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My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

Pittsburgh...
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My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

Hi all! This will be our first ever trip to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons this June. I’ve loved reading this forum and got a lot of good advice.

Both DH and I are in our mid-50’s, moderately fit. Not sure how we’ll adjust to the elevation change; Pittsburgh’s elevation is about 700-900. I tried to avoid strenuous hikes on our first 2 or 3 days until our bodies adjust to the elevation.

Our lodging breaks down as follows:

1 night Signal Mt. Lodge

3 nights Old Faithful Inn

2 nights Lake Hotel

1 night Canyon (Dunraven)

2 nights Roosevelt Lodge

1 night Signal Mt. Lodge

1 night Elk Country Inn before our 7:15am flight home

Question re lodging: do all these places slip your bill under the door the night before checkout so you don’t have to stop at the front desk and drop off a key? I’d like to try to see lot of sunrises, so I’m wondering if we need to stop at the front desk or if we can just head out.

Ok, here we go. Any and all comments are welcome! :)

Day 1 – our flight is scheduled to arrive in JAC @ 12:45. Pick up rental car, drive to [Kmart/Albertson’s/Walmart?] to get cooler, food, bear spray, etc. (Ques: is there a store en route to the Jackson Aerial Tram?) If weather/time permit, ride Jackson Aerial Tram. (If we don’t do tram on Day 1, can possibly do on Day 11.) Head to GTNP. If time, stop and see Mormon Row barns along the way. Dinner and overnight at Signal Mt. Lodge. I’m looking forward to enjoying a Moose Drool Ale with dinner. (Haven’t had a Moose Drool since our trip to the Mt. Rushmore/Badlands area in 2010.)

Day 2 – up for sunrise at Oxbow Bend (shouldn’t be hard – we’ll still be on Pittsburgh time), then back for breakfast at SML. Drive to top of Signal Mt. and check out the view. Catch ferry across Jenny Lake ($15RT) and do Hidden Falls/Inspiration Point trails. (Ques: do you think we’ll have time to include Cascade Canyon? Or is that too much for today and I should save until day 11?) Head toward YNP, stopping along the way when we see something interesting (maybe Moose Falls and/or Lewis Falls). I’d like to arrive at OFI around 3/4pm so we have some time to walk around a little before our 7:30 dinner res @ OFI.

Day 3 –Ranger-led Geyser Hill walk at 8:30am. Continue along trail to Observation Point and Solitary Geyser. Then to Fairy Falls Trail (have directions from Deb1741 to overlook for good view of Grand Prismatic Spring.) If time, head to Black Sand Basin and/or Mystic Falls. (Ques: if I have to choose either Black Sand Basin or Mystic Falls, which one?) Grab an early dinner (Snow Lodge?) before our res for Yellow Bus Twilight on the Firehole Tour @ 7:15pm.

Day 4 – Try for the 9:30 Old Faithful Inn tour. Then head north, stopping at Artist Paint Pots in Madison/Norris area. Walk around Mammoth Terraces. Beaver Pond Trail. Narrow Gauge Terrace Trail. Drive to North Entrance and Roosevelt Arch. Fort Yellowstone if there’s time. Back to OFI for 7:30 res for dinner.

Day 5 – Check out of OFI and head toward Lake area. Hike the Divide Trail. If time, hike Natural Bridge Trail. 7:30 res for dinner @ Lake Hotel.

Day 6 – we get a break from too much togetherness today. I’m signed up for the Yellow Bus Sunrise Photo Safari, and DH will do a guided fishing trip on Yellowstone Lake at 7:45. I’ll be done before him, so I’ll head over to Lake Lodge and do our laundry. In the afternoon, try to catch the ranger-led hike along Storm Point Trail and/or Pelican Creek Nature Trail. (If DH caught any fish, I think the Lake Lodge Cafeteria will cook his fish for our dinner.)

Day 7 – Check out of Lake. See Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone via Artist Point, South Rim Trail, and Uncle Tom’s Trail (if my knee can handle the stairs). If there’s time, head into Lamar Valley. Overnight @ Canyon.

Day 8 – Check out of Canyon. Eat a good, early breakfast and hike Mt. Washburn (weather permitting). Head to Roosevelt and Old West Cookout @ 4:45pm

Day 9 – Drive Beartooth Highway, weather permitting. Lamar Valley.

Day 10 – Check out of Roosevelt and head south to GTNP. Hike Lone Star Trail before leaving YNP. Overnight @ SML.

Day 11 – Mormon Row barns, Schwabacher Landing. Depending on whether we did them on Days 1 and 2, Cascade Canyon or Aerial Tram. Head into Jackson. Overnight @ Elk Country Inn.

Day 12 – 7:15am flight home.

What do you think?

Amy

Edited: 21 March 2014, 01:46
N. Idaho
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1. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

Day 3: You've probably got too much planned today as you may want to build in some waiting time for specific geysers. You will also want walk the boardwalk along the back side of the basin to Grand Geyser, then continue on to Morning Glory pool. (vault toilet here) You might want to come back to the built up area for lunch after you do the Ranger Hike and the Observation point/Solitary geyser hike, then do the other end of the basin after lunch. It may depend on when eruption times are for Grand Geyser, Castle and Riverside as you may want to catch them too. Check at the VC before you start your Ranger hike and see what time frames you are looking at for them. Black Sand basin will take you a half an hour or so and is missable in my opinion. Mystic Falls will take longer and you may or may not have time for this today.

Day 4: I would move Mammoth to Day 5 when you are moving from OFI to Lake. I would probably do Mystic Falls today and if you want another hike, perhaps Lone Star. It is as easy as Natural Bridge as they are both on old road beds but it is longer. I think you may be pushed to get back to OFI for your dinner reservation if you do Mammoth today.

Day 5: I would do Mammoth and the Upper Loop today and move your hikes for this day to another day. I would skip Norris today, do Mammoth, the sights along the Northern Range Rd and go out into Lamar Valley. If you have time stop at Tower.

Day 6: Looks good. Storm Point is usually at 10AM. If you don't catch it today, you can do it tomorrow before you head up to the Canyon area. You can drive out to Lake Butte overlook on the East Entrance Rd and see the thermal features along the Lake's edge.

Day 7: Maybe move Storm Point to today. Rest looks good. You will have been thru Hayden Valley, but you may want to spend some time looking and waiting here today as well as Lamar. Mud Volcano and LeHardy Rapids will be convenient for today. You may also be able to do Norris today.

Day 8: If you didn't have time for Tower Fall on Day 5 you can do it today after you do Washburn.

Day 9: Looks good. Some like to hit Lamar early and then eat breakfast in Cooke City. I recommend you eat lunch in Red Lodge!

Day 10: I would slot in your hikes from Day 5 in here and pick up West Thumb on the way out of the park.

You have done so much work on your itinerary! I almost hated to change anything around, sorry! I love the amount of time you have devoted to Yellowstone and look forward to seeing your Trip Report.

Pam

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

We stayed at OF Inn last September and I had to return the key and get a copy of the bill when we left. I do not know if this is true for all the lodging but that was our experience at OF.

Have a great trip and look forward to your trip report too!!

Pittsburgh...
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3. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

Thanks Pam and PeachBelle! Don't feel bad about changing things Pam - that's why people post their itineraries here, so you veterans can tell us when we have too many things crammed into one day. I think i like your idea of doing the Mammoth area when we're moving from OFI to Lake; I thought of taking the southern loop to Lake, but by doing it your way we'll get some extra time in Lamar and Hayden Valleys.

Beartooth Highway - I'll keep lunch in Red Lodge in mind, but I hadn't really planned on going the entire length of the Beartooth; definitely to the Top of the World Store. Depends on how long we spend watching critters in Lamar Valley before we get to the Beartooth.

Oh, I guess I should include our dates - June 17-28. Hopefully all the roads and trails should be open and snow-free by then, but after this winter, who knows? I've seen Deb1741's photos of that snowy Dunraven Trail to Mt. Washburn in June a few years back, so I'm keeping in mind that our plans may change.

4. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

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Removed on: 09 July 2016, 22:13
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5. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

For your fish, if it is caught you could buy brickettes & foil at a general store (the store at Bridge Bay marina has had them in the past) in the park to grill it yourself at a picnic area grill, as long as there is no fire restrictions in effect.

For the Beartooth Hwy, don't turn around at Top of the World store. Some of the greatest beauty is just a short bit onward. Turn around instead at Rock Creek Vista:

www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/byways/2281/maps

Ask to close out your account at the lodging the night before. That's what we did. Then there was a key drop box so we could leave early.

Fantastic lodging!!

Edited: 21 March 2014, 14:32
N. Idaho
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6. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

Yes, just to second Denalicat (not that she ever needs seconding!)...you really won't see the *good* part of the highway if you turn around at Top of the World. The absolutely amazing part is the alpine tundra area beyond that. It is above the treeline whereas Top of the World is still below the treeline. You have plenty of time to go to Red Lodge that day unless you were planning to head down Chief Joseph as well. And really, you probably would have time for that too. Not sure you would have time to do Beartooth, Chief Joseph, Cody and a loop back thru the east entrance though so probably just an out and back on Chief Joseph would be possible.

BTW, I don't remember about Snow Lodge, but the other places I have stayed in Yellowstone still have actual keys to the door, not eck-el-tronic (to quote Mr Weasley in Harry Potter) entry keys.

Pam

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7. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

I honestly think you are cheating yourself with Gran Teton.

day 1 you arent seeing the park--just flying in and staying overnight.

the final day you have your return flight.

I would shift the first night at OF to Signal mountain lodge for a 2 night stay.

Pittsburgh...
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8. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

Thanks for all the advice! Somewhere I got the impression that Beartooth Highway would take pretty much the whole day to drive it roundtrip, so that's why I thought we wouldn't go all the way to Red Lodge. But I'll make sure to note that we should go at least to Rock Creek before turning around. And if there's time, maybe we can head down Chief Joseph Hwy a little ways.

I debated about spending some time in Cody. If the forecast the day of our Mt. Washburn hike is for torrential downpours all day, maybe I'll keep Cody in mind.

I like the tip about settling the room bill the night before. They have my credit card info, so it's not like I'll be skipping out on anything.

Thanks Ystoner - I knew one of the Lake restaurants will cook the fish. We'll be sure to ask.

Keep the comments coming! I'll revise our itinerary and then repost it in a couple of weeks so you can tell me if I missed anything else. You should see the area around my computer at home! It's Yellowstone Central - I have a folding table set up, maps all over the place, books, stuff printed from the internet. I have a binder (yellow!) and hope to get everything organized in there.

Amy

Jackson, Wyoming
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9. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

Smith's has been cheapest Bear Spray place in town for awhile and I think they're more often than not cheaper than Albertsons on everything else.

I'd hike Washburn first thing in the morning and check out canyon afterwards. I agree on 2nd night at Signal and personally 1 night is too many for me in Old Faithful but we're all different. I'd think a night at the Inn and then using the leftover for for Cooke City area.

If you're going to hike Washburn you should consider others. IMO Avalanche Peak in YNP and perhaps Hermitage Point beyond the little loop just a bit, or Laurel Lake, or something a little more ambitous like Ampitheatre/Surprise.

You've picked out some classic stuff. There's just so much you might think about more. Have a blast, thanks for spending your money here!

Edited: 21 March 2014, 21:06
10. Re: My First Draft of Our June 2014 Itinerary

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