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Old 10-08-2011, 12:05 PM   #1
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We woke up this morning in West Yellowstone, Montana! Now what?

On a last minute whim, we loaded up the motorhome, hooked up the Saturn, found the dog, and left Atlanta bound for Yellowstone. After negotiating around the floods in middle America, we arrived at Grizzly RV park in West Yellowstone last night.

Now what? Grizzly is open through the 20th of this month, while many other tourist support businesses have already closed. Some visitor centers in the park have closed, but all roads are open. We knew there'd be lots to see, but now we're overwhelmed with the choices. We'll be making short day trips from base camp (leaving the dog behind for 8 hours max, or maybe letting her go with us on short trips if permissible).

Can anyone suggest an itinerary which would allow us to see this once-in-a-lifetime wonder to the fullest? We are old and not interested in river rafting or mule rides, just seeing the wonderful sites that Yellowstone and the Tetons have to show. Of course if there are any sights to experience here in town we would like to hear about those too.

Depending on the weather, we may head south from here toward the south rim of the Grand Canyon, so any sights south of here could be left for that portion of the trip.

I know this is sort of an open ended plea of desperation from a poor planner, but it won't be the first time this group has rescued me.

Thanks!

Harley
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:31 PM   #2
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We love the Yellowstone area. I'm trying to talk hubby into going back next summer. You're a lot braver than I am to travel there this time of the year. We've seen snow fall there on July 4th.

Here's a link to the National Park Service website where you'll find lot of tips for seeing the park. Have fun . . . and keep your eye on the weather. ;-)
Yellowstone National Park - Photos & Multimedia (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:42 PM   #3
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You have already discovered the Visitor Center at Yellowstone, looked at their movies and seen their displays - as well as watched Old Faithful - most likely. If not, those are musts. There is a short walk around a geyser trail right there that is fantastic - about 1/2 mile in length. Then ask the rangers at the visitor center which attractions are working well - paintpots, many other incredible things!

Next, don't forget to take the several hour drive South to the Grand Tetons. There is great camping there. The scenery and drives are unforgetable. There are several visitor centers, each has a different theme. We spent time at each and it was time well spent.

Grand Canyon, further South, is pretty awesome - it is nice to see ....once. When we were there it seemed every tourist in the world was there on the buses, in the campground, in the attractions and restaurants. You can do the "giant staircase" of Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce National Park.

Have a great trip!

I definitely liked Mesa Verde National Park. This is well worth seeing too.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:52 PM   #4
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We just did a couple of weeks in the Teton and Yellowstone Parks and wish we had had time for a couple of additional weeks. Yellowstone is huge but breaks into nice "sections" each of which is good for at least a full day. The sections are pretty much focused around the several visitor centers. Of course, you can drive the same roads each day and see totally different wildlife each time (or none, also) so that is always a treat.

Teton Park isn't as big as Yellowstone but is definitely worth exploring and that also permits you to spend a few hours in Jackson. Hopefully, the new visitor center at Moose Junction is still open since that is by far the best in the park.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:21 PM   #5
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Check out Cruzer's (iRV2 member) website for some great info.

RVcruzer.com - Driving Routes for Large RVs into Yellowstone National Park
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:15 PM   #6
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We always try to have lunch at the different lodges. Supper cost much more and you don't see the sights at night.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:38 PM   #7
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Be sure and get down to see Old Faithful and visit the lodge. The Ranger was working the west gate near Grizzly RV Park. Nice smile to see early in the morning. We were there late May/early June '09. Have a great time.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:46 PM   #8
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Unless you take the time to head south to the Tetons, you are going to miss sights like this:

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Old 10-08-2011, 09:50 PM   #9
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Head west out of Yellowstone and come to the Oregon coast. Sort of late and you will get rain, but you will also get to see some of the most beautiful coast line in the world. You can end in the California redwoods. Then maybe if your tastes fit head down the toward CA wine country. That will get you out of the cold and wet for a leisurely trip back home in the sun.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 450Donn View Post
Head west out of Yellowstone and come to the Oregon coast. Sort of late and you will get rain, but you will also get to see some of the most beautiful coast line in the world. You can end in the California redwoods. Then maybe if your tastes fit head down the toward CA wine country. That will get you out of the cold and wet for a leisurely trip back home in the sun.
Very true. Samples attached.
This first picture is the beach at Seaside, OR. The other three were taken at Cannon Beach, OR.
I'm going back as soon as I can scrape up the money.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:18 PM   #11
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I recommend taking Hwy 89 towards the Grand Cyn. Its a heritage hwy right thru the middle of Utah. Wonderful drive, and very historical. Stop to see some of the NPs in Utah. Each one has totally different scenery.
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:57 PM   #12
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Beartooth hiway

If you have seen all of Yellowstone and feel adventurous, you might think about a ride up the Beartooth Highway up to red lodge. Take your saturn altho we made it up there in a 33ft winnie w/o a tow car It is a beautiful trip and its been awhile but I think you can make it as a day trip. you can catch it at Cooke city east of where you are.Strongly suggest you check weather 1rst as the summit is 10000 + truly a memorable trip there is a alternate road called Chief Joseph hiway that will take you to the same destinations.
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:33 PM   #13
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Harley,

We love Yellowstone (just left there 3 weeks ago). Since this is your first trip, I'd say do all the usual things. Walk the various geyser basins and thermal areas. See Old Faithful erupt from different vantage points. Enjoy the wonderful wildlife.

As others have suggested, eat lunches in the larger restaurants. (I don't know which are still open at this point.) We especially liked eating at the Grant Village dining room. Lovely building and good food.

Do go to the Tetons. I's suggest moving the RV there so you can see the sun rises and sun sets over the lake and mountains more easily. Too much driving to do it as day trips for me. The food at the Ranch Hose restaurant at Colter Bay was excellent. Save room for the mud pie. Yummy!

Ask the rangers about things to do and see. They're always helpful.

Last - enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. You'll be in some of favorite places.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:05 PM   #14
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Hi Harley:
All the sugestions offered are good ones. Definitely break up the park and see sections of it each day. Do the Lamar Valley and then the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone next. I also suggest that you take one of those Yellow car tours that leaves out of Old Faithful Inn. We did the geyser tour. That way you both can look out the window and not worry about hitting an animal. Stop every time you see someone else stopping and ask what is going on. If there are rangers around that means there are bears in the area. Stay several days at the Colter Bay RV area in the Tetons. (full hook ups) It was the best park we stayed at and we did almost 2 months in the area. The Mural Room at the Jackson Lake Lodge will be the best dining experience in the parks. Try to get that just before sunset.
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