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Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

Chicago
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Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

Hello! I was hoping to get some input from seasoned travelers to these parts. Our plan is to arrive in GT around 8am on Sunday spend Sunday and Monday nights in GT, Get up early on Tuesaday and drive up to Yellowstone. Spend Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Yellowstone and leave the park in the afternoon/early evening on Thursday. I know from reading other posts that this is not nearly enough time to see everything, but its what we have and we don't expect to see everything.

I'm wondering how you think our time would be best spent? In GT our only must do's are a hike or two and renting a canoe on Jenny Lake. I'm more worried about getting the most out of Yellowstone because it's so much bigger and there is SO much to do. Yellowstone must do's would include seeing some wildlife (Lamar Valley?) and seeing the Grand Canyon. We are camping in the Grant campground. We're more interested in hikes than waiting for old faithful.

I appreciate advice you can offer. Would we be better off leaving GT Monday afternoon?

Thanks!

Houston, Texas
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1. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

With two days and a 1/2 day leaving something like....

One day Old Faithful and geyser basins. Maybe no further than Madison Junction or all the way up to Norris and back.

Other full day, east side of loop. Around Lake, North through Hayden Valley (wildlife), Canyon, depending on time on north over Dunraven Pass to Roosevelt and out Lamar Valley (wildlife).

The half day leaving (presuming you are driving back to Chicago) either out east entrance to Cody and then US 20/16/14 to Sheridan and on to Chicago OR out North entrance (west side of loop) to Gardiner and Livingston and I90 to Chicago OR out NE entrance via either Beartooth or Chief Joseph Hwys to Billings and I90 to Chicago.

Edited: 30 July 2013, 14:20
PA
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2. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

From my limited experience in YNP (one visit a month ago), you may see some great wildlife just from driving places. We saw a grizzly on bank by road, many elk & bison, mule deer, & coyote - all from the car. Our drive through the length of Lamar Valley was wonderful & we saw herds of bison.

Don't shot change time at a couple geyser areas/basins. I didn't think I would be as fascinated as I was by these amazing features. We did NOT sit and wait for geysers to erupt - except for Old Faithful since it is so, well, you know, 'faithful". :)

But we hiked around miles of boardwalks at 4 different basins... to see boiling hot springs, blue pools, etc., in these rather 'other worldly' places is so unique. Grand Prismatic Spring is very cool.

have fun!

But hikes off the beaten path are wonderful too. Have fun!

Spery, Iowa
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3. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

As you don't have much planned for GTNP, and want to hike in YNP, then yes, I would leave there on Monday afternoon spend Monday night in Yellowstone. That would give you more time in the bigger Yellowstone. You will want bear spray to do hiking in YNP.

There are some nice hikes near Grant- Natural Bridge, over to Lake for Elephant Back. There are Ranger Programs at Grant and West Thumb and be sure to check out the Visitor Center. www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/rangerprog.htm

At Old Faithful you can walk in the basin while "waiting on it" and see it from the other side. I love the view from Geyser Hill with the Inn in the background. You could also get the prediction time and time a hike to Observation Point for an eruption. No need to sit on the benches at all. You can make a longer hike from Old Faithful to Black Sand and Biscuit Basins, going clear to Fairy Falls or Mystic Falls, even overlooking the entire Upper Basin. Lone Star Geyser is another hike near there- especially if there is a prediction.

At Canyon, you can hike rim trails or simply be sure to do Uncle Toms Trail (stairs) and Brink of the Falls for the more rigorous viewpoints. There is a Ranger Hike at Storm Point that gets good reviews.

As always I will caution about driving in the area in the dark. The critters like to use the road, and it is dangerous for you and them. Also outside the park when leaving later afternoon or evening.

Not sure where you are going next- that will help with hikes and scenic viewing suggestions on your last day.

Chicago
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4. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

Sorry about that. We are headed south to Lander. Thanks for the trips so far!

Spery, Iowa
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5. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

In that case, no matter where you stay, I would head through Hayden Valley, out the east gate and see that area as you came in the south. If you have a lot of time, Avalanche Peak is a great hike if you are up for it.

Love Lander by the way. Looks like the Fairfield Fire at Sinks Canyon is contained thankfully!

Chicago
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6. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

So I have amended our schedule to drive up to Yellowstone Monday early afternoon. Maybe leaving Jenny Lake area around 12-1pm. We're camping at Bay Bridge Campground that night. Would we be able to do Grand Faithful area that afternoon before getting back to set up camp and make out 845 dinner reservation?

Houston, Texas
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7. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

It'll take about 1.5hr to get to Old Faithful. Plan on at least 2 hours to see Old Faithful. About 1.5hr to Bridge Bay. Another hour to set up camp minimum. Give yourselves ~30 minutes to get to Lake Hotel. Plus whatever other sightseeing.

Chicago
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8. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

Is that 2 hours to view the geyser itself or to walk around the whole area?

Houston, Texas
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9. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

Old Faithful erupts on average every ~93 minutes. It also takes about 15 minutes from the time you leave the loop, park and walk close enough to see Old Faithful. Also about 15 minutes to go to you car and drive to the loop.

Of course the area is big and diverse enough to spend a full day or more there with miles of boardwalks.

Chicago
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10. Re: Yellowstone/GTNP in 4.5 days August

So would I be better off going straight to the campsite and spending the day around there and going to OF when i have enough time to really explore?