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First Time Trip

Washington State
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14 posts
69 reviews
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First Time Trip

My husband has convinced me it's high time to visit Yellowstone. We have made arrangements to stay in West Yellowstone for five days in late September.

I may be naive, but I was hoping to not be in my car for the majority of this stay. We enjoy hiking and walking. Can someone help be with an itinerary that would allow us to see a nice quantity of the park, but allow for some serious day hikes? By serious, for me that is about 6-8 miles and an elevation gain of no more than 1500 feet. I'm a sea level person.

Thanks everyone!

Tacoma, Washington
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for Road Trips
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1. Re: First Time Trip

I dont do hikes like that so I cant advise you on which hikes...as for the itinerary.....

End of September many of the park lodges and facilities close. This time is fall color season. Same for Grand Teton which hopefully you also visit on this trip.

The road from old faithful to west thumb will be closed in september.

here is a 4 day itinerary....

day 1 fly into SLC then drive to west yellowstone

day 2 Norris-Mamouth Hot springs-Lamar Valley

day 3 Lamar Valley in the AM then backtrack to canyon and then to norris

day 4 old faithful area

day 5 lake yellowstone area

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2. Re: First Time Trip

Here are hiking trails:


Perhaps read through them, then ask us about some of the ones that interest you.

Check with rangers regarding current trail conditions & take bear spray.

Plus, you can put in lots & lots of miles on the geyser boardwalks!

Edited: 01 April 2014, 13:22
3. Re: First Time Trip

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N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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4. Re: First Time Trip

One thing people don't really realize until they get there is that there are miles and miles of boardwalks and trails thru the geyser basins. Those are mostly flat altho there are some elevation changes in some areas. I also enjoy the Yellowstone Picnic area hike. The trailhead for this is just east of the Tower Roosevelt Junction on the NE part of the Loop Road. Another popular hike, (Ranger led hike at 10AM daily) is Storm Point which is 3 miles east of Fishing Bridge.

Are you driving over from Washington State?

Here is what I would do for 4 full days:

Day 1: Head in to the Old Faithful area. Start at the Visitor Center (write down the eruption times for the predicted geysers) and head thru the Geyser Basin. If you need a longer walk after you do this, do the Lone Star Geyser Hike which is pretty flat as it is along an old road bed.

Day 2: Head in to the Canyon area, go south thru Hayden Valley to Fishing Bridge and go to Storm Point. Hike this trail (no vault toilet at the TH, so stop at Fishing Bridge Visitor Center, easternmost line of parking spaces are closest to the restroom which is not actually at the Visitor Center, as you come by it. After your hike, return to Fishing Bridge, head north stopping at the sites as you head back north. Do the South Rim viewpoints, then pick up the North rim viewpoints.

Day 3: Go in to Canyon, go north over Dunraven. Stop at Tower, go out into Lamar Valley. As you head back to Tower Roosevelt Junction, stop at Yellowstone Picnic Area for this hike. The hike up out of the parking lot is pretty steep, but it levels out and then goes along the canyon rim. After the hike, head toward Mammoth and see this area. In September there are scheduled to be some road closures for construction.. The road between Mammoth south to Norris Geyser Basin MAY be closed when you are there, so to get back to West Yellowstone you may need to retrace your steps back to Tower, over Dunraven, down to Canyon and back west to West Yellowstone. When you come in the West gate this morning, ask about any road closures.

Day 4: Head in to Norris and do this geyser basin. Pick up anything you missed or want a closer look at. Stop at one of the Visitor Centers and chat with the Rangers for a recommendation for hikes for today if you don't have one in mind.

Staying in West Yellowstone is going to give you more windshield time than if you are staying at different areas in the park. I have stayed in West Yellowstone many times and it does not bother me to add drive time. In September there will still be the elk rut going on. As you come in the west entrance road you will likely be able to see and hear the bulls bugling up the gals. In the AMs they are often all over the road so you will need to drive with extra care. You need to be sure you are back to West Yellowstone before dark each day. www.sunrisesunset.com

Also, make sure you have windex and paper towels with you. The early AM sun angle in late Sept on the West Entrance Road is kind of bad and I suggest you clean your windows every night when you get back to the hotel.


Washington State
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5. Re: First Time Trip

Thank you, everyone, for your input. pam, I think we'll try your itinerary this go around. We are driving from Seattle to Yellowstone. Down through Boise there and up through Missoula back. Lots of driving! But wonderful scenery.

6. Re: First Time Trip

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Removed on: 04 April 2015, 07:15