Short(ish) Yellowstone/Tetons Road Trip suggestions?

jdgibney

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So, I've kicked around several ideas for my work trip at the end of June. I'm working near SLC at Spartan Race in Midway, sat, June 28, and then driving to a family wedding in Steamboat Springs, Col. the next day.

I talked my mom, who I've never travelled with before, and who doesn't get around all that well, to come out early, meet me in SLC, and we will drive up through Yellowstone/Tetons and back down. I'm not sure yet which date we will get there, but I'm looking at Monday, June 23 or Tuesday, June 24. I'd have to be back down to the Midway area Friday mid afternoon at the latest, so I'm thinking that finishing up with Tetons sunrise Friday morning would be best, so starting in West Yellowstone would be the best idea.... With this in mind, I'd love help putting together an itinerary of some cool must see (even if normal touristy stuff since we won't be able to hike too far)... We'd also need suggestions on lodging since we won't be camping... (Cool sunrise/sunset photo suggestions are welcomed as well!)

Any tips would be great!
 
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@jdgibney what's the max distance for a short hike? Are you looking for inexpensive lodging or a little more pricey with a pool etc?
 
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For accommodations, if you're looking for inexpensive and you're not worried about amenities the Pony Express is my choice. Or if you would like a hot tub the Brandin Iron Inn offers that and a continental breakfast. It is really about what you would like to spend and the amenities you want. Most places in West Yellowstone with a pool will run you $250 a night. You can check out my reviews of these places here . In Jackson Hole you will pay at least $135 a night depending on where you stay. I recently stayed at the Ranch Inn which is 1 block from town square. Great place and close to the center of everything Jackson. Great price for the location! You can also see my review on the link above. Another place that will be inexpensive but nice is The Virginian.
 
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Touristy stuff would of course include Old faithful Inn/Old Faithful Geyser Basin, Norris Geyser Basin and other thermal areas like Mammoth Hot Springs, Mud Volcano, Artist Paint Pots etc.. There are many easily accessible water falls like Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls, Undine Falls, Gibbon Falls, Tower Falls, Firehole Falls, Kepler Cascade etc.. If your mom can hike a 2 mile round trip then Mystic Falls is pretty flat. Yellowstone Lake/Fishing Bridge. I haven't photographed many sunrises/sunsets in Yellowstone, but I would imagine you would get a great sunrise at Yellowstone Lake and a sunset along the Madison River. For animals try Hayden Valley, Lamar Valley, Dunraven Pass/Mt. Washburn for bears. Wolves in Lamar Valley, but almost anywhere for other animals. June is a great time to catch the baby animals out and about.

Jackson touristy stuff aside from downtown would be Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake, Signal Mt, Teton Village/Moose Wilson Road etc.
Hell just the drive from Yellowstone to Jackson is pretty touristy.

@Nick has a series of great trip reports starting with this one http://backcountrypost.com/forum/threads/grand-teton-national-park.1409/ that have great photos and ideas from his trip in 2012.
 

jdgibney

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Yellowstone, thanks for the responses and suggestions...I'm not sure what she'd be up for, for a hike, I'd have to gauge that... Inexpensive would be a good idea, I don't think a pool is that necessary. If we stay in west Yellowstone, is it easy to take different day trips, or is the park so big that we should look into staying in some of the lodging in the park?
 

Yvonne

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you'll probably too late to find anything available in the park for June. I could barely find anything available for my trip in August when I booked in December.
I would try to spent at least at two different locations to limit driving time.
 
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@jdgibney @Miss Buffalo is spot on if you're trying to see more of the park faster and easier. I just looked at some in park lodging and there are sporadic dates available in June. Staying in the park is pretty expensive though depending on where. You can get a room from $150 -$400 a night. You could stay in Gardiner a night but it's kind of run down, but there are a couple motels there that aren't bad. Range $135-$250 a night in Gardiner. If you are maybe looking to stay in the park you can check Yellowstone Park Lodging for available rooms and pricing.
If you've never been it's good to check out the park in sections, for instance, the Upper Loop one day and the Lower Loop the next. Also if you're going to to the Upper/Lower thing West Yellowstone isn't that out of the way to check stuff out. It's closer to the Lower Loop, but still very doable. FYI get up as early as possible. 1 to beat the crowds and 2 for those great shots you want, including animals. It's 47 miles to Yellowstone Lake from West Yellowstone. The Lower Loop road from West Yellowstone around and back to West Yellowstone is 124 miles and the Upper Loop road is 126 miles not including a trip into the Lamar Valley. Depending how far you go into the Lamar Valley count on and extra 20-45 miles.
 

Tater Head

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If you stay in West Yellowstone be sure to stop by Gusher´s Pizza. It's the best!!!
 

blueeyes

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I like this thread! Sarah and I will be heading there the first free weekend we have after we make it to I.F.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

Melissa

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We just got home from West Yellowstone. Obviously, we were there in winter so I can't comment on planned hiking and driving. Mostly I'm chiming in to recommend NOT staying at the Yellowstone Lodge in West Yellowstone. It's wasn't horrible, but it was terribly noisy and the breakfast buffet was pretty lackluster. Hopefully you'll find someplace better to stay.
 

jdgibney

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For accommodations, if you're looking for inexpensive and you're not worried about amenities the Pony Express is my choice. Or if you would like a hot tub the Brandin Iron Inn offers that and a continental breakfast. It is really about what you would like to spend and the amenities you want. Most places in West Yellowstone with a pool will run you $250 a night. You can check out my reviews of these places here . In Jackson Hole you will pay at least $135 a night depending on where you stay. I recently stayed at the Ranch Inn which is 1 block from town square. Great place and close to the center of everything Jackson. Great price for the location! You can also see my review on the link above. Another place that will be inexpensive but nice is The Virginian.
Yellowstone, I'm checking out the pony express motel link you posted, it says $99 for 3 beds/3 rooms.. Do you know if That is $99 total or per room ($297/night total?)?
 
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Yellowstone, I'm checking out the pony express motel link you posted, it says $99 for 3 beds/3 rooms.. Do you know if That is $99 total or per room ($297/night total?)?
It would come to $108.90 per night after tax total. It's a room that has 3 separate sleeping areas and beds. The main walk in area has a bed and the t.v. It will be room #1. The only downfall to the 3 queen room is that the bathroom is only accessible from the main room compared to the 2 queen you can access the bathroom from both rooms.
I usually stay in that room when I go with the guys and we don't camp. I have a 2 room queen for August.
 

jdgibney

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Thank you for clearing that up.
It sounds fine to me as we wont be spending too much time there other than to sleep, I reckon (and hope)...
As of right now, the rough itinerary I'm working with is:
-everyone arrive in SLC Monday early afternoon (hopefully)
Drive up to West Yellowstone, stopping in Idaho Falls (or somewhere along the way) to get supplies/food/etc
(my mom is completely gluten free, she has serious celiac's disease)
Stay Mon, Tues, Wed nights there as a base.

Tues and Wed: Day trips in Yellowstone. suggestions welcome!

Thurs: Pack up and head through Yellowstone and through GTNP to Jackson (find lodging)
suggestion welcome for what to see/do in GTNP Thursday afternoon too.

Friday morning: Sunrise at Moulton Barn (original I know) for photos, then head south to Midway, Utah....

Not sure what I can cram into those few days without overdoing it, which is a specialty of mine..
 
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Thank you for clearing that up.
It sounds fine to me as we wont be spending too much time there other than to sleep, I reckon (and hope)...
As of right now, the rough itinerary I'm working with is:
-everyone arrive in SLC Monday early afternoon (hopefully)
Drive up to West Yellowstone, stopping in Idaho Falls (or somewhere along the way) to get supplies/food/etc
(my mom is completely gluten free, she has serious celiac's disease)
Stay Mon, Tues, Wed nights there as a base.

Tues and Wed: Day trips in Yellowstone. suggestions welcome!

Thurs: Pack up and head through Yellowstone and through GTNP to Jackson (find lodging)
suggestion welcome for what to see/do in GTNP Thursday afternoon too.

Friday morning: Sunrise at Moulton Barn (original I know) for photos, then head south to Midway, Utah....

Not sure what I can cram into those few days without overdoing it, which is a specialty of mine..
I would definitely stop in Idaho falls to get Gluten Free. West Yellowstone has 2 grocery stores but they are expensive and don't have everything. from SLC it's about a 5 hour drive with a stop in Idaho Falls. If you need to get to Midway by a certain time plan on leaving early the fastest route to Midway takes about 6 hours and can be found here. DO NOT go through Kemmerer it will take you at least 7 hours if not more. I don't think you can ever overdo it, but Yellowstone is my favorite place so I am biased. I say cram as much as your family can comfortably handle. You can get other ideas at the visitor center in West Yellowstone. It is located on the corner of Canyon St. and Yellowstone Ave.
 

jdgibney

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The route you posted is exactly the way I had planned on driving back south. I don't have to be down there until mid/late afternoon, and only to check out the venue where our race is being held and check in with the company (Spartan Race). I plan on checking out Sunrise, taking some shots, and then heading south...
 

uintahiker

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Enjoy! You'll be covering a lot of ground, much of which can years to cover adequately.
If you plan on poking around the Midway area, let me know if you want a suggestion or two.
 

jdgibney

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Enjoy! You'll be covering a lot of ground, much of which can years to cover adequately.
If you plan on poking around the Midway area, let me know if you want a suggestion or two.
Suggestions are definitely welcome, I can pass them on to my family who will be looking for something to do while I'm working, I reckon :)
 

jdgibney

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For accommodations, if you're looking for inexpensive and you're not worried about amenities the Pony Express is my choice. Or if you would like a hot tub the Brandin Iron Inn offers that and a continental breakfast. It is really about what you would like to spend and the amenities you want. Most places in West Yellowstone with a pool will run you $250 a night. You can check out my reviews of these places here . In Jackson Hole you will pay at least $135 a night depending on where you stay. I recently stayed at the Ranch Inn which is 1 block from town square. Great place and close to the center of everything Jackson. Great price for the location! You can also see my review on the link above. Another place that will be inexpensive but nice is The Virginian.
Just letting you know, we went with Pony Express and Ranch Inn for our stays, thanks for your suggestions! Next up, basic itineraries...
 

pstm13

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You may want to drive through Bear World in Rexburg, ID. It is an hour south of West Yellowstone and on the way from SLC. Given the limited mobility issues and short hikes being a question mark you could see a lot of bears and stuff while in the car.
 

jdgibney

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You may want to drive through Bear World in Rexburg, ID. It is an hour south of West Yellowstone and on the way from SLC. Given the limited mobility issues and short hikes being a question mark you could see a lot of bears and stuff while in the car.
Sweet, thanks for the idea!
I'm not sure if mobility issues might have been overstating it. I'd say more like stamina issues, especially if we're at much higher elevation (we live at sea level here, flatlanders on the east coast ;) ), and she's a smoker, relatively inactive...

We are driving up to West Yellowstone Monday morning, so we'll have Monday afternoon/evening in Yellowstone, and all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday before leaving Thursday morning from West to head to Jackson, spending the afternoon/evening scoping out Tetons. It will be a lot of driving since we'll be based out of West for three nights, but I think we'll be able to see a lot of stuff without over doing it. I do want to do some photography, but I'll come back and spend more time (and camp) to get the best stuff in the best light...
 
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