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First visit to Yellowstone

Isabela, Puerto Rico
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First visit to Yellowstone

What month(s) would it be good to give Yellowstone the first visit?

I was planning on going in around May and be there for around 6 days, hopefully it's enough time to see some stuff and if all goes well then I'll try to make another trip. I'd like to be able to do animal viewing, such as bears, wolves, bison and birds. I've read the guideline on the national park site for these activities...

Are there marked trails that one can easily follow for hiking on your own? was thinking of backpacking, but not sure yet. I'm almost sure that I'd be going alone, not ideal but don't have much options... I read another post on ranger guided tours and checked it out but some seem to be short guides of around 2hrs.

Also, which airport would be a good choice for arrival that have shuttle trips to the parks hotels?

Thanks for the help!

Alex

Ennis MT
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for Yellowstone National Park, Ennis
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1. Re: First visit to Yellowstone

I would not recommend coming in May. The weather will still be more Winter than Spring. Also, the park facilities will just be starting to open throughout the month. See this link for details: www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/ocd_locale.htm I think that you would have a better experience if you were to come mid-late June. You will definitely see lots of animals then, including the new babies.

Yes, there are marked hiking trails. If you go to the YNP website, there is a section on hiking under "Things To Do". It will be important for you to have bear spray, and to read up on precautions you will need to take. Some areas will be closed for bear management at that time of year, but there will still be many that are open.

If you look at the Top Questions at the upper right of this page, you will find answers to many of your questions, along with a lot of additional information that will be helpful with your planning.

As far as I know, there are not any airport shuttles that go into the park. Your best bet is to rent a car, which you will need anyway to get around the 350 miles of roadway in the park once you've arrived.

Isabela, Puerto Rico
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2. Re: First visit to Yellowstone

Thanks for the help!

I'll check out flights for June and see what my options are regarding flights.

I've seen some maps and the park is huge, so renting a car would be a good idea. That'll spike up expenses a bit...

Ennis MT
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for Yellowstone National Park, Ennis
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3. Re: First visit to Yellowstone

Yes, renting a car will be an additional expense. However, the prices of any shuttles you might find, added to the cost of the tours you would have to take in the park to see the attractions would probably end up being higher. You could check them out to make a comparison before you decide.

IMO having your own vehicle will give you the freedom to see what you want to see when you want to see it, as well as the flexibility of spending as much or as little time in an area as you would like. It will also facilitate getting to any trailheads you're interested in.

Good luck with your planning - and Enjoy your trip!

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: First visit to Yellowstone

Don't rule out May (particularly late May) so fast. We had a spectacular week and a half across Memorial Day weekend this year. Yes there a higher risk of late snows and cold weather and some uncertainty about when the Beartooth and a few other things open. But I like it a little cooler. No mosquitos, abundant wildlife babies, smaller crowds, no hot nights w/o AC, and the staff is a little more jazzed at the start of the season.

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: First visit to Yellowstone

That said, June will probably be a more predicable experience for your first time. But snow in Yellowstone is cool too.

Chicago's North...
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6. Re: First visit to Yellowstone

DEFINITELY rent a car.... closest 'real' city is jackson, which is a good 1.5 scenic hours from old faithful, located in the southern portion of the park...... you do NOT wanna go the tour route----drive your own vehicle and make your stops on your own terms.... other cities to consider for flying into are bozeman, idaho falls and salt lake city, which is about 5-6 hours to west yellowstone town, weather permitting....

to keep costs down, rent an economy car.... thing is, car rentals out of jackson can be crazy expensive.... i've found dollar and thrifty to be the cheapest, tho, they're located in town, not at the airport.... since SLC is a major city and hub, air tix might be cheaper than flying into the smaller cities mentioned above.... car rentals will be cheaper than jackson.... as for lodging, if you plan to camp, that's the cheapest way to go.... but if you plan to have a roof over your head, then west yellowstone tends to be more reasonable than staying in the park.... we stayed in a cabin at lionshead rv park, 7 miles west of town for a very reasonable price---more reasonable than in town.....

for a first time visit, if you can push it to june, do so... while i love snow and embrace winter wholeheartedly, it would really suck to plan a vacation, only to have it snowed-out, which is a real possibility in may.....

6 days should be ample time to see the major attractions... we visited this past june for 3 days, and it was barely enough time.... wish we had a coupla more days..... that said, we also visited grand teton national park.... if you plan to be in the area 6 days, you can put in a full 4 days at y-stone, and another 2 in grand teton---great hiking and good game viewing opportunities.... key is, you MUST get out early each day to beat the crowds and cover more ground..... we had kids, so we got out after 10 each day, which pretty much blew a good chunk of time.....

Isabela, Puerto Rico
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7. Re: First visit to Yellowstone

Thanks for the advice! :) I'm definitely renting a car, been checking prices on shuttles and taxis and it's more cost effective to rent the car and on the plus side I'd be able to set my own schedule. I'm planing on going with Avis for renting since I have corp discount through my employer...

Was looking toward the end of July as a bday gift and checking pricing on flights and lodging. Thanks on the tip for Teton National Park, I'll check up on the schedule and see how it works out. I'm thinking of staying in different hotel around the park and then move of to Teton.

But I might have to put this off until next year since I have to research locations, hotels, schedules and do/don'ts within the park. Was planning on camping one or two nights in the park to check out the dark skies, might be able to buy a small travel scope for this... As for the airport, Jackson has been recommended a lot due to the scenery and might go that route.

I do want to see the major attractions, old faithful and such, but I'm mostly motivated for the wildlife and taking pictures of them.

Hopefully I'll be able to go soon!

8. Re: First visit to Yellowstone

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