Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Yellowstone Trip Plan

Trip plan helps us to enjoy a trip. As for any major trips we have had, I prepared a detailed trip plan for our Grand Teton/Yellowstone trip.

The first two days and the last day of the trip we stayed at Jakson Hole. During the Yellowstone portion, we stayed in a hotel at West Yellowstone, a small town just outside the west enstrance.

Day 1: Flight from DFW to Jackson Hole arriving at noon. (Flight was delayed due to mechanical problem, afertnoon activity canceled, rescheduled to the end of the trip)

Afternoon activity – Ride gondola and hiking at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Day 2: Grand Teton – whole day

Morning: Scenic Drive - Jenny Lake Scenic Drive, Hike to Hidden Falls/Inspiration point

Afternoon – white water rafting

Day 3: Yellow Stone National Park – day 1 - Geysers

Morning - stop at Ox Bend before entering Yellowstone from south entance

1) Experience Old Faithful, the most popular geyser in the world, and hundreds of other geysers and hot springs

2) Kepler cascade: Kepler Cascades is the most easily reached waterfall in the district. A marked pullout just south of Old Faithful and a short walk from the car offers the visitor easy access to view this 125-foot cascade.

3) Mystic Falls Trail
This trail follows a lovely creek through a lodgepole pine forest before reaching the 70- foot falls. By following a series of switchbacks, an overlook of the Upper Geyser Basin can be reached before looping back to join the main trail.

4) Go to West Yellowstone for lodging

Day 4: Yellow Stone National Park – day 2 - Canyon Village

1) On the way – stop at Madison, Artist Paint Pots

2) Gibbon Falls

This 84-foot (26-meter) waterfall tumbles over remnants of the Yellowstone Caldera rim. The rock wall on the opposite side of the road from the waterfall is the inner rim of the caldera.

3)Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest, oldest, and most dynamic of Yellowstone's thermal areas.

4) Grand Canyon of Yellow Stone

Day 5: Yellowstone National Park – day 3 - Mammoth hot spring

On the way - Roaring Mountain

1) The Gardner River and Gardner River Canyon
The North Entrance Road from Gardiner, Montana, to Mammoth Hot Springs
2) Mammoth Hot Springs
3) Beavers Pond Trail
4) Ranger's program
5) Lemar Valley

Day 6: Yellowstone National Park – day 4- Tower-Roosevelt

To via Mammoth, back via Canyon village

1) Petrified Tree Specimen Ridge
Specimen Ridge, located along the Northeast Entrance Road east of Tower Junction, contains the largest concentration of petrified trees in the world. There are also excellent samples of petrified leaf impressions, conifer needles, and microscopic pollen from numerous species no longer growing in the park. Specimen Ridge provides a superb "window" into the distant past when plant communities and climatic conditions were much different than today.

2) Tower Fall
Tower Fall is the most recognizable natural feature in the district. The 132-foot drop of Tower Creek, framed by eroded volcanic pinnacles has been documented by park visitors from the earliest trips of Europeans into the Yellowstone region. Its idyllic setting has inspired numerous artists, including Thomas Moran. His painting of Tower Fall played a crucial role in the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872.

3) Natural Bridge Trail
The natural bridge is a 51 ft. (18 m) high cliff of rhyolite rock that has been cut through by the erosional forces of Bridge Creek. The trail from the campground meanders through the forest for 1.2 mile (0.8 km). It then joins the road and continues to the right (west) for 1 mile (1.5 km) before reaching the Natural Bridge. The short but steep switchback trail to the top of the bridge starts in front of the interpretive exhibit. To protect this fragile resource, the top of the bridge is closed to hiking. However, good views may be attained next to the bridge. The bicycle trail to the bridge begins just south of the marina off the main road.

Day 7: Yellowstone National Park – day 5: Yellow Stone Lake – West thumb area

Go there via old faithful

1) Craig Pass
Craig Pass, at 8,262 feet on the Continental Divide, is about eight miles east of Old Faithful on the Grand Loop Road. In 1891, road engineer Captain Hiram Chittenden discovered Craig Pass while he was surveying for the first road between Old Faithful and West Thumb. It was probably Chittenden who named the pass for Ida M. Craig (Wilcox), "the first tourist to cross the pass" on Chittenden's new road, on about September 10, 1891. At the time that her name was given to the pass, Ida Wilcox (1847-1930) had been married 24 years. So why did Chittenden use her maiden name? Perhaps it was to honor her singularly for being the first tourist to cross the pass. It is also possible that through his connection with the military, Chittenden knew her father (Gen. James Craig) or her brother (Malin Craig, Sr.) and was really honoring the Craig family.

2) Isa Lake
Hiram Chittenden of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claimed to have discovered this lake on the Continental Divide at Craig Pass in 1891. Isa Lake is noteworthy as probably the only lake on earth that drains naturally to two oceans backwards, the east side draining to the Pacific and the west side to the Atlantic.

3) Boating/Kayaking on Yellowstone lake – time permitting

4) Cascade Lake Trail This hike takes 3 hours and is an enjoyable walk through open meadows and over small creeks for those with limited time. Look for wildlife and wildflowers in season. Most years, this trail remains very wet and muddy through July. Trailhead: Cascade Lake Picnic Area, 1.5 miles north of Canyon Jct. on the Tower-Canyon Road. Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2 km) roundtrip Level of Difficulty: Easy

Day 8: Return to Jackson hole

1) Kayaking @ Jenny Lake, Grand Teton NP in the moring
2) Visiting Jakson hole ski mountains in the afternoon

Day 9: Return to DFW

1) We chose the hotel outside the park for two reasons - first hard to resever lodging inside the park, and inside lodging condition was not good; second we did not want to move daily from one place to another inside the park - which would take a lot of time. Hindsight - staying outside made us drive more inside the park and thus more chances to see wildlife
2) best wildlife sighting time is early morning and early evening
3) got to have good binoculars and high zoom camera to view and capture wildlife far awy from viewing locations
4) plan a trip to Yellowstone early of the year, book hotel and plane ticket early

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