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Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Windham, New...
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Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Hi!

Can you recommend an 8-day itinerary from Billings, MT to Bozeman, MT which includes the Beartooth Highway, Cody and East/North Yellowstone including Lamar Valley? Will be camping so campground recommendations also appreciated.

Can leave Billings early day 1 and need to be in Bozeman by eve of day 8. Looking for scenery and some kid friendly attractions if possible.

Thanks!!

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1. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Have you changed your game plan since this November 8th thread?

https:/…87493428

Deb

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2. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Hi Deb!

I'm having trouble understanding how best to lay out that part of the trip.

Especially how do we include Beartooth Highway and Lamar Valley?

It seemed if we head out to Big Horn then through Cody and then into Yellowstone we would miss Beartooth highway. Is that not true? Maybe can it be done as a day trip from inside the park? Or from Billings?

Thanks!

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3. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

From Cody you can drive north to Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. It dead ends in to Beartooth Highway. Turn Right toward Red Lodge and drive to Rock Creek Vista to get the scenic part in, then retrace your route back to Cooke City and enter Yellowstone via the NE entrance.

beartoothhighway.com/beartooth-highway-maps/

On the other thread you indicate on nights 16-17 you were staying in Cody. Then I'm guessing you enter the park on day 18? Where do you stay the night of day 18? Are you still planning to be in an RV?

Beartooth can be done as a day trip from Cody, Billings or Yellowstone.

Pam

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4. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

>>>Hi Deb!

I'm having trouble understanding how best to lay out that part of the trip.<<<

OK.....I thought maybe you had changed your trip to start in Billings. I apparently tried to read the thread tooooo early this morning. : /

Campgrounds inside Yellowstone Park

https:/…campgrounds.htm

It would be in your best interest to make reservations for August as it is a very busy month. There are some smaller first-come, first-served campgrounds but you have to be there very early in the morning to try to secure a campsite. The above website has a chart that shows fill-time for the current day and the previous day. You can start watching it in the summer to see what you'll be up to if you don't make a reservation and try to just drive up to get a campsite at one of the campgrounds that does not take reservations. When you go on to the website the time shown will be in your time zone not Mountain Standard Time so take that it too account. If you're on EST and it shows a fill time of 9am that is actually 7am at the campground.

If you want to spend some time in Lamar Valley, Slough Creek and Pebble Creek Campgrounds are the best but they are hard to get into. Tower Campground is the next closest campground. Just outside the northeast entrance, there are two very nice forest service campgrounds that work nicely for Lamar Valley. Both are hard-sided campgrounds only but with your campervan you will qualify for that. Soda Butte Campground is right at the east edge of Cooke City and Colter Campground is about another mile east. Another campground that is 7 miles of Cooke City is Fox Creek. You can use tents there so we've stayed there a few times. A little farther to drive but they have electricity at each site so that is a bonus. Fox Creek was closed this last summer due to road construction crews using the campground. I haven't heard anything yet if it will be open or closed the summer of 2018.

Other forest service campgrounds on the Beartooth Highway that we've stayed at and really enjoyed are Beartooth Lake Campground and Island Lake Campground. Both are between the junction with Chief Joseph Highway and the beginning of Beartooth Pass. You can see the location on this map.

beartoothhighway.com/beartooth-highway-maps/

While I've been to Cody many times, I've never driven through the Big Horns so have no idea how to get that into your trip other than the following:

From Billings drive south on I90 to Wyoming. This will take you past Little Bighorn Battlefield if you're interested in that.

https://www.nps.gov/libi/index.htm

When you get to Wyoming, you will drive to Ranchester (10 miles past the state line) and get off on WY14. WY14 will take you through the BigHorns. At Burgess Junction you can decide to stay on WY14 to Greybull or to take ALT14 to Lovell. From both little towns you can get to Cody for your night's lodging.

We've stayed at Ponderosa Campground a couple times (and wouldn't hesitate to stay there again) which is right in Cody. You would think it would be noisy as it is right next to the main street/highway but we've never been bothered by it (we were in a 5th wheel trailer).

http://codyponderosa.com/

When you leave Cody to go to Yellowstone Park, drive north on WY120 to the junction for Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. When the CJ Highway meets the Beartooth Highway (212) turn right and drive Beartooth Pass to the Rock Creek Vista Rest Area (Pam's suggestion in post 3). Turn around and backtrack towards Cooke City and the northeast entrance.

You will be entering the northeast entrance later in the day. There will be a sign that will show if any campsites are still open. If it shows Pebble Creek or Slough still open, drive to the campground immediately to try to get a campsite. *Note.....even though it says "open" at the entrance the campsite could be taken by the time you get to the campground. If the sign says the campgrounds are closed, I would suggest turning around and getting a campsite at Soda Butte or Colter for that night.

The following nights in Yellowstone, I would highly recommend getting a reservation at either Canyon, Bridge Bay or Madison. Based on where you're able to get a campsite your itinerary can be based on where you're staying each night. Since everything you need will be in your campervan, it will be ok to have a reservation at a different campground each night if you can't get multiple nights at one campground.

Link to website for Yellowstone's campgrounds that take reservations:

https:/…

Have you ordered the state travel guides that I referenced in your other threads? They will definitely be a great resource in planning your trip.

Deb

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5. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Hello from NW Arkansas. Not local to your area, but made a 2 week trip there in 2013 and planning another with 3 grandkids this summer. Have found suggestions here helpful and wanted to pass on our Big Horn portion that lead to Cody, Yellowstone and a Teton/Jackson/Snake River daytrip.:)

1. Based on comment "having trouble laying out part of trip" -- Not selling, but have used Microsoft Streets and Trips for over 6 years to plan LONG road trips and won't travel until planned routes, time frame & mileage then reservations. Software, not an app, so a planning tool only. Put in as many places as want with length of stops for sightseeing or overnight, approx rest stops (ex15 min ever x hrs) so it plans by day/time/miles ---then drag&drop to rearrange:). I export pdf final day-by-day plans and maps to my reader. I've already made modifications for our summer trip based on campground recommendations here! Thank you.

2 IF you WANT to go through the Big Horns, we traveled west on the southern route and back east on the northern route, Both are beautiful, but the southern route was my favorite. So, maybe....

Billings to Buffalo and, if you have not been there, lunch and a tour of the Occidental Hotel and Saloon is well worth an hour or so. They have framed pictures to prove all those people in old TV westerns were real. In fact, a lot of their favorite rooms are named after them--Calamity Jane, Hole in the Wall Gang etc. From Buffalo go west toward Ten Sheep through the Big Horns to Thermopolis . I loved the signs, a lot of signs - "x type rock formation & formed xxBillion/Million years ago". This route also took us to 3. below - our teacher/daughter's favorite and will be her kids this summer as well.

3. If you leave Billings about 8 am then Buffalo by lunch, should be about on our timetable. We were tent camping, but followed a camper most of the way across from Buffalo. We did not stay at Eagle RV park in Thermopolis, but should have. Would stay in other one again if only alternative because worth it to go to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and Dig Sites. http://www.wyodino.org/ . Amazing museum collection including one that made cover of National Geographic years ago and probably every one you know about plus more. But they also have a large, active dig site.:) We just did the dig site tour (vs actually Digging at dig site) and, I have to admit, touring a Wyoming dig site with LOTS of dinosaur bones and footprints beats Arkansas digging for diamonds hands down! We arrived about an hour before closed and they offer free late museum entrance on tomorrows ticket purchase. Don't know your kids ages, but ours are 5, 12 & 13 and am sure they will not want to leave. Cody is about 80 miles north and an easy drive.

4. Sounds like you have Cody, Shoshane, Lamar covered. But would mention, we did a long-return-to-camp-late daytrip through the Tetons for a half-day Snake River trip out of Jackson. Stopped for lunch at the Jackson Lake lodge in the Tetons and it was my favorite trip meal. Lunch menu was nice sit-down, reasonably priced and very well prepared. The decor was western artsy and towering windows framed the most amazing view! If all you have time for in the Tetons is lunch and the changing landscape in route from Yellowstone, it's worth it!

Enjoy your trip!

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Windham, New...
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6. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Thank you all so much - this is fantastic info!!! I will try to incorporate all these great ideas. Can't wait to see this beautiful part of the world.

Jackson, Wyoming
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7. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Ah, I'm a bit confused with these itineraries but since you mention Glacier 8 days is arguably not nearly enough for EITHER Crown of the Continent or Greater Yellowstone. I'd choose one or the other. I'm even reluctant to suggest both ecosystems if you have 3 weeks but that's just my personal opinion, we all have our own objectives.

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8. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Hi Absarokanaut,

Our full itinerary is indeed a little over 3 weeks. I realize my heading and my question are confusing. My fault. My question is just about an 8-day portion of the trip which covers Billings/Cody/Lamar Valley/Yellowstone North loop and back to Bozeman. Thanks!

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Windham, New...
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9. Re: Itinerary to include GTNP, Yellowstone and Glacier

Hi Everyone,

How is this sounding?

Day 1

Depart Billings around noon

Visit Little Bighorn National Monument

Camp in or around Buffalo

Day 2

Visit Wyoming Dinosaur Center

Camp in Cody

Day 3

Cody

Day 4

drive Beartooth Highway as suggested

Stay Cooke City area

Day 5

Lamar Valley

Stay Canyon Campground

Day 6 Yellowstone

Stay Canyon Campground

Day 7 Yellowstone

Stay Bridge Bay

Day 8

Return to Bozeman

Seem reasonable? Anything you would change? Any must sees along the way?

We are visiting SW area of Yellowstone and GTNP earlier in the trip.

Thanks for the advice!

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