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need help with planning

Gaithersburg...
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need help with planning

Hi everyone,

We are planning to visit Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore in July/August. We are thinking of spending 9-14 days, but not sure if we need that much time.

I'm thinking of arriving in Jackson and spending two nights there.

Moving to West Yellowstone and spending 2 nights there.

Possibly moving onto Gardiner spending 2 nights there.

Moving onto Rapid City and spending 2 nights there.

We are very open to staying in other towns depending on availability. Do these stops make sense or should I looke at other options and should we spend more time in a particular town?

Thanks!

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: need help with planning

Are you flying or driving. If flying into one airport and out of another you can expect sometime expensive one way car rental fees.

Here is an idea of what you may be able to do- have done the trip multiple times but flew in and out of Denver and started with Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills.

Staying in Yellowstone will cut down on driving times. I suggest splitting time between OF on west side and either Canyon or Lake on east side of the park. There is over 300 miles of paved roads in the park and so much to see and do. Four nights is a good amount of time.

http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/

Here is a link to some of the more popular sights in the park-

http://yellowstone.net/intro/top-10/

West Yellowstone and Gardiner would work if no in park lodging. We actually prefer West Yellowstone because of choice of lodging and restaurants.

For the Grand Tetons you can stay in the park or in Jackson Hole. We like to stay near the square in JH because it is easy to walk to shops and restaurants but only a short drive into the park.

For the Tetons be sure and see Oxbow bend, Snake Rive overlooks, Mormom Row, Jenny Lake, Laurence Rockefeller preserve and Moose Wilson Rd.

It will be a very long day of driving from Yellowstone to Rapid City. If you want to stay closer to Mt. Rushmore then look at staying in Keystone or Hill City. There are lots of things to see and do in the Black Hills- Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, Badlands NP, 1880 Train, Wind and Jewel Cave, Deadwood. Check out the online travel guide at www.travelsd.com

Trip plan-

Day 1-2- JH/Tetons

Day 3-4-5-6- Yellowstone

Day 7- Driving to Black Hills of SD

Day 8-9- Black Hills

Of course more time would be better. If you have another day or two then spend one more day in Yellowstone. If interested in the rodeo or Buffalo Bill museums then stop one night in Cody which is about 2 hours from the east entrance of Yellowstone and on the way toward the Black Hills. Many people stop at Devils Tower on the way to Mt. Rushmore if that interests you.

Hope this info helps with your planning and let us know if you have other questions!!

USA
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2. Re: need help with planning

One of the most beautiful drives in the country is the scenic Beartooth highway. I would drive from Gardiner, over the Beartooth to spend a night in Red Lodge. From there you can drive to Rapid City.

Or you could drive out the east park entrance to Cody to spend a night for the rodeo & even a day at the famous museum of the west there.

Then you could drive the scenic Chief Joseph Hwy to the Beartooth Hwy to spend a night in Red Lodge, then on to Rapid City.

Another option is to spend more nights in Yellowstone ;)

So many options with all 14 days...!!!

Edited: 05 March 2014, 22:02
Tacoma, Washington
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3. Re: need help with planning

suggested itinerary:

day 1 arrive..night in Jackson

day 2 Grand Teton night in Jacson

day 3 Grand teton in AM, southern part of Yellowstone Lake area in PM, stay in west yellowstone

day 4 old faithful area...night in west yellowstone

day 5 Mamouth hot springs area...stay in gardiner

day 6 Norris-Canyon area, Lamar Valley in evening..stay in Gardiner

day 7 hit left over parts of park then drive out on beartooth highway to red lodge montaina for night there.

day 8 drive to South Dakota (pass by Custers last stand/Little Bighorn, Devils Tower, WY)

day 9-11 Black Hills area..stay there

day 12 drive back to the airport

Of course this could alter based on where you fly into. You need to look at airfares + rental car rates and see what is the best option.

You can fly into Jackson, WY, Idaho Falls, ID, Bozeman, Mt, Bilings, MT are the closest airports, You can also look at Salt Lake city or Denver (longer drives...thus adding 1-2 travel days.

Gaithersburg...
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4. Re: need help with planning

Hi there, thank you for all your advise. We are flying in from Washington D.C. and decided to fly into Jackson and leave from Rapid City since we didn't want to back track.

Here is my tentative plan based on everyone's advise:

Day 1-2 staying at Kudar Motel (Jackson)

Day 3-4 One Horse Motel (West Yellowstone)

Day 5-6 Alpine Motel (West Yellowstone)

Day 7 Absaroka Lodge (Gardiner)

Day 8 Pollard Hotel (Red Lodge)

Day 9 Foot Hills Inn (Rapid City)

Again, we can make adjustments if needed. If you think that I should spend more time in one town or less time, please let me know. If anyone has any opinions on the hotels, please feel free to give it. Or make another motel/hotel suggestion. I don't think that I can find lodging in the parks at this point (I've been checking for cancellations).

Thanks!

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: need help with planning

You do know that you will have one way car rental drop fees!!

If staying outside the park then why not stay in the same hotel in West Yellowstone- why are you changing hotels?????

Keep trying for in park lodging- cancellations occur all the time.

Gaithersburg...
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6. Re: need help with planning

Yes, I know that we'll have to pay a drop charge, but we didn't want to back track to Jackson after visiting Mt. Rushmore. We can't get the same hotel in West Yellowstone for four nights in a row. That's why we had to break it to two different hotels.

Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: need help with planning

Yes that makes sense- just checking. Hope you get a decent rate on car rental- have heard some horror stories here on TA on the price for pick up/drop offs between Jackson Hole and Rapid City. Have head paying anywhere from $50 to $150 per day for rentals.

If you like a big breakfast then eat at Running Bear Pancake house in West Yellowstone for some yummy blueberry pancakes!!

Gaithersburg...
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8. Re: need help with planning

I just checked the reservation site.

Grant village has availability on 7/16

mammoth Hotel has availability on 7/17

Are they too far apart?

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: need help with planning

Grant Village is at the southern end of Yellowstone and would work if coming up from the Tetons. You could then hit the east side of the park and stay in Mammoth the next night. Then keep the next two nights in West Yellowstone and do the west side of the park- geysers and Old Faithful area.

Pam (DObby) is one of the DE's and much better at plans than I am- will pm her and ask her to take a look.

N. Idaho
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10. Re: need help with planning

OK, which days would the Grant and Mammoth nights replace? I would be reluctant to replace either of those with the lodging you currently have in West Yellowstone and Gardiner, unless the Mammoth night replaces the Gardiner night, if that makes sense??

Pam

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