Yellowstone Tips?

<p>We are going to Yellowston for 10 days in early September. We will be staying in Silver Gate most of the time. THis is a low cost vacation: the flights are paid for with frequent flyer miles, and I found a place where the three of us can share a dorm room for a total of $60 per night. It also has kitchen facilities, so we will not be dependent on restaurant food.</p>

<p>We are planning to do a lot of day hikes. Anyone have any tips, advice on things to do, whre to eat or buy groceries, what to wear, etc?</p>

<p>Consolation -- We love Yellowstone. </p>

<ol>
<li>The Log Cabin Cafe is a cute place to have breakfast one morning (near Silver Gate) if you decide not to do breakfast one day, or even for a cup of coffee. </li>
<li>I love the boardwalks in the geyser areas at sunset or early in the AM -- mid-day they tend to be hot and crowded.<br></li>
<li>You're a ways away from Yellowstone's central area -- if you like hiking there are definitely some cool and largely uncrowded hikes off the Beartooth Highway much closer to you, since you might not want to venture into Yellowstone proper every day:
Day</a> hikes in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness near Red Lodge, Montana</li>
<li>If the budget will stretch to a half day float/whitewater trip, there are a couple of operators out of Red Lodge & that would be fun too. See Red</a> Lodge, Montana Gateway to Yellowstone National Park via the Scenic Beartooth Highway for some links. (Red Lodge has a reasonably priced grocery store, fwiw.)</li>
<li>The Old Faithful Inn has free historic tours of the Inn a couple times a day. This is worth doing, the architecture is amazing. Just sitting and relaxing in some of the rockers placed around is rather nice. (There's also a fairly inexpensive ice cream concession right off the main Inn area, and a coffee stand upstairs near the deck area.) On a cold or rainy day -- or just after a long hike, relaxing in the Inn is a joy. There are always seats upstairs even if the main level is fully occupied. </li>
<li>Meals are $$ in the lodge and most of the area, but inexpensive bowls of chili and the like are available in the Old Faithful Basin Store (Says Hamilton Stores in old carved wood lettering) near the gas stations at Old Faithful. Classic soda fountain area. </li>
<li>Watching Old Faithful erupt from the roof deck over the front entryway to the lodge is free and amazing.<br></li>
<li>The fire exhibits/movie at the Old Faithful Visitor's Center is worth seeing. We were there the year before the fire, the year after, and several times since, and the changes have been remarkable. </li>
<li>You're quite a ways from Grand Teton, but that is another area that is just gorgeous if you get inclined for a longish drive.</li>
<li>The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is beautiful, and there are some trails nearby that let you see it from several vantage points.</li>
<li>Mamoth Hot Springs is pretty to walk around in the evening, and the exhibits there were quite interesting. </li>
<li>Great hike: <a href="http://www.outdoorplaces.com/Destination/secret/yellowstone/canyon1.htm#why%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.outdoorplaces.com/Destination/secret/yellowstone/canyon1.htm#why&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li>
</ol>

<p>Clothing: We've had snow in mid-September, so layers are a very good idea. Mornings and evenings will likely be very cool, even cold. Afternoon thunderstorms are always a possibility. The sun can be really, really strong even if the temperature is cool, so please use sunscreen and wear sunglasses. I like the insect repellant wrapped pads (Cutter's) -- I bring one with me, so I've got it if the bugs are out, but meanwhile I haven't doused myself down if they're not around.</p>

<p>Have a wonderful time -- it is truly a national jewel.</p>

<p>The best way to do Yellowstone, since it is a loop that begins and ends at the same spot, is to go in one direction and book places to camp or rent indoors as you circle around. Staying at the Hotel is a great spot, but if you just drive by, it is fun to rent a boat and paddle around the lake. The hike to the bottom of the Canyon is relatively easy - small kids can do it easily - it is not nearly as majestic as the Grand Canyon. When you first enter the park coming from the South, watch for a bridge crossing over a pond of lillies, within the first ten miles. Another spectacular hot steam area is the one involving lots of mud puddles.</p>

<p>Geysers, mud pots paint pots, buffalo. Early morning best for geysers. Just beautiful.</p>

<p>Our favorite thing to do was swimming in the Firehole River along Firehole Canyon Road. The water is warm from hot springs and there is a fun rapids that you jump in to and float down to the swimming area. You need some kind of water shoes for climbing on the rocks. It is difficult to explain how cool it is.</p>

<p>Seeing wolves in Lamar Valley was one of our highlights, but it was around 5:30 in the morning. Reviews</a> of Hotels, Flights and Vacation Rentals - TripAdvisor has lots of great info on Yellowstone. Here's a discussion on wolves:</p>

<p>Trip</a> to Lamar Valley - Yellowstone National Park Forum - TripAdvisor</p>

<p>I took my screen name from the Hayden Valley, which I fell in love with when visiting with my family. We stopped by the road, and spread out before us across the valley floor were a heard of buffalo, birds floating on a shallow lake, and elk. It was as if the last four centuries were wiped away, and nature was spread out before us. </p>

<p>Hope you have a wonderful time.</p>

<p>Do not bug the buffalo. We were there once and a woman was trying to get her 7 year old to stand next to two rutting bulls. Scary. </p>

<p>I love Yellowstone. Go out at night and look at the stars. I love the mud pots. Take warm jackets and layer them. We camped at the hot springs one July and woke up to everything iced over. Bring light gloves for early morning animal viewing.</p>

<p>My d loves Yellowstone. When she was young, we went to Yellowstone every summer for four years. If you stay at a different place each night, you get to see more. They have lovely camp grounds.</p>

<p>Thanks for starting this thread! I was contemplating starting a Yellowstone thread, as I'll be there for a few days in mid Sept. Planning to camp, and perhaps eat many meals out, as the whole wildlife/food conundrum intimidates me a bit. How are the reserveable campgrounds? Will be arriving on a Sat. AM, and am scared to trust the non reserveable will be available.</p>

<p>Boiling River near the North entrance is now open for swimming as of last weekend. By September with some luck the Firehole River will also be open for swimming. Swimming in cold water with hot geysers nearby is just a wonderful experience. Not to be missed.</p>

<p>Avoid the Fairy Falls hike- dull.</p>

<p>Many of the hikes in the Canyon area are closed and may remain closed for the season due to bear activity (a tourist was killed this year).</p>

<p>Stay in larger groups and carry bear bells, bear spray, etc.</p>

<p>Black Sand Basin is one of my favorites.</p>

<p>The Yellowstone Lake and the spectacular West Thumb thermal activity area is also great.</p>

<p>Enjoy!!</p>

<p>We were there in August, peak season. Except for a couple popular camp grounds, we could walk in and get a site. Swimming in Fire Hole river was great. We didn't enjoy swimming in Boiling river as much. Have fun.</p>

<p>We were there in August 2008. One thing to realize is Yellowstone is HUGE. You are better off staying in a few different places, so you aren't driving all the time. (We stayed in a rustic cabin in the Canyons area for <$100/night, which slept 4). </p>

<p>Since you're staying in MT, I assume you are flying into Bozeman. There is a WalMart Supercenter in town that we stopped at to load up on everything (we only had carryon luggage, so we needed liquids like shampoo, bug spray, etc). The best purchase was a small softside cooler w wheels. We ate breakfast in our room most days (cereal and fruit) and did picnic lunches by the side of the road or on a trail. At Walmart we bought bread, cold cuts, PB&J and other lunch stuff. Given shelf life, we needed to stock up on cold cuts every few days - we found the general stores in most camp grounds inside Yellowstone weren't that expensive. Every morning we loaded up a gallon ziplock back with ice and it kept everything cool, including milk. </p>

<p>Most every location has an evening park ranger lecture - try to attend them, they are very informative and change every night. Old Faithful had an early morning geyser walk which was great and not too crowded. (lots of tourist arrive by bus in the afternoon - the place is a zoo from 11am-after dark). </p>

<p>We liked the Canyons area. There was plenty of hiking and it central to the northern areas of Yellowstone. (sorry to hear it's closed) We did blow through the Mamouth area and wish we hadn't. Mt Washburn was a good hike - make sure you give yourself 1-2 days to acclimate to the altitude before any strenuous hiking and drink more water than you typically do. (if you are planning on lots of hiking, I would recommend a camelback system)</p>

<p>We also like the geysers and hotpots in Norris area. The Lake area was the least interesting to our family.</p>

<p>We are flying into SLC, and driving up to the Jackson area the first night, where we are staying in a hostel. Then we are driving through Grand Teton/Yellowstone to Silver Gate the next day. We will be reversing this route when leaving. I would normally camp, but we couldn't take all our camping equipment on an airplane, and H & S are not as devoted to camping as I am, anyway. (Even though I always do almost all of the work... :) ) We cannot stay at various places around the park because a) everything is booked, and b) it is too expensive.</p>

<p>Thanks for the tips: I'll be checking them out.</p>

<p>I hope you are planning to spend a few days in/around Jackson. We found the Tetons spectacular and were upset we didn't allocate enough time in our trip. (The SLC-Jackson drive is longer than it looks because you are going through some mountain passes that are slow & windey). </p>

<p>Don't be discouraged about not finding lodging right now in Yellowstone, call every day. The rustic cabins (in various locations, although most of the ones in Old Faithful only sleep 2) are just a step above camping - tiny, cramped, dark, and old, however they have a private bathroom.</p>

<p>We took a 1 week family vacation and of all our trips, this remains one of the highlights.</p>

<p>I agree with trying to stay in at least one other location in the park--IT IS HUGE and you will want to explore other areas of the park without doing all that driving. It's true it's tough to get a reservation but be persistant--people DO cancel and I'm betting you'll be able to make some changes, even if only for a couple of days. It is worth it. We had a similar problem when we went, during high season, and were able to get into some different lodging. Again, I highly recommend you keep at it at places where the lodging might fit your budget. You will not be sorry.</p>

<p>I also agree with the advice about allowing more time within the Tetons area. We spent one day driving down there, did a boat trip across Jenny Lake, and a hike. We REALLY wish we'd made arrangements to stay in the area even just one night. It is spectacular and although close to Yellowstone, it has a very different, wilder kind of feel. All of us (2 kids, H and I felt this way).</p>

<p>Also, as one other poster mentioned, do take advantage of the rangers walks and lectures. I had to drag my family to do this and in the end, wow, we were ALL glad we went. We learned so much and especially by doing a couple at the very beginning, it helped us look for some of the wildlife, etc that we'd learned about. Lots of tips and very helpful info. It, without a doubt, made the single biggest difference in enjoying the park as much as possible. Our kids were younger, and so they participated in the Junior Ranger program. (8 and 10 at the time).
The geyser walk from Old Faithful Inn was really excellent and you know you'll spend time there so might as well learn something!</p>

<p>We went to the Lamar Valley and saw an incredible amount of wildlife in that one evening. I think it was some kind of barbecue/trail ride but just the drive there and back was spectacular.(This trip was unbelievable overall: we saw EVERYTHING from grizzlies to wolves, packs of coyotes, antelope/elk/deer, big horn sheep, baby owls, eagles, etc etc). </p>

<p>Anyway, we loved Yellowstone and have truly fond memories of this most amazing trip. I'm jealous!</p>

<p>We did that barbecue thing, curiouser, the one that took you to the barbecue spot in horse drawn open wagons. I believe it's owned privately, with the private area grandfathered into the parkland. If you have kids under 10 or so, they'll love it. I also loved it, loved the food, loved the scenery.</p>

<p>If you are renting a car and/or approaching from the East - be sure to drive the approach into Yellowstone on Highway 212 / Beartooth Highway - the most gorgeous drive in America!</p>

<p>
[quote]
I think it was some kind of barbecue/trail ride

[/quote]
</p>

<p>It was probably the Roosevelt Cookout.
Roosevelt</a> Old West Dinner Cookout - Tower and Roosevelt Areas - Dining, Just for Kids, Horseback Trail Rides, Old West Dinner Cookout</p>

<p>If you want someplace cheap to stay and don't mind rustic, I recommend the Roosevelt Lodge Cabins. They are in the NE corner of the park, near Lamar Valley. I'm sure they're booked, but if you check daily, you may find a cancellation.
Yellowstone</a> Cabins, Lodging, Inn, Camping, RV</p>

<p>There's an article in NYT today about Grizzlies and Yellowstone.</p>