Staying with friends in Jackson Hole, Wy before our two week trip to Yellowstone. Just found out that the road from West Thumb to Old Faithful will be closed until June 11. Of course we have reservations at Old Faithful Lodge on June 10. What's the best way to get there?
Hi, VTers! We have suddenly decided to visit this wonderful area and don't have a lot of time to plan. Hopefully you can guide us in the right direction!
We're planning on arriving at Billings Airport around noon on June 5 and departing from Billings in the early evening of June 9. We are set on seeing the highligts of Yellowstone (Upper and Lower Terraces, Fort Yellowstone, Specimen Ridge, Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley, swimming in Boiling River, South Rim Trail, Grand Canyon, Mud Volcano, Yellowstone Lake, Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, Fountain Paint Pots and Artists Paintpots. Any other suggestions, or deletions?), and also seeing Grand Teton. The plan is to travel around Yellowstone, and stay in the area that is close to where we will end for the day.
From my preliminary research, I've come up with a rough itinerary. Please let me know what your thoughts are:
June 5: arrive in Billings, drive 2 hours into Yellowstone. Do Mammoth Country. Sleep in Gardiner, West Yellowstone or Big Sky. I think Gardiner is a better option, given it's proximity to Mammoth Country?
June 6: do west side of Yellowstone (whatever that means. I think it would include Madison, Geyser Country, and Grant? I just don't have a good grasp on the route yet). Not sure where to stay for the night here. To me, West Thumb or around Old Faithful would be the obvious choice to spend the night, but all accommodations are completely booked up (I know, accommodations for Yellowstone in general must be booked way in advance. However, we just decided on this trip yesterday, sigh). Suggestions on where to stay? Should we backtrack to West Yellowstone?
June 7: half day to finish what we couldn't do on the west side of Yellowstone. Spend remainder of the day on the west side of Grand Teton. Sleep in Teton Village or Jackson Hole.
June 8: do east side of Grand Teton. I think we'll be staying in Colter Bay Village, but if you have any other suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated!
June 8: do West side of Yellowstone (again, whatever that means. I think it's Canyon Country and Lake Country). I can't quite figure out where to stay on the west side of Yellowstone. Any suggestions?
June 9: do Roosevelt Country and northeast side of Yellowstone. And then we'll have to catch our flight in Billings at 5:30pm.
Some specifics about us: we will be renting a car so have that flexibility; we are fit and enjoy hiking. However, our main purpose of this trip is to see the sights (ie. we don't want to spend the whole day on one hike, even though I know there are an abundance of wonderful trails); it will just be my boyfriend and I (ie. no kids or parents to drag along); our philosophy is to spend less time at the hotel, but we need our own bathroom (budget accommodations in the $150 is our style. However, beggars can't be choosers at this point); we have never been to this area. Any other info you need to assist us?
I saw a suggestion to use West Yellowstone as a base, and do day trips from there. Your thoughts on this? I know Yellowstone is huge, but it looks like on a map that it may be feasible.
I have also seen suggestions to totally skip the Mammoth area. Is Mammoth not really worth it for first time Yellowstoners? There seem to be a lot of suggested sights to see in the area.
Nothing has been booked yet, and we may decide to drive from Vancouver, BC (a long 14 hour drive which would truncate our itinerary within Yellowstone :( ). However, I'm really leaning towards flying, and hopefully my boyfriend will agree to it.
Thank you in advance for reading this, and pointing us in the right direction!
We are planning to drive from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone, in mid August, staying overnight, before returning to Jackson Hole. We've been cautioned that we might get stuck in the parking lot, not even get inside the park, due to crowd congestion at that time. Should we risk it?
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