Updated: Jun 27
This was a whirlwind of a vacation, 4 hotels in 8 days and two kids under 7 asking if we are there yet and seamlessly coordinating times with two other families. I will start with our flight details and distance between our arrival and our destination, We flew into Salt lake City, we stayed the night there at the Radisson Inn Downtown. Although we didn't see much of Salt lake, I could tell the Downtown was a cool area to be. We took off the following morning to West Yellowstone, the GPS said 4.5 hours until we arrived. We made one stop in Idaho Falls for lunch and to check out the falls, this was a great half way point. We made it to Gray Wolf Suites around 2 pm, from there we went straight into the park. Our hotel was right outside the west entrance of Yellowstone. We decided to see Old faithful first, we somehow timed it perfectly to see it go off, the crowd was large we saw it and then took off!
We went back to the hotel and decided on a 7:30 am start Monday morning. My friend and I woke up early to get some miles in before a day of driving around the park. First stop was grand prismatic and fairy falls trail it was a short hike to see the overview of the grand prismatic this was well worth visiting, we did fairy falls hike next this is a 5 mile hike out and back to a waterfall. To be honest, the hike wasn't very exciting lots of mosquitos and by the end we were all spent. Next on our list was the grand canyon of Yellowstone, there is a very downhill hike that brings you to a breathtaking waterfall. my oldest son (Cole) and I did it together, this was worth the uphill hike to get back to the car. It was breathtaking! After the grand canyon, we were all done. Tuesday morning I planned on seeing Mammouth and Lamar valley, however mount Washburn road was closed so it would taken us two hours to get there. We decided on stopping in Norris to see some basins and deciding from there, once we finally got into the park the traffic was a standstill for at least 9 miles. The park was packed and I think all of us were tired of being in the car! We saw Norris and the basins around the area and felt it was best to head out of the park and not continue driving. Jesse took the boys to the Bear and Wolf museum, I did laundry and went into the hot tub! Our friends went up to Mammouth Springs and said that 2 out of the 4 hours they spent there was in traffic. I had some FOMO not going, but ultimately we made the best decision for the family. Wednesday morning we were heading to Grand Teton and we wanted to go through the park to get there. The eta should be 2 hours, but with traffic it took us about 4 to get to Jenny Lake.
Over and Under of Yellowstone.
I knew Yellowstone was going to be a lot of driving, but the driving felt endless.
Gray Wolf Suites, was a nice hotel that was conveniently located close to the park.
We enjoyed bar b que at FireHole Bar B que
Most resturants were a hour wait
I would suggest going to a supermarket before getting to Montana, do a order pick up at Target!
I made the boys Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for park days
NO service inside the park, download the Yellowstone app
Grand Teton had my heart from the moment we drove in, we went straight to lake shore trail. this was about a two mile hike around the lake, the kids loved throwing rocks into the lake around the beachy area. There is also a camp ground, general store and visitors center there.
After our hike we headed into Jackson hole, the scenery was beautiful, open land with different dimensions of greenery and mountain tops covered in snow. There was also a long biking/running path that went from GT to Jackson Hole (the perfect path for a morning run!) The hotel we stayed in was the Lexington inn and suites, it is located right downtown Jackson Hole. The rooms were spacious plus they had a hot continental breakfast - this was a huge plus for my family! Wednesday night we went to the Jackson Hole Rodeo, I would suggest getting there early and getting good seats! The rodeo was exciting, but the kids lost interest after about 30 minutes - the mechanical bull that was there was a hit for the boys!
Thursday morning we started at 9:30 am, the hike I had planned was inspiration point and string leigh lake. If we started at Jenny lake we could have taken a ferry over to inspiration point, but the visitor center parking was full. We parked at the over flow lot for string lake and did a short hike to Jenny lake, again the views of Jenny lake were breathtaking. We had a snake river tour scheduled at 1:30 so we hustled back to make the tour. It was a cold and windy day, we were all secretly hoping the tour would get cancelled, and sure enough they cancelled it. They said they only have to cancel maybe 2 a year. The wind gusts were up to 40 mph and I wasn't looking forward to sitting in a raft for 4 hours during a wind storm!
We headed back to JH and toured the town, its quaint and has "rich mid west" town written all over it, but I loved it. Lots of resturants, stores, coffee shops. We tried to extend our stay but every single hotel in JH was sold out.
Thursday morning I had a small hike planned in Teton, but we decided to get started on our 4 hour drive to Park City, UT.
Over and Under of Grand Teton.
Jenny lake is a perfect hike for kids, throwing rocks and making boats was the highlight for them.
Lexington Inn and Suites was a hit
Librety Burger was a cute spot for a quick dinner
Make use of running path, bike/run/walk
Park City is known for being a top dollar ski town. We stayed at the Marriot summit right in downtown Park City, the main street was filled with high end shops including the nicest 7-11 I have ever seen!
The only thing I had planned in Park City was Olympic Park. We went to Olympic park on Saturday and had Bobsled tickets and the golden day pass for the kids. The bobsled was worth every single penny, Jesse and I made it down in 59 seconds at approximately 70 mph. This is a real bobsled course used in the 2002 Olympics! Memorable in every way. We did zip lining, and the kids did the summit adventures rope course with zip ling at the end! We tubed down slopes, and went down sleds. I would high recommend doing this if you visit park city.
We ate at burger place right outside the hotel, they had a fantastic Asian chicken salad. The pool at the Marriot was a huge plus for the kids to unwind at the end of the day.
Over and Under of Park City
I would probably only go back if we were skiing
Olympic park bobsledding is very much worth it
Altitude + Hills + Running make a very hard workout!
If you are visiting for a short time, I would recommend staying
Sunday was departure day, we flew home from Salt Lake, 35 minutes outside of Park City.
The trip was exhausting, but I LOVED every minute of it!