the late evening/dark. There are cookouts down in the Jackson area that would probably work better as you would be closer to your night's lodging.

There are some private companies that will do private tours. Nice thing about the ones I have seen/read about is it is a set fee for the private tour for anywhere from 1-6 people so the more that go on it the cheaper it is per person. If you could swing it pricewise there are a lot of benefits for a group your size.....one vehicle with everyone in the same vehicle being one. If your group booked the entire van then the tour would be catered to your wishes.

Deb

Billings, Montana
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8. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

Two possible private tours:

www.yellowstone-bearman.com/fulldaytour.html

The bearman is well know and from what I have heard does fantastic private tours. I've also heard that he books up to a year ahead of time so if it is something you're interested you need to get in contact with him asap.

A tour group that is based out of Livingston:

yellowstoneguidelines.com/site/yellowstone-t…

For a list of private groups authorized to provide services inside the park go to this webpage:

www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/concessn.htm

Deb

Everett, Washington
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9. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

When we visit YNP we always stay at Chico Hot Springs. But we know full well that it is a 30 mile drive to the north entrance. The offset is the accomodations, the hot pools and the dining room. They do have a variety of activities available there (horseback riding, spa, soaking, etc...) so a nice place to spend a day on a "dream itinerary" that allows time already for touring the park.

If wanting to use the pools without being a guest there then the procedure is to drive around back behind the main lodge and enter via the Saloon where they can collect a day fee, give towels and buzz you in to pool area. Guests have access via 2nd floor of main lodge and down a little steep stairway. We've spent many a visit there all day by the pools and grabbing lunch at the poolside grille (formerly Percie's Grill named for the ghost of the lodge builder's wife) . Hot pool is 102-104° and big (huge) pool is around 92°.

st louis
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10. Re: Dream trip itinerary...

There are several vrbo rentals in Gardiner and Cooke City and Silvergate. We stayed in a cabin in Silvergate. It was a mile to the northeast entrance to yellowstone. It was a long drive through the lamar valley but we took many drives through the park and drove the Beartooth and Chief Joseph.Have fun no matter what you do. Just relax and plan for the next time when the two of you return.

Edited: 15 November 2012, 19:03