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Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

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Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

Hi. It's another snowy day in NJ, so I've got time to plan our July trip to Yellowstone – hoping we have enough time to leisurely explore the park and avoid the heaviest crowds (at least sometimes). Two adults and two kids (ages 10 and 12) and all enjoy hiking and wildlife. Our timing has changed from what I posted months ago, but all these reservations are made.

* Thursday 7/10: Drive up from SLC area. Hopefully arriving in YNP by early afternoon. Plan to explore West Thumb geyser basin and perhaps hike Storm Point. Pick up Junior Ranger book/s at the visitor’s center. Sleep at Grant.

* Friday: Explore Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin. How much can we really get in that day? We’re not afraid of hiking but probably limiting it to 7-8 miles a day. Sleep at Grant.

* Saturday: Explore Midway Geyser Basin. Hike Fairy Falls so we can catch that view of Grand Prismatic Spring. Norris Geyser basin and Artist paint pots too, if that’s not too much. Sleep at Grant.

* Sunday: Drive up to Mammoth Hot Springs and explore the upper and lower terraces. Check out Norris basin and Sheepeater cliffs on the way. Perhaps hike Bunsen Peak or swim at Boiling Springs/Firehole River? Sounds like too much in one day? Sleep at Roosevelt Lodge.

* Monday: Explore Lamar Valley in the morning. Hike Yellowstone River Picnic Area. Perhaps Tower Fall? Horseback riding and Cowboy Cookout that night. Sleep at Roosevelt Lodge.

* Tuesday: Explore Lamar Valley. Hike Trout Lake. We were thinking we might drive Beartooth Highway this day. Is it worth it if we’ll be in Grand Teton for 4 nights? Sleep at Roosevelt Lodge.

* Wednesday: Explore the north and south rims of the canyon, Uncle Tom’s trail, Inspiration/Artist Point, etc. Too much in one day? Maybe drive down to Hayden Valley too. Sleep at Canyon Western Cabins.

* Thursday: Hike Mount Washburn (from which side?), and then maybe back to Hayden Valley or down to Lake Yellowstone? Sleep at Canyon.

* Friday 7/18: Maybe a boat trip on Lake Yellowstone or the ranger-guided Storm Point hike then heading south to Colter Bay for a few days.

I’m having a hard time figuring out how much we can do each day. I want a plan, but with enough flexibility to account for the unexpected. We’ll probably eat either breakfast or lunch out of cooler/backpacks each day. We'll likely stop at any visitor's center we pass and will try a ranger program or two. Are we planning too much, or could we be more ambitious? Any suggestions of how much we can do each day without rushing or backtracking much -- or what might be missing from our agenda -- or how to avoid the July crowds -- would be appreciated. These forums have been so helpful thus far!

Houston, Texas
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1. Re: Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

7/10 SLC>Grant/West Thumb ~7hr either through West Yellowstone or Jackson. Stormy Point is another ~1hr.

7/11 Several miles of boardwalks and trails UGB around Old Faithful. 4-5hrs around there to try and see as much as possible and catch as many major geysers as possible. Could add Biscuit basin and Mystic Falls, Black Sand Basin and hike to Lone Star Geyser (~2.5mi each way)

7/13 Undine Falls and Wraith Falls east of Mammoth.

If you do the Beartooth be sure it's on a day with good weather. Beartooth is very different from the Tetons.

Tacoma, Washington
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2. Re: Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

You are staying for 3 nights at Roosevelt lodge. that means 2 full days in that part of the park.

what I would suggest doing on one of these days is do a loop trip of Beartooth parkway out to Red Lodge then go down toward Cody then take WY 296/Chief Joseph Highway back up to beartooth and then back into Lamar.

Red Lodge is a place you could stop for lunch.

Your itinerary of 3 days in Grant, 3 days in Tower, and 2 days in Canyon.

that should be enough time to do just about everything you want to do.

When you stay in Canyon look to go over toward West Yellowstone in the evening. That area is a place you can also find wildlife along Madison river. Its a good place for evening pictures.

N. Idaho
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3. Re: Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

I agree Storm Point is probably not going to work time-wise for your entry day. I would do it on one of your Canyon days, perhaps starting out there and working your way back up thru Mud Volcano, Hayden and the South and North Rims. And just so you know there is not a vault toilet at the Storm Point trailhead, so you may want to stop at the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center for a pit stop before you head out there. Fitting it in on your last day would work as well.

Depending on your time frame and which way you decide to go once you enter the West gate, you could do either Fountain Paint Pots or Artist Paint Pots on the day you enter the park. Both of those are shorter than the Storm Point Trail.


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4. Re: Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

In answer to your question about which trail to take up Mt Washburn, I have found both delightful. Chittenden Road trail is about a half mile shorter. Look for the herd of bighorn sheep at the top & pika in the rocks on either trail.

The hiking trails are a great way to get away from crowds. Carry a can of bear spray of course.

Edited: 14 February 2014, 15:13
Jackson, Wyoming
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5. Re: Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

Nothing in Grand Teton? That's a darn shame. I prefer Avalanche Peak to Mt. Washburn immensely but on Washburn I prefer going from Dunraven.

If you like to hike skipping Grand Teton all together is tragic.

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6. Re: Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

Thanks for all the specific advice! Very helpful and just what I was hoping for. Now I'll head back to the books/websites and read up on your suggestions. And yes, we are heading to Grand Teton for four nights after our time in Yellowstone. Wouldn't want to miss that! We're trying to squeeze as much as we can during our two weeks in the area -- without overdoing it.

Yellowstone Nat...
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7. Re: Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

<< leisurely explore the park >>

There you are! You've got the right idea. Much better than cramming as much as possible into every second. Leave the rat race and the rush rush rat race mentality at home. This is a Yellowstone vacatioon you're planning.

<< Sunday ... Sounds like too much in one day? >>


The other days sound doable ... but awful busy.


8. Re: Family trip July 10 - 18 in YNP: itinerary advice?

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