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Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

Los Angeles...
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Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

Hello TA,

I have a short trip planned for Yellowstone and Grand Teton in first week of September. I will be flying in Salt Lake City in evening (at 6:30) and then head to Idaho Falls to stay in Hotel, after picking rental car.

This is the first time, I will be doing camping (I am excited). Few questions, if I can get help on them.

1- Can I get Cooler on rent in Salt Lake City or at Yellowstone ? Since I will be flying in and out, anyway I will not be carrying such a big thing back with me.

2- This one is really silly question :-) I will be camping in YNP. I will be carrying air-mattress (which I heard is more comfortable than other options). I am thinking to carry Car-powered (12V) DC electric pump to fill air in mattress. Just wanted to confirm, if I can take car exactly to that spot, where my tent is located. I am asking this because pump's wire will be only few feets and I want to fill air in mattress, while mattress is inside tent.

3- Regarding sleeping bags. I was browsing around and saw Coleman sleeping bag of 30 F and 40 F. Should it be sufficient to sleep in night ? 30 F should be always better then 40 F according to climate in first week of September ?

4- Now, the ITINERARY part. I have booked two nights at Canyon Campground and one night at Grant Village Campground and next night will be at Grand Teton. I gone through lot of posts in past few days and understand that it is not really a enough time, when I want to give some time to Beartooth also. But I can take out only these days and here can a possibility with this rough plan. I am not going to come in this part of Country again in next 8-10 years, so I do not want to miss major spots at least. Please comment on this to modify it.

30-Aug Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls. Hotel stay. (Can I go drive further to stay in hotel near West entrance, instead of Idaho Falls ? Pros: This will allow me to start early next morning and give more time in YNP. Cons: It will be late night by the time I reach. Are there scenic places, which I shouldn't pass in dark ?)

31-Aug Packup things from Walmart and start for Yellowstone from West Entrance. Norris Geyser, Mammoth Springs and backtrack. Reach Canyon Campground setup tent and visit Canyon. Spend evening at Hayden Valley. Overnight stay at Canyon Campground.

1-Sep Wake up early. Leave for Lamar Valley, spend 2 hours and then Cooke City, Beartooth Pass (or till Rock Creek Vista) and then backtrack. If time left, spend evening in Lamar Valley till dusk. Overnight stay at Canyon Campground.

2-Sep Pack-up Camp. Old Faithful and other geyser basins including Grand Prismatic Springs, Fountain Paint Pots, Firehole Canyon Dr and stay at Grant Village Campground in night. Once reason to stay in Grant Village is, I will be close to Grant teton, which will give more time there next day. A side question for this day only - How much time does it take to go on Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail ? Is it steep ?

3-Sep Packup Tent. Leave for Grand Teton, whole day in surrounding area, may be 42-miles drive and other places and night stay at Lizard Campground in Grand Teton.

4-Sep Leave to SLC in morning at 8 via Bear Lake.

Bemidji, Minnesota
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for Yellowstone National Park
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1. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

1. Styrofoam coolers aren't very durable but they aren't expensive so you can discard one for less than a better one would rent for if you could even get one. You also could use a much better cooler as your luggage and fill it with your clothes until you get to the rental car. I've done that. Make sure you strap it closed well.

2. You cannot be guaranteed to be able to reach inside your tent with the short cord of the air pump to inflate the mattress. You can buy a battery operated pump that runs on 4 "D" cells that will have sufficient power to inflate an air bed several times before the batteries become depleted.

3. I have seen temperatures down to 26 in mid August. I wouldn't be comfortable in a 30 degree bag.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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2. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

Just buy a cooler, you can get one for $20 at Walmart that will work and then donate at the end of your trip or even send it home as a piece of luggage.

Get a 30F bag or one rated even cooler. I've seen 15F bags for same prices as 30F! Also take a couple of lightweight fleece blankets. Airmattress my be more comfortable, or not depending on how cold it is, the air gets cold underneath you, that is why we use thick foam pads (but they are more expensive and harder to find!). Usually the tent pad is not within a few feet of the car parking spot, so you will probably have to fill up then move the mattress, or get one with battery operated pump. They even have hand pumps.

How will you be cooking your food? Small propane stoves usually best, they come in single and double burner units. Planning on using fire to cook can lead to long waits for food!

Also bring a flashlight and headlamp. Headlamp really does come in handy.

Your plan sounds good, there are many other options and I would skip Beartooth for more time in YS, but that is me. Have fun.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

I will look for less then 30 F sleep bags, as you suggested. I have single burner portable. Will buy propane cylinder and propane cylinders from Idaho Walmart, once I reach there. So that will help me to cook food.

Due to small door of tent, it will not be possible to push mattress (queen) inside tent after filling air. Cell operated pumps will consume many cell for longer time. Hand operated pumbs can be a option, though I believe, it will need some of my energy :-)

Two more questions, I forgot to ask earlier. I have booking for two nights at a campground. Even if I reach late, like 9 PM, will they hold it ? I should not corcerned about specific location just for night sleep, should I ?

While booking, it asked (optional) about near bathroom or far from bathroom. If I choose 'far from bathroom' to avoid flush noises in night, how far it will be ? I know Canyon and Grant Village Campgrounds are huge, so asking this question.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

If your tent is freestanding, you can pitch it, do your air mattress inflation with the mattress in the tent near the car, then pick the whole thing up and move it to the tent pad to stake down.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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5. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

We used a hand pump for years to blow up a twin mattress, but could take a long time for a queen. Good advice above. Make sure you let the campground know you are arriving late that way they can leave you a note with your site number (all sites are assigned) if they are closed. Quiet hours start at 10pm, so many people will be asleep and annoyed by air pump. We travel with foam pads and cots, much easier on us! We were right across from a restroom and didn't have any issues with the sounds, I actually liked it, less time worrying about running into a bear, lol. Most everyone sleeps all night, then around 5 to 6am you start hearing people moving around.

Seattle
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6. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

It gets cold in Yellowstone, even in summer. I don't mean to scare you, but it is not unheard of an early snowstorm in September. So I'd get a warmer sleeping bag. Depending on which campground you're in, you won't hear flushing noises because there's no flush toilets. Some are merely pit toilets.

I guess I'm writing to warn you that two hours in the Lamar Valley isn't enough. Heck, for me, a lifetime isn't enough in the Lamar valley. But I mean, it can take two hours just to drive the road from Cooke City through the Valley to Tower Junction.The roads in the park are single lane, have low speed limits, you can't pass and there's a lot of traffic.Bison often decide to travel on the road, and if a herd is crossing it, all you can do is wait. Bison get very big, have very short tempers and don't take kindly to being honked at.

Also, please believe me: do NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. I cannot stress this enough. Do not approach elk or especially bison. A bison might look like a big furry cow but they have killed more tourists than bears. DO NOT LEAVE FOOD OUT. If your campsite has a big metal bear box, you MUST use it. Your chances of running into a grizzly or a black bear are slim, but that's their park, not yours, and leaving food out will attract them.

Read and obey the camp regulations. They're not there to aggravate you, they're for your protection...and that of the wildlife. Remember: a fed bear is a dead bear.

7. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

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Los Angeles...
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8. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

CasaAzul...I will make sure that I setup tent before starting of quite hours. Yes, I can move my camp easily.

SeattleMeadowlark...Canyon and Grant Village, both campgrounds have flush toilets. When I look to google maps from Canyon Campground to Beartooth Pass via Lamar Valley, it says 68 miles (if I reach till Beartooth Pass only and come back). Will it work well, if I give rest of time to Lamar Valley. In better shape now ? I will keep note of your suggestions.

Ystoner...I understand air mattress may become cold in night. Will it be same even I will be inside sleeping bag (means one layer below air mattress and me) ?

Jackson, Wyoming
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9. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

Brian,

You're coming from one of the greatest cities of the world. I hope you choose some of the greatest we have to offer and get out on some trails.

Minimum 20 degree bag from reputable manufacturer. I've seen "-25" degree bags that will let you freeze in barely freezing temps without significant clothing left on in the night. Is the queen because there are two of you? Setup sounding very impractical.

Pick the Beartooth or the Tetons, not both in your short time frame. My advice is to go for the Tetons. Drive less, get the hades out of the rolling can and enjoy our outdoors.

Thanks for choosing GREATER Yellowstone and have a wonderful time,

John

Los Angeles...
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10. Re: Camping and Itinerary questions for YNP...Please help....

Absarokanaut... Yes, I thought of queen because we are two. I will check as you suggested.

OK..... as most votes going to skip Beartooth, I will take suggestion. What should I cover now, which I was missing on 1st September ? Can somebody suggest me itinerary now ? Just to rephrase quickly -- I will reach Salt Lake City on 30-Aug evening. Leave for Idaho Falls immediately. (Here, can I drive till any hotel at West entrance of Yellowstone, which will save me some time next day. Is it not recommened to drive in dark, just due to animals on road or there are scenic places in between ?)31st and 1st night are booked at Canyon CP and 2nd night at Grant Village. 3rd Sep, leaving to GTNP). We are not much hiking people.

Edited: 01 June 2014, 19:52