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Yellowstone Drive Through

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Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby steelfrog » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:03 am

Yo--quick question!

If we stay in Jackson Hole in a couple nights, is there any reason we couldn't get up early and drive through Teton/Yellowstone on our way up to Glacier NP?

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby peter303 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:35 am

The "core visit" in Yellowstone is a 180-mile loop with two dozen stops. I found it takes a good 2-3 days to hit all the stops and do most of the 1/2 to 4 mile mini-hikes.
The south and west sides are the geysers and hot springs. The east side is the magnificient waterfalls, canyon and lake.
I try to arrange lodging/camping on two or three points of the loop to cover everything.
There are five internal villages in Yellowstone and four edge-cities to select a couple of places. The premiere lodging location is Old Faithful. You want exprience the dozens of geysers there at all hours of the day and evening.
There are plenty of "deep hiking" opportunities too if you want backpack and avoid the crowds.
And you can add another day or two hitting the Grand Tetons just to the south.

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby steelfrog » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:43 am

So, this was my attempt to do a "fly by" of Yellowstone, just to see it quickly; recon; we are staying in and hiking Glacier NP, and I guess I was wondering, could a person drive from Jackson Hole though the park; starting early? or is there a shuttle system or are the crowds just so overwhelming?

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby Cruiser » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:46 am

We drove through Yellowstone on the way back from Glacier several years ago. While I would have like to spend more time exploring the park, I really got a kick out of just driving through. We stopped once for a quick Old Faithful eruption and another time to check out some moose wallowing in a small lake. Driving can be a little slow since there are so many people cruising along, but it's still worth it IMO.
Where ever you are... There you are.

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby TravelingMatt » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:48 am

I think the issue is whether OP wants to fork over the $25 entrance fee for just a drive-through.

There are gates at all the entrances to both parks, and if you do both you will go through two gates. Also, Yellowstone often checks on exit as many people overstay the 7-day period. Teton did *not* check on exit the last time I was there (2009). The gates are manned from about 7am to 7 or 8pm, and if you go through any of the gates in this period you will be charged.

There are far more, and better, worthwhile dayhikes in Grand Teton than in Yellowstone. OTOH Yellowstone has more places you can stop at for an hour or two while just passing through, and more good "touristy" short hikes in the 2-3 mile range.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby steelfrog » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:13 am

Actually, we have a NPP so should be free.

Question--we want to go up through Beartooth Pass--I see on line that it is open; good idea? Adds about an hour to the trip but I am told it would be worth it.

So, to be clear; we are staying at Jenny Lake 2 nights from now; then, the idea is to take the Grand Loop road and go out the N entrance Hwy 89 and through Beartooth Pass to Livingston, then on up to Cut Bank. Sound do able?

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby steelfrog » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:20 am

Alright--my bad; Beartooth Pass appears to be on Highway 212; that's too far out of the way; but, 89 could still work if that's better than going all the way around on major highways to the west. What say you?

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby TravelingMatt » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:26 am

steelfrog wrote:Actually, we have a NPP so should be free.


OK, so where you'll be when and for how long is a non-issue. Actually you want to milk your pass for all its value.

Question--we want to go up through Beartooth Pass--I see on line that it is open; good idea? Adds about an hour to the trip but I am told it would be worth it.

So, to be clear; we are staying at Jenny Lake 2 nights from now; then, the idea is to take the Grand Loop road and go out the N entrance Hwy 89 and through Beartooth Pass to Livingston, then on up to Cut Bank. Sound do able?


Never been up 89, but 212 (the Beartooth Highway) to Red Lodge is worth it. It's like a longer, less crowded version of CO 82 over Independence Pass. There's a loop hike you can do of about 12 miles where you start by hiking down into treeline, but it's nothing really special compared to what we have in Colorado, so it's entirely skippable.

Electric Peak is one of the few really interesting dayhikes in Yellowstone I know of, and you'd be right on the route if you're going out the north/89 entrance, but I think the most expedient TH is actually outside of the park.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby KizH » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:38 am

Driving from Jackson Hole north through Yellowstone and on up to Bozeman/Belgrade is a wonderful drive.
Not sure if you're asking if the drive is do-able in terms of distance or traffic or speed...
Distance = not a problem; from Jackson Hole through Yellowstone to Bozeman is 2-3 hours if I remember correctly.
Traffic = not a problem if you leave early; some national parks you can drive into for free before the gates are staffed.
Speed = imho, this is not a route you'd want to zip through-- it's some of the most beautiful and relaxing driving
in the US except for the roads to or near the touristy areas of the park.

The park even sells passes for people who commute through regularly, so the route is not unheard of.

(:

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby DurangoJenn » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:46 pm

I took my kids to the Tetons and Yellowstone last July. We camped at Signal Mountain in the Tetons and I think it took us about two hours to drive from there to the Norris campground in Yellowstone. From Norris to the north entrance is another 26 miles and probably close to an hour. I don't think the traffic was bad and should be even better if you leave early. We probably left at about 10 a.m. by the time my kids got up, had breakfast and we broke camp and hit the road. In driving around Yellowstone, the worst traffic I encountered was between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge (which you wouldn't be going through unless you go the long way around) where we got stuck in bison traffic jams. It was crazy. Other than that, the traffic was much better than I anticipated. I loved driving through the park and if I had the choice and time would chose that vs. taking major highways and skirting around it. The difficult part will be resisting the temptation to keep pulling over to take in the sights a bit more or do any exploring. I love the diversity of all the different areas of Yellowstone. If you're going to be staying at Jenny Lake, I would choose to keep going north instead of heading back to Jackson Hole and around to the west. Glacier is this summer's road trip for us and I can't wait! Have a great trip, whichever way you go!

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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby Mark A Steiner » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:46 pm

It is out of the way, but US 212 over the Beartooth Highway (leave Yellowstone at Silver Gate) is memorable and worth the effort. Two distinct summits (10,947' West and 10,936' East) provide wonderful panoramc views for parking and short hikes. You reach I-90 at Laurel, about 15 miles W of Billings. From Laurel a suggested route to proceed more northerly is to go west to Livingston and north to Great Falls, etc. Montana lives up to its reputation as Big Sky country.
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Re: Yellowstone Drive Through

Postby KizH » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:03 pm

Great post, Mark A Steiner! Your option definitely looks like the route to take.

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