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July itinerary help please?

Atlanta, Georgia
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July itinerary help please?

Yellowstone itinerary

Hi everyone, I have a few questions on the Yellowstone portion of our trip. I don’t like to plan every minute, but, I do like to have a guideline on what to do each day. If we don’t get to it, we’ll add it to our list to fit in next time. How does our rough itinerary look? What should we switch or cross off?

My husband and I will be traveling with my parents (62 and 76) to Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone NP, & Glacier NP in a month. I have been lurking on these forums since 2012 planning our trip ( I had to cancel it in 2013).

Information:

*We love the outdoors (hike, relax, kayak, raft..) and to eat. We have gone backpacking several times, but haven’t done so in a couple years due to work schedules.

*Wildlife is a priority (birds, pica, bears and moose) as is scenery. We will have 2 cars in case my parents want to do something else.

Questions for Yellowstone...

Awesome easy to moderate day hikes with great scenery and wildlife

Hikes, roads, and/or pull offs to find bears, pica, trumpeter swans, sand hill cranes, and wolves

Off the Beaten Path ideas? We hate crowds (yes, we know it’ll be packed...but...)

How do I organize the geyser basins?

What part of parks should we see based on where we are staying?

Great Picnic areas, besides Nez Perce ford and Yellowstone river

How should we transition from one area to another?

Which day to get Lake Hotel dinner reservations? Time suggestion?

Arrive in Jackson from Atlanta on July 5, 2018

July 5th - Jackson, Rustic Parrot, tram, dinner, town square,

July 6th - Jackson, Rustic Parrot, white water

July 7th - Jackson, Rustic Parrot, farmers market, supply shopping), moose-Wilson area, dinner? rodeo at 730 for parents

July 8th - GTNP, Signal Mountain Lodge - trapper Grill

July 9th - GTNP, Signal Mountain Lodge (cascade Canyon Trail via horse trail 😒)

July 10th - GTNP, Signal Mountain Lodge

Yellowstone - Interested hikes, which days?

Harlequin Lake

Little Gibbons Falls

Mystic falls

Fairy Falls

Hellroaring creek trail ( Rock piles for pica)

Tower falls

Petrified Tree

Canyon area hikes that are open

July 11th - YNP, Old Faithful Inn - Lewis & Kepler falls, West thumb, grant village, upper, black sand, and biscuit geyser basin, mystic falls trails, huckleberry ice cream 2nd floor, Firehole canyon drive, quick dip in river? dinner reservations OFI 730, an early bedtime

July 12th - YNP, Old Faithful Inn - midway and lower geyser basin, fairy falls trail, harlequin lake trail, mammoth springs terraces, Roosevelt arch, head towards tower and Lamar? Down towards canyon, norris(?), OFI dinner reservations 730 (upper loop)

July 13th - YNP, Canyon Lodge - Norris ( back and porcelain) see if Steamboat is erupting, little Gibbons Falls trail, see what we can at Canyon, Nez Perce Ford picnic, Lake, mud volcano, fishing bridge, turn around, dinner M66 - 715, Hayden Valley after dinner (lower loop day)

July 14th - YNP, Canyon Lodge - wake up to wildlife 6:15 am, hellroaring creek trail, tower fall, lunch at Yellowstone picnic area, dinner reservations M66 - 730 Hayden valley, grizzly overlook,

July 15th - YNP, Roosevelt Frontier Cabin - grand canyon day - early to get rainbow, lost creek falls trails, petrified tree, antelope creek trail , rainy lake, 2 hr horse ride to cookout 3:30, Lamar valley after cookout ...Too late?

Glacier

July 16th - GNP, Many Glacier Hotel - Lamar valley early, Roosevelt arch, long travel day, dinner, Fishercap to find moose

July 17th - GNP, Many Glacier Hotel. Fishercap, Grinnell Glacier Shuttle and hike, red rock falls/Fishercap

July 18th- GNP, Village Inn at Apgar, Highline, Logan pass, lunch, Hidden lake, lake McDonald

July 19th - GNP, Village Inn at Apgar, hikes? T of C, Avalanche lake? Bowman lake? Food?

July 20th - Flathead lake,

July 21st - fly home from Spokane

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16 replies to this topic
Georgia
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1. Re: July itinerary help please?

Wow. Mind blown. That's FAR more detail than I plan.

One glaring concern = you need more time between YNP and GNP. You need at least ONE in-between night and day to do the drive - and not feel like you're killing yourself. I like overnights in Great Falls - with time to enjoy seeing things there. I actually spend a couple of days in between the two parks. But to end the YNP with the Roosevelt cookout and then magically appear at GNP with plans for that afternoon/ night? I think that's very unrealistic - especially when two cars are involved. I'd definitely slow it down and, if not enjoy the drive and what's in between, at least survive that schedule.

It does feel like you are planning every minute of the trip. If that works for all in your party, great. If not, those are going to be challenging days.

#voiceofexperience #travelwithinlaws

Edited: 09 June 2018, 22:33
Spery, Iowa
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2. Re: July itinerary help please?

"If we don’t get to it, we’ll add it to our list to fit in next time. How does our rough itinerary look? What should we switch or cross off?"

You plan to adjust your plan, so no need to cross anything off. You can adjust/skip/switch other things as the days evolve. You already know it will be a long drive day to Glacier. You might set a time limit for leaving Lamar Valley, to be sure to arrive before dark. With two cars, they can even get a head start if they don't want Lamar Valley, or you can split the driving of the cars between the younger drivers for less stress on that long day. You have done a nice job, and have the right attitude. Have a fantastic trip with your in-laws, and we would love a trip report!

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Lamar Valley
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3. Re: July itinerary help please?

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Billings, Montana
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4. Re: July itinerary help please?

Have a great trip! You're going to two parks that I call my backyard playground. Yellowstone will always be my #1 love but Glacier Park is a very close #2 love. Glacier Park has fabulous hikes and beyond spectacular mountain scenery.

Sunrise on July 17th will be around 5:50 am. If you want to do an early Lamar Valley drive before leaving for Many Glacier you need to leave your Roosevelt cabin at sunrise or just a tad before it. You will want to leave Lamar no later than 8 am as it will take about 1 1/2 hours to drive to Mammoth from the west end of Lamar Valley. It's about 400 miles from Mammoth to Many Glacier so you have about 12 hours of driving time before a 9:30 sunset at Many Glacier. The 400 miles from Mammoth to Many Glacier can easily be done in one day and I would do it especially if I had lodging at Many Glacier Hotel that night. Watch for cows on the road on the reservation (especially in the early/late evening) as they allow them to freely roam. I've had a few times where a cow or two has surprised me as I came around a corner.

Deb

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Lamar Valley
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Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: July itinerary help please?

yellowstone is so large I don’t want to miss anything! Lol. I have our hikes and locations planned to help guide the direction of our vehicles for that day and the hikes in that area to appeal to us. I just wanted to have something written down as a guide. I thought I might have planned too much. 😆

Thank you all for the great advice. You guys have helped so many people plan their vacations with your advice and support. Thank you.

I’m wondering about locations to see the elusive pica, sand hill cranes and trumpeter swans. Are there specific trails or places we can see these critters?

La Jolla, California
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6. Re: July itinerary help please?

Hi!

We've done the drive from Roosevelt cabins to Many Glacier. It wasn't a problem for us. I believe it was 8 hours. We stopped at the Bozeman Walmart to re-supply our cooler. We didn't go to Lamar Valley on the day of departure :)

Trumpeter Swans I've seen in Hayden Valley. San Hill Cranes, I've seen them, I can't think of where...I'm not in to birds, except for Bald Eagles, which tend to nest in Hayden Valley above where I've seen the Trumpeter Swans: across from Alum Creek trailhead.

I don't think I've ever seen Pica in Yellowstone, but I know we saw them in Glacier.

For someone who likes to avoide the crowds, the good news is that most people don't leave the road. I've been on many hiking trails and haven't seen another person round trip (We hike in a group of 4-5). I have a hiking book of Yellowstone and you might like to get one. They are sold in the park, or check one out at your library. Last year, we did Cascade Lake which I liked. We always do Trout Lake, it's easier and I have hopes of an otter siting. Hellroaring Creek, do early in the day. The hike back up is a bunch of switch backs in the blazing sun. I made the mistake of doing this in the middle of the day, with two whiney hikers: my children. Petrified Tree Hike, from Roosevelt? We call that Lost Lake Hike, and I really love that one in the evening. I've seen otters in lost lake.

We book dinner reservations for every night we are near Lake Hotel or Old Faithful Inn. I don't like to fight crowds, especially if I'm hungry :)

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7. Re: July itinerary help please?

The best chance to see Pika is at the Hellroaring Trailhead. Park in the parking lot by the trailhead sign. On the east side of the parking lot is a hill with rocks and scree. If you stand/sit there for awhile you should be able to see one. Another thing you can do is take the small trail that goes around the right side of the hill. It will take you along side the rocks for a bit and also take you to another rock hill. Sit on a log and listen/wait for one or two to come out. Sometimes you have to wait for awhile. If you walk around the hill, be sure to have bear spray with you.

Pika at Hellroaring.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

Deb

Billings, Montana
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8. Re: July itinerary help please?

We almost always see at least two Trumpeter Swans at Alum Creek in Hayden Valley. If they're on the west side of the road you can park on either side of the creek and walk along side the road to get to a spot where you can sit and take pics of them.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

We also see them swimming in the Yellowstone River around the Otter Creek Picnic Area but they seem to be more skittish then the ones at Alum Creek as we rarely can get close enough to them to take decent pics.

Sand Hill Cranes are in random areas around the park. Probably the most consistent area we've seen sand hills in the park is the Gibbon River meadows between the Norris Campground and the road (there is a large pullout there where you can park). We usually see 2-3 pairs of sand hill cranes between Yankee Jim Canyon and Livingston (north of Gardiner).

If you're interested in seeing a heron rookery, there is a very active one just upriver from the Nez Perce Ford Picnic Area. You'll need binoculars to see but it's in a easy place to find. Let me know if you want directions.

https:/…

Deb

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Gardiner
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Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: July itinerary help please?

@ solo - thanks for the tip on Hellroaring Creek trail. I’m hoping to see pika and the suspension bridge. I have Yellowstone Treasures and Hiking Yellowstone NP by Bill Schneider, are either one of the books the one you are talking about?

@ Deb - I’d love directions to see the heron rookery. I’ve been spelling pika like pica which is the disease/disorder where people eat non edible objects. *sigh* I heard (either from you or Pam that there’s a dirt road near Mammoth that has some wildlife but I can’t seem to find it on the map. Would you mind telling me again, please? Thank you for your help on finding pika, swans, and other birds.

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Georgia
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10. Re: July itinerary help please?

For the birds, try Oxbow Bend while you are in the Tetons.

Re the pikas - You may find this pika research interesting -

http://www.craigheadresearch.org/pika.html

I bought little pika finger puppets for the kiddos from the Craighead Foundation and was curious about the connection. The above article may be interesting to you re locations of pikas located by volunteers helping with April Craighead's research -

And here's the Craighead "store" -

http://www.craigheadresearch.org/store.html

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