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Old 12-03-2015, 03:55 AM   #1
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What do we NEED to see at Yellowstone?

We have a wedding to attend on the west coast this summer, and plan on hitting Yellowstone on the way.

What do we really NEED to see while we are there?

I don't think we want to stay for more than 2 or 3 days, so what are the essentials, and where should we stay on our way through?

We will be coming up from Houston, then heading West toward northern Oregon on our way out. So any suggestions for routes, stops, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-03-2015, 07:32 AM   #2
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Doing a little research, and looking at maps and RV passage difficulties...we will be entering at the south entrance, and leaving out of the northwest entrance.
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:11 AM   #3
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What are you into?

Do you want to:
A. Look at scenery.
B. Look at thermal features
C. Hike
D. Bird watch
E. Look at larger wildlife
F. Other
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:24 AM   #4
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Having been to Yellowstone twice, what I consider "essentials" for a visit are:

1. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: Upper and lower Yellowstone falls.

2. Old Faithful Geyser.

3. Old Faithful Inn (right next to the geyser).

4. Upper and Norris Geyser Basins.

5. Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces.

6. Lamar Valley.

7. Yellowstone Lake.

8. Gibbon Falls.

I'm sure I missed a few things.
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:28 AM   #5
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Take a look at Utah, we love Zion and Bryce, and plan to get to the Arches in 2016. Utah really has some beautiful National Parks.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:01 AM   #6
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A couple years ago... we only had 2-3 days as well..

This was our plan.. maybe it would/could work for you... Keep in mind, I was with my children, so interest may vary
  • Day one - Old Faithful, Prismatic Spring and the general Norris Basin area
  • Day two - Mammoth Hot Springs area, Roosevelt Tower area and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
  • Day three - Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Fishing Bridge
While others will have great suggestions, this is merely what we chose to do.. We basically decided to complete the entire "Grand Loop" and hit all the "major" areas.. There were A LOT of pull-off the road excursions along the way.. but we tried to keep a steady pace.. we knew that our biggest obstacle was the amount of driving we had.. this included "bison-jams" along the way..

What an awesome opportunity for you... we definitely cannot wait to go back to Yellowstone and spend a bunch more time.. but with limited vacation time, kids and being a regular working schmuck.. it was the best we could do at the time..

Best of luck in your planning.. another thing I would suggest is "crock-pot" meals.. we left early and came back late.. we were exhausted and the thought of cooking a meal for everyone was equally as exhausting.. we had some pre-prepared meals ready and it was a Godsend... food inside the park is expensive...
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottandanna View Post
Doing a little research, and looking at maps and RV passage difficulties...we will be entering at the south entrance, and leaving out of the northwest entrance.
Just as a suggestion.. we stayed at Flagg Ranch Park, just south of the south entrance... it was very convenient.. nothing special, but did the job with full hook ups..

However, since you're leaving out the west entrance, you may to check out a place called Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park, I've read many favorable reviews here on IRV2.. not the northwest entrance, but might be worth a look..
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:29 AM   #8
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Here's the official Yellowstone park's web site. Keep in mind, that every national park has a site like this. It is extremely helpful as it gives road openings/closings, campground information, maps, what to see, what to do, etc. I think it will be a good help for you. We always stay IN the park which I think gives us the best experience. We've stayed at Mammoth (our favorite), Madison and Bridge Bay with our 40' motorhome. There is one full hookup RV park in the park called Fishing Bridge.

Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

...and Grand Teton Nat'l Park's site:

http://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm

Since you're coming in from the south, definitely plan about 3 days in Grand Teton National Park which is connected to Yellowstone. It is an awesome hiking/walking/biking park for all abilities with gorgeous views. There are two dry campgrounds with water fill and dump station and each has 300 sites. They don't accept reservations but we've never had a problem getting a site. They are Colter Bay campground and Gros Ventre campground (our favorite). There is also a full hookup RV park in the park called Colter RV Park which is right next door to Colter Bay campground.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:05 AM   #9
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Wow! All great suggestions, thanks!

I have driven past yellowstone twice and always regretted it.

I know there is no possible way to see it all on such a short trip. But we are both in education and have to use the school vacation times to travel. Which also means the most crwded times...

We have a big loop to make and only about 3 weeks to make it. Including the coast of oregon and a couple of high desert towns, then northern california coast, then down to yuma to visit my parents, then back to houston...WHEW!
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Old 12-03-2015, 01:08 PM   #10
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What did the Buffalo say to his son when he went away to college?














By son



anyways, I preferred my time at the Teton's & especially Glacier.... if your trip would allow you to detour to either of those it might be worth your time. Yellowstone is just crazy busy....
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Old 12-03-2015, 04:37 PM   #11
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We will likely take 287 all the way up, and go through the Tetons.

Always wanted to see that area, as well.
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Old 12-03-2015, 04:46 PM   #12
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I'm from Wyoming, and have been to Yellowstone as many times as you might imagine, including by Snowcoach to the Snow Lodge in winter. I think what everyone else has said is pretty good about basic locations, but just wanted to mention a few things. I think the heart of Yellowstone is the Old Faithful area, and you should fully explore that as a "must do", and take your time (probably a day). It is the best geyser basin, not just Old Faithful, and there are several miles of walks you can and should do there. Then there's Old Faithful Inn, which is awesome to say the least. After that, driving to the other areas, and doing as much of the figure 8 loop roads as possible will be more than you can do in another two days.
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Old 12-03-2015, 05:12 PM   #13
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Agree with WYRon. The most unique element of Yellowstone is the thermal activity. It is unique in all the world. The Old Faithful area is a great zone to explore, and the Inn is also unique and awesome. The mountains, scenery and animal viewing is truly great, but if you miss the thermals, you miss the point of Yellowstone.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:57 AM   #14
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Third recommendation for WYRon's recommendation. We have been to Yellowstone a dozen or more times. Yes, the scenery is gorgeous, but similar scenery is available dozens of places in the West. The combination of thermal features do not exist anywhere else, and are where we spend our time too. I love Biscuit Basin and the Paint Pots (if it has been a wet year). Nothing like them!
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