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We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

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We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

So we ditched the YNP to GCNP to Albuquerque idea and now I have a somewhat shell of an itinerary built with a trip focused on YNP area and wanted to get some feedback.

Right now we are looking at flying in to Jackson Hole on Jun 15 and flying out either the following Saturday or Sunday.

First question...is this a good time to go both crowd and weather wise?

Below is the shell of our itinerary so far...

June 15 - Jackson Hole Lodge

June 16-19 - Canyon Lodge

June 19-20 - Cody Hotel

After that I am a bit lost...my wife wants to stay one night in the Dreamcatcher Tipi's north of YNP so I need to fit that in at some point. Where she would stay the last few nights? Back to Jackson? Somewhere West?

Would love some help as we have both never been out West and this is our first week long vacation in over 10 years with our 6 year old so I want it to be great :)

Pam and others...you talked me out of the trip to Albuquerque...please help! :)

19 replies to this topic
Bemidji, Minnesota
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1. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

Canyon is a great base for the east side of Yellowstone but getting from there to the geyser basins on the west side will take quite a bit of time. With your itinerary taking you from Jackson Hole Lodge to Canyon, on to Cody, and then to Dreamcatcher Tipis, I'd recommend that you spend some time at Old Faithful on your way back toward Jackson. I think your 6 year old would find the paint pots and geysers to be fascinating. Do be sure to sign them up for the Junior Ranger program as soon as you get to Yellowstone. Also spend some time with them so they are involved in the planning. There may be some things that us older ones might think boring that could be just what the younger one is interested in.

N. Idaho
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2. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

Yes, completely agree with RM-MN's suggestion to more or less work around Yellowstone/Cody in a counter clockwise manner. You don't need to do all your Yellowstone nights at one time and if you are heading back to Jackson for departure then it works to divide them with the Cody and Tipi nights. I love to stay at OF as getting out in to the geyser basin before the day visitors have arrived is wonderful! The OF overnights also position you for an easier drive back to Jackson - about 3 hours. You'll want to stay overnight in the Jackson/Grand Teton area the night before your departure flight.

After your 2 nights at Canyon you can leave for Cody via the East entrance road. Then after your nights in Cody, drive north on Chief Joseph Scenic Highway to Beartooth Highway, then drive toward Red Lodge along Beartooth turning around at Rock Creek Vista. Retrace your route to Cooke City and enter Yellowstone at the NE entrance. Drive to Mammoth then out the North entrance to your tipi overnight. (You are talking about tipis north of Gardiner, right?).

The time of year you have picked is fine. There is a chance for some winter-type weather so you'll need to keep an eye on the forecasts and check roads before you set out on Chief Joseph or Beartooth.

I think you will be happier with this trip!

Pam

Billings, Montana
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3. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

>>>First question...is this a good time to go both crowd and weather wise?<<<

With increased visitation to Yellowstone Park and more and more people coming during what was considered the low-months years ago, there will always be "crowds" in Yellowstone Park. Even in June. The crowds will be at the main iconic physical attractions especially starting from late morning and into late afternoon when all of the day trippers and tours are in the park.

I'v been going to Yellowstone Park multiple times each year for a long time. We always go for a week in June and each year I've seen an increase in crowds. Last year was the first year that I saw traffic to the extent it was in the canyon area and in the area from Midway Geyser Basin to Old Faithful.

It will be a given (even in June) that parking and touring the North and South Rim Drives in the Canyon area will be crowded along with touring Midway Geyser Basin (Grand Prismatic). Old Faithful will be crowded but you can easily get away from crowds by just walking on the boardwalks away from the main area. There are a lot of cool geysers to see that in my opinion (and others) are more spectacular then Old Faithful.

That being said, Yellowstone Park is huge and if you get out early and stay in the park so you can safely be out until late evening you can avoid some of the traffic/crowds. There are also many trails and activities you can do that will get you away from the crowds.

The recommendations above to stay at least one night at Old Faithful will help alleviate many of the "crowds" in the geyser basins as you won't have to travel a long ways back to your lodging in another location in the park.

Deb

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4. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

Amazing recommendations...thank you!

A few follow up questions! Do we stay two nights in Cody or just one?

If the OF is booked where do we stay relative to that on the way back around?

Thank you!

Billings, Montana
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5. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

If you go to Cody after your Canyon lodging, I would think one night would be enough unless you really want to spend a lot of time at the museum (the admission is good for two days).. If you leave Canyon in the morning to drive to Cody you should be able to tour the museum in the afternoon and go to the rodeo in the evening. The next morning leave as early as possible to go back through the park via Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, Beartooth Pass (to the Rock Creek Vista Rest Area) and back to Cooke City/northeast entrance.

If you want to spend more time at the museum (it's huge with 5 separate museums) and do something else in Cody, two nights would probably be better, especially if you don't want to be rushed.

Museum

https://centerofthewest.org/#

Rodeo

https://www.codystampederodeo.com/

Wild Mustang Tours

codywyomingadventures.com/cody-wyoming-adven…

Heart Mountain WWII Japanese Interment Center *if you're interested in WWII history

http://www.heartmountain.org/

I personally would not spend two nights in Cody if it meant taking a night away from Yellowstone Park or Grand Teton Park but that is just me. You have to make a decision based on what your family is interested in seeing and experiencing along with your traveling style.

The closest lodging to Old Faithful is the gateway town of West Yellowstone.

Deb

Edited: 10 December 2017, 14:17
N. Idaho
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6. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

If you are staying at Canyon or Lake the day before Cody you can be out to Cody in 2-2.5 hours so to me only 1 night would be needed. You'd want 1/2 a day for the 5-museum complex www.centerofthewest.org Check their website to see if your visit coincides with the Plains Indian pow-wow they have. That could be fun for your son!

If you keep checking OF you will be able to get vacancies there. If that tactic worries you, then you could book at West Yellowstone which is the nearest gateway city to OF and the thermal areas on the west side of the Lower Loop. If you want to book West Yellowstone now, get something that has a good cancellation policy then keep looking for the OF rooms.

That Xanterra website is pathetic and not user friendly so you usually have to go thru every single room level to see where vacancies are. Sometimes people have better luck when they call. I'd recommend you DON'T go with Grant Village as it is too far from the other sights in Yellowstone. I think people book it because - guess what??- it's often the only thing that is available! I see people getting talked in to Grant by the Xanterra folks when they call which is why I mention it.

Looks like things are shaping up!!

Pam

Moose, Wyoming
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7. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

"Heart Mountain WWII Japanese Interment Center"

I mean no criticism of Deb, but this camp was not for Japanese, but for American citizens of Japanese ancestry. It is called the Heart Mountain War Relocation Center.

Billings, Montana
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8. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

>>>I mean no criticism of Deb, but this camp was not for Japanese, but for American citizens of Japanese ancestry. It is called the Heart Mountain War Relocation Center.<<<

Thanks for the very important correction Bill! It says "Japanese American" on the website I linked and I knew that even without the website. My brain and typing fingers had a major malfunction.

Deb

Billings, Montana
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9. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

I see I also made an error when I said that West Yellowstone was the closest lodging to Old Faithful. Actually Grant Village is the closer. Hmmmmm.......wonder if it's time for me to turn off the computer and do something else since I'm having major brain issues today. LOL

Deb

N. Idaho
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10. Re: We ditched Albuquerque still have questions!

Well, Deb, I'm laughing as well because I *always* think of West Yellowstone as being closer. I just forget about Grant.

Pam

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