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5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

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5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

Under another topic, it was suggested that Pam (DObby) might be able to help with a daily itinerary. I wasn't sure if I was to message to her directly.

My husband and I are staying in Madison campground (6 nights). We have 5 full days to plan. We will arrive 6/16 and leave on 6/22.

We would like to go on 3 or 4 moderate day hikes. We've heard the South Rim is a great hike. But we were not sure how to plan our days exactly. Of course we understand everything can change depending on the weather. One or two geyser's are plenty. We are most interested in wildlife and scenery, falls, hiking. Can you help map out our days from Madison? We don't mind driving to get in many of the sights. Please let me know if I should post any other additional information to help with our question.

I've looked at some of the links previously provided and need help in narrowing down and planning the daily drives to get the most out of our stay. Can't wait!

N. Idaho
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1. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

Welcome to the Yellowstone forum! I'd be happy to help you with suggestions for a daily itinerary. Tell me what gate you are coming in and where you are headed when you leave.

I will be out of pocket tomorrow so it will probably be Sunday afternoon or Monday before I respond, but since you have a little while before you get to the park, I'm guessing that will be OK! lol

Pam

Ennis MT
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2. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

If you're interested, there are multiple posters on this forum with a wealth of helpful information.

Just remember - this is your trip, so do your research, ask your questions, then plan what works for your specific interests. If you haven't already looked at it, the YNP website is very helpful: www.nps.gov/yell After reading through the material there, click on the "view map" link to get a good view of how the park is laid out and where things are located.

ENJOY!

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3. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

I second what heypaula says. We can tell you our favorites in exhaustive detail, but your favorites are what counts.

From Madison you can easily head south and visit any of the major geyser basins toward Old Faithful. You can head north and visit Mammoth Hot Springs. You can head east and visit the Canyon area and Hayden Valley (wildlife viewing). If you get up some morning and draw a blank, stop in the Visitor Center for suggestions based on pevailingconditions that day.

ENJOY!

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4. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

Thanks to both of you for the suggestions. I will spend some more time on the YNP website to try and narrow things down.

Pam - take your time in getting back to me..... we are coming in the West entrance and staying all 6 nights at Madison in our trailer. We have a truck to travel around YNP and also have bikes, but I'm not likely to ride a great distance - but will enjoy a few half day hikes. After YNP we are going out the south entrance and staying a few nights at Colter Bay RV.

Thanks again.

Sandy

N. Idaho
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5. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

OK Sandy! Here you go.

BTW, just because you have an itinerary doesn't mean you have to stick to it if something more interesting comes up (mama bear and cubs, wolves, awesome geyser eruption, etc). It's just a guide to head you in a direction from your lodging with an indication of what you might see for the day.

6/16 Enter Yellowstone thru the West gate. The first 5 miles or so are piney woods, so not real interesting, but you will come to a point where the Madison River runs directly beside the north side of the road. At this point, keep an eye peeled for Bald Eagle and trumpeter swan. You will also almost certainly see elk and bison along the west entrance road as well especially after you cross the small bridge so the Madison is on your right instead of your left. Take a look at what the Ranger presentations are at the campground each evening.

6/17 Make this your geyser day! Turn right at Madison Junction. After you cross the Gibbon River Bridge, turn right into Firehole Canyon Dr. Rejoin the Loop Road. Head to Old Faithful. I suggest you go directly to Old Faithful and skip the geyser basins you will pass…you can pick them up on your way back to your campground later today. Check in at the Visitor Center and write down the eruption times for the predictable geysers on the brochure available at the desk. (50 cents) Try to work your walk thru the basin so you can see some of these geysers. In past years there has been a Ranger led hike around the Upper Basin at 830. This is an excellent introduction to the geyser basin. The list of Ranger led programs will be in the newspaper you get at the entrance gate. If I am not on the Ranger walk, I usually start by going behind Old Faithful on the path to the left side of this geyser, crossing the bridge behind Old Faithful (you can’t see it from the front of the geyser) and up onto Geyser Hill. From there I head down the geyser basin to Morning glory pool (pit toilet here!) and go back toward Old Faithful on the paved path. I like to eat lunch at the Lower General Store. It will be the first store you come to on the right (well, the geysers are on the left, lol) before the Old Faithful Inn as you head back to the Visitor Center. As you leave the Old Faithful area, you can stop at Black Sand Basin, Biscuit Basin and Midway Geyser Basin as your time and energy allow. Take the right turn past Midway into Firehole Lake Dr. (This is where Great Fountain Geyser is located. If there are people around, stop! It is just awesome to watch. Since you will be camped at Madison, you will have a good shot at seeing this geyser since you can come back and check on it from your campsite.) Rejoin the Loop road. You can’t actually go straight across to Fountain Paint Pots, so you can turn left or right and go to the next pull out and turn around. Do Fountain Paint Pots and then head toward Madison.

6/18 This can be your Canyon Day! Make your way to Canyon. Stop at the Visitor Center. (Nice flush toilets, lol) Head south on the Loop Road, doing the North rim viewpoints (if only one, I like Brink of the Upper Falls) and the South rim (From Artist Point you can see a rainbow at the base of the falls between 945 and 10.) Return to the Loop Road. Go South through Hayden Valley stopping if you see people out with cameras with long lenses or spotting scopes. Continue South picking up Mud Volcano, then go to Fishing Bridge. Park and walk across Fishing Bridge as this area is rich in wildlife. I’ve been able to spot otters, golden eagle, muskrat, white pelican from here. You might want to head east on the East entrance road for Storm Point Hike and Lake Butte Overlook. Head back to Fishing Bridge and then go north and do LeHardy Rapids, then north again thru Hayden and back to Canyon. Depending on how your day is going, you might have time to do Norris and Artist Paint Pots. If you are looking for a picnic lunch spot today, my favorite picnic area is Nez Perce Ford Picnic area which is betweeen Mud Volcano and LeHardy Rapids.

6/19 Today you can cover a big portion of the Upper Loop. Go to Canyon. (Pit stop at the VC if needed…flush toilets, lol) Head North over Dunraven stopping at Tower Fall and some of the overlooks north of there. At Tower Roosevelt Jct, turn right in to Lamar Valley. Again look for wildlife or long camera lenses. I usually go to Soda Butte and turn around and head back to Tower Roosevelt Jct. (If you do stop at Soda Butte, be sure to walk around the back side and look at all the swallows nests!) At Roosevelt, head toward Mammoth. Take the drive back to Petrified Tree, then do Blacktail Plateau. Many see wildlife back in here, alas I never do! (Blacktail Plateau is dirt/gravel. I have Honda CRV which is 4WD, but should have no problem with this in your pickup even if it is 2WD. You can also bike on this road.) When you get to Mammoth walk the lower terraces. The good bathrooms here are the new ones by the bus parking lot and the gas station. If you want you can pick up a self guiding tour at the VC and look at the Ft Yellowstone buildings. Drive south toward Norris and as you come up out of Mammoth, turn in to the drive around the upper terraces which will be on your right. From Mammoth head back south to Norris.

6/20 I didn't ask, but did you want to do Beartooth Pass? If so, you could do it this day. Head to Canyon, up over Dunraven, out thru Lamar and exit the NE entrance. Drive to Rock Creek Vista at least, or even to Red Lodge for lunch, then back track to Madison. If you don't want to drive Beartooth, you could do a bike ride today. You can ride either or both, the trail out to Lone Star geyser (trail head near the Keppler Cascade just east of Old Faithful) and or the Fountain Freight Road which is at the end of the Fountain Flat Drive just north of Fountain Paint Pots. www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/bicycling.htm

6/21 Today I would do Norris Geyser Basin and Artist Paint Pots and then pick up anything you missed before or would like to revisit.

6/22 Depart Yellowstone via the South gate for Grand Tetons. The route is your choice. There is a pass on the section between Old Faithful and West Thumb but altho I am not an RVer and don't know all the issues you consider before taking a route, it doesn't seem particularly bad to me. You can also go via Canyon which is a bit longer, but takes you thru Hayden Valley again for another go at watching for wildlife.

Have you seen this website? It may or may not apply to you. http://www.rvcruzer.com/ystonervroutes.php

Take what is useful from these suggestions and have a wonderful time! Let me know if you have questions.

Pam

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6. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

Sandy, if this type of micro-managing is what you want for your trip, go with it.

However, YNP is not a mysterious uncharted wilderness. The roads are laid out in a simple "Figure 8" and the YNP website has the sights well described, while their map shows the locations in an easy to read format.

Whether you choose to go with your own plans, or those laid out by someone else, I hope that you'll relax and enjoy what the park has to offer, rather than stressing out trying to "see everything".

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7. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

Pam - thank you so much for the great itinerary. I just had time for a quick look tonight.... but will enjoy planning our trip with all of your tips. I took a quick look at the RV website too. We like to be on the go..... my husband will probably be up at the crack of dawn getting some fishing in before we take off for the day. We will definetly take time to enjoy the beautiful sites and animals. I'll take a closer look at your suggestions to see where we might be able to fit in a few half day hikes.

I'll let you know if we have other questions, but will for sure let you know how the trip goes. I've waited for this for a long, long time and just can't wait!

I appreciate all the help and everyones suggestions. Thanks again!

Sandy

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8. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

With your emphasis on daily day hikes, research Fairy Falls, Mystic Falls, Bunsen Peak, Lamar River trail, Yellowstone Picnic trail, some of my favorites. But there are tons more I love doing:

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

One must always check out trail conditions with rangers at the visitors centers as closures & conditions change all the time. Carry bear spray.

I too love to hike, relax & get away from the crowds. But know that you'll have to set aside a packed itinerary to do so :)

Have fun researching & seeing what will work best for YOU!

Edited: 02 April 2013, 15:23
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9. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

Thanks for the hiking tips. I will look at those and have printed out some material from the website. Any comment about the South Rim Trail? My husband mentioned this one. If doing this, do you recommend we focus on this for the day?

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10. Re: 5 day Yellowstone Itinerary June

Here's the info on the South Rim trail:

www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/300066

I've walked it (not really a hike) a couple of times & there were plenty of people around. Part of it is paved. Uncle Tom's staircase is a fun detour. I made it there in the morning when the rainbow was out.

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60999-d53…

Edited: 03 April 2013, 16:16