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Old 12-20-2010, 12:13 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi_Wan_Kenobi View Post
Ever been to less crowded and still somewhat spectacular redwoods?
...
BTW: What is your recommended access to this area for folks that don't like to drive. I expect there is some air service to Eureka, (AVC) but who? and at what cost? (I see Alaska, United, and Delta service the area, but at a cost). Is Crescent City less expensive to fly into?

Maybe Alliant air LAX to Medford. OR would be closest at a bargain price for most travelers.

I usually get really cheap rates to Sacramento SMF ($39), but I always end up driving to the Redwoods from home (PDX). It is quite a hike to Coast Redwoods from SMF.
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:55 PM
 
Location: West Coast
82 posts, read 284,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
BTW: What is your recommended access to this area for folks that don't like to drive. I expect there is some air service to Eureka, (AVC) but who? and at what cost? (I see Alaska, United, and Delta service the area, but at a cost). Is Crescent City less expensive to fly into?

Maybe Alliant air LAX to Medford. OR would be closest at a bargain price for most travelers.

I usually get really cheap rates to Sacramento SMF ($39), but I always end up driving to the Redwoods from home (PDX). It is quite a hike to Coast Redwoods from SMF.
Arcata has an airport. Not sure what all they have for car rentals, but there must be something.

Medford would not be my choice, because its 2.5 hours drive from Medford to Jedediah Smith redwoods by Hiouchi or Crescent City. Add the drive to the PDX on top of that plus the flight, and getting rental arrangments ... seems not much better.

The minimal 5.5 to 6 hour drive to the same park from Portland seems little more to get started.

Avenue of the Giants is about 1.5 hours south of Arcata (or Eureka). And Redwood National Park is about 45 minutes north of Arcata.

Sure that the 6 hour drive to the 1st park is too much? Because the rest of the motels and main redwood parks between Crescent City and Myers Flat fit into nice bite size pieces of driving and motels.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:40 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,537 posts, read 39,914,033 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi_Wan_Kenobi View Post
Arcata has an airport. Not sure what all they have for car rentals, but there must be something.

Medford would not be my choice, because its 2.5 hours drive from Medford to Jedediah Smith redwoods by Hiouchi or Crescent City. Add the drive to the PDX on top of that plus the flight, and getting rental arrangments ... seems not much better. Actually I was inquiring for those that might take the LAX > MFR It is under $70 last I checked, and probably the cheapest way to get to Redwoods region for those who don't like driving.

...

Sure that the 6 hour drive to the 1st park is too much? Because the rest of the motels and main redwood parks between Crescent City and Myers Flat fit into nice bite size pieces of driving and motels.

The driving is no issue for me but one of the last YNP persons was not keen on the drive all the way from from SLC or Billings. I have had several guests who won't do Crater Lake or Redwoods due to the long drive. (I might need to begin a tour company (if it wasn't for the ICC 'authority' $$$$))

I am used to driving since I was weaned (100 yrs ago) in the cab of a truck (and seat of a tractor). I had a 863 mile WY semi-truck newspaper route during college. I just applied for a 12 hr / day driving gig for a part-time 'fun' job.

I do need some great Redwood ideas, (another forum subject?) as I will be bringing a group of senior citizens down there in the spring. I actually come that way enroute to SF just to have French Toast at the Samoa Cookhouse.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
3,040 posts, read 10,444,463 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
BTW: What is your recommended access to this area for folks that don't like to drive. I expect there is some air service to Eureka, (AVC) but who? and at what cost? (I see Alaska, United, and Delta service the area, but at a cost). Is Crescent City less expensive to fly into?

Maybe Alliant air LAX to Medford. OR would be closest at a bargain price for most travelers.

I usually get really cheap rates to Sacramento SMF ($39), but I always end up driving to the Redwoods from home (PDX). It is quite a hike to Coast Redwoods from SMF.
Perhaps the Giant Sequoia would be a better choice of redwood for someone that doesn't want to drive very much. If you fly into Fresno (FAT), there are numerous groves of Giant Sequoia within a one to two hour drive.

Not only are the well known groves of Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks nearby, but there are also some other groves outside of them that are quite nice. Look for the Nelder and McKinley groves as examples.
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:40 AM
 
Location: West Coast
82 posts, read 284,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdavid93225 View Post
Perhaps the Giant Sequoia would be a better choice of redwood for someone that doesn't want to drive very much. If you fly into Fresno (FAT), there are numerous groves of Giant Sequoia within a one to two hour drive.

Not only are the well known groves of Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks nearby, but there are also some other groves outside of them that are quite nice. Look for the Nelder and McKinley groves as examples.
Almost considered that in November myself. But snowshoes were recommended even a month ago.

I've seen some nice snow photos. But sure like the forests when there is open ground for exploring and photos.

Several big tree enthusiasts I've chatted with online - some from overseas - have warned more than once not to go to the giant sequoias in peak season too. They all said to visit during the two slivers of time on the calendar when the crowds are not there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
I do need some great Redwood ideas, (another forum subject?) as I will be bringing a group of senior citizens down there in the spring. I actually come that way enroute to SF just to have French Toast at the Samoa Cookhouse.
Bet the older folks would sure like Ferndale, and Trees of Mystery, as well as some redwood trails.

Even some longer trails have some short easy segments, rather than doing the whole trail end to end.
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:57 PM
 
369 posts, read 551,303 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
I don't think I've ever driven so much in my life.
I think its hard not to on your first trip because you really don't know the distances involved and how the few roads work - but it is definately something for 1st timers to try to avoid. I was aware I was doing it, was exhausted and sort of depressed about it on day three - you really have to fight it and plan. But....the park is actually set up for driving, its not like they have benches set up at the pull outs.
Its a fairly long drive into and out of the main part of the park everyday from either Gardiner or West Yellowstone. From what I saw I thought the traffic on the road in from West Yellowstone may be worse but that could be the time of day I was around there. Driving in very early and out late I did not run into traffic - but it was also late September.
Yellowstone is an exceptional patch of wilderness and I have to commend the people who lobbied and fought for it to be made an area for all the public to enjoy. We owe those people an awful lot.
It was still pretty crowded in late September. I have read that the park is full and past full earlier and later in the season all the time. I cannot even imagine being their during peak times.
Our trip was a two week trip. We fly into Denver, drove immediately to Rapid City, then to Glacier, then to W. Yellowstone, and back to Denver...seeing everything there is to see. This was mostly an over-view trip for us all. We saw a lot, and drove 3,000 miles after it was all said and done. We went in Sept. of 2007, and this past Sept. had record visitors for Sept. We hit Mammoth Hot Springs area around 11:20AM, and I got the last close parking spot in relation to the springs. Traffic wasn't ever bad though, and we may have lucked out when we went. No road construction, no animal jams, etc.. We split the figure 8, doing the upper loop the first day, and the lower loop the second day. The third day, we pretty much took an easy day and just stayed around W. Yellowstone. This was a mistake. I would have loved to driven down to the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole...the only real disappointment of my whole trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
Yellowstone is amazing, truly spectacular, the volcanic caldara, the rivers, the gorges, waterfalls - so many packed into one area. Personally though I will seek out less crowded, though less spectacular places in the future.
It was so busy in Sept., that I am right there with you...I couldn't even believe visiting during the summer peak season. We drove into the park from W. Yellowstone at around 8:30, and exited around 4:30-5 both days. While we didn't have much traffic, Septs. have only gotten worse and from your post, it sounds like it was pretty busy.

My suggestion to you is Glacier NP. We went to Glacier prior to Yellowstone. If you stay on the west side of Glacier, the cities/towns of Kalispell and Whitefish offer a lot to offer. There is also a mountain north of Whitefish. It used to be called Big Mountain, but I think they re-named it to Whitefish Mountain. I didn't know this at the time, but there is a ski lift you can ride to the upper parts of the mountain.

To give you an example, we entered the main west entry of Glacier (near Apgar Village) around 9:30, drove Going-To-The-Sun road though the park. Just before 5PM, we made it to the Two Medicine area (SE corner part of the park), and then drove the highway that borders the southern part of the park back to Whitefish.

Yellowstone die-hard types will say Glacier doesn't compare. You might not see as many animals in Glacier, but to me, the views of the mountains are just as spectacular as those in Yellowstone.

As others have suggested, Great Smoky Mountain NP is also a nice park. It is actually the most visited park in the park system, however, there is a catch to that stat. Only something like 20% of the "visitors" actually get out of their vehicles (or off their vehicle). You see, it is a popular motorcycle rally drive, in addition to folks who just have time to drive through, but not really see the park stuff.

Hopefully, in the near future, we are going to S. Utah to visit Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. Can't wait for that trip. Oh, and also have plans to eventually head out to Shenandoah NP and take a couple of days to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. Would also like to go back out west and drive the scenic byways out in S. Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. We missed those for the most part, because we pretty much had to stay on the interstates due to time constraints. Also have a desire to see the Canadian Rockies as well, thinking about starting in Calgary, driving over to the mountains, and ending up in Edmonton.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravekid View Post
Yellowstone die-hard types will say Glacier doesn't compare. You might not see as many animals in Glacier, but to me, the views of the mountains are just as spectacular as those in Yellowstone.
I've visited both parks, and would have to say that each is unique in its own way. I don't think there's really any comparison, unless it's simply animal count. On that basis, Yellowstone wins, but only because of the herds of bison and elk. Most other animals don't assemble such large herds.

If you were to select different species, I think they'd be about equal. Yellowstone has bears, deer, elk, bison, moose, and wolves. Glacier has bears, elk, moose, deer, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. Of course there are other species in each park, so the examples above are just for comparison. In my travels to both parks, I would say that I've seen about the same number of different species in each.

As for the views, they are spectacular in both parks. The type of scenery is different in each park, so there isn't really any reasonable way to compare them.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
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My wife & I went in late Aug & early Sep of Ď09 and stayed 5 nights at the Old Faithful Inn. It was a mistake. Too much time in one location and yes there was a lot of driving along the same old roads. A small section was closed for repair work and it required us to drive the longer routes each day just to see some of the other areas of the Natíl park that we were interested in. I would advice spending a few nights in each area of the park which was the original plan that I wanted but couldnít get at that time of year.

We had lodging for five nights at the Old Faithful Inn which was very disappointing. The queen bed had an old mattress that we could never get comfortable on. I think it was an original mattress from back when they build that wing of the lodge in 1927 and were still using it today.

Eating at any of the lodges was also a disappointment. We found the best place to simply be the small store and gas station just west of the Old Faithful Inn. They cooked a great breakfast and lunch. Simple food at a reasonable price. We did have a nice lunch in the dining room at the lodge located on the Yellowstone Lake however which was a plus at the time because there wasnít anyplace else nearby to eat at.

Six days and five nights at the park wasnít enough time to see everything because of the roadwork that was taking place and having to detour the long way around all the time.

Other then buffalo we didnít see any wildlife as well at that time of year (Aug/Sept).
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:05 AM
 
369 posts, read 551,303 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AksarbeN View Post
My wife & I went in late Aug & early Sep of Ď09 and stayed 5 nights at the Old Faithful Inn. It was a mistake. The queen bed had an old mattress that we could never get comfortable on. I think it was an original mattress from back when they build that wing of the lodge in 1927 and were still using it today.

Too much time in one location and yes there was a lot of driving along the same old roads. A small section was closed for repair work and it required us to drive the longer routes each day... I would advice spending a few nights in each area of the park which was the original plan that I wanted but couldnít get at that time of year.

Eating at any of the lodges was also a disappointment. We found the best place to simply be the small store and gas station just west of the Old Faithful Inn. They cooked a great breakfast and lunch. Simple food at a reasonable price.

Six days and five nights at the park wasnít enough time to see everything because of the roadwork that was taking place and having to detour the long way around all the time.

Other then buffalo we didnít see any wildlife as well at that time of year (Aug/Sept).
I did some research on-line and decided against staying in the park. I know there was (and maybe still is) a stronger push to keep things "simple" or "rustic." I don't mind "rustic" themes, and feel they fit well with the park setting. I do mind "simple," or what is really another term for "old." It isn't the 1940s anymore, and it wouldn't kill them to offer sat television, internet, updated rooms with a rustic theme, etc.. Maybe they offer all of that now, all I know is that when I went in Sept. of 2007, the stuff I read prior to my trip was that some suites offered this stuff, most don't. Not everyone wants to spend every waking second outside their hotel room, either outdoors staring at whatever, or spending time in front of the fire in the lobby. As such, we stayed at a more modern facility in W. Yellowstone.

As far as food, we ate at McDonald Lodge in Glacier NP. I am in agreement with you. If wasn't bad, it was OK, but for the price, just nothing I would suggest folks to buy. The worse in terms of NP lodges, for us at least, was Mammoth Cave NP (totally different vendor than Yellowstone and Glacier). We went there in 2005, and their hamburgers were disgusting. Their breakfast bar was great, but their prices for dinner, the food portions, etc. just wasn't worth it. These places likely only stay around because of convenience. The two places we ate at lunch at in Yellowstone was a fast food type place in Mammoth and Canyon. Both had great hamburgers/chicken sticks, and for such a captive audience, fair pricing.

As far as time to see everything. That is all relative on what exactly you do. Folks should know that at some of the more popular areas (Old Faithful, Mammoth), there are actually boardwalks that go on for half mile, mile??? Anyways, the point is that you can do some serious walking and hiking, and the more of this you do, the more time you will need. Also, if you want to tour and see every inn/lodge, again, that takes more time. We used two days and drove the north loop the first day, then the south loop the second day. We saw all the major attractions, saw the inns/lodges/visitor's centers/looked around those areas. We didn't do any major walking of the boardwalks, or any hiking. We went in Sept. and saw bison, a coyote, a bald eagle, elk, and pronghorn. While driving, we saw a large group at the side of the road. My dad got out and I went and found a place to park. While exiting the car, my dad was coming back with others. There were two older grizzly cubs, and one was coming up to the roadway, so the rangers ordered everyone to leave. They also didn't know if mom was still around or not. My dad got a few photos of the cub running away down the road. He was lucky he got to see a grizzly in Yellowstone.

So, if you have an entire week in the park, and you are willing to drive and want modern conveniences in a hotel, then stay at W. Yellowstone. If you want time to really explore at a much slower pace, and to maximize your time, and you don't care too much about modern accommodations, then AksarbeN is right, stay a few nights at each lodge/inn within the various areas of Yellowstone.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:59 PM
 
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I live in Billings, and tend to support anything that bases out of here. However, either Bozeman or Cody present good places to fly into for the purpose of visiting YP. Just adjust your itinerary and path through the park to enjoy it.
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