Yellowstone National Park... advice needed.

KDOG

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Oct 9, 1999
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One of the places I've wanted desperatley to visit is Yellowstone National Park. Of course the park is so massive theres no way to see it in one trip. Of course I'll want to see Old Faithful and the main attractions, but I also want to to do some hiking and finally see some breathtaking mountain scenery and just get "lost" there if you know what I mean.

I have no idea where to start for a first visit. Where to stay, go for a nice hike, etc. When I go, I may be going with family or by myself. If the former I'm going to want to stay in "nicer" accomodations but that can include cabins as long as they are fully equipped. If the latter - by myself - I can stay in more rugged conditions.
I'm looking up thing and even have registered for a forum for Yellowstone but if anyone here has any advice on where to stay and place of interest to go for a first "feel it out" visit, I'm all ears.
 

Eno Safirey

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Dec 14, 2012
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Our family weighed the costs and decided to rent an RV instead of motels or tent camping. We lucked out and got a brand new unit with a V-10 engine and no advertising. We always had time to enjoy checking out the attractions because there was no hurry to get back to our space before dark.

We had five days to explore and one day we decided to just relax. We carried some lunch and supplies down to a isolated area next to Yellowstone Lake and just sat on the beach and played all day. Nobody walked by and we were totally alone with nature.

I'm thinking that most visitors never venture more than a few hundred yards from the roads. Get away from the crowds and take it the beauty of it all.
 

JManInPhoenix

Golden Member
Sep 25, 2013
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Grand Teton NP has some awesome hiking. Yellowstone is beautiful, but imho, Grand Teton is more scenic with better trails & better views.
 

stargazr

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Jun 13, 2010
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When I was out there, I rented a car and drove through Yellowstone. There's a loop through the park that goes to most of the notable sites. For hiking and backpacking, as noted Grand Tetons are nearby, and awesome.
 

Pocatello

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Oct 11, 1999
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Grand Tetons has some awesome bicycle trails, and you can see the mountain range as you go.
 

KDOG

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Nice, thanks for the advice. I ordered a couple of those water annd tear resistant maps of the area. Ultimatly I'm just gonna have to suck it up, go out there and check it out. I thought about driving out there, making a road trip out of it by stopping at Mount Rushmore, but the gas alone driving from NJ would be insane.
 

JamesV

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Jul 9, 2011
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Whenever I'm thinking about going camping or hiking in a new place, I get on YouTube and watch videos. Far better to see actual video footage of interesting places, instead of just pictures or text recommendations.
 

Ken g6

Programming Moderator, Elite Member
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The cabins over by the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, on the east side of the central cut-though road, were nice last time I was there (about 10 years ago). There's a nice trail through the forest between the cabins and the canyon.

Over near Old Faithful, I hear there's a hike-able and bike-able trail to Lone Star Geyser. Didn't have the chance to try it out.
 

onza

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Sep 21, 2000
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reviews.ragingazn.com
I can comment.

-2 yrs ago I did Yellowstone
-Last year I did Tetons.

I would pick 1day at Yellowstone then the rest in Tetons. Why? It's more relaxing and not as touristy.

We tent camped the entire 9days.
 

Thebobo

Lifer
Jun 19, 2006
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Nice, thanks for the advice. I ordered a couple of those water annd tear resistant maps of the area. Ultimatly I'm just gonna have to suck it up, go out there and check it out. I thought about driving out there, making a road trip out of it by stopping at Mount Rushmore, but the gas alone driving from NJ would be insane.

Yellowstone is mostly a plateau, it doesn't offer as much of the dramatic valley and mountains as say the Tetons or Glacier National park. Tetons has some great trails but is a tad crowded imo. Just Southeast of the park is the Wind River Range if you ever can get there. Some call it Wyoming's Yosemite minus the tourist. Its all national forest and most has been declared Wilderness areas. It also has more glaciers than Glacier national Park.

.
 
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KDOG

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Oct 9, 1999
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If going out there by myself, then camping/hiking/biking will def be the way I'll be going. I will certainly be checking out the Tetons based on the advice I'm getting. Thanks a bunch people.
 

KDOG

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Cold in August? Sounds great actually...what an escape that would be from the sticky, sweltering humid heat of South Jersey near the shore....
 

KDOG

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Oct 9, 1999
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Well the two maps of the area just came in. The smaller official park service map and the much larger two sided Nat Geo map that has the trails and topography on it. Let the drooling begin. Shows just a bit of the Grand Tetons area so Ill have to pick up that set o maps too.
 

JManInPhoenix

Golden Member
Sep 25, 2013
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Tetons are nippy at night, even in the summer. Jackson Hole is about 7000' plus pretty far north.
 

alzan

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May 21, 2003
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My wife and I visited Yellowstone last year. A few tips:

1) Fly in to a city within a few hours drive of the Tetons or Yellowstone, e.g. Idaho Falls, ID
2) Rent an RV and purchase all the food you'll use; park food prices are outrageous
3) Stay in the Tetons and take day trips to Yellowstone for hiking/sightseeing
4) Don't be suckered into buying any hiking equipment; my wife bought a "bear bell" for $15 to use when she was hiking and the damn thing didn't work; she came back alive and unharmed. ;)
 

KDOG

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Oct 9, 1999
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Don't be suckered into buying any hiking equipment; my wife bought a "bear bell" for $15 to use when she was hiking and the damn thing didn't work; she came back alive and unharmed. ;)

LOL. :)

And thanks for the other tips, such as staying in the Tetons and branching out from there.
 

Thebobo

Lifer
Jun 19, 2006
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4) Don't be suckered into buying any hiking equipment; my wife bought a "bear bell" for $15 to use when she was hiking and the damn thing didn't work; she came back alive and unharmed. ;)

We would sing "There is a bear, over there, and he is in his underwear!" But I would be bear alert.

Best things is one of the cow bells if you dont mind wearing it, there are a lot of bears espacially in Yellowstone. My parents knew the Craigheads who owned one of the last private ranches in Jacksom Hole. We stayed there a couple of times. Frank and his Brother use to tag bears in Yellowstone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QCZY6eUWVA
 

alzan

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May 21, 2003
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LOL. :)

And thanks for the other tips, such as staying in the Tetons and branching out from there.

Not a problem. We stayed in the cabins adjacent to Old Faithful (literally within 100 yards of our cabin). There are great hiking trails within 15 miles of the geyser, but get to them early, the parking lots at the trailheads are small and fill up quickly.

We would sing "There is a bear, over there, and he is in his underwear!" But I would be bear alert.

Best things is one of the cow bells if you dont mind wearing it, there are a lot of bears espacially in Yellowstone. My parents knew the Craigheads who owned one of the last private ranches in Jacksom Hole. We stayed there a couple of times. Frank and his Brother use to tag bears in Yellowstone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QCZY6eUWVA

The rangers advise staying on trails and avoid any off-trail hiking; very few bears were seen by us but bison, deer and elk aplenty.
 
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JamesV

Platinum Member
Jul 9, 2011
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$15 for a bear bell is outrageous.

I use a Coghlan's Bear Bell, that has a magnet so you can easily silence it when you don't need it. $3 at Dicks.
 

Ophir

Golden Member
Mar 29, 2001
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Made the trip last year, 3 days in Grand Tetons and 1.5 in Yellowstone. IMO that is the appropriate ratio of time delegation. Stayed in the Colton Bay campgrounds in GT (very nice, with plenty of amenities), the Lake campgrounds in Yellowstone (not nearly as nice, but satisfactory). Yellowstone scenery is ok, the Grand Tetons are spectacular. Go to Yellowstone for the geyser basins, grand canyon, and wildlife. GT for hiking and general rugged outdoor feel.

One thing about Yellowstone that is irritating are the million and one tourists and RVs. God forbid there be a bison within a thousand yards, or every damn one of them will literally park in the middle of the road, completely blocking traffic. GT was a lot better about that, but there were far fewer cool animals just roaming around.

BTW, do yourself a favor and visit the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring in Yellowstone. That thing blew me away.