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  1. Default Yellowstone / Shoshone Falls / Bonneville Salt Flats

    What Ho my cousins across the pond. It's been a while since I pestered you for your vast knowledge of things to do & places to visit so now that we've got Brexit out the way (as if!!!!) I thought it was time I should come at you once more for some tips.

    I'm trying to plan a trip for 3 couples, (we're all in our 60's in body, but about 18 in our minds), leaving the UK in the first week of September. My initial thoughts at the moment are:-

    Day 1 Flight to Salt Lake City
    Day 2 Head to Thermopolis
    Day 3 Enjoy Thermopolis
    Day 4 Head to West Yellowstone (or in Yellowstone if Hotel prices are not too pricey)
    Day 5 to 7 inclusive, Enjoy Yellowstone National Park.
    Day 8 Head to Shoshone Falls
    Day 9 Enjoy Shoshone Falls
    Day 10 Head to West Wendover
    Day 11 Visit the Salt Flats (it's the final Speed Week day - Monday)
    Day 12 Head back to Salt lake City & home

    I understand Yellowstone may get a bit chilly at this time, (and could possibly even have snow by then), but is quieter. Not knowing much about the terrain/locale I'd appreciate any tips on potential weather issues to expect, places to visit on or around that route, and even alternative suggestions.

    Thanks as always, must go now, it's time for a nice cuppa tea, something I've never had in the US :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,880

    Default Watch Out for That First Step

    I don't know the details of your specific flights, but typically, flights westbound, from Europe (Britain will always be part of Europe) to the United States depart in the morning (in Europe) and arrive in the evening (in the U.S.). But that means the 'day' of your flight from London (say) to Salt Lake City is 31 hours long! Simply put, you - none of you - will be in shape to do any serious driving the next day. It won't help that you have potentially six drivers. All six will be in the same condition, not fit to control a two ton vehicle at highway speeds. Period. Plan on a day in the Salt Lake City area to just get over the jet lag, get your body clocks adjusted, get some sleep, and prepare for you holiday rather than launching right into it under the worst of conditions.

    Otherwise, I think your plan looks pretty good. September is a great time to visit Yellowstone. The tourists have (mostly) gone home. There is an autumnal chill to the air which makes hiking a real joy. The animals sense the coming cold and will be on the move to their winter quarters, and there will even be a bit of fall color. Snow is possible but not terribly likely that early in September.

    At roughly 1,200 miles total point-to-point mileage for your loop, you shouldn't be pressed for time anywhere along it or get the feeling that you're driving a long way for not much reward. The scenery along your routes will be its own reward. Also, while you've listed some of the major tourist sites that most people know, be aware that there are other, lesser known but still worthwhile, places to visit. High on my list would be both the obvious, Grand Teton National Park, and the not so obvious, Craters of the Moon National Monument.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-12-2020 at 03:27 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,359

    Default

    I will definitely concur with AZBuck -- take a day to look around Salt Lake City while your bodies adjust to the jet lag. The older we get, the harder it is to change one or two time zones, much less as many as you have to do from "across the pond"!

    You'll have to try NOW to get those reservations IN the park. Though September is decidedly slower in Yellowstone than in the summer months, it's still plenty of busy and rooms go fast. If you don't get the reservations on the first try (especially needing 3 rooms), keep trying. There are some decent places in West Yellowstone, which is the closest town to YNP but still a drive if you are trying to visit the opposite end of the park!

    Shoshone Falls may or may not be running well at the time of your visit. We went in late July one year and they were rather thin. They don't take a full day to see, so you may want to stop at some of the other places along the way from YNP heading south. Craters of the Moon is a good place.


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,456

    Default

    Yellowstone can be wonderful at that time of year but the weather is unpredictable so far in advance. You can find (if available) some reasonably priced lodging options in Yellowstone such as the Cabins at Canyon village and the rooms at Grant village. Ok so "reasonable" may be stretching it, but when you compare them to the inflated room rates in surrounding towns such as West Yellowstone we found paying a bit more to 'be there' worthwhile. Again, that's if you can find availability, but even if you can't right now you can check back as rooms do free up thanks to Yellowstones free cancellation policy.

    I would try and free up a day for the Grand Tetons and Mormon Row which shouldn't be too difficult. You could stay a night in Jackson WY and then visit Shoshone Falls from there and perhaps stay in Twin Falls that night. A nice town on Snake river (where Evil Knievel attempted to jump the canyon) with the Perrine Memorial bridge spanning the river, where you might even see base jumpers throwing themselves off it !! I think a quick stop at Shoshone Falls would be enough rather than spending a day there, as nice as they are ! (They could also be pretty dry in September)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,843

    Default

    Where are you flying into from across the pond? I assume somewhere other than SLC and you will have to change planes. If you are spending the night somewhere before flying to SLC, you may be able to get on the road sooner than recommended above if you get a good night's sleep before boarding the SLC flight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,620

    Default

    The first week of september probably isn't going to be as quiet as you might expect. The end of the summer travel season ends with our Labor Day holiday on the first Monday of September. Being that Labor Day falls very late this year (the 7th) it sounds like your trip will fall right in the middle of that holiday weekend.

    I'm a little less concerned with your trip to Thermopolis than others. I think it's certainly good to keep jetlag in mind, but since you're only looking at a 350 mile drive, and you're not planning any drives the following day, I don't think it is an impossible task, as long as you're mindful of your fatigue levels, and take extra breaks along the way.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    The first week of september probably isn't going to be as quiet as you might expect. The end of the summer travel season ends with our Labor Day holiday on the first Monday of September. Being that Labor Day falls very late this year (the 7th) it sounds like your trip will fall right in the middle of that holiday weekend.

    I'm a little less concerned with your trip to Thermopolis than others. I think it's certainly good to keep jetlag in mind, but since you're only looking at a 350 mile drive, and you're not planning any drives the following day, I don't think it is an impossible task, as long as you're mindful of your fatigue levels, and take extra breaks along the way.
    Labor Day weekend was my worry too! If you are there between Saturday, May 5th - Sunday, May 7th of 2020 and are staying outside the park, especially if you are staying in West Yellowstone make sure to enter the park VERY EARLY!!!! We exited the park over the Labor day weekend and the lines to get in were 4 wide and 60 vehicles long!

    We haven't been in a couple of years, but we've been going in September. Even three weeks into the month the crowds are still there in droves! Us baby boomers who are now retired and a lot of foreign travelers have found Yellowstone in the fall to be a great time. Bison jams can delay you hours!

    I also recommend staying in the park if you can. Old Faithful area would be my #1 choice. If you decided to stay outside the park I'd recommend West Yellowstone for the ease of getting to most locations.

    I also recommend the Grand Teton.

    Utahtea

  8. Default

    Folks, as always I'm very grateful for the advice and suggestions supplied by your good selves. Must admit the Labor Day weekend issue wasn't one I'd considered as we dont have that here and as pleasant as I've always found my American cousins to be, ( apart from one elderly idiot in Tennessee who kept going on about getting his gun out of the trunk because he had to queue for gas!), I really dont relish the thought of sitting in loads of traffic with them all. I'm currently re plannning the route in reverse direction for the following week instead, and working around the various places you've all mentioned. Not sure if it'll happen but then half the fun is in the planning anyway.
    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
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    7,147

    Default 1959 Earthquake Area, Montana.

    From west Yellowstone, to Shoshone Falls, if you take US 287, it will take you through the 1959 Earthquake area. A self drive tour takes you to all the spots of significance. A truly harrowing night for those involved. There is a brochure available at the West Yellowstone Information Centre with all the details and stops along the way. The 20 or so miles ends at the Earthquake Visitor Centre where even sixty years later the you still see the scar where the mountain fell. It has not reforested. The Visitor centre actually sits on the earth fallen from the top of the mountain.

    You'll never see a huge boulder the same!

    Lifey

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    From west Yellowstone, to Shoshone Falls, if you take US 287, it will take you through the 1959 Earthquake area. A self drive tour takes you to all the spots of significance. A truly harrowing night for those involved. There is a brochure available at the West Yellowstone Information Centre with all the details and stops along the way. The 20 or so miles ends at the Earthquake Visitor Centre where even sixty years later the you still see the scar where the mountain fell. It has not reforested. The Visitor centre actually sits on the earth fallen from the top of the mountain.

    You'll never see a huge boulder the same!

    Lifey
    I take it's the aftershocks have finished!!!!!!

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