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Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

Tucson
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Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

HI! I'm going to my nieces wedding June 21, 2014 in Billings. I thought it the best opportunity to travel and see the area. I want to fly in June 11, start my road trip on June 12 - I can fly into Jackson and end in Billings or I can fly into Billings and go back to Billings. The price for air is not much different. I need to be in Billings for wedding rehearsal on Friday June 20. That gives me 8 days and 8 nights in the parks. I have a 5 year old daughter - who will be 6 at the time of the trip. I'm really looking forward to seeing this beauty with my daughter and creating a special trip for us. We want to stay in some cabins (lodging recommendations would be appreciated!) along the way and have an adventure with some R&R in between. Possibly rafting, horseback riding (if they allow a 6 year old), chuck wagon, etc. and hiking - what hiking trails can anybody recommend that would be good for a 6 year old? Don't even know where to begin to try to put together an itinerary! I looked at the map and read some posts - very overwhelming! Thanks so much for your advice!

USA
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1. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

I love to recommend the Storm Point ranger-led hike for kids as it is easy, safe with a ranger, goes by a marmot village by Lk Yellowstone. The past 2 summers it has been at 10 am, just east of Fishing Bridge. The ranger-led hikes are not out yet for next year so stay tuned!

I also highly recommend grabbing a cabin at Roosevelt Lodge for a night or two, then taking the Roosevelt wagon ride/cook out. Kids must be 8 yrs to ride a horse, but the wagon looks like so much fun too:

yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/roosevelt-…

I loved my stay in a Roosevelt cabin & there is so much wildlife nearby in Lamar valley.

I would probably balance that northern cabin out with a cabin at Old Faithful for easy access to the geysers.

Take a look through the 2013 trip reports at the top of this Yellowstone page for the trips with families to get an idea of what other families enjoyed.

Have fun planning! You'll get lots of ideas on here from which to choose your favorites.

Edited: 04 October 2013, 00:36
San Antonio, Texas
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2. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

Recommend you check out this previous discussion link below with suggestions regarding another traveler contemplating a trip to YNP/GT with a 6 year old if you have not already. You will both have a grand time and create memories for a life time as it is a magical place.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60999-i481-k66905…

My son is now in his 20's and we both have great memories of all the national parks & places visited together as he grew up. He is not afraid of "adventure" and loves the outdoors still today. As a Boy Scout he even back country camped at YNP & GTNP (without me that time) and can tell stories about real adventures miles off the paved roads.

-JD

Tucson
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3. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

JD and Denalicat, Thanks for your posts. I hadn't seen the other "6 year old" thread. Has some great ideas. Absolutely doing the chuck wagon dinner at Roosevelt - thanks for the link, I couldn't find it. I didn't know the age was 8, but it's wonderful that they provide the wagon's for all to enjoy. Planning on staying in Roosevelt for 2 nights for sure! Do I need to book for the ranger program ahead of time, or do it when we first enter the park?

Oklahoma City...
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4. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

Our kids were 6-10 when we took our first trip. We stayed 3 nights Lake Hotel Frontier Cabin (cute yellow ones) and one night at Old Faithful Inn, a night at Colter Bay Cabins in GTNP and a night in Jackson at Cowboy Village.

When we return next June, we will stay one night in cabins at OF Lodge, 3 nights Roosevelt & 3 nights cabins at Lake Hotel, plus a night or two in the tetons, probably at signal mountain lodge. My husband did not like the OF area because of the crowds, but I loved it, so I am trying the cabins this trip to see if that gets him away from the crowds a bit.

We were up early every morning to find wildlife, geysers were okay, but animals was more interesting to the kids. We would eat lunch out and usually have breakfast & dinner (sandwich) while animal watching. Have fun, my kids cant wait to go back. Just stop at visitor center to pick up JR Ranger info. Not too bad & kids really liked it.

Tucson
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5. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

I've decided to fly into Billings and make my way in a big circle. I land at around noon. Would you suggest going into YS via hwy 212 (the NE entrance) and staying at Roosevelt the night of the 11th? Or by the time I get my rental car, pick up some food and supplies and hit the road - will it be too late to enjoy any of the sites. Should I stay a night in Billings and hit the road early on the 12th? What do the experts in the area think? Thanks!!

Billings, Montana
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6. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

Get your supplies and drive to Red Lodge, Montana (1 hour from Billings) for the first night. That will set you up for going over Beartooth Pass in the morning. If the pass is closed due to snow you can divert around towards Cody, Wyoming and take the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway to get to Cooke City and the northeast entrance. I can give you details of that later.

The Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary (formally Beartooth Nature Center) is in Red Lodge. It is a sanctuary for wild animals that have been injured or orphaned and can not be return to the wild. It is a place and will give your daughter an opportunity to see animals very close up. The stories for each animal is on the enclosure.

http://www.yellowstonewildlifesanctuary.com/

You will need to get lodging inside Yellowstone ASAP. Most will probably already be taken so you might have to take a night here and there. Book only through Xanterra. They have a very liberal cancellation policy- you can cancel with 48 hours notice without penalty. Lots of people will make reservations and then cancel them so openings do come up when it gets closer to your trip.

I would call Xanterra directly instead of using the website especially if you want to reserve multiple locations. Only book Grant Village if there is nothing else available as it is at the southern end of the park making for long drives to get to anywhere. Canyon is the most centrally located if you want to stay at one place the entire trip.

http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/

I started taking my daughter on trips to Yellowstone Park each summer when she was two years old. She is now 34 and still cherished those trips. I started taking my grandson when he was 4 years old. He is now 15 and is now the best camping, hiking, backpacking, bear watching buddy there ever could be. You and your daughter will love this time together in the park. Be flexible and allow her to help in the planning. Get her a cheap digital camera.

Deb

Edited: 04 October 2013, 13:15
N. Idaho
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7. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

Excellent suggestions! I like Deb's plan for Red Lodge the first night. That will give you time to get yourself together and not have a huge drive, but you will be on your way.

For your 8 nights, you could so something like this:

June 11: Arrive Billings, shop for a cooler and supplies, overnight Red Lodge (Do you need to touch base with local family this afternoon?)

June 12: Travel Beartooth, reserve Roosevelt Cookout (wagon) Overnight Roosevelt.

June 13 Overnight Roosevelt

June 14: Overnight Jackson/GTNP

June 15: Overnight Jackson/GTNP

June 16: Overnight Old Faithful

June 17: Overnight Old Faithful

June 18: Overnight Old Faithful

June 19: Overnight Mammoth

June 20: Return to Billings for wedding festivities

I, of course, lean toward more days in Yellowstone. You might want to sub in another night in Jackson/GTNP for the first night at Old Faithful. Since you want a *cabin* experience, I suggest the Old Faithful Lodge accommodations. They are cabins and come in en suite bath and no bath varieties. Alternately, you might want to look at Old Faithful Inn which is the old Railroad hotel built in the early 1900s for your experience. The 3rd lodging alternative at Old Faithful is the Snow Lodge which was opened in 1999 and is more of a traditional hotel type room. As mentioned upthread, book your Yellowstone lodging only thru Xanterra.com. They are the park concessionaires and have a generous cancellation policy. It is worthwhile to go in and spend some quality time on this website. I find it confusing and a bit frustrating! Take a look at all the different choices in each area to get an idea of what is available. Don't worry if it says everything is booked up. These are very fluid and you will have movement cancellations as time goes on. You may have to stay on top of the reservations system for a while to pick up the ones you want. You can also call and talk to the res agents who are very helpful.

We usually suggest you stay in a couple different areas in the park to cut down on driving, but I also don't like to do one night stays either.

You may know this already, but cell service within the park is spotty. You can usually pick up a signal in the big areas like OF, Canyon and Mammoth. Wifi is available only in very small areas and it is not free!

You all are going to have a wonderful time!

Pam

Tucson
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8. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

That's Great, Deb! Would've never thought to stay in Red Lodge - the sanctuary is a wonderful suggestion - what a great way to start our vacation. There may be snow in June???! Oh my, I had no idea! I'm such a desert rat! We're going to be freezing! My daughter will LOVE to see snow if so! What to bring for clothes in YS/GT in June? Do we need jackets or heavier? Or just layered sweatshirts and the like? Will we even need shorts and t-shirts?

Pam - only family in Billings is the bride and she'll probably be working on the 11th, so if anything maybe a quick hello or lunch. Thanks for the itinerary! That helps immensely! What do you think of spending time in Lake Village? (in place of the Mammoth night) Like this: 2 N Roosevelt, 2 N Lake Village, 2 N on Jackson Lake, 2 N at OF and on the 20th head North from OF through Mammoth (stopping along the way to sight see) and up to Hwy 90 to shoot over to Billings. (we don't have to be in Billings until early evening on the 20th) Or should Lake Village be a 1 N stay and maybe use that extra night for GT (for 3 N total on Jackson Lake) or like you said 2N in GT and 3 N in OF?

Yes, thanks, will reserve cabins as soon as possible, getting itinerary straight and narrowed down with proper dates.

Your suggestions are wonderful and Thank you so much for helping me plan and utilize the time we have!

Norma

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9. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

Red Lodge also has the world's best old-fashioned candy store- the Candy Emporium on Broadway- not to be missed! It's amazing....!

N. Idaho
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10. Re: Suggestions YSNP/GT for Mom and 6 yr old daughter.

Norma, that looks great too. It gives you a fairly long drive from Old Faithful via Mammoth to Billings, but very doable with a couple hour stop in Mammoth. It's about 1.5 hours from OF to Mammoth about 2.5 hours from Gardiner to Billings. You are up to highway speeds after you leave Gardiner as opposed to Yellowstone speeds of 30-40mph.

Deb will have an opinion of whether you will need shorts in Billings, but it is doubtful you will need them in the park. You will need jackets, jeans/long hiking pants and a couple of long-sleeve shirts for your daughter. She might be able to do with a hoodie layered over the long-sleeves but a rain/wind layer would help if she has one. Definitely take a light pair of gloves and perhaps a polar fleece headband or stocking-type hat for her. Or you can pick up gear at the various gift shops with a Yellowstone logo and at a premium price. However, if you are cold almost any price will do! (Still wear the gloves I bought in Yellowstone one end-of-May before I knew better!)

When I visited the park the 3rd week of June this year, the first day was hot...wore SS Tee, crop pants (I'm old) and tennis shoes. The next day it got very cold and the next day there were snow flurries, 40 degree temps and wind. The coldest day I had on jeans, a LS thermal Tee, a polarfleece vest, a Marmot Precip wind/rain layer, gloves and for heavens sake, a fleece scarf around my neck. I was not too warm! I felt really bad for the kids out in the geyser basin with shorts, sandals and sweatshirts on. They looked like they were cold. I will add that Idaho kids (and probably Montana and Wyoming kids) would be wearing shorts, flip flops and a hoodie and be perfectly comfortable. The ones around here do wear shorts all year except on really bitterly cold days but your daughter is not going to be hardened to that!

I suggest on your to-do list (you have one right?? In the *yellow* folder for Yellowstone??) you put down to start watching the daily temps on weather.com about 2 weeks out and monitoring the highs and lows. That will help you refine your packing, but I always, always take a jacket and jeans to Yellowstone even if it's been warm. It will cool off significantly when the sun goes down.

I am really not up on the weather you might experience in Tucson, but do you have any cold during the winters? If you have some winter gloves and such, I suggest at the end of the season, you just start a Yellowstone pile in one of your suitcases to make it easier when you pack.

Pam