- By Kevin
- On Apr 27, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
My wife and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone in the Summer this year, so we're looking for the Los Angeles to Yellowstone travel advice and tips for several days already. We appreciate any suggestions for the best dates, places to stay overnight, places for home style cooking, and things to see along the way. I'm a photographer, so animals, landscapes and other interesting photo opportunities are a priority. We can allow 2 weeks, and don't want to drive more than 4-5 hours on any one day. Thanks for the thoughts and ideas from lots of friends online, and I'd share these useful information with you now.
The drive from LA to W. Yellowstone has 2 obvious stops at your time frames - Las Vegas (4 hours) and then Salt Lake City (less than 6 hours) and then 4.5 hours to West Yellowstone. But as Ystoner points out, that uses 6 days of your 2 weeks. I'd rather do longer days on the way and use those 2 extra days in the parks. Stopping at Beaver, UT would give you 2 days of 7 hour driving but "buys" you 2 more days in the best places to take incredible photos.
Here are hotel options in Beaver.
14 days - 6 days of driving = 8 days in the parks
14 days - 4 days of driving = 10 days in the parks
You definitely need to add in Grand Teton NP in your plan.
You would love the drive on the Beartooth Highway.
As Ystoner points out, you need to go later in May when things are opening up. Spring flowers like tulips are coming up in late May/early June in the Tetons.
Make reservations in the park for the days you can get them and work the trip around those dates. Two locations in Yellowstone are good, but one will work that early in the season because there won't be crowds and traffic. We chose Canyon for our September trip. Stay in the park or in Jackson for GTNP. If you want to splurge, get a geyser view room at Old Faithful Inn and make reservations for a meal in the Dining Room. Otherwise, the diner in the Hamilton Store next door has some of the best food in Yellowstone. We ate in the Dining Room at Mammoth for lunch and it was VERY good. The cafeteria at Canyon was decent. We loaded up with yogurt, fruit and snack stuff at the grocery store at Canyon. As Ystoner said, have food with you so you have something to eat when you are hungry. Drive times can be longer than distances in YNP.
The Mural room at the Jackson Lake Lodge is "fancy" and their Pioneer Grill is very casual at GTNP. We had lunch at Signal Lake Lodge and it was good. The food at Dornan's - a private enclave in the park at Moose - is very good. Their pancake chuckwagon breakfast, pizza and pasta in their restaurant and GREAT sandwiches at the deli in their grocery store. When you said "home cooking", the soups at the Pearl St. Market in Jackson came to mind. I would eat there every day for a week if I could. We enjoyed it as much in September as I did years ago when I discovered it (at a nearby location).