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Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

Brunswick
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Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

Week of June 23rd...If we head out early in the morning from Cody, WY should we head up to Cooke City (where we will be staying 2 nights) or the east entrance at the Lake area? I would love an itinerary for the day that makes sense leading us through the park for sight seeing and ending up in Cooke City that evening. We will spend 2 days in Yellowstone for sure, 3 if needed. We'll look at as much as we can but prefer wildlife over geysers if that helps. Thank you so much, you have been so helpful!

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Cody
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1. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

You can definitely go in the East entrance to Fishing Bridge. Stop and walk across looking for wildlife (eagles, otters, white pelicans, bison), then drive north. If you are interested in birds, stop at LeHardy Rapids if it is open yet. Mud Volcano is also along this section of road if you want to look at a thermal area, if not you can certainly skip it. You will drive thru Hayden Valley which is rich in wildlife, stopping to scan the area and certainly if there are people out with long camera lenses and spotting scopes. Turn right into South Rim drive and do the waterfall overlooks. Return to the Grand Loop Road and continue North. Take the North Rim drive and do those overlooks if you wish, then stop at the Canyon Visitor Center (flush toilets, lol!). From Canyon head north over Dunraven pass to Tower Fall stopping if you have time, then turn right into Lamar Valley and head toward Cooke City.

You need to be aware of your time as you want to get to Cooke City before dark. Here is link to your sunset times, www.sunrisesunset.com Here also is a link to the park map. We recommend you figure your times by doubling the miles, for instance 14 miles = 28 minutes without stops.

nps.gov/common/…

You plan to go to Grand Teton after Yellowstone, right? You could drive this area from Tower Junction to Fishing Bridge on the day you leave Cooke City to go to Grand Tetons, so if you wanted to drive Beartooth it would be fine to do it from Cody. You would leave Cody, turn onto Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, then turn right when you reach the T junction with 212. Drive at least to Rock Creek Vista to get the best scenery.

Pam

Edited: 20 February 2014, 15:02
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Brunswick
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2. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

That sounds great! Any ideas for day 2 and then the next day as we leave so we don't miss any loops or areas. It is hard to figure out when I have not been there before. I know I will need to double back and would prefer to double back by maybe the lake , or Hayden area. I think anyways! Thanks for your help!

Tacoma, Washington
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3. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

Are you just doing two days?? where are you going to after yellowstone?

If wildlife is what you are looking for I would just stay in same areas as you did on day 1.

Brunswick
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4. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

I think we'd be there 3 days...Day 1 would be entering the park East Entrance by lake area and sight seeing on the way to Cooke City. Day 2 would be sightseeing in YS and staying in Cooke City as well. Day 3 we would be finishing up sights we have not seen on way down to The Grand Tetons.

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5. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

The choice to stay in Cooke City means a long drive to see other features in the park but easy to spend lots of time in Lamar Valley watching wildlife. In your initial post you indicated you preferred wildlife over the thermal areas, so I guess in making suggestions to you I am wondering if you wanted to include any of the geyser basins in your sightseeing.

Pam

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Brunswick
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6. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

Yes, I definatly want to see geysers and such. I just meant, if I am going to double back in some areas I would prefer it to be wildlife areas and be able to easily/quickly get to Lamar Valley early in the mornings and an evening or two if possible. If that just doesn't work staying way up in Cooke City please advise a route for sight seeing and where to stay! The website shows all park rooms and cabins are taken of course this late in the plans!

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Lamar Valley
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Brunswick
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7. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

Please comment on this itinerary idea..

Day 1 From Cody, WY enter east entrance by fishing bridge/lake. Travel to West Thumb Basin, backtrack to lake, travel thru Hayden valley, Canyon, Tower, Lamar, spend the night in Cooke City, MT.

Day 2 From Cooke City travel to Tower, Roosevelt, Mammoth, Norris, (maybe back down to Hayden Valley even if it is out of the way) Canyon, Dunraven, Tower, Lamar, spend the night in Cooke City, MT.

Day 3 Check out at Cooke City, travel to Lamar, Tower, Dunraven, Canyon, Norris, Madison, Old Faithful and then leave thru the south entrance to go through Grand Teton Natl Park and stay in Jackson.

ANY comments/advise would be sooo appreciated! Thanks so much!

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Brunswick
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8. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

Yes, I definatly want to see geysers and such. I just meant, if I am going to double back in some areas I would prefer it to be wildlife areas and be able to easily/quickly get to Lamar Valley early in the mornings and an evening or two if possible.

The website shows all park rooms and cabins are taken of course this late in the year. WE could always stay 2 nights in Cooke City and then one night in West YS if that makes more sense.

Otherwise I wondered about the following route. I am guessing when we have to back track it would take as long as the first time through as we would not have to stop, get out, and look at the geysers, just kind of enjoy sight seeing as we back track. Still, are these too long of days or doable?

Day 1 From Cody, WY enter east entrance by fishing bridge/lake. Travel to West Thumb Basin, backtrack to lake, travel thru Hayden valley, Canyon, Tower, Lamar, spend the night in Cooke City, MT.

Day 2 From Cooke City travel to Tower, Roosevelt, Mammoth, Norris, (maybe back down to Hayden Valley even if it is out of the way) Canyon, Dunraven, Tower, Lamar, spend the night in Cooke City, MT.

Day 3 Check out at Cooke City, travel to Lamar, Tower, Dunraven, Canyon, Norris, Madison, Old Faithful and then leave thru the south entrance to go through Grand Teton Natl Park and stay in Jackson. (OR should we head to West Yellowstone after Norris and see the OF area the next day and travel through Grand Tetons and on to Jackson?)

ANY comments/advise would be sooo appreciated! Thanks so much!

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9. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

I think, given your priorities, I would spend the first day traveling through the east entrance, but skip the route to West Thumb (you will see that later according to my suggestion), travel up through Hayden Valley, stop over Dunraven Pass and up to the Lamar Valley and out to Cooke City, skipping Canyon on your first pass. You will have plenty to do with starting at Cody and stopping for wildlife - the best is at Lamar and I would be anxious to arrive there if I were you. Make the stops that D0bby suggests as appeal to you.

Day 2, drive back through Lamar Valley as early as you can manage, stopping along the way for wildlife, then head south, perhaps taking the short side jaunt up the Chittenden Rd. for the view, continue on to Canyon, take in the side roads and views there, then if you have time and energy, visit Hayden Valley again.

Day 3, get up early again, stopping as you please in Lamar Valley for wildlife, then instead of heading south over Dunraven pass, continue west toward Mammoth. Stop for the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces (shouldn't take too long), then continue along south towards Norris. I wouldn't spend a lot of time at Norris unless there is news of something exciting happening there. No predictable geysers live at Norris and it's large, lots of walking, and no shade to speak of. Keep moving along. I enjoy the Firehole Canyon drive just south of Madison Jct which is one-way and will not take you far off the Grand Loop Rd. and deliver you back to it in the same direction you would have been going anyway, so keep that in mind. You may also see some bison in the area along the Grand Loop Rd. or along the Fountain Flat Drive further south (I've also seen Trumpeter Swans on the river along this rd.) The Fountain Paint Pots parking lot is often sold out by mid-morning, probably because it's the first thermal area south of Madison Jct. so a logical stop for guests and tour buses coming in from West Yellowstone. I'd skip it in the interest of time if you can't get a parking space, given your lower interest in the thermal areas. I would, however, make a point to stop at Midway Geyser Basin (a relatively small basin with boardwalks) where you can see the famous Grand Prismatic Spring. Next place I'd make a point to stop is Old Faithful - the largest of the geyser basins and you can grab some lunch at one of the handful of restaurants, lunch counters or the cafeteria. You could spend hours walking around the basin here, but for sure see Old Faithful. Once done here, continue south towards West Thumb and the south gate towards Grand Teton (I suggest a stop at the pretty and very accessible Kepler Cascades along the way, just south of Old Faithful.)

You will minimize backtracking for areas you have less interest in (thermal) and maximize your coverage of the Grand Loop Rd. with this suggestion, missing only the middle cross-road (I never see any wildlife along here!) and the south portion of the road between Fishing Bridge and West Thumb, but it is primarily good for beautiful views of the lake, of which you will experience plenty of beautiful views of lakes in Grand Teton.

Hope this helps!

edited to add: Given your interest in Wildlife, I'd suggest you keep your Cooke City reservations unless something at Roosevelt comes open (and it does happen). My second choice would be Canyon, but I like Lamar Valley better than Hayden Valley as the wildlife viewing appears more intimate to me in Lamar than Hayden. In my opinion, Roosevelt has a slight edge over Cooke City and the bonus of potentially seeing bison from the front porch of the lodge while relaxing. Cancellations can and do happen and you just need to keep an eye on the website, checking daily if it feels like a priority for you, to snag one when it comes up.

Edited: 23 February 2014, 15:57
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Brunswick
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10. Re: Itinerary needed Cody, WY to YSNP to Cooke City

Adventuritis- Thanks a million for the itinerary! It is so good to hear from the experts who know the area and timing so well!! I will check the web daily for cancelations in Roosevelt too! I sooo appreciate all input! Thanks again!