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  1. Default Road trip from San Francisco to Yellowstone with layover at Las Vegas and SLC

    Hello All,

    This is my first post here. I am planning a road trip on the week of Oct 25th this year from San Francisco to yellowstone. Since my parents are visiting us for the first time in US, we wanted to do this before they leave the country. Planning to start on 25h Oct morning to Vegas and spend the night in vegas...then cover Grand Canyon on 26th Oct and return Vegas the same night. On 27th morning, start to Salt Lake City and spend the night in Salt Lake City and then head to Yellowstone on 28th morning and spend 2-3 days in yellowstone and fly back to San Franciso..(basically one way driving and return by plane).

    I am not even sure whether this plan will work or not, and not very sure whether visiting yellowstone in this time is ok or not. One of my friend told me that we would be lone people in yellowstone around this year as it is offseason.

    Looking for suggestions from you people to make this trip a very interesting trip..thanks in advance...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Yellowstone ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As always it is impossible to predict the weather accurately so far in advance but I would recommend you check the nps website for current information up until you leave. The other problem you have is that the Grand canyon National park is too far to go for a day visit from Vegas and have quality time there and it's not going to be easy having driven from SF to LV the previous day. To be honest I would consider doing one or the other [Yellowstone or GC] depending on conditions in Yellowstone. Note that most of the park facilities would have closed for the season already. You could have a much more relaxed time that way and if Yellowstone didn't look too promising then you could do a Grand loop from Vegas and include the wonderful NP's of Zion and Bryce canyon in Utah and Monument valley. You could also consider driving the complete loop which would be more budget friendly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Dave was posting when I was writing - I agree that you are biting off more than you can chew. I'd look at visiting one or more of the following:

    Death Valley
    Las Vegas
    Grand Canyon
    Bryce Canyon

    I'd also make it a loop trip to save on airfare and one-way dropoff fees for a rental car.

  4. Default

    Thanks Dave & glc, you cleared some of my confusion. We just went to Yosemite couple of weeks back, probably would like to see vegas this time. If i skip GC and just visit yellowstone, not sure whether we would get to enjoy yellowstone 2-3 days...I checked with yellowstone visitor center, most of the facilities inside the park are closed and all the entrances are open.

  5. Default

    It would be a great help if somebody can throw some ideas or suggestions on what we can cover in yellowstone in 3 days...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    All the entrances are open NOW, but that may not be the case in a couple weeks.

    If that is what you want to do, I'd go directly to Yellowstone, and then go to Las Vegas afterwards if you want.

    The website is the best reference you can use to plan a Yellowstone visit.

    I show it's a full 2 days drive from SF to Yellowstone - so you would get there the 26th. Wells, NV would be a good place to spend the night on the road. If you are looking for reasonably priced lodging I can highly recommend the Evergreen Motel in West Yellowstone.
    Rooms with 2 queen beds or 1 king bed (they are small rooms though) are $59 a night from the 26th through the 28th. Book NOW online before they sell out.
    Last edited by glc; 10-19-2014 at 08:35 AM. Reason: rearranged to read easier

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    As glc said the nps site is a great tool for information on Yellowstone, however you can get an insight from scrolling through a few pages of this trip report. If you look to the right of this page you will see the Roadtrip travel link where you can check out current deals for lodgings around Yellowstone. While visiting Yellowstone you should check out the Grand Tetons and while travelling to or from you could visit Shoshone Falls [aka The Niagra of the west] and/or Craters of the Moon NM with a detour.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Yellowstone in 3 days is "doable", but you might miss a few things, either because they're not accessible, or because of time. Right now, the biggest issue in Yellowstone is that Craig Pass, which is between Old Faithful and West Thumb, is closed. The road over Dunraven Pass is also likely to be closed within the next week or two. That's going to make getting around Yellowstone a lot harder, as Dunraven Pass is between Canyon Village and Tower Fall. Already complicating things is the construction between Mammoth Hot Springs, and Norris Jct.

    Yellowstone's main road is a "figure 8" with roads going to the NE, east, south, north, and west entrances. In good weather, 3 days could be divided this way (assuming you stay in West Yellowstone, MT):

    1) southern section of the 8, which would include Lower, Midway and Upper Geyser Basin (the latter is where Old Faithful is located), Yellowstone Lake, Canyon Village, and Upper & Lower Falls. The fact of Craig Pass closure will make this not easy.

    2) northern section of the 8, which would include Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Fall, Mt Washington. If Dunraven Pass closes, that's going to make that one a shorter trip too.

    3) northeast quadrant, including Lamar Valley. This is a year-round road. If Dunraven Pass closes, you'll need to go up to Mammoth Hot Springs and turn east through Tower Jct to access Lamar Valley.

    UPDATE LATER: Dunraven Pass actually closed this past week. Here's an updated map that will explain what roads are currently open:
    Open park roads. Here's the Park Services Closure Dates. Note that most things are closed already for the season.

    FURTHER UPDATE: While the northeast entrance to the park IS open, the Beartooth Highway (along with Beartooth Pass) is closed for the season.

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 10-19-2014 at 04:18 PM.

  9. Default

    Thanks Donna, Dave & GLC.

    I will go by your suggestion, planning to take off yellowstone from the agenda and cover some parts of Utah. Dont want to take a risk going to yellowstone, checked with the visitor information center, everything is closed inside the park...

    once again thanks everyone...

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