Originally Posted by oneupper
I'm going to be traveling to Yellowstone w/family (adult kids) this June.
Definitely a bucket list item.
Trying to put together an itinerary starting and ending in Bozeman MT.
Might try to get in a couple of days in Jackson Hole if time permits.
Anyone been? Suggestions?
I have been to Yellowstone many times. My brother lives there.
Yellowstone is my favorite place on Earth, and I have been many places.
I would recommend staying in Canyon Village because it is a good central base of operations that gives you good access to everything in the park. You should definitely walk the Canyon trail too. Second choice for lodging is Lake village.
The biggest mistake most tourists make is underestimating the size of the park. The park covers 3500 square miles! Most people spend the whole week driving around. They say 95% of visitors never venture more than 100 yards from the road. Well 99.999% of the park is more than 100 yards from a road, so you can only see a tiny fraction from your car.
It takes longer to get around than you think it will. Things are far apart and there is so much to see along the way. There are frequent "bear jams", traffic jams caused by drivers stopping in the middle of the road when they see animals.
I would suggest spending one day driving the north loop and stopping at all the pull-offs and maybe taking a hike.
Spend another day doing the same along the south loop, which includes the Old Faithful area.
Spend another day visiting Grand Teton National Park and the town of Jackson.
The rest of the days are best spent by driving to one location and taking a long hike and general exploration. Don't try to see everything in the park in one week. Pick one area and explore it well. Save the rest of the areas for future visits.
There are more than 300 waterfalls over 5 feet in height, many of which are hundreds of feet in height.
The geothermal features are plentiful and varied, including many geysers, hot springs, mud vents, steam vents, fumaroles, prismatic pools and others.
The wildlife is unlike anything you can see anywhere else in North America (including Alaska!) and you will see a LOT of wild animals, big and small.
The mountain and forest scenery is spectacular and so are the grassland valleys and the canyons and the glacial streams and rivers. I think the road to West Yellowstone is prettiest.
Remember that Yellowstone is not an amusement park. Yellowstone is dangerous. You can die or get seriously injured if you are not careful. All
the animals are dangerous, not just the bears. I have personally seen people get attacked and injured by bison and elk. I don't know if you have kids, but teach them to be careful. In addition to animals you need to be careful of falling into boiling water or falling off cliffs. Most places do not have guardrails, and even if they do they are inadequate. Tourists get killed in Yellowstone every year, mostly by doing stupid things. Drivers in Yellowstone are terrible too. They are always looking at something other than the road and frequently have crashes or drive off a cliff. When driving at night go slow to avoid hitting animals, many of which are big enough to demolish your car.
Take a horseback ride. Hike up Mt. Washburn to see fields of wildflowers and glaciers. Hike the canyon rim trail. Hike the full paths through and around the geyser basins. Go out early in the morning when the geothermals are steaming and the animals are most active. Take water and snacks and bear spray and binoculars when hiking. Remember that Yellowstone is more than a mile above sea level and you will get winded quickly. Have a snowball fight in June in one of the mountain passes. Go someplace dark at night and look at the stars and listen to the wolves and coyotes. Get off the road!
It gets cold at night, even in mid-summer. Take coats!
Make your reservations early. It may already be too late for this year if you want to stay in the best places.