WOW that's ambitious!

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Posted by Granite Head ( on 17:33:12 08/06/17

In Reply to: Trip Plans posted by Red Hot Mama

You've certainly done your homework, but the funny thing is that I just made hike suggestions for a large area you didn't include, the Northern Range, and within it ,the so-called the "Serengeti of North America" - Lamar Valley. Throughout that area you may see any number of animals that haven't gone elsewhere for the winter yet - certainly bison, very likely bear, possibly elk, fox, coyote, with any luck a moose, and sometimes wolves - watch for the wolf watchers with their spotting scopes set up by the side of the road, they'll gladly share what they're seeing. Take your own binoculars for the best viewing too.

Be prepared to relax your very ambitious agenda a bit. Many attractions require time to appreciate, and some, like Norris, are large. Many key sights are farther apart than they seem on the map, and the speed limit is 45 or lower. Traffic can be slow - best of all worlds, at least once you'll get stuck in a giant jam of migrating bison that will not move off the road - SO fun to be close to the big beasts - it's safe to roll down the windows (but stay in the car and keep hands and heads inside too) and enjoy their snorts and clip-clops on the road. But that could make you miss your planned meals: As you know now many of the eateries you planned to visit will be closing, or have shortened hours. Be SURE you know what's open and what's not (see link). If you lose track of time and had planned to eat at Lake for instance, it'll take you a couple of hours, or longer if there's a bear to stop and watch along the way, to get back to West Yellowstone, and no place to buy a meal or even a snack or drink along the way - a big deal for tired, hungry kids and grumpy adults!

Harlequin Lake is short and flat. It's a good walk to test out your comfort in the elevation of the park if you're not used to altitude. Unless you're a group of four or more you have to carry bear spray. By October you shouldn't need bug spray.

Grand Prismatic Spring is one of the great beauty spots of Yellowstone and I would recommend giving it priority as a new viewing area where you can see it from high up has just been opened. People used to scramble off trail up that hill for the view, but it's much safer and far better for the integrity of the landscape now. You should also take a look at it from boardwalk-level at Midway Geyser Basin to enjoy the prismatic effect and the other interesting features there.

I could go on forever ;-) but I think others will share valuable thoughts for you too.

Bison bull from my car last February.

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