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Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

Chicago, Illinois
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Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

We are planning a 4-6 day visit in 2014. Since we are flexible on dates, is there a best time to visit. It would be nice to avoid summer crowds, but is May too iffy on temps? What about September? Thanks!

Green Valley...
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1. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

Here we go again! :) By that I mean, you'll get different opinions...

I prefer June when the wildlife abound, including the youngsters.

Yes, weather iffy, not just temps but sun/rain/wind/calm/a little brief snow, etc. Hard to tell. Layer up

I hope you'll plan on six days, you'll need them to experience the two parks (suggest 4, YNP, 2, GTNP or 3 and 3.

How are you splitting your time between the two parks?

Do you want to know the technique to get lodging there?

Edited: 10:31 pm, June 10, 2013
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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2. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

If I could go again I'd pick September.

ysh
ireland
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3. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

Hi voyaging and casaAzul, can i ask a question pls as i am planning the same trip . We are not hikers so how many days is ideal to see yellowstone and how will i split it? Is 4 days enough an where will i stay inside the park? And what is the technique to get lodging in yellowstone ? There are so many lodgings there which one will i choose?

Hope you dont mind helping me out.

Thanks

Ysh

Epsom, United...
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4. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

I've been planning a trip for next year too so while I can't report from experience, I can tell you about some of the things I used to help me decide when to go. Experienced park goers will hopefully correct me if any of the following is wrong.

If you're looking to avoid crowds then you may find these webpages useful ...

https:/…

https:/…

For temperatures and other weather issues, see ...

www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/weather.htm

www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/weather.htm

Otherwise, it depends, to some extent, on what you want to do. (Assuming you want to go during the main season, May-October.).

In May, some roads will still be closed.

May-June is best for wildlife (more activity, at more convenient locations and plenty of tinies)

May-August for superb wildflowers (best June-July?) Fall colours best late September into October.

June-August worst for biting insects, around water especially

Many hiking trails inaccessible due to snow & ice in May-June and some closed early in the season due to wildlife concerns.

For geothermals, there doesn't seem to be much in it. Springs tend to be more obscured by steam in cooler temperatures.

Hope that all helps a bit.

Epsom, United...
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5. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

ysh, again, I can tell you about how I went about planning but not report from experience. If you want in-park accommodation (Yellowstone), then just one organisation, Xanterra, manages it all (which makes things a bit easier). All the advice is to deal direct with them (they seem to offer a reasonable reservations service and other intermediaries will charge more to get their cut).

http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/

You need to decide when you want to be going and if it's high season (July-August), then you need to be booking accommodation now (and for outside high season, it would be best to be booking as soon as you have a plan of dates and locations where you'd like to be). Xanterra's cancellation policy is very helpful (full money back up to 48 hours before date of arrival) so don't worry too much about booking accommodation speculatively, or even double-booking. On the other hand, because of the amenable cancellation policy, cancellations are made all the time up to that 48 hours before arrival. So if you haven't quite got the accommodation you want, keep going back to Xanterra on a regular basis to see if you can pick up cancellations. Apparently, phoning, rather than using the web reservation service, sometimes helps (partly because the web service is a little flaky and partly because phoning occasionally throws up options that the website doesn't have).

For out-of-park (Yellowstone) accommodation, see the "Where is there lodging outside of YNP?" link under "Top questions about Yellowstone National Park", which should be somewhere near the top right of the web page as you are reading this post.

As for how to choose accommodation, do you want to stay in park or outside? If in-park and you're travelling high-season, see what's available. Decide how much you want to pay and compare rates. Do you prefer hotel/motel-style accommodation to cabin-style accommodation? Also, are you willing to share a bathroom with other folks (for most cabins, this means going outside to get to the bathroom ... at night ... possibly amidst wildlife)? Read the reviews of the different accommodations on this website.

ysh
ireland
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6. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

Thank you so much simonStudly for sharing a world of information and for sharing yr research with me.

i looked into the xanterra website and you are right accomodation is booked up to august2014 already.

I am planning togo between 7sept to 20 sept 2014.

At present sorting out my trip to see how i can incorporate yosemit e, mt rushmore, mersa verde, monument valley into the itinery and decide on how and where i am going to fly into.

Once i got them sorted will go and book my accomodation in yellowstone.

Will 4days be enpugh in yellowstone if i am not hiking?! Just want to see the park. Old faithful seems to be the favorite accomodation and do want to stay nside the park. Would. Suggest just staying in one area and drive around daily or split and stay in 2different areas? And if split where will i stay apart from old faithful?

Sorry i am asking more questions. Hope you can help.

Thanks again

Regds ysh

Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

Ysh,

Look at Canyon or Lake area for lodging if also staying at Old Faithful.

Airports if also doing other parks- Denver and Salt Lake City. Have used Denver when doing SW trip, Black Hills and Yellowstone. Have used SLC when doing SW and Yellowstone.

Yosemite is a two day drive from Yellowstone. Can incorporate the SW parks (Arches, MV and Mesa Verde) into your trip plan and fly either to Denver or SLC. Don't know about Yosemite- would need to know your time frame. Could take an internal flight to CA from SLC or Denver. Southwest airlines is a good low cost carrier here in the US that allows changes to flights at no cost and free baggage.

Good luck!!

Epsom, United...
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8. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

ysh, we might meet in Yellowstone - September 2014 for me too ... though I'll be hiking a lot! I think the pressure to book accom. is lower then but probably best not to hang about. I have "overbooked" a little because I'm still sorting one or two aspects of my trip. As soon as you have even a rough idea what you're doing when, it might be a good idea to book accommodation with a view to cancelling some later (even if it's not what you really want - get it in the bag and then keep enquiring about what you really want, swapping when, and it quite likely is "when" rather than "if", it becomes available).

Anyway, heck of a trip you are planning (I did something similar around the SW USA desert parks ten years ago, roughly LA to Arches and back, but for this treat, I decided to focus on Yellowstone & Grand Teton alone). Others are much better placed than me to tell you if four days is enough for Yellowstone ... but since you ask, most folks seem to suggest three days minimum ... suggesting four is enough.

As for splitting accommodation, I suppose it depends on whether you like driving long slow distances or packing up and unpacking least. Personally, I would certainly split accommodation. And if you only want to stay at two places and one is OF, then I'd make the other Canyon. You can spend a day just around Canyon itself easily and, otherwise, it's a good base for the northern half of the park if OF is your base for the southern half. When you've got accommodation fixed, there are some real experts here who can help you work out exciting and optimal itineraries.

N. Idaho
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9. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

ysh, even though accommodation thru Xanterra may SHOW completely booked, there will be availability coming up between now and then. The descriptor someone used recently is *fluid* and I think that fits very well. Also, by Sept some areas of lodging have closed within the park, so you may be looking at an area that closes on Labor Day (first weekend in Sept, and that is when Roosevelt closes)

I love Sept as it is usually still warm during the day and the crowds are down some. The down side, which no one has mentioned yet, can be fire or smoke from more distant fires if it is a dry year.

Pam

ysh
ireland
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10. Re: Best Month to Visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton?

Thank you so much to all of you for all your replies. You all ve given me alot of useful information for my trip n 2014. I think i will stay 2 nights in old faithful and 2 nights in canyon. Will certainly look out for you nearer the time simonStudly. I hope weather remains good in sept..

Good to know that although lodges seem to be fully book now there are chances of cancellations.

Yes simonStudly, u are right. I will book as soon as i ve a rough guide then try and shift the dates when m itinery is sorted.

It is a big trip for 20 days. Hope i ve eough time to see all i want to see. And will be asking the experts alot of advice when i ve a rough itinery .

Mortongrove i am sorry to use yr question thread to askfor advice for my trip. Hope some of the nformation here will be of help to ou.

Will be staying in yellowstone for 4-5 nights. And will see if i can fly to yosemite from smewhere.

Thanks and hope to be asking alot of questions again.

At present iam planning a trip to more or less the same places and ve fot my itinery somewhat sorted. Am booking accomodation now and when itis finalise will be posting to look for advice.

Yes am going again next sept and ncluding yosemite and mt rushmore next yr.

Thanks so much. Am truly grateful

Many regds ysh