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Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

Parsippany, New...
Level Contributor
28 posts
60 reviews
Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

My husband and I are planning to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton over the labor day weekend. Our limited budget means we will be flying into Salt Lake City on Friday night, as opposed to other closer airports.

The plan is to stay some place an hour away from SLC, and then leave on Saturday morning to West Yellowstone, and get there sometime after lunch. We wanted to stay the night at Yellowstone, but currently there are no available accommodations. What is a good place outside the park but still close enough so that we can spend the whole of Sunday at the park? Sunday night we plan to leave the park and stay the night at Jackson.

On Monday, we leave in the morning and drive through Grand Teton, and then catch our flight at SLC.

Is this doable given our limited time? What are the things we should be doing in 1 and half days in the park, and the optimal place to stay outside of Yellowstone, which would minimize driving time?

Thanks!

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,014 posts
112 reviews
1. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

With your limited time, I would spend the night in West Yellowstone unless something comes open at Old Faithful.

Saturday: Arrive West Yellowstone, head in to the Old Faithful area. Do the Upper geyser basin and as much of the other geyser basins as you have time for when you head back to West Yellowstone.

Sunday: Head in to Canyon. Do at least the Artist Point viewpoint on the South Rim (it's at the end of the road on that side) then go south thru Hayden Valley. Stop at least at Fishing Bridge and walk across, then head south by the lake to the South entrance. Tour Grand Tetons as you drive thru.

Take notes on what you want to see the next time you come back!

Pam

Naples, Florida
Destination Expert
for Grand Teton National Park
Level Contributor
3,732 posts
79 reviews
2. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

Xanterra has a generous 48 hr cancellation. Before you leave on your flight, I would think there would be something opening up. Check before you leave, and book something in west in the interim.

philadelphia
Level Contributor
244 posts
105 reviews
3. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

Hello. We will be in Yellowstone Labor Day Weekend as well. My cousins recently decided to join us, and they were able to secure lodging at Mammoth and Canyon. Xanterra's website is still listing vacancies at Mammoth for Saturday. They have both hotel rooms ($87) and cabins ($83) available (neither with private bath). Canyon's least expensive accommodations are sold out, but right now, they are listing both hotel rooms ($178) and the more expensive Western Cabins ($183) as available. Something to consider.....

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,014 posts
112 reviews
4. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

That's good to know Alexandra! With the OP's limited number of days in the park, I would still recommend West Yellowstone or Old Faithful if reservations are available at either. I do not think they will have time to see the Upper Loop at all with just 2 partial days in the park.

To the OP, I did not mention, but maybe you picked this up from reading other posts, that it is not recommended to drive at night in either Yellowstone or Grand Teton. There are many big, dark animals who seem to think the roads are theirs at night! You will need to be in the Jackson area by sunset on your Sunday.

www.sunrisesunset.com

Pam

Parsippany, New...
Level Contributor
28 posts
60 reviews
5. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

Thanks Pam for the help. Will the Upper Loop be impossible to do even if we get an early start on Sunday morning? I guess if we do decide to do that, then we might just be driving around, without having time to stop and enjoy the place. And yes, will ensure we are in Jackson by sunset :).

Alexandra and BlueBirdDay - Thanks for the inputs regarding Xanterra. I had just checked online. Will call them.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,014 posts
112 reviews
6. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

There is a lot to see from the Canyon area south, so I would just skip the Upper Loop this time. There are certainly some travelers who would do the whole upper loop and you COULD do it, but you might enjoy the time better doing the overlooks at Canyon plus Mud Volcano, Fishing Bridge, West Thumb, and not having to put in quite so many miles.

"I guess if we do decide to do that, then we might just be driving around, without having time to stop and enjoy the place."

Laughing because when people post they do both loops in one day I wonder when they have time to stop to go to the bathroom or eat!

Pam

Parsippany, New...
Level Contributor
28 posts
60 reviews
7. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

So our trip got extended by a day. We will be reaching SLC on Thursday night. Will this extra day be sufficient to cover the Upper Loop? Also, should be then stay both nights (Friday and Saturday) at West Yellowstone or should we consider any other place - assuming we dont find accommodation inside the park. Thanks.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,014 posts
112 reviews
8. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

I would probably just go with West Yellowstone for both nights. Yes, you could do the Upper loop on your extra day! I'm glad you found some more time.

Pam

Parsippany, New...
Level Contributor
28 posts
60 reviews
9. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

Pam, if I could please trouble you for more info. I called up Xanterra and there are available rooms at Mammoth Hot Springs and Grant Village. So I am thinking on day 1, we drive to Grant Village from SLC, spending the whole day at Grand Teton, and the night at Grant Village. On day 2, cover the right part of the park - Lake Village, Fishing Bridge, Canyon Village, Tower Fall and then spend the night at Mammoth Hot Springs. On day 3, do the left part - Norris, Madison and Ole Faithful and then spend the night at West Yosemite. Next day drive back to SLC. Is this a good plan? Thanks.

Yellowstone Nat...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
2,512 posts
19 reviews
10. Re: Yellowstone and Grand Teton over Labor day weekend

Some people prefer the upper loop to the lower loop (Bill074 raises his hand). This year, however, there will be road construction between Tower Junction and Tower Fall, with delays during the day of up to 30 minutes, and nightly road closures. Even at that, I still prefer the upper loop ... fine geyser viewing at Norris, Mammoth is fascinating, Roosevelt is the best place to eat, Canyon has awesome scenery, and Lamar Valley has the best wildlife viewing. Of course, in some things I am not in the majority. Just sayin'.

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