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Help make this trip smooth

Boston...
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Help make this trip smooth

We'll be in YNP in August for first time, 2 adults 3 kids 12,5,5 sooo excited!!!. Finally have my lodging all booked. Can one of the experts help me with best way to get all the things on my bucket list,( taking into consideration the lodging I have).

August 18 leaving Denver 9am should be in Jackson by 6pm????? Overnight JH (not enough time to explore JH since we'll be exhausted WOULD LIKE TO CAME BACK.

August 19 overnight OF inn ( will drive through GNP, probably no time to see all of major stops and boat tour) need to came back.

Aug 20 OF inn overnight

Aug 21 mammoth overnight

Aug 22 to 25 Lake Lodge will leave to Cody on morning of 26th

So with this lodging how do I fit more time in GNP, JH and Beartooth HWY without having to spend all my time backtracking. Thanks in advance for your time

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: Help make this trip smooth

Day 1 - Plan on leaving Denver area as early as you can. Where are you staying? Try to find a hotel as far north as you can the night before. Stopping in Lander for lunch and a break might be good. Gannett Grill/Cowfish/Lander Bar all together and good.

Day 2 - plan breakfast in Jackson WY, then to Grand Teton NP for at least 1/2 a day. Visit the visitor centers and drive to Jenny Lake, maybe a short hike around there. Also visit Jackson Lake area and Colter Bay. www.nps.gov/grte Lunch in Colter Bay area. Then drive to YS, stop to see Lewis Lake. Then to hotel.

Day 3 - Geyser Basins all day

Day 4 - See Madison area, Norris Geyser Basin, and then north into Mammoth area. Take a short drive into Gardiner to see the arch entrance into the park. Also to replenish snacks etc at a bit cheaper price.

Day 5 - Early to Lamar if you have seen Mammoth area. Also to Tower Falls before driving south to Lake Area.

Day 6, 7, 8 - plenty of time to see Canyon, Lake, West Thumb, Hayden Valley and even back to Lamar Valley.

Day 9 - Consider driving Beartooth and then to Cody.

Tacoma, Washington
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2. Re: Help make this trip smooth

I would drop the 1st night at old faithful inn and shift it o Jackson/GT

18-- drive to Jackson

19--explore grand Teton

20-- am grand teton, pm old faithful area..night old faithful

21 am old faithful, pm up to mammoth

22 am Mammoth, pm tower area, night lake lodge ( if you need more time in mammoth use more time there and make up tower on another day)

23 canyon/Norris/ Hayden valley

24 lake Yellowstone ( south) and west thumb

25. Lake yellowstone area(north) and canyon and Hayden

26 From lake lodge drive out of the park via Beartooth to Cody

Wanaka, New Zealand
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3. Re: Help make this trip smooth

Not sure what your plans are after your night in Cody, but if they are to drive back to Denver, could you swap the beginning and end of your trip around.

I.e. Day one: Drive to Cody for the night.

End of trip: Carve one or two nights of your four at Lake and spend 2-3 nights in GTNP/Jackson.

Sorry, I've never been to the area, so can't be of a lot of help. It just strikes me that you have a lot of time at Lake and very little in GTNP. To my inexperienced mind, it seems to make sense to somehow do a time trade here.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Help make this trip smooth

If want more time in GTNP then what about seeing if availability at Signal Mt. Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge or Jackson Lake Lodge on August 21 or 22? Then head to Lake and spend time there. Like Casa suggested drive the Beartooth Hwy to Cody your last day in the park.

You will have part of the day to spend in the Tetons on August 19.

If you do not see the Tetons as much as you want that will be an excuse to come back and visit again!!

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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5. Re: Help make this trip smooth

I think your plan will work and just enjoy your visit, you will see and do a lot and won't see everything! If you can stay the night in Denver as far north as you can, then you have less driving in the morning. Plus you can miss most of the rush hour traffic! If staying near the airport, DO NOT take the toll road 470. It will cost you more in fees etc than time saved, it is license plate toll only, no place to pay with cash! Rental car companies charge fees on top of any toll. Take I70 to I25 then north.

Tupelo, Mississippi
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6. Re: Help make this trip smooth

if you have kids that young... maybe driving through grand teton will be good enough. there's more close to the road in yellowstone. it is the most accessible national park i've been to... the roads go to everything, and then its all boardwalks. you can see quite a lot without traveling any trails at all (which was disappointing to me, but with two 5 year olds that may be great for you!). i bet your kids would spend a whole day in the faithful area. don't miss the paint pots (between faithful area and mammoth) ...i the kids seemed to think that was hilarious (and so did i!)

we did a shorter hike out from mammoth that might be young kid friendly. not very strenuous, and shaded (it can get hot on a lot of the trails- the burned areas don't have shade! the northeast is also good for shaded hikes) it started up behind the mammoth grill (and maybe hotel too?) and climbed some initially but was easy after that. goes to a nice little pond. lots of evidence of bear in this area- which is cool to see! (bring your bear spray)

know that it can take a lot longer than you think to travel around yellowstone. not only is it a huge place, but there's a lot of traffic and it all gets slowed (and sometimes stopped) by wildlife and wildlife gawkers who don't get out of the road.

beartooth highways was one of the most scenic roads i've ever been on in the US- only thing comparable to me is going to the sun road (glacier np). if the kids will get up early, that's good wildlife observing time, you may even see some wolves. you can drive out the northeast entrance and hit the beartooth. when you get out the entrance there are some businesses... might want to make a pit stop, because its a long way before you see anything other than absolutely beautiful scenery.

Boston...
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7. Re: Help make this trip smooth

Thank you all for advice. Will take it all in and see what works best when we get there.

I think the problem is when I'm planning a vacation I just wont to cover as much as possible. One never knows if they'll be back!!!!

San Diego...
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8. Re: Help make this trip smooth

I think that with one of your days at Lake Lodge you should head back to Grand Teton to explore. For us, we were able to "see" what we wanted to in 2 days. You could start very early in the morning, rent a boat at Colter Bay Village and get out on the water. (This is a must IMHO) Then head south towards Mormon Row, Menors Ferry area, you could stop at Jackson Lake Lodge on your way back or drive up Signal Mountain at Sunset and that will give you a really good survey of the park, and will help you determine if you want to come back another time. I think that all those days at Lake Lodge, you will get very bored. The West Thumb area is just a few hours of exploring (and we saw it en route to Fishing Bridge area). From the Lake area, you may also want to explore Canyon area but I am not sure what else you are going to do.

As someone else suggested, is your schedule flexible in changing it to stop in Cody first? And then shorten your time at Lake to one night (after Roosevelt, stopping in Canyon) then see West Thumb en Route to Jackson/Teton area the next day and spend 2-3 nights? I feel like that would be a much more ideal travel scenario.

Yellowstone Nat...
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9. Re: Help make this trip smooth

<< I think the problem is when I'm planning a vacation I just wont to cover as much as possible. >>

That's a common problem, including in these forums. It is the sort of mindset that keeps you rushing about, seeing as many things as possible and yet not taking the time to experience them instead of just seeing them. This is especially sad in Yellowsone, where slowing down and letting the park come to you is the best "plan."

ENJOY!

Boston...
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10. Re: Help make this trip smooth

Thanks for pointing all the extra nights at Lake lodge. It may be a good idea to remove one of them and head to GTNP/ Jackson. Only reason I'm going to Cody is for the rodeo, and it's the closest exit to Black Hills. How does this look

Aug 18 leave Denver 9am overnight Jackson

Aug 19 do the east side of GTNP on my way to YNP overnight OF Inn

Aug 20 geyser are Overnight OF Inn

Aug 21 Overnight Mammoth

Aug 22 lake Hotel

Aug 23 GTNP/Jackson

Aug 24-25 lake hotel in YNP

Aug 26 Beartooth hway on my way to Black Hills ( not sure witch route to take that would make sense)

Aug 27-28-29 Black Hills

Thanks for all your time