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2 days route plan for first timers

2 posts
2 days route plan for first timers

Hi

We are going to YNP first week of October. Our current itinerary is: we are arriving Jackson on day 1 and will stay in Jackson that night. The following two days will be spend in the park. We are staying in Gardiner the second night, and come back to Jackson for the third night.

Any route suggestions, we’re hoping to see as much as possible but also like a relatively relaxed 2 days.

Thanks a lot

7 replies to this topic
Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta, Savannah
Level Contributor
19,768 posts
95 reviews
1. Re: 2 days route plan for first timers

Yes. The main road in Yellowstone is called the Grand Loop Road and made up on an upper loop and a lower loop. You could focus on one loop a day but since you are starting from the south to the north and returning, focus on one side and then the other.

So, come up from Jackson, stop at West Thumb Geyser Basin and then head over to the western side and visit Old Faitthful, the geysers on the west, up to Mammoth and out to Gardiner. The next day, drive the side you didn't just drive - over to Tower-Roosevelt, out into the Lamar Valley if you want. Turn around and come back south on the Grand Loop Rd to Canyon, then Lake and the back to WTGB and out the south gate.

YNP is SO easy to navigate. The sights are along that Grand Loop Rd. Take your time and be patient if you get in a wildlife jam. Plan well so you are at your night destinations before dark.

What time of year is your trip? Sections of the road begin to close in October.

Madison, WI
Level Contributor
10,558 posts
66 reviews
2. Re: 2 days route plan for first timers

Good info above and I'll just add it will a busy two days. There are over 300 miles in Yellowstone alone. You will have a lot of driving and need to be back at your base camp by dark. See link for mileage and approximate drive time map. This is all dependent on animal jams and traffic.

https:/…Park-Map-with-mileage.pdf

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,174 posts
112 reviews
3. Re: 2 days route plan for first timers

To be honest, I'd try to get your one night at either Old Faithful or Canyon if you can cancel your Gardiner room without a penalty. With just one night in the park, I'd concentrate on the Lower Loop and leave the Upper Loop for another time. Go to the official website for Xanterra, the park lodging at www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com Do NOT use a 3rd party.

With one of these as your overnight you'd still go north on one of the sides of the Lower Loop and go back to Grand Tetons down the other side.

If you are traveling the first week of October all of the roads in Yellowstone will be open, weather permitting.

In addition to Eric's link for the drive times within Yellowstone here is a link to the Road Conditions page for Yellowstone. They keep this updated with closures when wintry weather moves in. I also call the recorded phone line for road conditions which also gives you information not included on the web page such as the suggestion or requirement for winter/snow tires.

https:/…Park-Map-with-mileage.pdf

Here is a link to what services are still open:

https:/…hours.htm

Check the weather and road conditions every morning before you start out.

Pam

Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta, Savannah
Level Contributor
19,768 posts
95 reviews
4. Re: 2 days route plan for first timers

We visited in mid-October one year and did the entire Grand Loop Road in one day, without feeling rushed. We didn't stop at EVERY stop - obviously - but stopped at most of the most popular ones. There was no traffic, no parking issues. The park felt almost empty. We had driven up from Jackson for a long weekend (flew into JAC) and stayed at the Old Faithful Inn. It was a fabulous trip. You can stay anywhere (that is still open) in the park but I think your Gardiner location is good. A couple of years ago we were on a tour (after several days of a self-drive vacation in both parks) and drove up from Jackson along the eastern side of the park, stayed in Cooke City and then looped around to the western side of the park and back out to the Tetons. If you want to move your reservation from Gardiner, I highly recommend Cooke City. It's a tiny community but felt very quirky, a bit like the TV show, Northern Exposure.

2 posts
5. Re: 2 days route plan for first timers

Thanks you all for your tips and suggestions.

So we changed our plan a little bit: we’ll stay in Canyon the second night instead of Gardiner, so we’ll have plenty time tour the lower loop and leave the upper loop to the next time.

Two more questions: what’ll be the most practical cloth to bring for the first week of October, considering the huge temperature difference between day and night.

And, will there likely be any snow storm early oct? Do we need snow tires or something like that? We booked a rental car will pick it up at Jackson airport. Any extra we need to require from the rental company?

Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta, Savannah
Level Contributor
19,768 posts
95 reviews
6. Re: 2 days route plan for first timers

Pack layers.

It can snow in any month - including June. No matter which month you visit, pack layers to go from cold mornings to afternoon temps.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,174 posts
112 reviews
7. Re: 2 days route plan for first timers

Great! I think you'll enjoy your trip more with less driving and more seeing of the sights!

Not knowing where you are from and how cold tolerant you might be, here's what I would suggest for layers:

short sleeve or long sleeve shirt

long sleeve layer - something like a waffle weave thermal or dri-fit pull over

fleece or puffy vest or jacket

rain layer which will also function as a wind layer and is big enough to wear over your vest or jacket

I generally wear jeans but this time of year I'd probably throw in my thin base layer to go under them. I do spend a lot of time sitting or standing outside waiting for geysers to erupt so it can feel colder if you are not moving around.

Of course it really depends on what you've got in your closet!

You'll want light gloves and a warm hat both of which you can buy in Yellowstone. Might also consider a buff or neck gaiter for warmth.

Sunglasses, sunscreen also.

Let us know how it goes!

Pam

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