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Thread: Wyoming - GTNP, Yellowstone, Wind River Range

  1. #1
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    Wyoming - GTNP, Yellowstone, Wind River Range

    I'm taking the family to Grand Teton and Yellowstone this summer (2 weeks, starting end of July). About all that is set in stone at this point is that we're flying in and out of Jackson, and we're backpacking the Teton Crest trail over 5 days at the tail end of the trip. My boys are excited to see all of the thermal features in Yellowstone, so a couple of days at the popular features will certainly be on the agenda too. For folks who have been in that area, what are your recommendations? I've done plenty of online research and have watched countless 'top 10' videos of the two parks, but I'd love to hear from 'my people' (i.e. all of you) what the good stuff is. Also, we're planning to camp every night except the night before we fly home, so if you know of good places we can reserve in advance, I'm all ears. Finally, I'm curious if it's worth spending a couple of days in the Wind River range? It's not that far of a drive from Yellowstone and it looks beautiful, but I haven't done that much research yet; if we go, we'll only have a couple of days there. My boys are 7 and 9 - sturdy and reliable, but an 8 mile day with modest elevation change is their upper limit. Thanks!!
    Sure. Why not.

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    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    So Many choices- what is your route on Teton Crest, Alaska Basin is awesome, as is Death Canyon? Quick hike in Yellowstone is Washburn, mostly a walk up a fire road, did with young kids. the drive to TH is great through Hayden Valley and many buffs, firetower on top with great views and bighorn sheep. Avalanche Mt on east side is also great, check with rangers regarding Grizzly activity in this area. Tetons- Cascade canyon to Lake Solitude is excellent, but not always "solitude". The hike up to Surprise and Ampitheater lakes is another great somewhat long day hike to beautiful mountain lakes. Shorter is hike up to Phelps lake, or great 4 mile loop to Taggert and Bradley lakes with awesome views of the Tetons. Those are some of my faves, can't go wrong really, enjoy! ps if you are looking for non hiking day activities, ranger led boat tours on Jackson Lake -Tetons- or Lake Yellowstone are excellent.

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    This might be your first family trip to the Tetons, but as your sons grow older you may decide to return and climb some of them. Therefore, spend a little time checking out the AAC Climber's Ranch and Jenny Lake Ranger Station so you'll be prepared for future trips. Also, a hike into Garnet Canyon (you can even spend a night there) will get you acquainted with a popular base camp for ascents of the Grand, Middle and South Tetons. There's horseback riding and river rafting that you might enjoy, also a ride up the Tram.

    I've been to the Wind River range (Titcomb Valley) and it's a great place to hike, but might be too far from the trailheads to see much. Instead, you could consider driving the Beartooth Highway which I've never done but sounds very scenic. A trip to Cody might also be interesting if you'd like to visit some western museums.

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    I just went this past summer and did day hikes in several places. Jackson Hole is a zoo, but you will be North of it when you land. There is wildlife everywhere, most prominent as it gets dark. Anywhere along the Snake river is a good bet. Lots of birds too, of every sort. You can buy a pass that lets you into both parks for a good discount. Not sure if you can get a even better one if you buy in advance. The hot springs are all very close together, along a trail that takes 30-40 minutes to stroll. They are all different, which is all the more amazing. Whatever you do, get an early start, as the traffic becomes hellish as the day goes on. The temperature will rise rapidly from 30-40 up to 75-80F every day! Plan accordingly. It's VERY DRY! You start out at 7,000'. I felt it.

    It's an awesome place, have a blast!
    Tom Rankin
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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Like jfb I have been to Titcomb Basin in Wind River Range. It was last September around Labor Day. I was thinking about writing up a trip report but never got around to do it. Maybe at least I could post some pictures. While the elevation change is modest, you need to put in quite a few miles to get to the good part.

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    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    quick add on, not sure if you are trying to see Old Faithful- very crowded- but there is a trail 1/2 mile to a mile long that gets you up above the crowds with views of the thermal area and a great spot to watch the geyser go off- off to the right as you look at the geyser from the viewing area, easy to find and marked.

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    I swear there must have been 5,000 people at Old Faithful! They ringed the area and near the parking lot they were 20 deep. The parking lot is immense, almost like going to a major league baseball stadium. It's hard to predict the next eruption, but we lucked out, and only had to wait 10 minutes. Typically, it's 90 minutes between them. After the steam settles down, everyone rushes off to the bathroom, food, souvenirs or just to leave. Then it's quiet again for a while.
    Tom Rankin
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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    I swear there must have been 5,000 people at Old Faithful!
    Didn't you go there around the time of the Eclipse? If so, I am surprised that you were able to see anything!

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    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    The crowds in Yellowstone are extremely unappealing to me, but I know my kids want to see some of the famous features, so thanks for the tip on taking the trail around back of Old Faithful. I'd seen that somewhere else too, so that's definitely what we'll be doing.

    In GTNP, we're taking the tram and hiking into Granite canyon, then to Alaska basin, Death Canyon shelf, Lake Solitude, Holly Lake, and out via Paintbrush canyon.

    Thanks for all of the tips so far!
    Sure. Why not.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    that is a great GREAT route in GTNP, quite Jealous, enjoy!

  11. #11
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    We did three separate 2-night backpacks; Cirque of the Towers, Titcomb Basin, and Teton Crest, all were wonderful. Like you're planning, we took the tram up early in the morning to start our Teton Crest trip, but we headed out Alaska Basin instead of going all the way north. The Winds are much more remote, but even there we saw multiple groups each day even in September. Definitely prepare for bears; you may not see them but they'll be there.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky View Post
    Definitely prepare for bears; you may not see them but they'll be there.
    We rented bear spray for $20/week from Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale, WY: https://www.greatoutdoorshop.com/ We saw lots of people carrying bear spray.

    For Wind River Range maps I went with Bearthooth Publishing set - I first got southern part only to realize that I actually needed northern section. The map was fine and it folds down to a size of typical Nat Geo maps. The other option (I think by Earthwalk Press) seemed quite a bit wider when folded and I think I would have a little bit of trouble putting it in my pack side pocket with all other stuff I kept in there.

  13. #13
    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    last three times we were out there Rangers asked to see our spray when we picked up our permit and bear canister, we gave ours away at the end of the trip to folks clearly heading out- heading to the backcountry ranger when we returned the canister. BTW crazy story, porcupines were invading our vestibule to chew on boots and packs- this was two summers ago, check with ranger, it was a common problem but only in death canyon-weird.

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    Senior Member roadtripper's Avatar
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    My favorite part of Yellowstone is parking at Old Faithful and walking all 6-8+ miles of trails that stem from there in Upper Geyser Basin (including across the park road to visit other areas so you don't have to try to park at them). The variety of thermal features is absolutely incredible - see them all.

    here's an awesome map showing all the features:
    http://www.trailguidesyellowstone.co...erview_map.gif

    FYI, buy the "Yellowstone Treasures" book if you haven't already. It's the best book on Yellowstone.

  15. #15
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    I finally got around to creating a photo album from Wind River trip on Google Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/XbaXaPMisZv9jKMm1

    Here is a challenge to everyone who enjoys starring at pictures - find a coyote in one of them. I believe now that it was a coyote and not a wolf although I had some doubts at the beginning.

    The very last picture with brush fire is from Colorado - I took it on the way back to the airport. Forest fires in Montana were the reason behind hazy skies.
    Last edited by iAmKrzys; 02-13-2018 at 11:04 PM.

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