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Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

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Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Bark Eater » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:36 pm

After years of anticipation I finally have a trip planned to Yellowstone and the Tetons in August. Booked uncharacteristically early in order to get in park lodging, which is going fast...at least in Yellowstone. We'll be spending three nights in a cabin at Canyon Village and three nights in a cabin at Colter Bay Village. This will be a family vacation. So the question: Three days in each park. What's not to be missed in terms of easy to moderate family day hikes, scenery, wildlife, and getting away from the crowds at the roadside rest stops?

Thanks much for any advice!
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Bill Reed » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:17 pm

A few thoughts for you, Frank.

GTNP:
Do a scenic float on the Snake.
Take the boat across Jenny Lake and take a hike up Cascade Canyon.
Take a drive up to Slide Lake.

YNP:
Hike to Grebe Lake.
Have lunch at the Roosevelt Lodge (the Roosevelt Beans are awesome!).
Take a dip in the Boiling River.
Take another dip in Firehole Canyon.
Look for wolves in the NE corner of the park (Lamar River/Soda Butte area).
Check out the falls along the Yellowstone, Upper 1st, then hike down the steep but short, paved trail to the Lower Falls overlook. Guaranteed to blow your mind.

Outside the NE entrance, a drive up the Beartooth Hwy is beautiful, if you have the time.

Hope you have a great time and let us know how it went.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby FRhoderick » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:06 pm

Florida Frank wrote:After years of anticipation I finally have a trip planned to Yellowstone and the Tetons in August. Booked uncharacteristically early in order to get in park lodging, which is going fast...at least in Yellowstone. We'll be spending three nights in a cabin at Canyon Village and three nights in a cabin at Colter Bay Village. This will be a family vacation. So the question: Three days in each park. What's not to be missed in terms of easy to moderate family day hikes, scenery, wildlife, and getting away from the crowds at the roadside rest stops?

Thanks much for any advice!


Not physically challenging at all but lunch on the deck at Dornan's should not be missed.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Clark_Griswold » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Cascade Canyon is both pretty easy, and from the photos I have seen, very nice. Possibly one of the best easy hikes, or just best hikes, in the park. After the Grand, I would have liked to have summited another mountain or two in GTNP last summer, but I really, really regret not having known about or bothered to have looked for a hike such as Cascade Canyon. I got some pics of it from the road. Late day sun coming through the deep canyon is spectacular. I saw pics from a hike through there in 2009. Fantastic area, dramatic view and about everything you could want in a hike.

Easy in Yellowstone probably translates to very busy, but I did do Avalanche and Hoyt Peak last summer. Avalanche was an easy walk-up near the eastern entrance. It was crowded. I did it after Hoyt, which involved a little scrambling.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Arthur Digbee » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:08 pm

Like the ideas above. I think the top priority has to be Jenny Lake boat to Cascade Canyon -- it makes all the Top Ten trails in the U.S. for a good reason. August in Lamar might not be so good, many animals move to high country.

Family vacation . . . depends on ages.

Renting bikes for biking on the new bike trail in the Tetons would be pleasant; if you have teens, you could get a mountain biking guide for the national forests east of the park.

Yellowstone: Firehole & Boiling are too crowded for my tastes, but it's obvious why people like them.

Kids will get tired of thermal features. My favorite set is at West Thumb, so I'd recommend that one.

Half way between Thumb & Old Faithful, stop at Isa Lake -- flows both to the Atlantic and Pacific, and it has salamanders (if you can find them). Bushwhack around the lake (really a pond) and look. Good, short "get out of the car" moment.

At Canyon: for about a five mile hike and "wild" thermal features (no boardwalks or fences) and a nice surprise, send me a PM. It's consistent with the other recommendation above (which is Uncle Tom's Trail).

At Colter: if you have youngsters, rent a boat and go out on Jackson Lake for a couple hours. Stay fairly close to shore because of sudden thunderstorms.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Bill Reed » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:44 am

Arthur Digbee wrote:Like the ideas above. I think the top priority has to be Jenny Lake boat to Cascade Canyon -- it makes all the Top Ten trails in the U.S. for a good reason. August in Lamar might not be so good, many animals move to high country.

Yellowstone: Firehole & Boiling are too crowded for my tastes, but it's obvious why people like them.


True about animals moving into the backcountry but the key in the Lamar Valley and Soda Butte is-Go early or late to maximize your chances.

As far as the Firehole and Boiling River River, they definitely get crowded but the key again is- Go early and leave when the crowds start arriving or go late when the crowds are thinning out.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Doublecabin » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:08 am

Before I add 3 hike choices for each location I agree on possibly adding a water day. Scenic floats are great, but IMO the River has simply become too crowded. How about renting canoes and doing a long day or easy overnight to Leigh Lake? Not many easier portages to a lake full of jaw dropping views with great permitted campsites?

Canyon:

Day 1: Do the Falls and Rim Trails: Easy, and as crowded as it might be Yellowstone’s Canyon is pretty darn spectacular. Kids [Ages?] will love the Brink of the Falls. Do some games or something later in the day. I’m 47 and I’ve liked just about every Ranger Program I’ve seen in recent years, and kids seem to really like them. Cool after dinner thing.

Day 2: Kids should see Yellowstone, and you should drive the loop. Road wildlife is thrilling for lots of us, and there are any number of things to choose to see. Personally I think the waterfalls in the Canyon and Cascade Corner are Yellowstone’s great treasures, but most of us and particularly kids like Geysers. Old Faithfull will simply be crowded and the most densely populated of all park days. Sometimes a parent has to do what a parent has to do. Make stops, get some more exercise.

Day 3: Avalanche Peak. Get out good and early and avoid storms and set on one of the great summits of all of the Rockies. It has a truly exquisite view, immense and including the Tetons and the days ahead. Unless kids are super small this is done by lots of families in a relatively short day. Short but a good vertical.

Day 4: If the drive down after Avalanche isn’t too late get up early, get over to the Marina and hike Hermitage Point past the popular Swan Lake and Herron Pond 3.2 mile loop. The farther you get out on the Peninsula the wilder it gets. Early morning or evening canoeing can sometimes be very cool, so if you were to give up the Campground for a night you could get a group [free as walkup when available which I’ve found to be surprisingly often] Permit to camp at the only site on the entire peninsula. Some could hike, some could canoe. Make it an evening dusk hike and wildlife is as good as the Lamar IMHO. The Views of Moran and the Tetons are incredibly rewarding.

Day 5: Assuming you don’t overnight Hermitage Point instead of Wyoming’s most popular hiking trail I suggest you go another canyon or lake. I did most of the classic/major alpine lakes in the Tetons by the time I was 12, and I was tiny until my sophomore year of high school. Although I’ve been with 8 year olds to Lake of the Crags I can’t recommend it since the trail is not sanctioned/maintained by the park service. Ampitheatre is longer. If kids are younger Bradley and Taggart are Spectacular.

Day 6: Taking the Tram up to the top of Rendezvous is pretty darn cool for kids of any age. IMO then hiking 11 miles down Granite Canyon is darn cool too. Have dinner in either Teton Village or Dornan’s or Signal Mountain Lodge on the way home.

Day 6 option: For much of the day you could a) go to Jackson, b) Do the boat across Jenny Lake and see the falls, perhaps Inspiration Point.

Later in the day drive to Mount Leidy Trailhead in Bridger Teton National Forest East of Moran. Depending on how fast you’re willing to drive a 15 mile Forest Road perhaps an hour for most of us from trailhead to Colter Bay afterwards. This is dense Grizzly Habitat, so stick to the protocols you should have observed throughout your trip. Arguably the best view of the entire Teton Range. This hike is 1.2 miles, about 1,200’ vertical. Depending on where you’re headed there is some great camping much closer to here I’m willing to tell you about privately. With Avalanche Peak and Mount Leidy the children of every age in your party will take in a truly wonderful swath of the American West and will not kill you for force marching them without taking in more of the kid stuff of all ages in the area.

Whatever you do have a wonderful trip.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Arthur Digbee » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:42 pm

Doublecabin's ideas are great -- Hermitage Point was my eldest's first backpacking trip, and it established a strong interest in doing more. Pretty flat, very rewarding.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby FRhoderick » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:29 pm

Doublecabin wrote:Day 6: Taking the Tram up to the top of Rendezvous is pretty darn cool for kids of any age. IMO then hiking 11 miles down Granite Canyon is darn cool too. Have dinner in either Teton Village or Dornan’s or Signal Mountain Lodge on the way home.


Big Wow factor for kiddos on this one. Agree!
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby pdeangeli » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:14 pm

You will have a great time following the advice of those above. You have basically unlimited options for floating and fishing (flat water, whitewater, huge crowded tourist boats) depending on what your party can do. You might benefit from a private trip tailored to your group (nice lunch, fly fishing instruction). Floating past a moose and calf drinking on the river with the TETONS towering in the background will leave an impression on the kids.

Float Pacific Creek to Moose and grab dinner on the deck at Dornan's as the sun sets.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Bark Eater » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:32 pm

Thanks to all of you for great advice and options. Also tying in a climb up Borah Pk. on this trip so I owe SP a trip report upon return. Appreciate it!
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Arthur Digbee » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:06 pm

Before making decisions about swimming in the Boiling River with kids, you should know that Naegleri fowleri has been detected there:

http://www.yellowstone-natl-park.com/pr ... 3/pr46.htm

It's very nasty (=fatal) in the extremely unlikely event that you get it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naegleria_fowleri

No cases have been reported in Yellowstone, so it remains only a theoretical risk. Elsewhere risk factors include (1) aerosolized water (e.g., water skiing); and (2) teenage boys, for unknown reason. If you do swim in the Boiling River, I'd stay away from the mist where the hot water enters the Gardner, which is where any aerosols would be found.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Clark_Griswold » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:22 pm

I was headed over to hike/scramble Borah last August after GTNP. I scrubbed it due to a large range fire that was sending heavy smoke directly at Borah. That would have been fun to summit.
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Re: Yellowstone and GTNPs - Favorite Easy Day Hikes?

Postby Bark Eater » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:00 pm

Really appreciate everyone's suggestions on what turned out to be a great vacation. Trip report posted here:

http://www.summitpost.org/northern-rock ... rip/741856
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