We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Yellowstone with teenagers

Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Topic
Yellowstone with teenagers

We are looking to go to Yellowstone in the summer of 2015 (originally we were looking at this summer but I could not get the lodging I wanted). I am trying to figure out how to keep the whole family happy, as my kids favorite vacations are places like Disney and Myrtle Beach, so I am a little nervous that they will not be happy in Yellowstone. We will be in the area for 7-8 days. I am hopeful once they get there they will be so amazed they will love it, but just in case, I am trying to plan fun "activities" for them.

I am looking to have some activities that I know they will really look forward to, such as zip lining, horseback riding, and white water rafting. It looks like we will have to do at least some of these outside of the park. Is it best to stay in the park and do our park touring first then move to a hotel outside of the park to do some of these types of activities? Any suggestions for other activities of this type that teenagers would like? My daughter cannot do long hikes due to a health problem, so we will be just doing short walks in the park.

Thanks for any tips!

Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

I forgot to add that I am thinking of staying in Roosevelt for a couple of days and then Old Faithful or Lake Yellowstone for a couple of days.

Edited: 20 April 2014, 12:41
Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
460 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

Not knowing your daughter's health issue with all due respect there's no way I'm going to recommend zip lining, horseback riding, or anything else for that matter. Is it she can't go on "long" hikes or she just can't go on any where others treat it as an athletic event? Without knowing her health issue I feel its irresponsible for any of us to give any advice.

Driggs, Idaho
Destination Expert
for Grand Teton National Park
Level Contributor
3,238 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

Here is a link to Horseback riding inside Yellowstone Park:

yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/things-to-…

There is no ziplining or ww rafting in Yellowstone or Grand Teton. However, you can organize a ww trip iwth various guides, South of Jackson Wy on the Snake River or in Gardiner, MT on the Yellowstone. It looks like there may be ziplining in Gardiner as well, although I'm not familiar with the organization.

What is your definition of a "long hike". The NPS site has a plethora of day hikes you can choose from.

Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

Hi - Thank you both very much. She just has a connective tissue disorder so her ankles roll and can sprain easily if she isn't careful. We will have her in sturdy hiking boots but she wouldn't want to do more than a couple of miles at a time for hiking as her ankles would get tired-maybe an hour or so at a time. She is totally fine for all the activities we want to do and can wear ankle braces for things like horseback riding. Basically a typical teenage girl who deals with her chronic health issue well and doesn't let it slow her down!

It sounds like it might be good to stay in Gardiner at the end of the trip for a couple of nights to fit in our extra adventures. I know we won't get to see everything in Yellowstone, but I'm trying to find a way to keep everyone in the family happy. Thanks again.

Bemidji, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
2,622 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

Where are you coming from and how do you intend to get to Yellowstone? Would Jackson be a better final destination than Gardiner, MT?

Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

Could be - we are open to anything! No plane tickets yet but I would assume we will be going to/from Jackson.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
20,690 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

As a high school teacher and a mom of a teenager for 6 more months, here's some ideas etc...

Have an in park "ban" on electronics (iPads/pods/mps, dvd players, phones etc) with only cameras, video cameras and written journalling while in the park. Our teen was just fine with this and made a fun video trip report. Kept him busy when he got tired of just "one more" geyser.

Get a cooler (non styrofoam, they squeak) to keep drinks, snacks etc. That way you can have food where you are and not have to find a restaurant. We took a picnic lunch out every day. There are picnic areas all over the park.

Stop for ice cream all of the general stores should have some sweet treats! www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/stores.htm

Maybe do a covered wagon old west dinner from Roosevelt area. yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/things-to-… Might be to uncool for your kids, but they may love it. Horseback riding in the park is at Mammoth, Canyon and Roosevelt. Also if going to Tetons/Jackson look at horseback riding there yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/things-to-…

If your teens aren't used to camping and not having bathroom with shower, make sure you get lodging at Roosevelt with a bathroom! I wish we had stayed at Old Faithful, easy walks to see a huge variety of thermal features. Also would have been fun to see later on in the day and early morning when most of the visitors had moved on. Some shopping and dining options there as well.

Maybe a quick swim at the Firehole River swimming area. Near Madison CG, gets very busy in the afternoon, but we were alone in the morning! There also is a place to swim near Mammoth, not sure if either will be open and safe when you visit next year.

Do your kids fish? Maybe check out fishing on Yellowstone Lake, you can buy fishing gear at the stores, we saw a good selection at Canyon and that is where we got permits. www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/fishing.htm Also you can rent boats on Yellowstone Lake.

We didn't do very many big hikes, but the kid enjoyed Norris Geyser Basin for the stark scenery! Also watching the elk in Mammoth was fun, though we were kind of trapped in the car and had our picnic inside the vehicle. Rangers were herding the people away from the elk. Mammoth might be a nice place for you to stay, then drive the short distance to Gardiner for some rafting etc. There are combo trips with rafting/zipline/horseback riding. http://www.montanawhitewater.com/

In Jackson WY there is an Alpine Slide, gondola rides, lots of shopping and dining. Bike rentals to ride inside Teton (not sure if this would work for your daughter). Also kayaks, canoes and boats can be rented inside Teton NP.

Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

Thank you so much for all the great ideas! It sounds like there will certainly be plenty of fun things for all of us to stay very busy!

Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
307 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

While in the park, animal watching might be fun in Hayden and/or Lamar Valley. Just bring binoculars. We saw bears and wolves, but they were mostly too far away to see without binoculars. Just stop where you see people with the dance sporting scopes and cameras. Rafting would be fun too, and it's offered in both Jackson area and Gardiner, but I would think Jackson area would be prettier. I'm not sure what your daughter's max mileage is for hikes, but we enjoyed the Mystic Falls hike which is close to the Old Faithful area..We also enjoyed the Natural Bridge hike.

Like a Previous Poster recommended, I would stay in the Old Faithful area if at all possible for part of your trip.

Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
307 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Yellowstone with teenagers

While in the park, animal watching might be fun in Hayden and/or Lamar Valley. Just bring binoculars. We saw bears and wolves, but they were mostly too far away to see without binoculars. Just stop where you see people with the dance sporting scopes and cameras. Rafting would be fun too, and it's offered in both Jackson area and Gardiner, but I would think Jackson area would be prettier. I'm not sure what your daughter's max mileage is for hikes, but we enjoyed the Mystic Falls hike which is close to the Old Faithful area..We also enjoyed the Natural Bridge hike.

Like a Previous Poster recommended, I would stay in the Old Faithful area if at all possible for part of your trip.

Edited: 21 April 2014, 00:56