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Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

Beaver, Ohio
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Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

We are going to YNP in August with 4 kids,4,8,9,&16. We have 14 days for this trip. We are driving from Ohio so about 4 days will be just driving to and fro, so 10 days to spend sightseeing. We are planning to stay on north fork highway between Cody and YNP. My main concern is keeping the kids occupied! What is there for them to do besides sightseeing? Should we spend 10 days exploring YNP or spend a few days exploring something else? This is our first trip to the area so any and all advice is appreciated! Thank you!

N. Idaho
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1. Re: Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

Are you planning to stay near Cody to visit all of Yellowstone? We don't recommend that as it is a pretty long *commute* in to see the various big sights at Yellowstone. We usually recommend at least 2 different spots within Yellowstone to cut down on driving time. It is an hour drive from the East entrance gate to the Fishing Bridge Junction, so you will have to add on time from your lodging to the East entrance and then time to get to your destination within Yellowstone. For instance, it is about an hour and 15 minutes from Fishing Bridge to Old Faithful, so it is 2 hours and 15 minutes from the East Gate to Old Faithful plus time from your lodging to there. Much further to Mammoth.

Here is a link to the Yellowstone map. Scroll down to *view park map* link on the left. We recommend you double the miles to get the approximate time it will take to drive a distance without stops for scenery, wildlife jams, food or fuel.

www.nps.gov/yell

In looking at your distance on www.googlemaps.com from Beaver OH to Cody it looks to be about 1,700 miles one way. Even at 3 days travel between places that works out to 566+ miles per day which is an extremely long day with 4 kids. Maybe you actually are thinking 4 days each direction? That would be a more comfortable drive. If so, that is 8 travel days out of your 14. With the 14 left, you can spend one day in Cody at the museums, then you could spend 4 days in Yellowstone and the remaining one as an overnight in Grand Teton before you head back.

What attracted you to Yellowstone? There is plenty of stuff to do. The Jr Ranger program would be fun for the younger ones. There are lots of hikes around the geyser basins, to viewpoints or just on trails. There is an excellent Ranger led hike on the east entrance road at the Storm Point Trailhead which starts at 10AM.

Pam

Edited: 09 April 2014, 14:45
2. Re: Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

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Beaver, Ohio
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3. Re: Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

I wouldn't mind staying in the park but I'm having a hard time finding a place. The only place I found was canyon lodge with openings. Yes it will be a few long drives getting there. I was planning 3 days out there (staying two nights ) and third night in Cody. We chose YNP because of scenery and wildlife etc.

4. Re: Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

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New York City, New...
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5. Re: Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

Definitely use two of the nights for Grand Teton National Park directly underneath Yellowstone. It's one of the iconic mountain ranges of the U.S. (you've probably seen Ansel Adams' famous picture of the mountains with the Snake River in the foreground even if you don't realise it) and many spend some time there on the same trip they see Yellowstone due to their proximity. Wildlife is similar to that of Yellowstone, except for that you actually have a better chance of seeing Moose in Grand Teton. You can either stay in the park itself or in the town of Jackson with it's famous Elk arches..

N. Idaho
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6. Re: Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

Yes, I agree. If you can get into Canyon that will save you a lot of windshield time driving in and out of the park every day. There are over 300 miles of paved road within Yellowstone so there is a lot of driving in the park without having to add additional mileage.

Canyon also positions you near Hayden Valley which is rich in wildlife. It is easy to get to early in the AM and late in the day, allowing yourself enough time to get back to your lodging before dark.

If you overnight in Cody you can spend the next morning doing the museum complex which has some very kid friendly exhibits. There is a rodeo there each night, but not sure if you all will be up to a rodeo after 3 days of hard driving. I am not sure you will have time to divert off I90 to see Devil's Tower in Eastern Wyoming.

If you are set on a 3 day drive, then that leaves you with 7 days to use to see the parks. I would do 4 in Yellowstone and 3 in Grand Tetons, then head back to Ohio from the Jackson/Grand Teton area.

Another option would be to insert 2-3 overnights in the Black Hills area on the way out or back skipping the Grand Tetons.

With 4 nights in Yellowstone, coming from Cody, you have 3.5 days in Yellowstone is you use the first half of that day in Cody.

Here are some loose suggestions based on a possible stay at Canyon:

Day 1: Head for Yellowstone after lunch in Cody. You can do Lake Butte Overlook, Storm Point Hike, stop at the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center for the Jr Ranger workbooks. Walk across Fishing Bridge and look for wildlife. Head to Canyon.

Day 2: North and South rims of Canyon, Hayden Valley, Mud Volcano, Lake area (possible boat ride if that interests you?)

Day 3: Thermal areas from Old Faithful to Madison Jct

Day 4: Upper Loop including Lamar Valley for wildlife, Mammoth Hot Springs area and Norris Gesyer basin if you have time.

Day 5: Exit to Tetons if you decide to go there.

If you want to spend more time in Yellowstone there is plenty to keep you busy for the next 40 years!

Pam

Edited: 09 April 2014, 16:01
Powhatan, Virginia
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7. Re: Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

I agree that Cody is a long ride from YNP. Canyon is a great area, take it if still available. Also, consider the gateway communities of West Yellowstone and Gardiner.

Take some time to visit the Tetons and the town of Jackson WY.

Enjoy!

8. Re: Yellowstone trip with 4 kids (4,8,9,16). Need advice!

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