Monday, June 16, 2008

Future Flying Trip: Yellowstone/Teton NP

I have been to Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park a few times and once by flying ourselves.

Last Trip

Flying in took a lot less time which was fantastic. 8+ hour drive turns into about a 3 hour flight (klmo-klar-kbpi-kjac). This turns what would probably be a week long vacation into a doable weekend trip.

One of the more impressive parts was flying along the Tetons on the approach to Jackson Hole Airport(KJAC). There was a small landing fee (very small), typical overnight fees, and rental car that was a little expensive. But not too bad for the location, and they were nice to us even though we were in a small C182.

Jackson Airport approach

Then along the road are continuous beautiful views.

Teton Roadside View
Last time we went (last Teton trip photos) , we went to Jackson Lake Lodge which was nice. The rooms were not cheap, but location is great and the lodge was really neat for the meals. The views were great, but we were a ways from the lake.

I think it is time to go back maybe trying some new stuff.

Colter Bay Cabins and Camping

Last time we were there, I briefly saw a location around the corner from Jackson Lake Lodge called Colter Bay. It is right on the lake and has a mixture of cabins, luxury tent camping, and normal tent/RV camping. It has a marina, rental boats, a restaurant, and what looks like maybe a more fun place for kids. The information that is shown on-line looks promising.

There is a nice brochure of activities that is for the Colter Bay and other Teton National Park areas.

There is on-line reservations for some of the lodging in Teton National Park including Colter Bay. I checked this, and I was a bit disappointed. Most of the stuff in Colter Bay is reserved at least for some of the dates I was thinking about. I wonder if there are ways to get cabins at the last minute, but that could be hard to plan for. There is first come, first serve on the tent camping, but what do you do if you lose out?

Maybe West Yellowstone Camping

So maybe a good alternative that I have heard of is West Yellowstone Airport KWYS (and camping). It is a decent sized airport, and it actually has camping at one end of the field. Availability is only to pilots and often has availability when no where else has space in the parks. The FBO website has information about camping on their hotel page. They have lots of space for tents and people share the picnic tables, fire pits, pit toilet, and hot showers. Lots of reports from people on the Cessna Pilots Association indicate it is very good camping. Also a special page in the AirNav web page specifically for the campground indicates great reviews as well!

There are a few websites with more information for the area. There is the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce page and West Yellowstone Internet Site. If you want hotels, there are proably there as well, but probably fill up quick.

Maybe driving down to Colter Bay could be a possibility if things work out during a trip into Yellowstone. I would be part of the way down there if driving through the park, and maybe I could snag a cancellation at Colter Bay in the morning.

West Yellowstone Kid Stuff

There is some kid information listed on the chamber of commerce page that looks interesting. It looks like there are some museums and ranger information in West Yellowstone that could be fun. It sounds like there is good fishing around too. And there is the Yellowstone entrance only a few miles away.

West Yellowstone Car Rentals

There are a couple of places to look for Car Rental information and possible discounts.

Info from Chamber of Commerce
Info from the FBO
Info from Airnav

There appear to be three rental places: Avis, Budget, and Big Sky Car Rental.

Flying over Yellowstone

You need to stay 2000' AGL over Yellowstone, but this is still low enough to see some very cool stuff. At least I have seen a few pictures here and there of the geysers and mudpots from the air that look very cool. A different perspective that you could not get from the ground.

Summary

This looks like a winner one way or another this year.

Some other small side notes:

Hopefully, this will be part of a fun summer. I will write a Pirep afterwards...

/Brian

1 comment:

Mark said...

Very informative and enjoyable reading.