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Touring the Park

Jenny Lake Visitor Facilities Overhaul Approved

Jenny Lake Sunrise

An overhaul of visitor facilities in the Jenny Lake area of Grand Teton National Park has been approved by National Park Service officials, with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation leading the fundraising.

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NPS: Be Careful if Using Yellowstone East Entrance Friday

Yellowstone National Park

The Yellowstone East Entrance is still scheduled to open Friday, May 2 at 8 a.m., but National Park Service officials are warning about the potential of heavy, wet snow slides that could halt traffic.

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Reader Request: Can I Avoid Cliff-Hugging Roads in Yellowstone’s Northern Loop?

Dunraven Pass

Dunraven Pass

A reader writes: I am planning a trip to Yellowstone in August and curious about the roads on the northern loop. Are there any “cliff-hugging" roads I should be aware of?

Yes. Many.

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Have a Jones for Yellowstone? Bike West, Young Person

Yellowstone National Park

We are between seasons in Yellowstone National Park; the winter season has ended and the spring season won't be here until April 16, when some of the Yellowstone Grand Loop Road is expected to open. But you can still visit Yellowstone in this offseason, albeit in a limited fashion: On bike.

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Summer Construction in Yellowstone: A Preview

Yellowstone National Park

There's always a big challenge every summer in Yellowstone National Park: planning around the realities of road construction. Here's a glimpse at what to expect this summer.

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Reader Request: A Good, Pleasant Four-Day Itinerary

West Thumb

West Thumb

A reader writes: I am looking for a good plan while in Yellowstone, entering at the West Entrance. We are staying two nights at Old Faithful Inn, two nights at Canyon, and heading to Jackson for two nights. We would like a plan that is not totally hectic, would like to do some easy hiking, a boat ride on the lake, horseback riding. Can you help?

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How Long Does It Take to See Yellowstone?

Moran

MoranHow long will it take to see Yellowstone? Wiseguy answer: A lifetime.  

Don’t even think about racing around Yellowstone. The park’s 154 miles of main highway, the Grand Loop Road, is in the shape of a figure eight, but it’s no race track. For one thing, most of the other people in the park are not in a big hurry. The general park speed limit is 45 miles per hour but in normal traffic you’ll be lucky to average 30 miles per hour. Visiting park attractions takes time (parking, walking, and waiting for geysers). Figure ½ hour to 2 hours for almost every stop. Plus there will be any number of unscheduled stops, such as waiting for a bison herd to cross the road.

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Suggested 2 Day Tour

Tours of two days or more allow some spare time to see Yellowstone National Park, compared to trying to do it all in one day. However, the driving time almost inevitably increases, as typically it's necessary to drive to and from wherever you spend the night. Yellowstone's a big park, so even these drives can take an hour or more. Longer tours are also more open to variation; if you ask any ten Yellowstone veterans for the best itinerary for two (or three) days, you will probably get eleven or twelve answers. Our suggestions try hard not to be arbitrary, this two day itinerary more or less splits the park thematically: First day concentrates on the famous geysers and geyser basins, the second day visits Yellowstone River, Canyon, and Lake -- a water day. Both days involve at least six hours of sightseeing (not counting starting/ending drive time), but there's some flexibility to make unscheduled stops.

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Suggested 3 Day Tour

A three-day visit to Yellowstone National Park makes it possible to see the main highlights without the pressure to do a lot of driving every day. (Keep in mind that in a driving tour of Yellowstone, the driver rarely gets to enjoy the scenery.) Of course, depending on where you are staying the night, there may be considerable commuting to and from where you start and finish the day. Like the suggested Two Day Itinerary, Day One begins with Old Faithful and a stop at the Visitor Center to get the predicted times for major geyser eruptions. Everyone can and should see Old Faithful, but catching others, such as Grand, Daisy, Castle, Riverside, and Great Fountain, is a matter of luck and some planning. Day Two and Day Three are really interchangeable. Day Three is relatively short, and some might prefer to make it the middle day of a three-day tour.

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Recommended day trips when kids are along

1. See the Buffalo Bill Historical Society in Cody, Wyoming. 2. Go fly-fishing. 3. Visit West Yellowstone. 4. Visit Grand Teton National Park. 5. Take a long car trip (Chief Joseph Highway or Beartooth Pass), and enjoy the rugged beauty of Montana and/or Wyoming.

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