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Old 01-13-2020, 06:46 AM   #1
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Budgeting time in YNP for travel and sightseeing

Hi folks.

I知 having trouble determining how much time to budget at each attraction in the park.

For example, how much time does it take to a walk Norris Geyser Basin? The Grand Canyon?

We値l be staying in West Yellowstone June 10-15, and would like to keep our day excursions to less than 8hrs total so as not to stress out our dog too much, who will be back at the camper.

I知 planning on adding 50% to the travel times that my route planner is telling me, to account for crowds and wildlife on the roads, but I知 unsure how much time to budget at each of the attractions.

Thanks,

Todd
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:24 AM   #2
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Good luck budgeting time.
Old faithful , we have spent 3 hours in that area alone.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:20 AM   #3
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i would drop the idea of budgeting time. you’re not leading a tour group, you’re on vacation. in any case you’re not going to see or experience everything in 5-days. 2+ weeks...maybe. the paint pots, hot springs, geyser basin, old faithful, yellowstone river, little grand canyon and all the rest. just getting around the park will eat up a LOT of time. just relax and soak in as much as you can. leave something for next time.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:39 AM   #4
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We've been to Ystone many times and my son was a NPS law enforcement ranger there last summer.

If you start EARLY, you might be able to see things within 8 hours. Start late and you'll be backed up at the west entrance station for 30+ minutes.

Last summer, we didn't even bother stopping at the Norris Geyser basin - parking lot full and cars parked out of the road. Went to Artists Paint Pots and same problem - couldn't even make the loop in the parking lot. Finally found some solitude along the Firehole Canyon Road. Old Faithful is large enough to handle pretty much any crowd and still have parking - just it's crowded.

Any attraction you want to see on the east side of the park is a long drive as you'll be dodging traffic for other attractions. Yellowstone Falls, Yellowstone Lake, west thumb geyser basin, Fishing Bridge - all require driving across the park. Add in that there are three major road projects happening in 2020.

If you're up for it, park the car and walk on a trail. In 1/2 mile you'll be in absolute solitude and pretty much NO ONE ventures far off the road. My son and I did a 4 day backcountry patrol to Heart Lake last summer and it was absolutely spectacular.

Enjoy your visit but be flexible and patient!
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tdave View Post
Hi folks.

I知 having trouble determining how much time to budget at each attraction in the park.

For example, how much time does it take to a walk Norris Geyser Basin? The Grand Canyon?

We値l be staying in West Yellowstone June 10-15, and would like to keep our day excursions to less than 8hrs total so as not to stress out our dog too much, who will be back at the camper.

I知 planning on adding 50% to the travel times that my route planner is telling me, to account for crowds and wildlife on the roads, but I知 unsure how much time to budget at each of the attractions.

Thanks,

Todd
Don't think I can help here - after spending All Day - every day for a week with the kids, a long time ago - we packed up to leave early with just a couple more drive through stops, on the way out - Started at 7:30 AM, got out of Yellowstone and into Cody with the Sun Setting in the Rear view Mirrors as we Headed East.14 hours after starting.................

More than you can see in a Lifetime.

Oh, don't forget that the, two hour drive, with Animal Sightings and just TRAFFIC can normally take 4-6 hours - so Good Luck with a Plan.

Now I've been back often - still will return again - but IMHO - in Yellowstone you are on THEIR Schedule not yours - So Good Luck with the Plan.

Sorry but you asked,

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Old 01-13-2020, 09:38 AM   #6
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I tend to agree with the others, when you hit a site like Geyser basin and people are illegally parked on the sides of the main road half a mile from the parking lot entrance, skip it and move on to another point of interest that is not overflowing. As mentioned there is a lot of parking at Old Faithful, though you may find yourself walking across the parking lot for 5 minutes, there is likely parking to be found, though some circling may be required. Expect to stay through 2 eruption cycles, as if you arrive within 15 -20 minutes of one, you will likely find yourself standing behind a few thousand people trying to see it. When we were there in 2017, it was amazing how quickly the crowd built up then disappeared around eruption time. No one there one minute, 500 the next, a thousand a minute later, etc.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:20 AM   #7
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Haha, ok, I see travel time in YP is a sore subject.

Let's try this again:

Assuming you found parking, how long should one expect to spend at each of the main attractions?

Just trying to get a feel, can't find info online on how *big* each of the actual attractions are, for all I know you can get your fill in an hour, or the trail may be so long it takes many hours to walk.

(just talking about the main attractions, not the hiking trails)
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:18 PM   #8
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Here's a different perspective: we booked a bus tour with Yellowstone Vacation Tours - we left their garage at 8:00 am and were inside the Park by 8:20 or so, after stopping at a few hotels in West Yellowstone to pick up other tourists. We did the Lower Loop Tour, saw 4 different thermal areas, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Old Faithful, and a bonus of seeing Beehive Guyser, along with herds of bison and 2 Grizzly bears. The bus driver took care of dealing with the traffic and finding parking (no problem for him since they have special parking spots for busses!) and we had plenty of time at each stop for wandering around. We were back at their garage by 4:00 pm.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:53 PM   #9
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The problem with Yellowstone is information overload, here look at the 7th world class waterfall view this morning, no thanks I can see it fine from the car, ...


This applies to everything in Yellowstone, and why it is so hard to answer your last question, lets consider one of the so called secondary thermal attractions like the mud volcanoes, a series of bubbling mud pools connected by a 3/4 mile long boardwalk trail. Do you walk the length of the trail stopping for a couple of minutes to take photos / video, etc. of each, in which case I would say this loop would take most people about an hour (it is somewhat steep in places, not a flat boardwalk), alternatively do you walk a couple of hundred yards to the first pool, see bubbling mud and go, ok time to head back to the car. Or alternatively do you spend hours here in awe of what would be a spectacular geothermal site anywhere else on the planet.


The same question can be asked about your stop at Old Faithful, do you just watch it go off once, do you take the trail around the other less predictable geysers, do you spend any time in the visitor center, or perhaps get a snack in the cafe at the historic lodge, ... This could be a 5 minute stop if you time it right with an eruption, or you can easily spend 3-4 hours.


The same for Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, do you stop at just one overlook view point, or multiple, do you walk down any of the 1/4 to 3/4 mile overlook trails, etc.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:12 PM   #10
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This may help you. I just did a Google on "Yellowstone in 3 days" and found this. There are many more links to explore. I didn't try "in 5 days". That may give you more options.

https://yellowstoneinsider.com/2009/...ed-3-day-tour/
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:14 PM   #11
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Sorry but Your feel for what's the right amount of time and mine are not even close to the same, I'd be willing to Guess.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone - I'm betting no one else has this picture #1 it will be what I call the Walking Tree - now maybe not for everyone but to me.....think it left an impression. -

#2 Sunsets - OMG - the Picture says it all - that was from the River just a short walk from the Campsite.

Or #3 Catching these Buffalo in the Perfect Light.

Not sure we all work at the same Pace.

Good Luck with the Plan,
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:18 PM   #12
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You can't budget your time in places like YNP because the traffic is horrendous - gridlock from early morning through late in the day. I always made it a point to arrive at the gate no later than 7:00am so that you can drive through and have time to stop and observe the hundreds of buffalo grazing along the side of the road - after that good luck !!!!
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
This may help you. I just did a Google on "Yellowstone in 3 days" and found this. There are many more links to explore. I didn't try "in 5 days". That may give you more options.

https://yellowstoneinsider.com/2009/...ed-3-day-tour/
EXACTLY what I was looking for, thank you very much for this helpful link. It gives me some perspective!
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:24 PM   #14
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Get into the park really early. We like to be at the gate by 6:00 am. Leave somewhere around noon, go back to your rig, have lunch, nap, wander around the town or the interesting areas nearby. Eat an early dinner and go back to the park at 5:00. You will have hardly any crowds. It will let your dog have shorter periods of loneliness too. BTW there are kennels in West Yellowstone with doggy day cares.

As for time at each place, it depends so much on your travel style. Do you like to stroll or walk quickly? Do you like to get just the perfect camera shot, or is a quick snapshot ok? Do you like to get off the road and hike a half mile in or two miles or just a 100 yard nature walk?
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