View Full Version : Yellowstone National Park

11-10-2009, 10:14 AM
We are in the planning stages of our next non Disney/FL vacation and I need some help. We are thinking about Yellowstone and I have been reading up on it alot but of course I have some "issues". I refuse:humph: to get on a small plane so I am thinking that the airport in Jackson Hole is out and we will have to fly into Salt Lake City and drive about 5 hours to get to Yellowstone. We had no problem when we flew into Las Vegas and drove the 5 hours to the Grand Canyon. In fact the drive was very easy and didn't really seem like that long.But here are my questions. How is the drive from SLC to Yellowstone? Can you get lost easily or is it pretty much a straight drive? Is SLC the best airport to fly into or am I missing something?

Other non flight questions. Which hotel within the park should we stay at. I know we have to book a year in advance so that's why I'm looking into it now. How many day do we need? We are not big hikers, we don't mind walking but would only take easy trails.

I would love to hear from people who have been to both parks also for your thoughts on how they compare to each other.

11-11-2009, 08:37 PM
My first choice would be Old Faithful Inn, second choice would be Canyon. Check out the "travelyellowstone" site for availability.
It takes at least four days to cover the main sites in Yellowstone, it is a very big park and lots more driving than Grand Canyon.
Take a few short hikes, well worth the effort.
The drive from SLC is easy. You can take I-15 to the town of West Yellowstone, or US189 and 187 through Grand Teton NP. The later choice would be best for the trip up.
If you want to see bears, the best places are around Tower and Larmar Valley towards the NE entrance. Don't forget your binoculars.
Be sure to check out the Yellowstone park official page for things like road closing due to construction.
Wildflowers peak in mid-July.
I consider Yellowstone to be the real world Disney World.:thumbsup:

11-11-2009, 11:54 PM
We drove from Vegas to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and did not find that to be a terrible drive. There is considerable driving if you're going to see much of either rim of the Grand Canyon, so in that respect Grand Canyon and Yellowstone are similar. The GC is mostly a canyon, while Yellowstone has more diversity.

As for hotels at Yellowstone, we were camping and stayed in a campground at Grand Teton Nat'l Park and drove up to Yellowstone to tour. I think we visited 4 days at Yellowstone.

I agree with Altair as far as Yellowstone being the real Disney World. Yellowstone seems to be more like 4 or 5 national parks in one big package. Because of this, on our last trip to Yellowstone, we chose to visit only 3 of the areas, rather than try to "see" everything in too little time.

The roads in Yellowstone, which kinda sorta form a figure 8, are slow going. Some folks do try to make time, but the point is the scenery and animal sightings. If you hurry along, you'll miss most of what you're there for.

It can easily take over an hour to go from the south entrance to the north entrance.

We visited the Canyon area, and walked down that trail, resting at practically every switchback but the walk is worth it.

We visited the Old Faithful area. Since our grandson was participating in the Junior Ranger program, we spent considerable time here. He had a booklet with activities to complete, one of which was predicting the next eruption of Old Faithful, so that involved some waiting around. We also did a couple of short walks in this area.

We also visited the Mammoth Terrace area, with a walk around the Terraces.

We did not do much in the Norris Geyser Basin, I think it's called, or in the Lake area. Seems there was one other area we didn't spend much time in.

I understand that the folks at Yellowstone would rather you do the windshield touring and keep the back country mostly empty.

As Altair www.nps.gov/yell is a good place to get info.

We visited during the 3rd week of June and experienced overnight temps in the upper 30s. Daytime temps were pleasant - warm enough for a short sleeve shirt, altho you might not want shorts and sandals.



11-13-2009, 09:49 AM
Thanks for all of the info. This is foreign territory for me so any additional help (besides reading for myself) I can get is appreciated.
Keep it coming:thumbsup:

11-13-2009, 11:27 AM
I visited in the winter a few years ago. The roads are closed; all transportation was by snow cats -- either big monsters that were like troop transports on treads, or modified vans on treads.

OFI was closed, so I stayed at the OF Snow Lodge. It was a very comfortable modern motel with indoor corridors and good food. It doesn't have the views of OFI, but Old Faithful and the surrounding geyser basin are within easy walking distance.

The first night I stayed in a Snow Lodge cabin, which was roomy but not quite as comfy as the main lodge. I switched after trudging thru knee-deep snow to dinner the first night. Silly me -- I thought they shoveled the paths!

I also spent a couple of nights in a room with bath at the Mammoth Hotel. It was not nearly as up-to-date as the Snow Lodge, but you could really feel the history in this place. I would stay there again without hestitation.

Many years ago (30?) I did stay in the OFI. I think it was called a "rustic" room. It was a small room off the main lobby, made entirely of exposed logs, with something like an army cot and a small sink. Just a sliver of a view of the geyser. Very cool!

11-13-2009, 11:50 AM
Hi, we went a couple of years ago. Here are the links to my trip report. It was one of our best vacations ever.



11-13-2009, 11:52 AM
Keep in mind, some of the rooms at Old Faithful Inn have no bathrooms. They are located down the hall and you share facilities. If you are shy, make sure to get a room with a bathroom. :blush:

There are also cabins available in each area. They are cheap, but very basic.

11-13-2009, 02:43 PM
As it's a Friday afternoon and I don't feel like working I uploaded some of my pictures. Here's where you can find them.


In my trip report I also left out the day we hiked Mt. Washburn. It took 6 hours to do but it was well worth it. I don't know how I forgot that.

Another tip we got from the rangers was to go out early in the day to see some of the animals. We saw the grizzly bear at about 6:00am. Also at dusk was a good time to see bears.

11-13-2009, 09:11 PM
I would say a minimum of three days to really experience the different facets of the park. (The place is so big that it has eight different stamps for the National Parks Passport!) In addition to driving time, there are lots of short walks near the more popular geyser areas, and we found that geyser-watching and animal-watching took a lot of time. And Grand Tetons is worth a stop too.

If your time is limited, you may want to consider splitting your stay between the north side of the park (Mammoth area) and the south side (Old Faithful Inn). That way you won't have as much driving from one side of the park to the other.

Also think about driving out the northeast entrance into Montana for some great scenery.

We've stayed both at Old Faithful Inn and at the cabins associated with the Lake Yellowstone Inn. I liked both. As with all National Park Lodging, pretty basic. But the cabin was especially cozy.

11-24-2009, 12:53 PM
For those of you that have stayed at the El Tovar and Old Faithful Lodge how do you think they compare?

c&d I love your pictures! Very cool.

12-03-2009, 08:52 AM
Thanks! I haven't really done anything else with this trip yet because it became time to start planning our Disney trip so Yellowstone is on the back burner right now but I do want to know exactly what we are doing by June 2010 so we can book the hotel for the following year.

12-08-2009, 11:00 PM
im interested in going in late june or early july i read al hotels rooms have no a/c so how hot are the hotel rooms? and does anyone have any recommendations for hotels i was leaning towards lake yellowstone hotel anyone ever stayed there?

12-09-2009, 07:52 AM
Just a word on timing, Yellowstone is one of the most popular national parks to visit, and in July and August the place is super packed. Expect long lines for parking and backups on the Loop Road.

Which brings me to my suggestion, Ive been during mid June (2nd and 3rd weeks) and the park has been pleasantly deserted. The reason for this is that summer comes late in the mountains. We still saw some snow in some locations, and the highs were only in the low 50s some days. However, I would strongly recommend that if you are going to do a summer trip to Yellowstone, you go in mid June.

12-26-2009, 10:02 PM
One thing to take into consideration is unpredictable weather.
We were there in mid-June back in 2001 and got snowed out. There was a foot or more of snow, all entrances were closed. We were told some of the higher elevations in the park had 2 - 3 feet of snow.
It is an incredibly beautiful place, but you have to be prepared for just about anything!!

01-10-2010, 06:35 PM
We went to Yellowstone last year and it was great.

From SLC, Yellowstone is NOT 5 hours away. Depending on which way you go will determine the time. It's over 6 hours (maybe more) if you take the interstate straigt up into Idaho and to the west gate - and that's just to the gate. You'll have to drive a ways to get to any hotel. If you go the route that takes you through the Grand Tetons, it will take at least 8 hours. However, it's fantastic scenery that direcion. Just awesome.

Saying all that, how long would it take to drive there? Make it road trip. Besides, you'll need a car to see all the sights. And give yourself at least 2-3 days to see all the good stuff.

As far as where to stay, the best place I stayed at was the hotel/cabins at Lake Yellowstone. They're very updated. The cabins are really nice - and not outdated like most cabins throughout the park. The hotel there is very posh as well. It has a great restaurant with a view of the lake. You'll love it there.

01-14-2010, 12:25 PM
Thank you for starting this thread. We are planning to go to Yellowstone in early Sept. of 2011 and are just now starting to look at what is in the area and what we will want to see. The trip reports are on my list of reading material for this afternoon!

01-16-2010, 03:43 PM
June is a great time, even with the chances of snow. I have great photos of snow encrusted buffalo and dark buffalo shapes in the snowcover
where they slept.