We are travelling to the US from Australia in late August for 3 weeks and have 3 days down to do Yellowstone (I know a little short but excitied none the less). We are arriving in the US on the 27th and staying the night in Dallas to recover as we have 2 young children 2 & 5. At this stage my planis to fly from denver to billings stay the first night at the Western Cabin at Canyon Lodge then the next night at OF lodge and then the last night either at Bozeman or another spot in the park. Do you think this will be enough time to drive and view local areas etc? I haven't booked the internal flights yet but would really like to know should I get the 6am flight from dallas which arrives via denver at around 9.30am or the later flight that leaves at 9.30am arriving at 1.30pm? I'm not sure if the later will give us enough drive time??
Also how long should we allow for the drive from the park to Bozeman?
Also if anyone happens to know Orange County any recommendations for 5 nights accom not too close to Disneyland but close enough we could get a bus etc? We will have a hire car but don't want to park at DL
Thanks in advance
There are two routes between Yellowstone and Billings. One is scenic and takes a while to drive and the other is interstate for the most part, but will cut better than an hour or two off your drive.
If you come in over the Beartooth Pass the first one (see my Red Lodge page for pictures of this) I only recommend it if you are not afraid of heights with tight corners! Be sure to stop at the little rest area towards the top for pictures looking down from where you came. Lunch at the Soda Butte in Cooke City would be good.
This will give you time to stop at Tower Falls coming into the park. Do not go all the way down the path as you can no longer get to Tower Falls base that way as the path collapsed several years ago and they have not fixed it. Go on and see the Canyon and then your hotel.
The loop around the park is about 235km. It is slow driving because everyone is stopping to take pictures in the middle of the road. It is also windy and narrow. (Please promise me you will not stop to take pictures of buffalo if there is a motorcycle behind you, they have no protection from the beast.)
I would cut across to the other side, (they will give you a map when you enter the park and you will see what I mean then) using the road through the middle of the park. You can then catch the Paint Pots, Norris, and Midway before heading for Old Faithful. It is not recommended that you stay in the old lodge.
On the way out you can see my very favorite part of the park, Mammoth. You can see this and more ideas on my Yellowstone page. :)
As your your last night, I would gauge that by what time your flight is. It is a couple hour drive to the airport. So if you have an earlier flight I would stay in Bozeman or better yet go to Belgrade, it is actually closer to the airport. If you don't have to leave until the afternoon, go to West Yellowstone and say. The Holiday Inn there is very nice.
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