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Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

NJ
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376 posts
108 reviews
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Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

My husband and I are bringing our two boys (10 and 12) to Yellowstone and Grand Teton next July. Since we rarely return to the same place, we're assuming this will be our only visit so we've allotted two weeks to get as much in as possible. We are outdoorsy people and camp on the East coast, but will be staying indoors on this trip. We enjoy hiking, probably 7 miles/day maximum. We are anxious to see the geysers, canyon, wildlife, etc and are trying to keep costs down but that doesn't look too likely! ;-)

Here's our tentative plan:

Sunday July 6th -- Fly to Bozeman, arrive at 11:15 am, and slowly drive to Grant Village -- we'd prefer Old Faithful area but no availability yet.

Monday July 7th -- explore upper geyser basin, overnight at Grant

Tuesday July 8th -- explore lower geyser basin, overnight at Grant

Wednesday July 9th -- explore geyser basins then drive to Grand Teton (staying at Colter Bay?)

Thursday 7/10 -- GTNP, kayaking from Colter Bay?

Friday 7/11-- GTNP, Jenny Lake hiking?

Saturday 7/12 -- GTNP, rafting/float trip?

Sunday 7/13 -- leave GTNP area, head up to Lake Yellowstone, then spend the night at Roosevelt Lodge

Monday 7/14 -- explore Roosevelt/Mammoth/Lamar area, overnight at Roosevelt (shared bath cabin)

Tuesday 7/15 -- hike Tower Falls, horseback riding+cowboy supper, overnight at Roosevelt (shared bath cabin)

Wed 7/16 -- head over to Canyon area (I know its close),explore Canyon itself, overnight at Canyon (Western Cabin)

Thursday 7/17 -- hike Mount Washburn, overnight at Canyon Lodge

Friday 7/18 -- drive to Big Sky (or another area near BZN airport) for one night

Saturday 7/19 -- fly out of Bozeman at noon.

We have the reservations made at all the Yellowstone sites, but will try to switch Old Faithful for Grant. We haven't decided where in Grand Teton yet, but it looks like Colter Bay might win because of its reasonable price. The last night will be near the Bozeman airport, but we don't know where yet -- only that we want it to be somewhere fun. Maybe in Big Sky?

Does our order of locations make sense? Should we spend more/less time in one area? Is it worth the extra money to rent an SUV for the ground clearance? We're probably not going to do Beartooth Highway because of car sickness issues, and won't wind up in Cody since we've done other rodeos in the past. We want to focus on the natural wonders, so aren't particularly interested in Jackson, shopping, etc. Any suggestions are appreciated. TripAdvisor has never steered me wrong!

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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18,668 posts
110 reviews
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1. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

I think it looks great. You have done a lot of work! I think you will come up with lodging at Old Faithful...there will be a lot of movement between now and next summer. Be sure to look at OF Lodge where there are fairly inexpensive shared bath cabins as well.

Otherwise your plan looks great.

Pam

PA
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1,047 posts
124 reviews
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2. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

SUV isn't needed. We were fine in both parks with regular sedan - even on a couple gravel side roads in Yellowstone. Your itinerary looks great - I'm jealous of the good amount of time you have.

NJ
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376 posts
108 reviews
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3. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

Thanks to both of you. It's good to know that I'm on the right track. We got a taste of geothermal areas at Rincon de la Vieja and other volcanoes in Costa Rica and we're ready for more! I always have so much fun planning our vacations and TripAdvisor forums is such a wonderful resource. I'll keep trying and will hopefully get the Grant rooms moved to the Old Faithful area. There are lots of tips/suggestions on TripAdvisor and I'm always ready for more!

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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110 reviews
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4. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

If you loved the thermal areas elsewhere, Yellowstone will blow your socks off. The definitive guide for the hot stuff is Geysers of Yellowstone by T. Scott Bryan. You might also want to look at Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chappel. Good items for a holiday gift list to ones' self, lol!

And definitely keep looking at Old Faithful lodging if you like the thermal areas. There really is nothing like being in the geyser basin in the early AM or evening after the day visitors have gone and everyone else is in eating supper!

And if you are a planner, the next thing you need is a Yellow folder for your Yellowstone trip stuff, lol.

Let us know if you have more questions!

Pam

Cinnaminson, New...
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5. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

One thing I will guarantee...you WILL go back to Yellowstone! It's like no other place in the world, and with the combination of the thermal features, amazing hiking and seeing wildlife you won't see anywhere else, you'll surely get hooked. I'm from NJ as well, and had our first taste in 2008. This summer (mid to late June) will be our 4th visit.

Every year we (my wife and I) go back, we bring something new. Just to give you a rough idea, our first trip we had weak binoculars and a cheap point and shoot digital camera. This year, I'll have 2 spotting scopes, 2 good pair of binoculars, my new DSLR camera along with my superzoom bridge camera. Like I said, we're hooked!

You have a pretty good itinerary so far as well. You'll LOVE Roosevelt. It's our favorite place to stay. Easy access to Lamar Valley and some great hiking and sights up in the Northern Range. Get out at or just before dawn, and stay out till dusk. Hope to see a trip report when you get back!

NJ
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376 posts
108 reviews
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6. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

Lol -- I'm sure I'll WANT to come back again to Yellowstone just like I WANT to go back to Rocky Mt NP, Yosemite, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Acadia, Aruba, Costa Rica, etc -- but since we haven't been to the Grand Canyon, any of the parks in Utah or Washington, Banff, Alaska, Hawaii, Belize, etc it's hard to go to the same place twice! So many places beyond North America to see, too... I need to win the lottery! ;-)

Based on advice I read in these forums I already purchased Yellowstone Treasures. Excellent resource. We have a Fodor's guide as well that we got last year when we'd originally planned for our Yellowstone trip (before Costa Rica called to us a bit louder). The Geysers of Yellowstone will go on the Christmas list...

I've been pretty good about trying to pay it forward by writing reviews and trip reports after we're done with a trip. I'm sure I will for this one too. I just wish the 800 number for Yellowstone reservations was open on weekends because it's challenging to find time to call during the week so we can try to switch our Grant reservations for Old Faithful.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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18,668 posts
110 reviews
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7. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

We LOVE to read Trip reports here! No detail is too small for some of us, lol. Thbergs and I want to know every geyser you see erupt. The others will want to know every animal you saw.

Pam

Spery, Iowa
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8. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

Xanterra phones should be 7 days a week unless that changed?

9. Re: Two weeks in July 2014 -- itinerary assistance please

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