Hello! We will be in Yellowstone in mid-June. I have the basic outlines of an intinerary, but there are two days that I am a bit anxious about. So, I am hoping the experts can help me out a bit. I will be travelling with my husband and 9-yr-old daughter.
We will arrive in YNP after two days in GTNP. We will leave Jackson Lake Lodge in the morning, and head towards Old Faithful. We will be overnighting at the Snow Lodge. My plan is to pass up the Old Faithful area, and drive up to Madison, and then begin to backtrack to Old Faithful. I am thinking that we will get to Old Faithful in late afternoon--maybe 3 or 4-ish? We are eating in the dining room, but should have some time to explore the area. We only have one night in this area.
Ideally, my next day would include the morning ranger led walk through the Old Faithful area geyser basin. Then we head north towards Mammoth. Here it gets a little tricky b/c my husband really wants to go white water rafting. I know many would suggest doing it in Jackson, but that doesn't work out for us. So, Gardiner it is. So, after the ranger-led hike, I think we will need to drive directly to Gardiner, for an early afternoon rafting trip. Do you think we could make it there by 2 pm? I know we would have to skip Mammoth, which is a little troubling.
Then, after the rafting trip, we have to drive down to Lake Yellowstone for 3 nights there. I know that is a bit of a hike, but it is what it is.
So, my main question is whether it makes sense to go up to Madison and work our way down on Day 1, or whether we should just stop and explore the Old Faithful area for most of the first day; and hit some of the highlights of the other geyser areas on the way up towards Mammoth. If we did that, I don't think I would need the ranger hike on the morning of Day 2; and might give us time to see the Mid Geyser area, and Mammoth and still make our white water rafting. I just can't really gage how much time we would need to make that trip up to Gardiner, stopping at the Mid geysers, as well as Mammoth.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!