We live in Phoenix, AZ and have cheap airfares to both Idaho Falls, and to Bozeman, MT. We plan on flying into one airport and flying out of the other, but that is not set in stone either, since we have reasonable airfares and lots of ticket availability. We plan to fly out of Phoenix on Friday the 10th of June, and fly out on Monday June 13th. I have reserved a room at the Canyon lodge, for June 11th which is Saturday. Canyon lodge is exactly at the center of the two loops, closer to the East side, I am told. I can cancel this reservation, if it does not fit in the overall plan, until 48 hrs before the trip, without any loss Can anyone give me a good idea of whether we should fly in to Bozeman on Friday and fly out of Idaho Falls on Monday or viceverca. Also, depending on where we fly in and out of, what are some good hotel recommendations, and what should we cover in our time.
You will be staying on the east side of the park, and will only have two days to see the park. The park road is 142 miles in size, so you will want to visit the east side on one day and the west on another. On the east be sure to visit the Canyon Visitor & Education Center. It would be ideal if you can visit the center on the day of arrival, otherwise begin your full day of exploring the east side with the visitor center. Then drive south to the road that will dead end at the Artist Point lookout over the canyon and the Upper Falls. Now drive a short ways back north and drive the one way road that will give you a number of opportunities to stop and get various views of the canyon and falls. Try to stop at all the look out points along this road as each offers a different look at this stunning canyon. If you get a reasonably early start, here are a couple of other options for the east side day. You may wish to drive farther south before doing the two canyon drives to take a look at Hayden Valley, which is my 2ond favorite spot for wild life viewing, then turn back north for the two mentioned drives. A third option, is do your east day drive starting further south from the beautiful large lake, then work your way north through Haden Valley, then to the road to Artist's point, then to the one way canyon drive road. Do this only if you get a reasonably early start, and plan to be out for the entire day, as it is the Artist Point drive and the Canyon road drive that are the must sees on this side. The other day will be spent on the west side. Either begin with the Norris Geyser Basin and then drive down to the Old Faithful area, or begin with Old Faithful, then drive up to Norris. If you begin by going to the Old Faithful area first, start with the visitor center to see when Old Faithful will erupt. Schedule your time in the Old Faithful area around that, as it is the most famous geyser(thus the most crowded) in the park. Visit the museum at the center, and at least step inside the Old Faithful lodge to at least look up at the ceiling. I have a couple of photos of this ceiling on my VT Yellowstone pages, but they don't do it justice. Take time to walk around this geyser basin, as Old Faithful is not the only interesting thing to see in the area. Then drive north to the Norris Geyser Basin, which is quite different from the Old Faithful one. On my Yellowstone pages I have a brief video of one of the two sections of Norris Geyser Basin (Porcelain Basin), which will give you an idea of what that area is like. There are a number of lovely basins between Old Faithful and Norris, that have beautifully colored hot pools. I can not tell you which would be my favorite, but I would stop at least at one of these. If you would like to investigate what these are like, I live 50 miles from Yellowstone, and have featured each of these basins on my VT pages, so you could take a look and plan which you would most like to see. I would skip the long trip to the northern side of the park, which includes Mammoth, Lamar Valley, and Tower, as unless you really run through everything I have mentioned, there just won't be time. My pages can be found at "Yellowstone National Park, My Neighbor" - Yellowstone National Park by KimberlyAnn Note I have a link to an interactive map on my intro page, which is currently not working as the park is moving a number of their maps to other locations, so they are not currently available.
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