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FFIM • View topic - Family Trip Out West Suggestions

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PostPosted: January 6th, 2020, 10:55 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: March 5th, 2004, 1:00 am
Posts: 244
Hey All,

Looking to see if anyone has alternative/better suggestions for me before I book a trip with the whole fam damily to the Tetons this summer. 7-10 days, end of July, camping mostly, hiking a lot, fishing as much as possible, kid ages 7, 7, 11, 13. My goal is to get them out west and I'm familiar with the tetons/yellowstone so can find plenty to do there but I'm weary of the crowds at that time of year and there's a ton I don't know of out west the leads me to ask this group if you have a better suggestion given what I'm trying to accomplish? Other areas I should consider or general advice?

I'm not looking to spend a ton but traveling in 6's is expensive no matter how you cut it...for budget think Clark Griswold (original Vacation, not European Vacation).

Thanks in advance,
Matt


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PostPosted: January 6th, 2020, 2:37 pm 
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Joined: March 17th, 2005, 1:00 am
Posts: 91
Location: Gray and Rockland, Maine
Matt, my advice? Go.

Yes, it's gonna be crowded. Be patient. Unfortunately, with school-aged kids, you're limited to when you can go, and you've gotta go when everyone else with kids has to go, too. But your kids are only this age once, and who knows when you'll get the chance again to take them out west.

Since you've got a couple on the younger side, you probably know to not try to cram too much into a single day. Do things early in the day if you can get your crowd moving. And later in the day, too. Most visitors to the parks don't get an early start and tend to quit by suppertime. When hiking, see if you can find some lesser-used trails to get away from the crowd.

Take wildlife warnings seriously - you've seen the videos... :roll:

Stay at in-park facilities if you can - that means you're already there. Most are rustic but serviceable. My wife and I are big fans of our national parks and are working our way down through the list. Grand Teton and Yellowstone won't disappoint.

Make your reservations now so you don't get bumped out of accommodations; you're going at a peak time - don't get shut out.

United is starting a daily non-stop to Denver this summer - look into it. Rates are reasonable (to us). Especially traveling with a crowd, I'd take a non-stop any time...

And don't rule out Salt Lake City as a flight-termination point; I haven't looked at rates in awhile but we flew into SLC for our trip to the Tetons.

But definitely go...

Happy trails, Jeff

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PostPosted: January 6th, 2020, 4:54 pm 
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FFIM Addict

Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 3403
Location: Vassalboro, Maine
Marley-

first, are you flying? Because the first few years we drove, and there is MUCH to see in the drive. If flying, I agree United is a good flight through O'Hare to Bozeman. We have flown into Billings and driven over the Bear Tooths )?) into Cooke City from Red Lodge, and that is a NICE drive if you want to see beauty (and are unafraid of drop offs on the road). Cooke City has a few camp grounds around it. Camping is FREE in the parking areas of many of the rivers...for example, Raynolds pass on the Madison is free for 7 days. No facilities other than a clean outhouse, but free is good. In the park there are waters reserved for kids... mostly brook trout (Black Tail creek???).

We have stayed at Faithful street Inn which is cabins- if you need a few nights inside- Glenn is real good (owner).

There is a nice hike/fish on the back side of Fishing Bridge on the Yellwostone in the Park...an easy hike, and possibly a fish or two after July 15th (opener). I know crowds are not something you want to see, but about 80% of the crowds are by the road...if you move away from sight of the roads, the crowds drop off fast...Soda Butte is ear the road all the length, so is often very crowded...but Cache creek is a 3 imle hike in and nobody will be there.

I would be better at answering your questions if I knew a little more of your wants.

Hutch

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2020, 12:45 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: August 7th, 2004, 12:00 am
Posts: 191
Location: Plymouth, ME


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2020, 6:08 pm 
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Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
Posts: 1561
Location: New Hampshire
We did Missoula a few times as a family. Fly to spokane, and work your way east, Southwest from Manch was the ticket. Lots to see and do, an overnight in Coeur d'Alene is fun, and the Hiawatha Bike Trail is awesome, which is right on the ID/MT boarder. Obviously plenty of fishing and camping in the greater Missoula area, but some infrastructure around to keep the kids occupied. I rented a raft for two days on the blackfoot. Then you can trek to Yellowstone, which is about 3-4 hrs if memory serves.

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2020, 7:34 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 14th, 2008, 6:49 am
Posts: 120
Location: Winthrop
I had to go to the land of 1000 Buddha’s this year with the wife just north of Missoula.
Personally I would rather have spent the time on rock creek.
Mostly primitive camping in national forest, great fishing and close enough to the big city to make an evening out. There is a high end camping outfit on the creek and several rental cabins. 50 miles of back country road right along the river. A passable place to eat at the rock creek mercantile not fancy but excellent bakery. Quite a few hiking trails, and in the lower section of river browns big enough to break 4x like it was 7x. And a chance at a bull trout.

Note some places do not allow tent camping.

The north fork of the Blackfoot near Ovando has a NF campground, there are two state parks on lakes at salmon and placid lakes with camping.

We have been to the north fork and it is clear, cold with nice fish and we were there at the camping area in late July didn’t see anyone else but had deer walking around us most of the day.

Depends on what you can tolerate but look at the National Forest service site for Montana, lots of great places without many people. Or the way we do it and stay at faithful street inn. Not cheap but comparable with the hotels in the area for price and a much better value.


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2020, 9:00 pm 
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Wanna-be Maineiac

Joined: December 11th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 2487
Location: Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris...
Lawrence Mass. Striper fishing, exposure to many cultures, couple or three Motel 6's near the Loop, some great Scotish restaurants and you can do it all for under $500 for the week.

Go west young man and get yourself fixed! :lol:

ken


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PostPosted: January 8th, 2020, 6:38 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: March 5th, 2004, 1:00 am
Posts: 244
Thanks all. Booked the flights from Boston to Bozeman yesterday ($318 pp round trip which I thought was reasonable). Kids are super excited. They have no idea what’s in store for them.

Hutch, not sure if you remember but we ran into each other in the summer of 2006 at soda butte creek as you were leaving and I was arriving in the parking lot. You gave me your version of a Chernobyl ant which I used extensively that week and somehow still have today.


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PostPosted: January 8th, 2020, 6:50 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 12th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 528
Location: Hampton, NH/Eustis


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PostPosted: January 9th, 2020, 9:06 am 
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Joined: April 29th, 2004, 12:00 am
Posts: 555
Haven’t done it years but a fav trip used to be land in Bozeman, stay in Ennis - fish Madison, Ruby, area take a trip to Park then head back roads,Beaverhead, Big Hole couple of days . Stay at a ranch on Upper Rock Creek and end up on upper Bitterroot near Hamilton and fly out of Missoula. Two or three week trip. Interesting enough the biggest fish was always on the Bitteroot though all was wonderful!


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PostPosted: January 9th, 2020, 10:25 am 
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Joined: October 16th, 2006, 12:00 am
Posts: 1443
Location: Harrison
Can’t help with the area.
But combining fishing ambition with a family vacation can be tricky!
Family dynamics are...dynamic. You have to be sensitive. I’ve taken four summer trips with my wife and two kids (10, 12 now) to Colorado and have managed to get high quality fishing in while also threading the needle of family adventures. It’s tough though.
I would get up at 4 am, hit the water by 5 and fish until 9. Often having to drag myself off the water because the bite was so good. Then family time through early dinner. Then back to the water until after dark.
I didn’t deny my kids fishing opportunities; we fished along our daytime adventures...hikes into the mountains led us along streams and past alpine lakes. Always with a rod or two strapped to our packs.
But the best fishing had me wading in large rivers/ hazardous areas I would never take my kids. Nor would I be able to focus properly on the game while simultaneously managing them. Too technical.
I also found myself constantly thinking about fishing and not simply enjoying the immense pleasure of spending time with my family...even as I knew these were moments to cherish. It’s definitely a very tricky needle to thread.
But I’m sure I’ll do it again.
Good luck!

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PostPosted: January 10th, 2020, 11:52 am 
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Joined: January 24th, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 2397
Location: Lyons, CO
As a general theme, around Yellowstone is not where you want to go to avoid the crowds... But Yellowstone is completely amazing and worth the trip and every American should go there at some point. I liked the comment about doing Yellowstone when you're in Yellowstone. See if you can get a campsite in the central area of the park and just embrace the Yellowstone camping experience (not the camping experience I'm after typically, but still a worthwhile experience once you let go of your other objectives). You'll probably be over it after 2 or 3 days.

Then spend some time further away from the park (e.g. 3 hour drive from Old Faithful or more) where there are going to be fewer people. There's good/great riverside camping in a lot of spots in Montana (and Wyoming and Idaho), once you get a little further away from the park. That's the best way to mix fishing with family (kids now 4, 7, 10) for me. If we're camped on the river, next to a good pool, and my rod is sitting there strung up, then I can squeeze in 30 minutes or an hour of fishing dusk and dawn pretty easily. Everybody likes camping next to a river or stream, whether they are fishing or not.

Hearing about your trip makes me want to plan my own...


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PostPosted: January 12th, 2020, 6:04 am 
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Posts: 5477
Location: Manchester, ME
The national forest lands are much cheaper and much less crowded than anything in the parks. You'll want to spend some time in the parks for the wildlife and must-see attractions, but I'd plan for part of your trip to pick a drive-in campground in one of the National Forests and get away from the crowds for a few days.

We took a day trip up the Gros Ventre River two years ago, and I want to go back and spend 4 or 5 days up there.

I found good fishing on both the Gros Ventre and Crystal Creek within walking distance of this campground, which was empty when we were there mid week in September.



Also, look at the US Forest Service rental cabins. These are very rustic--think outhouse, gas lights, and water from a pump. But they are cheap and in some gorgeous locations.

Here's one I tried to talk my wife into before the "there must be showers" rule was re-emphasized. :) There are many more.




Here's one near the Hoback River, that would put you in day trip range to Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, but in the backcountry.



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PostPosted: January 12th, 2020, 3:40 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: March 5th, 2004, 1:00 am
Posts: 244
Jeff and Pushaw, that’s exactly what I’m looking for and matches our style. Great idea to mix park and nat’l forests. Thanks for the suggestions.


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PostPosted: February 1st, 2020, 5:30 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: December 2nd, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 539
Location: maine; now Salida, CO
Sorry I didn't see this post until today. Some great suggestions from Pushaw and Jeff R. My recommendation WOULD have been: can you put it off until after Aug 15? Most of the western schools are back in session by then and you would have experienced MUCH less crowding. We learned that by accident several years ago when we lived in ME and traveled west. Now that I live here we still make it a point if we are tempted to do any of the NP's. Have a GREAT trip. Your kids will never forget it.


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