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4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

Philadelphia...
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4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

My husband and I will be taking a short trip to Yellowstone National Park in July. I'd love your advice/suggestions with our route through the park based on where we will be staying. We are driving up from the Grand Tetons early morning of July 14th - spending the first night in Canyon Campground, then the next two nights in Madison Campground. Our plan on the 14th was to drive north and go east toward Mud Volcano and Upper/Lower Canyons before setting camp for the first night. Since we are spending the next two nights in Madison Campground, what are your suggestions for the best routes through the park? We are planning leaving after dinner on the 17th, so we have 4 days/3 nights in the park. I know this is far too short, but hopefully we can see most of the highlights :) Also, what would you say the average low temp is overnight? We are camping in a tent and need to make sure we don't freeze! All of your help is greatly appreciated!

Spery, Iowa
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1. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

Where are you going when you leave? also, after dinner can mean a lot of things- do you know that driving in the area (YNP and all the gates) can be dangerous after dark due to the animals and is discouraged.

Philadelphia...
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2. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

We will be leaving out the west entrance driving towards Idaho Falls and spending the night there, to get an early start on our LONG drive to Crater Lake, Oregon. The time frame in mind would be around 5/6pm. We are choosing to stay in Madison so that we would at least be on the west side to make the drive easier. Do you think 6pm is too late?

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3. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

Yellowstone average July temperatures:

weatherspark.com/averages/31209/7/Yellowston…

My experience camping your time in July is that it was quite warm during the day, but gets chilly at night. I've had a bit of rain too.

Will you be in a tent? Make sure it is seam-sealed.

I think your campground split is perfect!

As for your suggestions of routes, if it was I, & each of us has a different focus, I would come from GTNP to Canyon via West Thumb, stopping in Hayden valley to look for wildlife

. Then leaving Canyon for Madison, I would drive over Dunraven pass, drive out & back Lamar valley looking for wildlife, stop in Mammoth Hot Springs then drive down to Madison.

Madison is a great location for 2 days touring the west side geyser & geothermal areas.

Have fun researching what will work best for *you*!!

Edited: 17 May 2013, 20:09
Spery, Iowa
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4. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

looks like sunset is around 9 p.m. so, keep in mind a couple hours from West Yellowstone to Idaho Falls (I think?) and travel time in the park is miles x 2 not counting animal jams. Looks like denalicat has given you good advice. Have a great time!

Idaho Falls, Idaho
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5. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

With no stops (traffic, potty or animal!) it is about 2 1/2 hours from Madison Campground to here in Idaho Falls. If you can, or decide to leave earlier, West Yellowstone is a fun town to walk around for a bit; maybe get some ice cream! Also I'd recommend taking the Mesa Falls Byway as you're coming to Harriman State Park and see the two gorgeous waterfalls. This would take about an extra hour or so depending on how much time you spend at the falls.(we spend more!) Mesa Falls byway is very nice, especially the upper falls which has a great walking path to the falls and a nice but small visitor center. (FYI, there is an entrance fee; maybe about $5) Well worth a visit. You should easily spot the signs off Hwy 20, but they are a small wooden sign "Mesa Falls Byway" and the road only goes east. (Though the entrance I believe does close at 5:30, so that may be too early for you.)

I would prepare for very cold weather, and if it doesn't happen, all the better! It can get down into the 20's even in July, but not normally.

Have fun in this beautiful part of the country, and feel free to ask any more questions-

Edited: 17 May 2013, 22:08
Philadelphia...
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6. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

Thank you for all of the suggestions and advice!! Denalicat - your advice is right in line with what we were thinking, so that is good to hear we weren't too off base. DriverMom18 - thanks for the advice on West Yellowstone and the Mesa Falls byway. They sound great...it will just depend on how our last day goes. Thbergs - thanks for the heads up on not driving late!

My other question is about food...what are the food options like in YNP? We are hoping to bring most of our own food, but just interested in what the park has to offer. What time do places start having breakfast?

Spery, Iowa
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7. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

you can get info on eating options here: yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/Dining-76.… and here www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/wheretoeat.htm

my personal favorites are the general stores as opposed to the dining rooms. there are shopping options as well, but it is more cost effective to have a cooler and stock up at a bigger town before entering the park. besides, you will want to eat and there may not be a place close- or you may be busy watching something great and miss a meal time, so it pays to be prepared to eat whenever and wherever.

My favorite dining room is Roosevelt Lodge. Otherwise, I consider them good at best, and remember, you are in Yellowstone- it isn't about the food anyway, lol.

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

Thanks, thbergs! You are right, it is definitely not about the food :) I just know we are not planning on really having any warm food, just surviving on PB & J, so I know I may want something a bit nicer eventually!

Spery, Iowa
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9. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

We tend to eat one meal a day of "hot" food. We like a late breakfast at the general stores, or I really like lunch at Roosevelt, with a bit of a rest on the porch after, lol. We also eat a late dinner sometimes. Eating at off hours will help with any crowds, but check out the times at Roosevelt if you plan to eat there. We missed breakfast :(

Check out the picnic lunch thread on here for some ideas to add to your PB&J. Or at least get a jar of Huckleberry J when you hit the park!

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60999-i481-k54931…

USA
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10. Re: 4 days/3 nights trip in YNP!

For hot soups & hot drinks camping/traveling in the park & elsewhere I use a tiny little stove. Here's an example but there are lots of them on the market:

http://tinyurl.com/tinycampstove

Can't carry fuel canisters on the plane, but can bring the stove. With a tiny pot it's a great way to have a hot meal at the campsite.

I even make coffee at overlooks.

The iso-pro fuel canisters are available at Walmart, sporting goods stores & I have even gotten them at stores in the park like the Canyon store.

Just another option for hot camping food.