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  1. Default Seattle to Yellowstone and back

    Hi,

    My husband and I are visiting the US from the UK in August and are planning to hire a car in Seattle and go on a road trip to Yellowstone Park and back to Seattle. I'm hoping for some recommendations on possible routes, places to visit on the way and places to stay.

    We're both in our early thirties, hoping to see some amazing scenery and do lots of active things like hiking, maybe white water rafting, swimming, horse riding, open to any other suggestions. We'd like to stay in smaller guesthouses or bed and breakfasts with a personal touch rather than larger chain hotels if possible, so any suggestions of good places to stay would be much appreciated. We also like good food, wine and beer so any suggestions of places to eat or drink would be great as well.

    We're not on a tight budget, so suggestions in any price range are fine. We've got about eight days for the trip.

    Thanks in advance for all your suggestions!

    Laura

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Time to enjoy Yellowstone and the Tetons.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It would be 3 days of driving from Seattle to Yellowstone and back and to explore the park and the Grand Tetons nearby really requires a minimum of 3-4 days. You should consider taking a different route each way to catch new sights along the way. If for example you headed east on I90 you could overnight around Missoula, perhaps taking a detour to the National Bison Range. After exploring Yellowstone you could head south to the Tetons and then towards Twin Falls [via Craters of the Moon] where the Snake river runs through and is home to Perrine bridge, popular with 'Base jumpers'. Nearby is Shoshone Falls, aka Niagra of the west. Then make your way back through Boise and Kennewick towards Seattle with an overnight stop. Another option would be to head to Portland along the Columbia River Gorge ot into Mt Ranier NP, but in all honesty you have time for a relaxing drive and to have quality time in Yellowstone.

    Yellowstone and 'cheap' do not go in the same sentence that often and you should start checking out your options as many places in the park and surrounding towns will already be booked up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Devote the time to Yellowstone.

    Dave has given you a couple of scenic routes to follow on the way to and from Yellowstone. You really do not have time to venture all that far from them. Yellowstone is a huge park and 3 or 4 days there will give you a good chance to get a feel for the place. But you will not have time to see it all... and then go to the Tetons as well.

    If I were you I would concentrate on just getting there, and getting back as enjoyably and efficiently as possible, and spend all the rest of your time in Yellowstone. You won't regret it. Hope you are fortunate enough to find lodgings within the park. It is so much part of the experience, and it also saves a lot of time driving in and out of the park each day.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Loop With a Bit of Everything

    As Dave noted, you'll need about three days just to get to Yellowstone and back, which doesn't leave a whole lot of time to explore that world-class national park. But there is also a hole host of other sites worth visiting in the Pacific Northwest, and it would be a shame to miss out on those either. So you'll have to think of this trip as a mere sampler to whet your appetite for a return visit in depth when you have time. With that idea in mind I'd like to offer the following very general routing with some of the places you might like to sample while driving it. Start out by heading east on I-90 crossing the Cascades and the Palouse to Coeur d'Alene, a picturesque city worth spending at least a little time in. Continue on to near Bozeman MT and use US-191 to enter Yellowstone from the north. If you can get accommodations in the park, that would be your best bet. If not, West Yellowstone would make a good base of operations for your visit to Yellowstone.

    After as many days as you think you can spare there, Leave Yellowstone to the west on US-20 through Idaho Falls and Craters of the Moon National Monument to US-26 and join I-84 at Bliss ID. As you travel down the Snake River Valley, check out the Thousand Springs and either Bruneau Sand Dunes or Bruneau Canyon (or both). I-84 would take you down the scenic Columbia River Gorge where the historic Columbia River Highway (old US-30) will offer a slower pace and access to numerous short trails to magnificent waterfalls. Portland is home to a number of significant gardens, earning its nickname, the Rose City. From there you can follow the coast north back to Seattle using US-26 to Astoria and US-101 north to the Puget Sound area.

    The RTA search tool will let you search for motels based on a number of criteria. For B&Bs try some of the dedicated listing sites such as airbnb, bedandbreakfast, bbonline and others. Unfortunately, the pace of your trip is such that you won't have the time to really enjoy the relaxed, personal service of a Bed and Breakfast unless you find one in the Yellowstone area.

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default

    I can only add that I agree with the other posters. I have taken almost every route possible in and out of Yellowstone/Grand Tetons from the Seattle area. There are a few ways to Yellowstone that could easily take 4 days. Perhaps the quickest way in is I 90 to Cardwell, Mt.Exit 256.You'll be on Hwy. 2 for a short distance and then connect with Hwy 287, which will take you to West Yellowstone. That route follows the Madison River. Hwy 191 which is also a scenic drive follows the Gallatin River into the Park, and then on to West Yellowstone. Spend the night in Missoula, Mt. and then into the park the following day. That will help maximize your time in the park and further sightseeing on the way back to Seattle

  6. Default

    Thanks for all the advice, it's really helpful. I think we will just try to get to Yellowstone as quickly as possible, stopping off in Coeur d'Alene, then spending four or five days in or around Yellowstone. Then we've actually changed our plans a bit and are going to head to Salt Lake City and Las Vegas before flying back to Seattle rather than drive back there.

    Any recommendations of places to stay, places to eat or things to do are still much appreciated.

    Thanks again for all the help.

    Laura

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Getting to Salt Lake City

    A while back I wrote up some notes on using US-89 as a scenic route between the Yellowstone and Salt Lake City areas. That would still be my route of choice if you have a bit more than the minimal time necessary for the journey.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Extra time ?

    Will you have additional time for the journey to Vegas ? How much extra time will help determine what you might be able to see, but places like Zion NP and Valley of Fire SP are not far from I15.

    You should be aware that dropping the car in Vegas will most likely come with quite a hefty one way drop off charge.

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