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One day for adventure in YNP

Buffalo, NY
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One day for adventure in YNP

A friend and I heading to Helena for a business meeting on Monday and want to see some of YNP on Saturday, and then check out Bozman on Sunday. We arrive in Helena late on Friday and are planning on getting up early Saturday and driving from Helena to YNP. From what I have read on the forum, we should start at the North entrance, head straight for Old Faithful, then go to Canyon via middle portion of figure 8 (see both falls). After that we could head back West to General Store for late lunch/early dinner. Then head back to Helena. I know that this is a really short timeframe with a lot of driving, but we do not want to miss out on seeing as much of YNP as possible.

I could use some suggestions/advice on routes and travel times from the Best Western in Helena. Thank you.

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Old Faithful
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Helena
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Green Valley...
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1. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

I'd spend your time in YNP rather than in Bozeman. It's not about Bozeman. You are rushing a park that requires at least two, I'd say three, very full days. Most folks, until there, don't grasp the size, diversity and experience of it, the many things to see and to do.

You'll have used at least, at least, four hours each way, between Helena and Old Faithful, i.e., 8 driving hours minimum, RT. Also, the park speed limits, traffic and wildlife jams don't lend themselves to "running" between major sights; nor once in the park, will you want to.

You can move the route to the northern entrance if you like.

http://goo.gl/maps/OtNWC

Edited: 17 July 2013, 22:26
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Bozeman
Bozeman
Montana
Helena
Helena
Montana
N. Idaho
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2. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

I agree with Voyaging, I would go in the West entrance as well. If you could spend Sat night in Yellowstone, then you can drive out the N. entrance and go thru Bozeman on the way back to Helena for Sunday night.

Even if you don't walk the awesome Upper Geyser Basin around Old Faithful (much less any of the other geyser basins) I don't thing there is a way you can see Old Faithful, do Canyon and get back to the West entrance for a *late lunch/early dinner*.

Here is a link to the official park map. We usually advise people to double the miles to get the approx driving time within the park. (ie 14 miles = 28 minutes)

nps.gov/common/…

If you do decide you want to come in the North entrance, I would head for Canyon first, then Old Faithful then exit thru the West entrance.

You can use the drive time back to Helena to decide when you are coming back and how long you can stay!

Pam

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Upper Geyser Basin
Upper Geyser Basin
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Old Faithful
Old Faithful
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Bozeman
Bozeman
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Smithtown, New...
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3. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

Another option is to start in Mammoth to see the Elk and amazon rock formations, head east to Lamar Valley for Bison etc, then down to Canyon for many incredible scenic landscapes and some hiking in nearby Hayden Valley. Just a thought. Some additional ideas on the trip report I created with my kids from our June 24-July 6 trip to Glacier, Yellowstone and more:

http://1quest2thenext.wordpress.com

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Lamar Valley
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Buffalo, NY
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4. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

Thanks so much for the speedy reply! Much appreciated. We would like to spend more time in YNP, but have hotel reservations in Helena on Saturday that we cannot cancel. Too much driving to back and forth from Helena to YNP twice in two days. Trying to make the most of the one day we have to spend in YNP. We will skip the general store dinner and plan on getting something along the highway on the way back to the hotel in Helena. Hoping to have a relaxing day on Sunday after the long drive on Saturday. I was thinking a side trip to Bozman or checking out Helena on sounded like a good alternative. With any luck there will be a return trip in the future to YNP for a longer period. Thanks again.

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Helena
Helena
Montana
Ennis MT
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5. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

If you plan on entering YNP through the north entrance, check the MT DOT reports first. We've had some severe storms go through this afternoon, and right now Hwy. 89 north of Gardiner is closed due to mudslides (4-10 ft. of mud on the road!)

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Gardiner
Gardiner
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Bend, Oregon
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6. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

We left Yellowstone today after 10 days....please make sure you have a lot of time

the crowds were monumental and the traffic was even bigger. We had amazing time

but have never encountered to many people and traffic slow ups.

I understand the road north of Gardnier is closed due to Mud slide and the West Yellowstone entrance is very busy.

Just be prepared for a longer trip time...

We counted four solid miles of cars on the way in from West Yellowstone this morning

at 1030 a.m. because of a sighting of 12 elk. The cars were at a stand still!

they were on their way to the Madison Jct area..

Edited: 18 July 2013, 03:36
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Spery, Iowa
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7. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

Were you planning on going back to Old Faithful General Store for that lunch/dinner or clear out to West Yellowstone?

I agree, too much driving for your time in the park, but that is your plan, so I will just advise to watch your driving after dark. The animals in the west feel free (because they are) to be on or crossing the roads, this is not just limited to in park driving.

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Old Faithful
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8. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

Wow, Paula/Kalii, thanks for the update on the mudslide! Must be a mess.

Pam

9. Re: One day for adventure in YNP

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