Best Month to Visit Yellowstone? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-22-2009, 03:06 PM   #15
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Actually Donna, Truly ever season there is something to find beauty in. I don't think there is a bad time, unless you hate crowds........... Gridlock all for a Kodak moment with a parasite infested beast. Bless the Rangers, how they deal with all the crazy people who don't listen to their warnings....
Robin, you are so right -- there is no season for dumbness! It just changes flavor a little -- falling through ice, getting chased by rutting elk -- that would be the 'winter' and 'spring' version.

Maybe I should also add that I've met great, interesting people in those stopped traffic lines . . . and of course, like everywhere, it's always gorgeous if you can manage to walk ten minutes away from the road!

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Old 05-26-2009, 07:34 AM   #16
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Robin, Concerning, You won't be pulling the scamp on your trip? We will be in the Scamp, no problems pulling it the mountains, etc. My daughter & family will be tenting, but we will be using the Scamp. We have been to Yellowstone twice, in June the first time & in July the second time. We have been to Glacier twice, June and then in July also visited the Canadian side on the last trip, we came down from Canada on that trip. Started over by Victoria, BC, did some time at Jasper & Banff then to Waterton then to Glacier.

My son-in-law has not been to Yellowstone, nor Glacier. We are trying to pick a good time for them. Not sure if he has the time to do both, he has not mentioned Glacier. They will be coming from Tucson, AZ a good drive. We will check out the Tetons as well. Too close not to.
for your input.
You might want to rethink the tenting idea in is highly discouraged and actually disallowed in certain campgrounds. There are bears in 'dem dar woods..." and tents are sort of cellophane wrappers for food for the bears. Read up on concerns posted by yellowstone, including surrounding campgrounds. Yellowstone is awesome, but people often misjudge the dangers of the wildlife.


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Old 05-26-2009, 08:45 AM   #17
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Like everyone says, it depends on what you want to do or see. Early is my favorite (like now), more wildlife near the roads and meadows, feeding on the first green grasses. Early morning and right before dusk. We go three times a year, our route is up the northfork out of Cody, camp near the east entrance, and make day trips. We also go into Sunlight Basin and camp, and go in from there. In 25 years of trips, I have never camped in the park! I have stayed at cabins and the lodge, but never camped, and I have no idea why. Crowds I guess, but as for tenting, I wouldn't worry, you stand a greater chance of getting ran over than bothered by a bear. I tent camp every fall in the Absorkas, or Thurofare, for a week and some times two, never had a problem there either, and I know grizzlys are there in force.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:14 AM   #18
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Might want to wait it out a few weeks for the smell to go away
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:52 PM   #19
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I'm late getting in on this, and must say that most of you are correct. There is no perfect time to visit Yellowstone because the park is dynamic and constantly changing. What you want to see and do can greatly influence your best time.

Many locals visit the park just after the roads are plowed and the gates open in late May -- in part because bears are often easiest to see at this time as they feed on winter killed game. The roads are relatively free of cars then too, but the trails are often still closed because of the snow. All campgrounds are not open then either.

Early June remains a nice time. Animals are still plentiful at lower elevations and the roads are still less busy as many families are still waiting for their kids to get out of school before a visit. At lower elevations, the wildflowers are just beginning to appear.

Mid to late June and early July is when the wildflowers are at their peak display. Birds are still in nice breeding plumage and plentiful. Elk generally will have started off to higher elevations and thus are harder to find. Bears are at the same visibility level they are most of the year -- which means you may not be in the right place at the right time and never see a bear, or you might just happen to have a ringside seat to a sow and cub digging away on a hillside. The small mammals such as the ground squirrels are very visible and often overlooked by visitors searching the distant slopes for the small dot of a bear or wolf. In early July, wolf pups can make their appearance outside of a den and some years make for a great show (and huge traffic/parking dilemma.) Waterfalls and cascades are usually going full blast at this time and well worth the trek off road for a visit.

Late July and August will find the largest crowds on the roads and in the campgrounds -- but will also have the warmest weather. All streams will be open now for fishing. Later season wildflowers will be blooming, but the show is less spectacular than earlier. Bison are still abundant and easy to see in the Lamar and Hayden Valleys. Many of the thermal features are easiest to see at this time because their steam is less present than in cooler months.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons in the park. Roads are less crowded (though the fall numbers of people are now higher than they were in the past). In early October, the Elk have moved to lower elevations and the males have begun their bugling. Several large males and their harems are usually right in town at Mammoth Hot Springs and you'll rarely have a chance to see these large animals this close other than in a zoo. (But every trip into the park will show you some stupid tourist getting far too close to an elk, bison or bear for the extra special photo, so follow the rules and keep your distance.) Nights are cooler, commonly dropping below freezing and days too can be cool. Aspen are often at their peak color around the mid to lower elevations of the park near the first of October.

Thermal features are generally nice all year. They don't migrate to higher elevations nor do they hide from the tourists. As someone else has pointed out, the mud features are usually less dynamic than early in the season, but there is still a ton of hot water and steam to see everywhere.

I disagree about the warning to not camp in a tent. The park is filled with people camping in tents in the front country campgrounds and backcountry sites all summer long. Yes, there are a few sites in and near the park that are "hard sided only", but most campgrounds will have tents and tent trailers in use. You are more likely to get killed or hurt driving on the roadway than a bear bothering you in a tent. Falling into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone or another of the steep canyons has killed too many people in recent years, so watch your footing here. Nevertheless, you should choose the type of camping you are most comfortable with. I suspect most readers on this site will have a panel of fiberglass between them and the outside when they sleep.

Yellowstone is really a great place. It does not have the sweeping vistas of jagged peaks like the Tetons to the south, but it has beautiful rivers, fantastic open valleys, great thermal features, many animals and great flowers. There really is no bad time of year to visit -- just different.

Sorry I rattled on so long.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:37 PM   #20
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Fun to watch if you cannot be there! (Old Faithful Web Cam)
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:31 PM   #21
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I have been following this thread with interest. Michele and I and our little grandson are headed from Sacramentot YNP - leaving home June 12th. Michele was there when she was a child, and I have never been. We will stay in the park for 6 nights. And it is two fairly long days each way. We hope to be back home Sat nite before father's day - so the little guy can be with his pop.

We DID see some of the "idiot" videos of folks and animals. Sheesh. "Go pet the buffalo, honey, and I'll take your picture" - that kind of thing.

When Michele was there as a child, the park was still in the mid to late 50's policy of at least "tolerating" folks who fed the bears from cars. YIKES.

Anyway, many, many thanx to all who posted.
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Old 07-09-2009, 09:38 AM   #22
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Yes, another latecomer.

Our YNP and Dakotas trip will have to be delayed this summer due to circumstances. But now we are considering going in Sept to catch the fall colors. I hear mid to late Sept is the best time to do so and that the Tetons are better for colors than YNP. Would it still be advisable to make reservations since it is past Labor Weekend? Any other suggestions?
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:55 AM   #23
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Three years ago we were there about June 10th or so. Still vacancies in the campgrounds and didn't seem crowded and weather was nice.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:52 PM   #24
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Daytime highs of 20F (-5c) on a "warm" day. Nighttime temps that are usually sub-zero (below 20c). Record lows of -66F (-54c).

Brrr. Brrr. Brrr.
Yes, bears would be sleeping then.

We went over July 4 th week a few years back, it was about 38 in the morning with ice on the table and 90's during the day. It was fantastic!!!!

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