Yellowstone NP / Glacier NP visiting?

Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
931
Location
Home: Columbia, MD, USA; Present: Bogota, Colombia
Hi all,

My family will be back in the states this summer. We are thinking of visiting Yellowstone and maybe Glacier National Parks. We have three boys (ages 7, 9 , and 11) and are trying to figure out where to stay and how much time to spend at each park.

Any suggestions from the crowd here would be helpful.

Thanks
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
2,228
Location
Broussard, LA, USA
I ahev not been to Glacier yet, so I can't say much about it. I have been to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. Yellowstone is a LOT bigger than many people think. You could spend a lot of time there and still find things you didn't have time for. Traffic can be heavy on the narrow roads and wildlife gridlock is also possible. The park service says to get all the way off the road when stopping to view wildlife, but that's just not possible in most places. Because travel time in the park can be difficult, staying outside the park is not always a good option. When you go to Yellowstone you should consider staying in different areas near what you want to explore. For instance, when viewing the geyser basins, stay in Old Faithful lodge. Two or three days there should be enough.
When you want to see the northern part of the park with the Lamar Valley and maybe Mammoth, stay in Roosevelt lodge. Take a picnic to the Pebble Creek area. While in Roosevelt, maybe take the wagon train to the western style cookout. I wouldn't go again, but it was worth the time once. Three days in this area shoudl be fine also.
When you want to see the lake area and parts east in the Park, stay in Lake Lodge (not Lake Hotel, but you should go and see the grand old lake Hotel) The East and south part of the parks is probably seen in two to three days.
In all of those places, take the Yellow Bus tours to see wildlife and stop at ainteresting palces, then use your rental to explore deeper and more thouroughly on your own.
Don't forget Grand Tetons NP. When there, stay in Moulton Ranch Cabins. The same family who had the famous barns often depicted with the spectacular peaks rising behind runs these. One day in Jackson, shoudl be enough to walk around and shop the windows, eat a hamburger at Billy's and see the wildlife museum.

The pace I am talking about does not allow down time or rest time. Rest when you get home. You are moving at a brisk pace. With three little ones to corral, you might take longer at each place. You should also consider the opportunity for the young ones to explore geology projects for school. As you probably know, Yellowstone has more geothermal areas than the rest of the world. See it before it explodes!
 
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Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
367
Location
Oregon
I visited both parks last summer. You don't indicate if you are planning to motel, tent or trailer - that will make a big difference in where you stay. My understanding is that all sites at Yellowstone which could be reserved already are. There are some unreserved, first-come-first-serve sites - you'll need a significant action plan to get in to those. Both parks have good web sites to help plan ahead.

At Glacier, the Going to the Sun road is spectacular. Plan to be on the road heading to the summit BEFORE 8 AM if you have any expectation of stopping at the rest stop at the top. The antique busses are a great way to go - letting you watch the scenery instead of driving.

Yellowstone is less time critical, but on the north and eastern roads you may find yourself in a traffic jam, waiting for herds of bison for an hour or more.

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Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
2,228
Location
Broussard, LA, USA
Staying in cabins is good because it saves a lot of time and for other reasons. Waking up in Roosevelt cabins with a babbling brook just outside the window and seeing the mist over the area was pretty cool.
 
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
7,412
Location
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
I live just outside YNP and about 6 hours from Glacier. The lodging in the park is absolutely the way to go - if you stay outside the park, it can take half the morning just to drive in an entrance and get anywhere in the summer months. GPI and Xanterra are the concessionaires that have the contracts with the NPS for lodging in those parks.

http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/
http://www.glacierparkinc.com/


Sean
 
Joined
May 27, 2005
Messages
9,790
Location
Clearwater, Florida
I went to Yellowstone and the Tetons last summer with my family. My kids were 15,12 and 5 years old. We spent part of our trip camping through a company called Backroads. I can't say enough good things about this company. We hiked, biked and kayaked. The food and camping were wonderful. They took care of everything and allowed us to have a fantastic trip. Check them out.

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Tandem bike for my 5 year old.
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Have a great trip!
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
3,063
Location
Mohawk Valley, New York , USA
Boy what an adventure for the kids !!!
Both parks are just awesome areas ...
Yellowstone is just so big ...you can spend all day just driving around looking at wildlife and still not begin to even cover it ...
We went with our family 2 years ago and had 2 days -- missed ALOT ...
I went last year for 3 days and will be going for 4 days this year just to see areas I still had'nt seen the 2 years prior ...
This year I'm staying at Lake Lodge for 2 days and can't wait ... probably most lodging is already full but it does'nt hurt to try .... last year and this year I'm spending a couple days at the Super 8 in Cooke City (just outside the NE entrance) .... a very small western town and the drive into and out of Yellowstone is gorgeous ....
You'll absolutely fall in love with Yellowstone --- so much to see but yes expect big crowds and that's one reason you'll need multiple days cause you will get caught in animal jams ....
Glacier is basically jaw dropping ... unbelievable scenery and wait till you see the Going to the Sun road .... Glacier is abit different in that it has basically just 1 major road thru it ... it's a huge national park as well but not covered anywhere's as much by roads as Yellowstone ... and once you see it you'll know why .... it's amazing they made the road they did ...
We stayed in Whitefish, MT which is about 15-20 miles west of Glacier ......
In a perfect world I would say 2-3 days for Glacier simply to take time to take it all in and 3-7 days for Yellowstone (realizing you'll still miss alot) ...
Each park is different --- Glacier is spectacular mountain scenery with good chances at Mountain Goats while Yellowstone is mountains, valley, geysers and wildlife ...
Also remember that you've got a solid days drive between each park -- some side trips could be the National Bison Range just north of Missoula, MT and the old western towns of Nevada City & Virginia City especially if the kids want to see what a town from the old west was like ...
ENJOY !!!!

ron
 
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