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Old 08-11-2010, 10:21 AM
Status: "Save a life; carry a gun." (set 51 minutes ago)
 
Location: Cody, WY
4,882 posts, read 3,821,985 times
Reputation: 7566
There's really nothing to see or do in Jackson unless someone wishes to think he's a jet setter or drink with vacationing New Yorkers. But Jackson makes a good entry point. Drive north through Grand Teton (You'll see most of what you wish to see from the car). After you enter Yellowstone, take the loop road and exit at either the West, Northeast or East entrances. but drive the whole loop. You won't regret any necessary backtracking. Do stop at Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and every othe area of boiling mud, hot water, geyser, etc. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone observation point is a short hike and worth it.

In three days you can easily see all of the major features. Take a look at some maps and plan your trip route. If you're headed south, you may wish to stay in Cody. You can also enter Grand Teton from the east and avoid Jackson. That's my recommendation.

However you do it, it will be a great trip.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:37 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW / CO / SA TX / Thailand
10,912 posts, read 17,999,513 times
Reputation: 7780
It would be helpful to know what direction the OP is headed.

I often do Yellowstone in a day, just passing through when I don't have time to stop. It is far best to map your desired stops and arrive at dawn. See much before crowds get bad, then do Visitor's Center / hike / walk / eat / sleep during 10-12, then travel 12-till -2 and after 6pm till dark. I like going one direction through this entrance (costs significant time, but well worth it.)
Beartooth All American Road - Cooke City Montana, Cody Wyoming, Red Lodge Montana Beartooth Highway

Tetons is not bad during the day. But spectacular lighting for sunrise. Take a float trip in afternoon if it is hot. Jackson is worth ~4 hrs.


Lots to see, you won't see everything, but in three days you can have a very nice and even relaxing time. As mentioned you can drive the whole region in one day if necessary (but would require a pre-dawn arrival.) Do watch your speed, tho I've never been 'had' by Park Radar. I do travel in significant excess when I'm doing my NP 'pass-throughs' w/o traffic. I do most NP's 'off hours'.
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
3,502 posts, read 3,038,584 times
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This trip is feasible in three days. You will want to take the Grand Loop in Yellowstone to at least get a sampling of it. I would say that the hikes you will want to do are the boardwalks and Old Faithful and Norris Geyser Basin and at least one in the canyon area. Be sure to drive through Hayden Valley since the buffalo are in rut and you will see big herds (stay in your car, the bulls are very aggressive this time of year). It is off the loop but I would suggest going to Lamar Valley since that has the biggest concentration of wolves and is like a Serengeti. West Yellowstone is nice but I would suggest that only if you have time. I have only driven through Grand Teton so am not sure about that one. If you buy souvenirs try to do it in Gardiner, West Yellowstone, or Cooke City and then you don't have to pay a sales tax. Are you camping out or getting a hotel?
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
3,502 posts, read 3,038,584 times
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I met to say hike at the boardwalks in Old Faithful and Norris.
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:28 PM
 
8,183 posts, read 21,430,088 times
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OP ... be advised that this year, there's a lot of road construction going on in YNP. There's delays for single lane closures, and some roads are closed at night. Best to check the YNP website for updates, or call the hotline 307-344-2117. The posters that have driven through at high speed and/or at night (for early dawn arrivals at various locations) in prior years may not necessarily be able to do so this year.

You might also want to do some other Web research on "labor day weekend in YNP" topic. For example, travelpod has an interesting post from the Conroy family about their 2009 Labor Day weekend in YNP. Essentially, it comes down to "what were we thinking?" re the traffic jams, the people just stopping their cars in the middle of the road to hop out and get pictures of their kids with the wildlife, and so forth. Similar blogs and websites (frommer, for example) ... point out that Labor Day Weekend is the summer end (and there's closures of some of the park by then, too ... again, check the YNP website) but typically is as crowded as the JUne/July high season tourist density. There's also a number of RV oriented websites that mention the places getting filled up a couple days before the Friday of the Labor Day weekend. It's a busy, hoppin', major tourist attraction ... the 5th busiest NP in the country in most years, even on Labor Day weekend.

While the month leading into Labor Day does see the start of schools in many areas, and so the college kids may be thinning out (seasonal workers as well as tourists) ... there's a lot of people who are either within a reasonable driving distance away from home (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Colorado) and some who come from even further away ... with their families for the last big "end of summer" family vacation. I know that my ex's extended family ... 4 generations worth ... will be joining the Anti-Destination League Forces on the roads in YNP with their collection of RV's, camper trailers, motor coaches; they all live within 8-10 hours of driving from YNP, so it's very doable with school age kids and preschoolers in tow. My in-laws now have spent the last 30 years heading to YNP for Labor Day as a family tradition, typically with a big station wagon towing an 8' x 16' trailer (they used to come from Northern Wisconsin, more recently, Denver) .... although last year they gave up the towing and now rent a cabin in the area so they can drive their 34 mpg car to the place and then take the tour buses. OH, you do know that the tour buses still run on Labor Day Weekend, right?

Anyway, I'm "local" enough from my ranch in SE Wyoming to have the flexibility to travel to the area with my camping gear in an average morning ... via my airplane. I can readily spot the areas when there's a lot of vehicle activity and slow traffic movement, and when there's a lot of people in the park. A flight up to Cody is just at 2 hours enroute VFR for me, so I can leave at daybreak and be there very easily in time for breakfast. It's not too far (timewise) to continue on into several private ranch airstrips around the YNP area, and I can tour the park fairly readily (albeit from a modest altitude) to decide if I want to borrow a vehicle and head on in. Slow moving traffic density spotted from the air several years ago lead me on to Dubois WY as a better place to base my mountain travels on a number of trips. That's the flexibility I get with my own aircraft ... the freedom to cover a lot of miles without road traffic, speed limits (and the law enforcement folk writing tickets), rubberneckers .... I can literally be in the YNP area from home faster than somebody in a car driving up from Afton to West Thumb. In the time it takes an Afton driver to get to Jackson, I'm only 30 minutes out from YNP. And, if it's better to come in from the North or West entrances, I can get over there pretty quickly, too. I don't have to live in the Star Valley to know what the tourist activity is in the area, because I can readily travel there, check it out, and if it's too busy/crowded for me ... move on to other destinations (I've headed to YNP or Three Forks MT, decided it was "too crowded", and headed on into the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho to camp out for the weekend) or simply head on home after a leisurely breakfast/lunch and call it a day. From Cody to the wilderness is less than a couple more hours of flying ... to destinations that aren't accessible by car; you'd have to drive to Salmon or McCall, a fairly long drive, then charter a back flight to replicate what I do in a matter of hours). Ah, you could, too ... all it takes is that ticket and medical certificate in your wallet and a few bucks for a modest back country capable aircraft ....

Last edited by sunsprit; 08-11-2010 at 01:55 PM..
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:06 PM
 
281 posts, read 469,924 times
Reputation: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
OP ... be advised that this year, there's a lot of road construction going on in YNP. There's delays for single lane closures, and some roads are closed at night. Best to check the YNP website for updates, or call the hotline 307-344-2117. The posters that have driven through at high speed and/or at night (for early dawn arrivals at various locations) in prior years may not necessarily be able to do so this year.

You might also want to do some other Web research on "labor day weekend in YNP" topic. For example, travelpod has an interesting post from the Conroy family about their 2009 Labor Day weekend in YNP. Essentially, it comes down to "what were we thinking?" re the traffic jams, the people just stopping their cars in the middle of the road to hop out and get pictures of their kids with the wildlife, and so forth. Similar blogs and websites (frommer, for example) ... point out that Labor Day Weekend is the summer end (and there's closures of some of the park by then, too ... again, check the YNP website) but typically is as crowded as the JUne/July high season tourist density. There's also a number of RV oriented websites that mention the places getting filled up a couple days before the Friday of the Labor Day weekend. It's a busy, hoppin', major tourist attraction ... the 5th busiest NP in the country in most years, even on Labor Day weekend.

While the month leading into Labor Day does see the start of schools in many areas, and so the college kids may be thinning out (seasonal workers as well as tourists) ... there's a lot of people who are either within a reasonable driving distance away from home (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Colorado) and some who come from even further away ... with their families for the last big "end of summer" family vacation. I know that my ex's extended family ... 4 generations worth ... will be joining the Anti-Destination League Forces on the roads in YNP with their collection of RV's, camper trailers, motor coaches; they all live within 8-10 hours of driving from YNP, so it's very doable with school age kids and preschoolers in tow. My in-laws now have spent the last 30 years heading to YNP for Labor Day as a family tradition, typically with a big station wagon towing an 8' x 16' trailer (they used to come from Northern Wisconsin, more recently, Denver) .... although last year they gave up the towing and now rent a cabin in the area so they can drive their 34 mpg car to the place and then take the tour buses. OH, you do know that the tour buses still run on Labor Day Weekend, right?

Anyway, I'm "local" enough from my ranch in SE Wyoming to have the flexibility to travel to the area with my camping gear in an average morning ... via my airplane. I can readily spot the areas when there's a lot of vehicle activity and slow traffic movement, and when there's a lot of people in the park. A flight up to Cody is just at 2 hours enroute VFR for me, so I can leave at daybreak and be there very easily in time for breakfast. It's not too far (timewise) to continue on into several private ranch airstrips around the YNP area, and I can tour the park fairly readily (albeit from a modest altitude) to decide if I want to borrow a vehicle and head on in. Slow moving traffic density spotted from the air several years ago lead me on to Dubois WY as a better place to base my mountain travels on a number of trips. That's the flexibility I get with my own aircraft ... the freedom to cover a lot of miles without road traffic, speed limits (and the law enforcement folk writing tickets), rubberneckers .... I can literally be in the YNP area from home faster than somebody in a car driving up from Afton to West Thumb. In the time it takes an Afton driver to get to Jackson, I'm only 30 minutes out from YNP. And, if it's better to come in from the North or West entrances, I can get over there pretty quickly, too. I don't have to live in the Star Valley to know what the tourist activity is in the area, because I can readily travel there, check it out, and if it's too busy/crowded for me ... move on to other destinations (I've headed to YNP or Three Forks MT, decided it was "too crowded", and headed on into the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho to camp out for the weekend) or simply head on home after a leisurely breakfast/lunch and call it a day. From Cody to the wilderness is less than a couple more hours of flying ... to destinations that aren't accessible by car; you'd have to drive to Salmon or McCall, a fairly long drive, then charter a back flight to replicate what I do in a matter of hours). Ah, you could, too ... all it takes is that ticket and medical certificate in your wallet and a few bucks for a modest back country capable aircraft ....
Still not really relevant to the OP's original post.

The OP asked about sight seeing, not airplay flying,or camping or what you are able to do by flying somewhere. Those of us who live and work here and visit the Park several times a year in all seasons either on our own or with our visitors know that while it may be too busy for you, it happens to be the way 90 percent of people see the park and the area.

Traffic and lots of people happens to be the norm. That does not mean you can not have a great tour of the park. Why don't you stop telling the OP
what he/she should not or can't do and tell them what they can. Your posts really come off as a negative Nelly.
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:08 PM
 
74 posts, read 138,041 times
Reputation: 32
Great advice everyone, I might add another day to the trip (probably the Friday of Labor day weekend).. I will arrive at Jackson and go through Grand Teton on to Yellowstone (So south entrance, is that nice or do you recommend another entrance?). I will head out during sunrise if that is what it takes. In the future I plan to visit and do outdoor activities instead but for now I am interested in sightseeing and cruising around.
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:29 PM
 
281 posts, read 469,924 times
Reputation: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by adelashk View Post
Great advice everyone, I might add another day to the trip (probably the Friday of Labor day weekend).. I will arrive at Jackson and go through Grand Teton on to Yellowstone (So south entrance, is that nice or do you recommend another entrance?). I will head out during sunrise if that is what it takes. In the future I plan to visit and do outdoor activities instead but for now I am interested in sightseeing and cruising around.
The early the better. The wildlife sightings are best at dusk and dawn. Thats why we go to the Park. My husband is a wildlife artist and those times of day get him his best reference photos. The key to enjoying the park for sight seeing is simple, relax! Don't rush, don't worry about the traffic and how late you get back. Pack some food and stop when you want and then you don't have to worry about where you need to be at certain times for meals.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:25 PM
 
74 posts, read 138,041 times
Reputation: 32
Ah I am too excited!.. Does anyone know where I can get a great [comprehensive] Yellowstone tourist map? I searched online and could only find terrain maps. Also, what is the best entrance to Yellowstone?

Thanks again!
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:27 PM
 
281 posts, read 469,924 times
Reputation: 153
The best entrance is the closest to where you are staying.
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