Suggestions on hikes or road trips for Aug. 2018 visit?

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Suggestions on hikes or road trips for Aug. 2018 visit?

Post by indy317 »

Hey everyone. Back in 2007 my wife along with my parents did two weeks out in the Rocky Mtn. west. We flew into Denver, drove to the Black Hills, Glacier, and YNP area, spending a couple of days in each. I was the only hiker in the group really and so this ended up becoming more of a sightseeing road trip with just about two short hikes (Mt. Rushmore and Devil's Tower).

I've been wanting to get back to Glacier and Yellowstone for over a decade to finally hike instead of just see things from the road. This past summer we finally got back to Glacier for a week. I got a couple of days of decent day hiking in. The best part of that trip was that my wife and I hiked the Highline Trail from Logan Pass to the Loop. This hike is almost 12 miles, and it is considered strenuous but it really wasn't that bad. This was too much (in terms of length) for my wife though. She'd do much better on hikes that were just seven or less miles.

The goal of this trip is to get out and see more of the back-country of the park. I like scenic views, wildlife is neat, but really isn't that important to me overall. A secondary goal might be an epic all day long sight seeing road trip (more on this below). We found accommodations we liked in W. Glacier, so that will be our base for our week stay. We will be flying into Idaho Falls on a Saturday and leaving the next Saturday. We actually get in early enough that I plan on at least driving into the park to rent bear spray the day we arrive. I might even be up for a short hike even. I'm really just looking for some suggestions and opinions for the trip. So far I've been told that we need to get an early start, which is find as we both get up early as it is anyway. I've been told to wait for sun-up to get on the road due to large animals and darkness. On the other hand, I've read a few accounts of people who say they are in the park when it is dark just before sun-up and that helps getting parking are real popular areas. I also know that traffic in the park is really bad during the mid-day, but I'm not sure what the hours are when it is considered "bad." Given some of these hikes are going to be a drive from our hotel, I'm going to explain to my wife that she might miss out on seeing some areas if she chooses to sleep-in. She is OK with taking books with her so she might be just hanging out in an area (in the car or on a picnic table, or both) while I take a few hours to get a hike in. We also like to take our food with us for lunch. It makes it easier for us and we can avoid long lines/waits at the popular areas.

Right now I have the following hikes planned out.

--Old Faithful area: Hike to Observation Point/Peak (1.6 mi. RT) and Mystic Falls (2.4 mi. RT). We'd also check out the visitor's center, lodge,etc..

--Mammoth area: Hike to Bunsen Peak (4.6 mi. RT). Likely check out the visitor's center and see the sights. Then head east toward the Lava Creek Picnic area. Would hike to Wraith Falls (1 mi. RT).

--Tower area: Mt. Washburn hike (5 or 6 mi. RT depending on path taken). Possibly hike Hellroaring Creek trail, but only to the suspension bridge.

--Canyon area: Check out Artist Point and Uncle Tom's Point. Hike to Clear Lake and Lily Pad Lake from Artist Point parking lot (3 mi. RT).

I know this doesn't cover most of the park. The goal isn't to see most, or even a majority, of the park. We all only have so much time. I will say that if time and energy is available, I might do try to do the Lake Overlook hike (2.8 mi. RT) near the west thumb of the lake.

One other goal of this trip is to do an entire day driving two epic highways in the country. I don't mind all day driving at all, especially if we can take short breaks here and there. I'm open to non-bias (I know we are all park lovers here, but I don't need to do in-park activities every day!) opinions on doing the following. If driving during the night (maybe just an hour before sunrise) isn't that dangerous, my wife and I would leave pretty early. She has no issues sleeping in the vehicle for amazing trips like this. The goal would be to drive the Beartooth Highway to say Richel Lodge, then back track to the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway to Cody. From Cody we'd drive west through the park back to W. Yellowstone.

Thanks for any suggestions or ideas.

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Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: Suggestions on hikes or road trips for Aug. 2018 visit?

Post by Kat »

I’m sure others with more hiking stamina than I have might provide other suggestions, but my favorite hike is the Yellowstone River Picnic Area trail. The scenery is spectacular with the views of the river, Calcite Springs, the Narrows, and Bannock’s Ford. If you are up for a longer, strenuous climb, this trail continues to Speciman Ridge, which, from the photos I’ve seen, is even more picturesque. There are plenty of books and apps that have information on the length, difficulty levels, and even scenic values of a host of Yellowstone hikes that will best meet your personal abilities and expectations. Enjoy your trip!

Hayden Valley Girl
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Re: Suggestions on hikes or road trips for Aug. 2018 visit?

Post by Hayden Valley Girl »

You have some very good hikes already listed. Lone Star Geyser would be good. Shoshone Lake via DeLacy Creek. The petrified trees near Specimen Ridge. Fairy Falls is short and now has the Grand Prismatic Overlook added.

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Re: Suggestions on hikes or road trips for Aug. 2018 visit?

Post by Absarokanaut »

Are you also seeing Grand Teton on this Trip?

Whether or not it is just Yellowstone I'll simply say you've gotten good recommendations but as much as it might be a lengthier drive Avalanche Peak is IMO far suuperior to Washburn. It doesn't have an observatory, but it does have one of the greatest views of the Rockies. It is indeed steep in places but short, less than 6 total miles.

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Re: Suggestions on hikes or road trips for Aug. 2018 visit?

Post by billandkaren »

Your road trip will have spectacular scenery, but it is quite ambitious for a single day, especially if you leave from West Yellowstone. I'm probably in the minority, but if I had to pick one, I'd take Chief Joseph Hwy over Beartooth.

I've driven many times before sunrise without issue. Just be attentive, use your brights, and slow down a bit. As for hiking it's all good. My favorite short hike is Trout Lake. Slough Creek Trail is another beautiful trail to do as an out-and-back. Just go as far as you are comfortable.

Have fun,

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Re: Suggestions on hikes or road trips for Aug. 2018 visit?

Post by yellvet »

If you're going to Cody, here's my suggestion. Take a walking tour through the Buffalo Bill Cody Historical Museum in the morning, have lunch or dinner at the historic Irma Hotel and, then in the evening, go to the Cody rodeo. The Museum is absolutely magnificent and the Irma Hotel (the favorite of Buffalo Bill Cody) will treat you to good food and a big dose of western hospitality and western history (nickel plate ceilings). Cody usually has a nightly rodeo during the summer. So if you've never been to Cody or seen a rodeo before, now would be a good time to do it. Sounds like you've got a very nice road trip planned but consider this idea. The Chief Joseph Highway takes you to the east side of Cody. So you could enjoy the spectacular scenery along the Chief Joseph Highway on your way out of the Park and then spend a day or two in Cody. Go through the Museum, have a nice lunch/dinner at the Irma Hotel, and go to the Cody rodeo in the evening. You could make Cody a 1 or 2-day rest stop. Sounds like fun to me ....can I come? :lol:

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