National Parks Trip (Yellowstone, the Badlands, Grand Tetons, TDRoosevelt)--advice welcome

BradStevens

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My family (son 11, daughter 13) and another family (daughter 13) are taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer (end of July-first week of August). Driving from Chicago. Plan is to go through South Dakota and hit Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park on the way, stay a few nights in Jackson and explore south Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, then head north and stay a few nights in Montana on the north side, and come back through North Dakota and hit Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Any advice on what to do or where to eat, etc. much appreciated. We already have our lodging (my first time using AirBnB). One worry I have is that I really want to do a lot of hiking but I don't know if my wife or 13 year old daughter will. And I don't want to be mauled by a bear.
 
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kraft cheese+macaroni

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My family (son 11, daughter 13) and another family (daughter 13) are taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer (end of July-first week of August). Driving from Chicago. Plan is to go through South Dakota and hit Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park on the way, stay a few nights in Jackson and explore south Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, then head north and stay a few nights in Montana on the north side, and come back through North Dakota and hit Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Any advice on what to do or where to eat, etc. much appreciated. We already have our lodging (my first time using AirBnB). One worry I have is that I really want to do a lot of hiking but I don't know if my wife or 13 year old daughter will. And I don't want to be mauled by a bear.
Powder House Lodge is a great, nice restaurant in Keystone, SD near Rushmore. Rushmore at night is cool if you can swing it.

Lamar Valley is where it’s at in Yellowstone for my money. More wildlife there. We stayed in Silver Gate, MT, two miles from the east gate.
If I could go back tomorrow I would. I love Yellowstone.
 

Eppy99

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We’re doing almost the same trip. Driving an RV out to Jackson Hole, staying in an Airbnb for 5 days while hitting the Tetons and Yellowstone. Will be driving back through South Dakota and hitting the same spots. This will be our first RV adventure. Luckily we’re borrowing the in-laws RV. Excited to get away after the last 1.5 years.
 

kraft cheese+macaroni

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We’re doing almost the same trip. Driving an RV out to Jackson Hole, staying in an Airbnb for 5 days while hitting the Tetons and Yellowstone. Will be driving back through South Dakota and hitting the same spots. This will be our first RV adventure. Luckily we’re borrowing the in-laws RV. Excited to get away after the last 1.5 years.
Your plans may be set, but IMO, seeing the Badlands AFTER Yellowstone and the Tetons is going in the wrong order. Badlands are cool/interesting, but I'd wager less so after having been to Y and GT just prior instead of the other way around.

Hit Devil's Tower if you can too
 

zeke4ahs

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My family (son 11, daughter 13) and another family (daughter 13) are taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer (end of July-first week of August). Driving from Chicago. Plan is to go through South Dakota and hit Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park on the way, stay a few nights in Jackson and explore south Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, then head north and stay a few nights in Montana on the north side, and come back through North Dakota and hit Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Any advice on what to do or where to eat, etc. much appreciated. We already have our lodging (my first time using AirBnB). One worry I have is that I really want to do a lot of hiking but I don't know if my wife or 13 year old daughter will. And I don't want to be mauled by a bear.
I’m doing same trip early June. Flying to Mt, Rushmore, then renting car .
 

bshields

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My family (son 11, daughter 13) and another family (daughter 13) are taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer (end of July-first week of August). Driving from Chicago. Plan is to go through South Dakota and hit Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park on the way, stay a few nights in Jackson and explore south Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, then head north and stay a few nights in Montana on the north side, and come back through North Dakota and hit Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Any advice on what to do or where to eat, etc. much appreciated. We already have our lodging (my first time using AirBnB). One worry I have is that I really want to do a lot of hiking but I don't know if my wife or 13 year old daughter will. And I don't want to be mauled by a bear.
So you wife and daughter to get mauled by a bear with you? I guess it is a family trip
 
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76-1

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My family (son 11, daughter 13) and another family (daughter 13) are taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer (end of July-first week of August). Driving from Chicago. Plan is to go through South Dakota and hit Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park on the way, stay a few nights in Jackson and explore south Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, then head north and stay a few nights in Montana on the north side, and come back through North Dakota and hit Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Any advice on what to do or where to eat, etc. much appreciated. We already have our lodging (my first time using AirBnB). One worry I have is that I really want to do a lot of hiking but I don't know if my wife or 13 year old daughter will. And I don't want to be mauled by a bear.
Jackson Hole/Grand Teton NP -

Have lunch at least once at The Jenny Lake Lodge...

Have breakfast at least once at The Bunnery (in Jackson) I'd suggest the Huevos Rancheros...

Have Tacos at Piggly Wigglies; it's where the locals dine..., you'll be sitting amongst world class mountaineers, skiers, landscape artists, photographers and forest rangers [and never realize it]... From old hippies to young deputy sheriffs, you'll mix with the whole Jackson Hole spectrum at Piggly Wigglies... It's relatively inexpensive, primarily AmerMex and it's good tasting food...

The Mangy Moose over in Teton Village has decent food.

If you're after family style, "old west" Chuck Wagon fare, Dornans seems to fit the bill ((caveat: I've never had their Chuck Wagon food but every time I've been there there was a group chowing down who looked happy...)).

Dornans is one of those places you're going wanna be aware of anyway... They sell both gasoline and ice cream and they have pizza available for purchase that you can eat out on the bar deck (as I recall the pizza was average but the view is World Class)... Celebrated not having died in the Tetons there once...😎 (Avalanche - long story)

Dornans is the last place to buy gas before you get into GTNP if you are coming into or are leaving it from the south entrance...; it has a small grocery, a great little deli, and a bar on the N end of it... Seems like there's a Mooselys Seconds store there too where you can pick up misc. outdoor gear..., trinkets, etc...

Here's their website: http://dornans.com/BIM/BIM.php?p=hours_of_operation

///The view from their bar deck is a Lot better than their website photo... and their Deli used to make great sandwiches for picnicking fare...///

Have a lot more but I'll put it in another post... As you can probably tell I love the place... A large chunk of my late youth was spent climbing and skiing those mountains... 😎

*Take all your serious photos before 9am or after 6pm (the UV overwhelms you between those hours)....
 
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76-1

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Yellowstone area -

That place is far more than just some geysers and hot springs... It's actually four different parks in one and to see it the best move is to hit the roads right at dawn... (and get off the roads before it gets dark)... I could write multiple books about the place and it wouldn't completely cover it so... I'd suggest investing in a good map and a good guidebook and preplanning your days there...

Animals - Don't be the folks who think they're at the zoo and are safe just because they're theoretically at the top of the food chain... If you're out there long enough you'll see people doing some of the stupidest sh-t imaginable and then acting surprised when they end up getting gored, stomped or mauled... Use common sense and treat a wild animal like a Wild Animal and you'll usually be fine ((Exception: Mother Bears))...

If you act like You own the place and try to get "my new buddy" photos with an animal while getting too close and you'll probably get to learn which guy in your nearby group of tourists has EMT training...😉
 
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76-1

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Bears:

Grizzly Bears - if it's a mother with cubs or yearlings stay far far away... I was told of a young female park ranger who was a once leading a hike (I think it was in the Hayden Valley) who saw a mother Grizzly with cubs over a half a mile away. She figured that was enough of a safe distance and stopped to give a Grizzly Safety briefing... A few minutes later the Mother Grizzly was mauling her and her hiking group were all climbing trees... She survived after multiple surgeries but the Mother Grizzly had made Her point rather emphatically...

A) read a couple of Grizzly Safety books before you go hiking

B) believe any postings at the trailhead

C) if you see a mother and cubs head the other direction (even seemingly a longggg way away) (C1) if you surprise them stand still and don't look directly at them; if attacked curl up and attempt to cover the back of your neck with your hands interlocked

D) carry a small boat horn and a large can of Bear Spray

E) if you smell something dead you might be walking up on a covered Grizzly kill (they're saving it for later)... Be Very wary, you don't want to get between a Grizzly and it's food...

F) don't wear cologne, perfume or wear clothes that may have any food scent on them (or Downy type fabric softener scent) when hiking in Grizzly country...

G) if any of the females in your party are "that time of the month" or just getting over it pick another activity rather than hiking in Grizzly territory

/// If you are attacked by a black bear (smaller with not as noticeable a muscle hump) Fight back... If you're attacked by a Grizzly curl up and pray (after using your horn and Bear Spray) ///

If you want to see a Grizzly there's a Grizzly Recovery Center over in West Yellowstone where a couple of orphans roam around in a quarter mile enclosure... It's worth your time just to get to see them move with purpose... They can go from appearing to be a lumbering, almost slothlike animal to 0-35mph ball of lightning at a snap of the fingers... It's a sobering and impressive sight...
 
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76-1

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Tip on planning a hike in the mountains:

Add a half mile to the listed mileage for every 1,000 feet of elevation gained... That'll give you a ball park feel for what you're really getting into energy expenditure wise...

Treat every mountain hike just like a mountain climb (as in plan on being back at the trailhead by Noon so as to avoid the afternoon pop up lightening storms), carry enough first aid gear and emergency food and water to survive at least twice the amount of time you expect to be out for and let someone know exactly where you plan to be going even if it's just a front desk clerk or a note left on your car window (my move was always to leave my details inside an envelope marked Ranger - Open in Case of missing hiker and put the envelope in doubled zip lock bags and tied it to my drivers side windshield wiper where it was noticeable)...

Always take rain gear, some fleece, wind gear and leg covering pants of some sort that's Not made out of cotton..., and more water than you think you need..., and remember this: a mountain storm is capable of dropping the temperature 40+ degrees in under 40 minutes... Hypothermia used to be one of the biggest killers of day hikers (those stats may have changed but it's still a serious danger)...

Avoid wearing any cotton clothing above the parking lot level in the mountains... If it gets wet it won't dry fast enough to keep you from becoming hypothermic...

I have more but I don't want to completely monopolize the board...

Have fun. Stay safe. Post some photos...

Almost forgot: even if you plan to be down by noon Always carry a headlamp for each member of the party... You most likely won't need them but if you find you do, you'll Really need them...

Walmart sells small headlamps for a $1 @... Don't go hiking without one...


One other note: get your family in shape before you leave if you're actually planning on doing anything longer than a 2 mile roundtrip hike in the mountains (and have them break in whatever footwear they'll be using [anything that doesn't have a rock guard type of plate and/or a full shank will usually leave you footsore after a day in the mountains...

Here's a site that gives a lite overview of boot anatomy:

 
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76-1

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One last Important note:

There are some excellent hiking guides out there but beware relying on the thought that " "where the trail splits at the large white rock" will be as obvious as it reads... There's a hell of a lot of large white rocks out there 😉 and many trails that, for instance, may travel up over a long exposed mostly buried boulder and aren't always as obvious as the guidebook might make them seem...

Where you are going Always have a USGS topographic quad map of the area and know how to read it... and always take a compass and know how to use it... Park Service line maps (the handouts) are cute but dangerous to rely on in the mountains...

Even with a topo remember this: The Map is Not the Terrain (an old USMC adage and never were truer words spoken, even topos don't show it all, things are usually much more rugged than you might expect...).
 
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76-1

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When you are headed up to Yellowstone from the south or leaving Yellowstone to head back to Jackson stop at Flagg Ranch, just south of the South Entrance to Yellowstone NP it is another "last chance for miles" place to stop for gas... I always top off out there whenever I get the chance because the chances are few and far between... Flagg is an all in one, lodging, restaurant, camp store, and gas station operation...

//////////////////

Places I forgot to mention earlier in Grand Teton NP:

Visit the concrete deck on the backside of the Jackson Lake Lodge in the AM - If you're lucky you'll catch a beautiful sunrise purple rosey alpineglow
on Mount Moran..., and see a few moose down near the lake...

Try driving up Signal Mountain (carefully) at either dawn or dusk (and try not to trip over all the professional photographers)...

Take the boat across Jenny Lake and watch the Exum Guides freak out the neophytes on the practice cliffs (the wet ledges [for extra credit] next to the waterfall once even had my complete attention 😉)... There's another short hike that continues up from there to a Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole overlook whose name escapes me... I think it's Inspiration Point... If you take it be sure to Not get off on the trail that parallels the valley when descending...🐿

Drive to the Cathedral Group Turnout preferably at dawn but definitely before 9am (so your photos won't look washed out)... It's one of the more spectacular views in the park and all you have to do is drive there...

Finally, if you need gear, clothes, maps or information (or at least where to go or who to ask to get it) head to Teton Mountaineering in Jackson... Great gear, great people... Not cheap, (a few good deals, on sale stuff, occasionally up on the upper floor...) but it'll be top of the line stuff, not CCP knock off crap...

It's an interesting place in its own right... Here's their website:


Just noticed this at the bottom of the Teton Mountaineering website:


Just remember that even with a solid forecast the mountains create their own weather every afternoon and sometimes earlier when you least expect it... (more longggg stories [mostly about lightning]😳)...

This official NPS site should have detailed info about hazards and area closures in the backcountry: http://tetonclimbing.blogspot.com/?m=1

Could go on but I'm sure you'll find your own adventures... There's more than one for everyone out there...😉😎 🍺🇺🇸
 
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kkott

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My family (son 11, daughter 13) and another family (daughter 13) are taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer (end of July-first week of August). Driving from Chicago. Plan is to go through South Dakota and hit Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park on the way, stay a few nights in Jackson and explore south Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, then head north and stay a few nights in Montana on the north side, and come back through North Dakota and hit Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Any advice on what to do or where to eat, etc. much appreciated. We already have our lodging (my first time using AirBnB). One worry I have is that I really want to do a lot of hiking but I don't know if my wife or 13 year old daughter will. And I don't want to be mauled by a bear.
Hey, hey, on that track you'll only be 4 short hours from the world's second largest ball of twine. I wouldn't miss it!
 

76-1

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Hey, hey, on that track you'll only be 4 short hours from the world's second largest ball of twine. I wouldn't miss it!

If I were him I'd skip the ball of twine 😉 and hit
these places:




And... Fort Mandan -


I was a little underwhelmed with Theodore Roosevelt NP although there is a nice river overlook that we visited up north..., and the short badlands drive from the Vistor Center was nice...

I personally found TR's cabin interesting...

TRNP just seemed like a place where you'd need to either be out on a horse or on the river in a canoe to experience it fully...

Expect Bison jams when visiting... I had the impression that they stayed on the road longer than they needed too just to screw with bipedals inside the rolling metal box...😉😣
 
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BradStevens

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When you are headed up to Yellowstone area from the south or leaving Yellowstone to head back to Jackson stop at Flagg Ranch, just south of the South Entrance to Yellowstone NP it is another "last chance for miles" place to stop for gas... I always top off out there whenever I get the chance because the chances are few and far between... Flagg is an all in one, lodging, restaurant, camp store, and gas station operation...

//////////////////

Places I forgot to mention earlier in Grand Teton NP:

Visit the concrete deck on the backside of the Jackson Lake Lodge in the AM - If you're lucky you'll catch a beautiful sunrise purple rosey alpineglow
on Mount Moran..., and see a few moose down near the lake...

Try driving up Signal Mountain (carefully) at either dawn or dusk (and try not to trip over all the professional photographers)...

Take the boat across Jenny Lake and watch the Exum Guides freak out the neophytes on the practice cliffs (the wet ledges [for extra credit] next to the waterfall once even had my complete attention 😉)... There's another short hike that continues up from there to a Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole overlook whose name escapes me... I think it's Inspiration Point... If you take it be sure to Not get off on the trail that parallels the valley when descending...🐿

Drive to the Cathedral Group Turnout preferably at dawn but definitely before 9am (so your photos won't look washed out)... It's one of the more spectacular views in the park and all you have to do is drive there...

Finally, if you need gear, clothes, maps or information (or at least where to go or who to ask to get it) head to Teton Mountaineering in Jackson... Great gear, great people... Not cheap, (a few good deals, on sale stuff, occasionally up on the upper floor...) but it'll be top of the line stuff, not CCP knock off crap...

It's an interesting place in its own right... Here's their website:


Just noticed this at the bottom of the Teton Mountaineering website:


Just remember that even with a solid forecast the mountains create their own weather every afternoon and sometimes earlier when you least expect it... (more longggg stories [mostly about lightning]😳)...

This official NPS site should have detailed info about hazards and area closures in the backcountry: http://tetonclimbing.blogspot.com/?m=1

Could go on but I'm sure you'll find your own adventures... There's more than one for everyone out there...😉😎 🍺🇺🇸
Thanks for all this great information! I should just hire you to be our guide
 

kkott

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If I were him I'd skip the ball of twine 😉 and hit
these places:




And... Fort Mandan -


I was a little underwhelmed with Theodore Roosevelt NP although there is a nice river overlook that we visited up north..., and the short badlands drive from the Vistor Center was nice... I found TR's cabin interesting...

Expect Bison jams when visiting... I had the impression that they stayed on the road longer than they needed too just to screw with bipedals inside the rolling metal box...😉😣
Commie.
 

76-1

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You're welcome.
Forgot to add: Always carry a one of those ferrous rod spark lighters with you ((but Never use it unless it's truly a life or death emergency [Dont be the guy who becomes known for starting the forest fire that destroyed Jackson Hole...]🙉🙈😉))... Throw it in with your First Aid gear and hopefully you'll never need it...
I love it out there...

Have a Great trip!!!!!🇺🇸
 
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largemouth

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Jackson Hole/Grand Teton NP -

Have lunch at least once at The Jenny Lake Lodge...

Have breakfast at least once at The Bunnery (in Jackson) I'd suggest the Huevos Rancheros...

Have Tacos at Piggly Wigglies; it's where the locals dine..., you'll be sitting amongst world class mountaineers, skiers, landscape artists, photographers and forest rangers [and never realize it]... From old hippies to young deputy sheriffs, you'll mix with the whole Jackson Hole spectrum at Piggly Wigglies... It's relatively inexpensive, primarily AmerMex and it's good tasting food...

The Mangy Moose over in Teton Village has decent food.

If you're after family style, "old west" Chuck Wagon fare, Dornans seems to fit the bill ((caveat: I've never had their Chuck Wagon food but every time I've been there there was a group chowing down who looked happy...)).

Dornans is one of those places you're going wanna be aware of anyway... They sell both gasoline and ice cream and they have pizza available for purchase that you can eat out on the bar deck (as I recall the pizza was average but the view is World Class)... Celebrated not having died in the Tetons there once...😎 (Avalanche - long story)

Dornans is the last place to buy gas before you get into GTNP (if you're coming in from the S or leaving from the N), it has a small grocery, a great little deli, and a bar on the N end of it... Seems like there's a Mooselys Seconds store there too where you can pick up misc. outdoor gear..., trinkets, etc...

Here's their website: http://dornans.com/BIM/BIM.php?p=hours_of_operation

///The view from their bar deck is a Lot better than their website photo... and their Deli used to make great sandwiches for day hike fare...///

Have a lot more but I'll put it in another post... As you can probably tell I love the place... A large chunk of my late youth was spent climbing and skiing those mountains... 😎

*Take all your serious photos before 9am or after 6pm (the UV overwhelms you between those hours)....
Ditto on the Bunnery for breakfast!!
 

kkott

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You're welcome.

I love it out there...

Have a Great trip!!!!!🇺🇸
In the beginnings of planning a trip out that way. My son graduated from NC St last Saturday and he's thinking he'd like to move out west, so we're talking about a summer trip flying in to Denver and checking out some western cities and sites. Probably drive out of Denver and either head north or west thru Salt Lake and then north a bit. Not sure how much we can see and hit in 7-10 days, but I may be hitting you up for details if you don't mind.
 
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76-1

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In the beginnings of planning a trip out that way. My son graduated from NC St last Saturday and he's thinking he'd like to move out west, so we're talking about a summer trip flying in to Denver and checking out some western cities and sites. Probably drive out of Denver and either head north or west thru Salt Lake and then north a bit. Not sure how much we can see and hit in 7-10 days, but I may be hitting you up for details if you don't mind.
Any time.😀

Most of my expertise lies in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming but I've been out to Moab, Utah (Arches NP +) and Telluride, CO +..., so I may have a little to add in those areas... I'll give it some thought... I think I Can help a bit come to think of it...
 
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outside shooter

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I have bookmarked this article, since it has so many places that are on my bucket list

national-parks-us-road-trip.jpg




 

kkott

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Any time.😀

Most of my expertise lies in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming but I've been out to Moab, Utah (Arches NP +) and Telluride, CO +..., so I may have a little to add in those areas... I'll give it some thought... I think I Can help a bit come to think of it...
Well, the "purpose" of the trip is for him to see some possible landing spots, but also for us to see some incredible country and experiences. He digs music and a good social scene with young folks and near the wilds. He's interested in Boulder, but honestly I think it's kind of a pain... lots of big city headaches for a "smaller" town. I've suggested he look at Boise, Salt Lake, Spokane, Bozeman, in addition to Boulder. Look forward to anything you might suggest both on towns and sites to see. Thanks my friend!
 
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outside shooter

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I've suggested he look at Boise, Salt Lake, Spokane, Bozeman, in addition to Boulder.
I have been to Salt Lake and didn't care much for the overbearing conservativism/Mormon vibe. The internet filter even in my major hotel (Marriott!) would block everything, even ads on web sites that apparently showed bikinis. The restaurants seemed kind of "meh" to me.

I have been to Boulder and Spokane and find them both more suited to a younger preseumably somewhat progressive outdoors-oriented person, with Spokane being milder in the winter but more cloudy and rainy all year.

Bozeman, I was just in and out for a conference. Montana State seemed nice and it's a good gateway to Yellowstone, where I spent a day but would like to go back and spend a week. Can't really say what there is to do or the restaurants, as I was tied up in meetings. A recently-retired friend of mine has a horse ranch near there and it looks awesome.

I have never been to Boise but I know a few people from there and they rave about it- music scene, arts, progressive for the area, scenic. The winters don't sound fun though, but that's an old fart concern.
 

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In the mid 90's a couple buddies and I did a 14 day road trip starting at Guadelope Mountains, then to Carslbad caverns then Organ Pipe desert and then the Grand Canyon....

We were in awe of everyplace we went, then we got to Zion. We wished we just would have gone to Zion first and just stayed there for 14 days. Then we went to Bryce and basically felt the same. Just unbelievable places. Hard to describe that backcountry.

This was before the days of long lines and trolleys and reservations. We just pulled up and got campsites that morning. And this was in mid June.

I was 24, did the whole trip for $250. It was a spartan approach and one of my buddies covered alot of the expenses. I kind of took the whole trip for granted as someone in their 20's would.

Years later I realized what a gift all that was.

Sigh ... Now I just want to go to Glacier NP before I die.
 

MyTeamIsOnTheFloor

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There will be lots of cars inside Yellowstone. Be patient.

Hiking and camping? Take weapons.

In Cody, Wyoming there is a Buffalo Bill Center/Plains Indians Museum that is awesome.

They also have. A family friendly rodeo every night in Cody.

On highway 14 between Cody and the East Gate of Yellowstone, just west of Wapati, is The Bill Cody Ranch. We stayed there and took trail rides on their horses. Big win for the kids. Half day ride with a creek lunch was good. Their restaurant was comfort food. They had golden retrievers that everybody loved. But they had no WiFi and no TV. Rustic. And wild animals could be heard outside at night.

In Thermopolis, Wyoming is a Wyoming Dinosaur Center that will take you on a real dinosaur bone dig, and let my kids use vibrating tools to chip rock away from actual dinosaur bones. Low on look appeal. Big on “Wow, I worked on real bones millions of years old.” (They don’t believe in Genesis.)

The view of the Tetons if you drive out south on 89 toward Jackson is unbelievable .

Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore are worth it.
 
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bshields

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Well, the "purpose" of the trip is for him to see some possible landing spots, but also for us to see some incredible country and experiences. He digs music and a good social scene with young folks and near the wilds. He's interested in Boulder, but honestly I think it's kind of a pain... lots of big city headaches for a "smaller" town. I've suggested he look at Boise, Salt Lake, Spokane, Bozeman, in addition to Boulder. Look forward to anything you might suggest both on towns and sites to see. Thanks my friend!
What about Colorado Springs or Sante Fe?
 
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76-1

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Mar 22, 2017
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Well, the "purpose" of the trip is for him to see some possible landing spots, but also for us to see some incredible country and experiences. He digs music and a good social scene with young folks and near the wilds. He's interested in Boulder, but honestly I think it's kind of a pain... lots of big city headaches for a "smaller" town. I've suggested he look at Boise, Salt Lake, Spokane, Bozeman, in addition to Boulder. Look forward to anything you might suggest both on towns and sites to see. Thanks my friend!

I think you might be on to something in regard to Bozeman... Great place to live if you're a serious skier... Bridger Bowl to the NE, Big Sky to the S, with Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole within a couple of hours + drive even further S (on a good weather day)..., what's not to like...

I haven't spent any serious time there but did have a positive experience at the local Jeep dealership (helpful, pleasant and didn't rip me off when they easily could have)... Hopefully that experience is reflective of the general populace...

As a place to live it appears to be a good to great base of operations to plan and excute adventures to a lot of cool places within a 2&1/2 hour drive...

In Colorado I kinda liked Fort Collins (but I've only spent a limited amount of time there) but I've heard they're starting to have some crime issues (which I found surprising)... Same deal with Colorado Springs...

Frisco, Colorado seemed like a cool little town last time I was there... Easy access to most of the major Colorado ski areas and Dillon Res. for the summer small craft sailor... They had a solid local musical venue run by a guy from Valpo who owned that along with a ski repair shop (cool dude)... Given the way he was burning the candle at both ends back when I knew him in the early 90's he may not still be with us at this point... I'd imagine the job market might be a little thin there though... (in Frisco)...
 

76-1

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Mar 22, 2017
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Well, the "purpose" of the trip is for him to see some possible landing spots, but also for us to see some incredible country and experiences. He digs music and a good social scene with young folks and near the wilds. He's interested in Boulder, but honestly I think it's kind of a pain... lots of big city headaches for a "smaller" town. I've suggested he look at Boise, Salt Lake, Spokane, Bozeman, in addition to Boulder. Look forward to anything you might suggest both on towns and sites to see. Thanks my friend!

Unless he has a job offer from a large non-Mormon run company I'd avoid Salt Lake City... I have two friends with negative experiences of having been lured out to Utah by great job offers only to have the rug pulled out from under them a few months after they'd moved there because they wouldn't bow to their bosses coercion to join the Mormons... Nice enough people but I wouldn't want to live there (or work for them)...
 

76-1

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Mar 22, 2017
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Well, the "purpose" of the trip is for him to see some possible landing spots, but also for us to see some incredible country and experiences. He digs music and a good social scene with young folks and near the wilds. He's interested in Boulder, but honestly I think it's kind of a pain... lots of big city headaches for a "smaller" town. I've suggested he look at Boise, Salt Lake, Spokane, Bozeman, in addition to Boulder. Look forward to anything you might suggest both on towns and sites to see. Thanks my friend!
Crested Butte, CO used to be considered a hot town by the younger 20 somethings... Personally I was underwhelmed by both the ski terrain and the town but everyone but myself seems to love the place...

Breckenridge is okay skiing but I've always thought the town was overrated as a unique "destination"... Too many people for my taste...

Telluride is, well Telluride... Great place but tough to find affordable housing (I'd imagine)...

Moab, Utah is nice to visit but... (see Salt Lake City)...

Brings us back to your original thought: Bozeman, MT... Seemingly a Great place for a young guy to get a solid start while sacrificing little in terms of recreational activities... Nice call...

If you're headed up to Bozeman and looking at it as a potential long term destination I'd just book a commuter flight connection direct to there out of Denver..., then book a hotel there and rent your car there and use that as your base of operations for 7 days of driving down thru the Yellowstone loop and Grand Teton National Park then back up (be sure to stop at Big Sky at some point [that place might close the deal for him 😉]... All the earlier GTNP & Yellowstone info applies to your adventures... 😎

Hope that helps a little... I usually don't do much besides sleep in the major cities when I'm out West so I'm not much of a resource for anywhere but the town of Jackson, WY....🐿
 
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mcmurtry66

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When you are headed up to Yellowstone area from the south or leaving Yellowstone to head back to Jackson stop at Flagg Ranch, just south of the South Entrance to Yellowstone NP it is another "last chance for miles" place to stop for gas... I always top off out there whenever I get the chance because the chances are few and far between... Flagg is an all in one, lodging, restaurant, camp store, and gas station operation...

//////////////////

Places I forgot to mention earlier in Grand Teton NP:

Visit the concrete deck on the backside of the Jackson Lake Lodge in the AM - If you're lucky you'll catch a beautiful sunrise purple rosey alpineglow
on Mount Moran..., and see a few moose down near the lake...

Try driving up Signal Mountain (carefully) at either dawn or dusk (and try not to trip over all the professional photographers)...

Take the boat across Jenny Lake and watch the Exum Guides freak out the neophytes on the practice cliffs (the wet ledges [for extra credit] next to the waterfall once even had my complete attention 😉)... There's another short hike that continues up from there to a Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole overlook whose name escapes me... I think it's Inspiration Point... If you take it be sure to Not get off on the trail that parallels the valley when descending...🐿

Drive to the Cathedral Group Turnout preferably at dawn but definitely before 9am (so your photos won't look washed out)... It's one of the more spectacular views in the park and all you have to do is drive there...

Finally, if you need gear, clothes, maps or information (or at least where to go or who to ask to get it) head to Teton Mountaineering in Jackson... Great gear, great people... Not cheap, (a few good deals, on sale stuff, occasionally up on the upper floor...) but it'll be top of the line stuff, not CCP knock off crap...

It's an interesting place in its own right... Here's their website:


Just noticed this at the bottom of the Teton Mountaineering website:


Just remember that even with a solid forecast the mountains create their own weather every afternoon and sometimes earlier when you least expect it... (more longggg stories [mostly about lightning]😳)...

This official NPS site should have detailed info about hazards and area closures in the backcountry: http://tetonclimbing.blogspot.com/?m=1

Could go on but I'm sure you'll find your own adventures... There's more than one for everyone out there...😉😎 🍺🇺🇸
these are great. enjoyed reading them
 

76-1

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Mar 22, 2017
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There will be lots of cars inside Yellowstone. Be patient.

Hiking and camping? Take weapons.

In Cody, Wyoming there is a Buffalo Bill Center/Plains Indians Museum that is awesome.

They also have. A family friendly rodeo every night in Cody.

On highway 14 between Cody and the East Gate of Yellowstone, just west of Wapati, is The Bill Cody Ranch. We stayed there and took trail rides on their horses. Big win for the kids. Half day ride with a creek lunch was good. Their restaurant was comfort food. They had golden retrievers that everybody loved. But they had no WiFi and no TV. Rustic. And wild animals could be heard outside at night.

In Thermopolis, Wyoming is a Wyoming Dinosaur Center that will take you on a real dinosaur bone dig, and let my kids use vibrating tools to chip rock away from actual dinosaur bones. Low on look appeal. Big on “Wow, I worked on real bones millions of years old.” (They don’t believe in Genesis.)

The view of the Tetons if you drive out south on 89 toward Jackson is unbelievable .

Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore are worth it.

It's slightly out of the way but if you are in the Mount Rushmore area and have a free 5+ hours I'd suggest driving over to Jewel Cave National Monument (instead of the Custer State Park animal viewing loop that's always hyped (complete waste of valuable time [in my opinion]...)...

Jewel Cave is the most beautiful cave I've ever been through and I've been through several..., both commercial touring and as an amateur spelunker... (that includes Carlsbad & Mammoth Cave(s)...).

Jewel should have the National Park designation, not Wind, in my opinion... You have to make a bit of an effort to get there but it's worth it...
 

kkott

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Crested Butte, CO used to be considered a hot town by the younger 20 somethings... Personally I was underwhelmed by both the ski terrain and the town but everyone but myself seems to love the place...

Breckenridge is okay skiing but I've always thought the town was overrated as a unique "destination"... Too many people for my taste...

Telluride is, well Telluride... Great place but tough to find affordable housing (I'd imagine)...

Moab, Utah is nice to visit but... (see Salt Lake City)...

Brings us back to your original thought: Bozeman, MT... Seemingly a Great place for a young guy to get a solid start while sacrificing little in terms of recreational activities... Nice call...

If you're headed up to Bozeman and looking at it as a potential long term destination I'd just book a commuter flight connection direct to there out of Denver..., then book a hotel there and rent your car there and use that as your base of operations for 7 days of driving down thru the Yellowstone loop and Grand Teton National Park then back up (be sure to stop at Big Sky at some point [that place might close the deal for him 😉]... All the earlier GTNP & Yellowstone info applies to your adventures... 😎

Hope that helps a little... I usually don't do much besides sleep in the major cities when I'm out West so I'm not much of a resource for anywhere but the town of Jackson, WY....🐿
Man, thank you, what incredible info and insight! Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane as well! Here's an AOTF style "round" of applause:

Wendy-Fiore-Bouncing-GIFs-4.gif


4615cc4ac7458d8242cb116641b71a22.gif
 

76-1

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Mar 22, 2017
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Well, the "purpose" of the trip is for him to see some possible landing spots, but also for us to see some incredible country and experiences. He digs music and a good social scene with young folks and near the wilds. He's interested in Boulder, but honestly I think it's kind of a pain... lots of big city headaches for a "smaller" town. I've suggested he look at Boise, Salt Lake, Spokane, Bozeman, in addition to Boulder. Look forward to anything you might suggest both on towns and sites to see. Thanks my friend!

Here's a link for Bozeman I tripped over:


If your intention is to drive from Denver to Bozeman and back I'd suggest at least one day spent in Rocky Mountain National Park with these boxes checked:

A) a short hike to Alberta Falls;

B) a short walk to Bear Lake

C) a medium hike to the Emerald Lake Overlook point off the Flattop Mountain Trail trail, or the Overlook just below it at about 10,500' elev. See Map - https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/flattop-mountain-trail - it's the 5th yellow dot [***the 4th yellow dot is probably a better turnaround spot since you won't be acclimated]

*^* C+)) an alternative to that last hike above would be a quick jaunt up to Dream Lake (via the Emerald Lake Trail), that would be both easier and faster and might fit in better with a full days schedule... See Map - https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/emerald-lake-trail
((All can be done on the same day starting from the Bear Lake Parking Lot...))...;

D) then a drive over Trail Ridge Road stopping at nearly every pulloff you see..., when you reach the Trail Ridge Gift Shop (you can get food there but the smart move is to take it to a lower elevation to eat it or gobble it down fast; don't linger more than 25-35 minutes there or you'll be flirting with altitude sickness (that's a good rule if you're above 11,500' anywhere out there because it doesn't sound like you'll have time to properly do any light acclimatization)...
then you can either head on over to whatever's left of the Grand Lake area after last summers fire or head back down to the town of Estes Park... From either spot you can head from there to Laramie, Wy (personally, I wasn't terribly impressed by the town but it might fit some of your parameters)...

A side trip from the Laramie area leads up over the Snowy Range via SR 130 to the base of Medicine Bow Peak ((that's a tempting scramble that I haven't yet done but have seriously considered it as a Grandsons trip))... If I did it (Medicine Bow Peak) I'd climb the steep short trail just below the summit and start out no later than 4am...

Lightening has always been my concern about that peak, on the route I'm considering you'd be coming up relatively blind to the weather building to the west until you topped out... That has made for some nasty surprises for me in the past (long story)...

If you camp there - I've heard they've had black bear trash marauders causing trouble in past years...

From there you can go on over the mountains and link back up with I-80...

As always, these are just suggestions and I'm bound to have left something important out so study your maps... 😉😎

Almost forgot: There's a decent Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, WY...
Link: https://museumofthemountainman.com/

That's all I've got...
 
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iubud

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My family (son 11, daughter 13) and another family (daughter 13) are taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer (end of July-first week of August). Driving from Chicago. Plan is to go through South Dakota and hit Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park on the way, stay a few nights in Jackson and explore south Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, then head north and stay a few nights in Montana on the north side, and come back through North Dakota and hit Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Any advice on what to do or where to eat, etc. much appreciated. We already have our lodging (my first time using AirBnB). One worry I have is that I really want to do a lot of hiking but I don't know if my wife or 13 year old daughter will. And I don't want to be mauled by a bear.
Our best friends have two sons that graduated this Spring (one with a masters at St. Meinrad and the other from a technical school). They are on a trip out west where they slept one night in hammocks by a river and plan to not stay in a motel during the three weeks. They will sleep in Walmart parking lots when they need to, but the idea is to spend money only on gas and food.

They have been through the Badlands, Yellowstone, and were last in Oregon. I believe they are headed south along the coast and wanted to go through Utah and the Four corners. They only have one working cell phone after one was dropped in a river.

Their track sounds perfect for me as long as Colorado is included on the return.
 
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zeke4ahs

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Just got back from this trip Wednesday night and had a great time. You’ve already got lots of good information so I’ll just add a couple things. Be prepared for it to be VERY crowded. It seems this is what people are doing this summer. If you possibly can, get your gang up early and go. We left by 7 daily. Not a morning person but it was necessary. Be prepared for wild temperature changes. It was 99 for us in Badlands and 30’s in Yellowstone. You won’t convince everyone to hike every day, but you’ll do lots of walking anyway. Jenny Lake at Grand Tetons is a good one. Also it was almost impossible already to get in dinner reservations. We exhibited on granola bars and the sort and ate our main meal around 4.
 

zeke4ahs

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Didn’t read all this but this may be the best travel tip I ever got. Download the app Gypsy for Yellowstone and Tetons ( $10). No matter where you are it syncs with you and tells you exactly what’s ahead, your choices, if it’s a must see or an only if you have time. Guy is very affable ( we named him Fred) and helped us a lot . He has guides to lots of different places.
 

BradStevens

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Didn’t read all this but this may be the best travel tip I ever got. Download the app Gypsy for Yellowstone and Tetons ( $10). No matter where you are it syncs with you and tells you exactly what’s ahead, your choices, if it’s a must see or an only if you have time. Guy is very affable ( we named him Fred) and helped us a lot . He has guides to lots of different places.
All this is awesome stuff. Thanks so much
 

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