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Making plans for 2016 - Yellowstone and Yosemite
Old 12-18-2015, 10:52 AM   #1
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Making plans for 2016 - Yellowstone and Yosemite

Looking for recommendations, where to stay when visiting Yellow Stone and Yosemite? No camping. Is spring the best time to visit Yellowstone?

Not a whole lot of accommodation choices for Yellowstone based on Tripadvisor.

I haven't looked at Yosemite yet.

Thx
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Old 12-18-2015, 04:26 PM   #2
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My wife and I had a great trip to Yellowstone in Sept. 2011. I recommend staying at the in-park lodges, which are a little pricey, often rustic, but fabulously located. If you stay outside the park, you lose a lot of time driving to the things that you want to see. We moved around every day or two to Mammoth Hot Springs, Canyon Village, Old Faithful Lodge, etc. You have to book very early (up to 1 yr) as they fill up fast. Unless you are bringing school age children, I also suggest going outside the school summer break period. In high summer, the park is very crowded, and it is hard to find parking near many of the sights. If you go too early or late, some park resources may be closed. If you would like to see photos, send me a message and I will provide a link to where I have them posted on-line. I also recommend the Fodors guide to Yellowstone.
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:36 PM   #3
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There are a few hotels in the park. Stay at anyone of them. I stayed at Mammoth Springs and the Yellowstone hotel. Both great choices.
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:17 PM   #4
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Lake Hotel and Old Faithful Lodge are the two jewels in Yellowstone.

As mentioned before, before Memorial Day and after Labor Day avoids the crowds, but increases the likelihood of "interesting" weather.
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:43 PM   #5
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I'm not sure how much planning you've done to see the different parts of Yellowstone. I'd also definitely recommend staying in the park. I stayed at Snow Lodge which is in the Old Faithful area of the Park. Old Faithful Lodge is more classic, but Snow Lodge is newer and tends to be less noisy. It can take some time to drive from one part of the park to another given narrow roads that can get blocked by elk or people stopping to look at wildlife.

If you have enough time in the park, you may want to split your stay between two parts of the park. That my be necessary just to find any days that are available = as someone said, the park lodging fills quickly.

Old Faithful and Monmouth Hot Springs are (to my opinion) the most "unique" parts of the park. The Canyon area is nice for hiking and near many of the wolf areas, but the lodging is a bit more rustic. The Lake area is beautiful, although a bit farther away from the geyser area.

You really can't go wrong with any of the parts of the park - each so different and beautiful. If you end up with lodging outside the park, there are a number of options (and more eating options) near the Monmouth and Old Faithful entrances.
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If you are in Yellowstone . . .
Old 12-19-2015, 06:03 AM   #6
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If you are in Yellowstone . . .

By the way, if you are visiting Yellowstone, you are also very close to Grand Teton National Park just to the south. You really should not be so close and miss it. Here are some photos from both.
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Making plans for 2016 - Yellowstone and Yosemite
Old 12-19-2015, 08:47 AM   #7
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Making plans for 2016 - Yellowstone and Yosemite

For Yosemite the advice is similar, though I think you can stay in one place.

Go off peak to avoid the crowds (but if you want to see waterfalls that means spring not fall. The waterfalls are snowmelt and most have run dry by late July)

Book early. We booked over a year in advance. A week later we were told about a niece's wedding that might conflict with our plans. Called back to try to modify and everything but the most expensive place (Ahwahnee) was booked up. Everything is pricier than you would find located elsewhere, but if you stay in the valley, the convenience is great and there is an internal bus system to take you around. We stayed at the Falls Lodge...very good.

Book other activities early. We could not get into some organized activities as they were booked up quickly. There is still plenty to do, but if you have your heart set on a horseback ride you better plan ahead.

Consider the App JUST AHEAD. We got a free trial for Just Ahead when we were at Bryce Canyon in September and it was fantastically helpful and fun. They have guides for many parks, including Yellowstone and Yosemite. It works offline but uses GPS to chime in with information about stuff wherever you are. It's like having your own personal audio guide and would be worth purchasing in my opinion. http://www.justahead.com/

The view from Glacier Point and Washburn Point are the best I have seen anywhere. Sunset would be even better. We enjoyed the relatively easy hikes to Sentinel Dome and Vernal Falls. The sequoias in the Mariposa Grove are nice but from our particular trip's perspective a bit of a letdown. We had just come from Sequoia National where they are more abundant, impressive and less crowded. You are allowed to get up closer to the trees in Sequoia National, whereas in Yosemite they are fenced off from the crowds.

Water bottles are a must as is mosquito repellant! Especially in the El Capitan valley.

We flew into Fresno, a nice smaller and easier to maneuver in airport. Also the drive from Fresno is not only shorter than from San Francisco, but the road is way easier. The winding drive of swithbacks from Yosemite towards San Francisco was one of the more hair-raising we have done.







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Making plans for 2016 - Yellowstone and Yosemite
Old 12-20-2015, 09:27 PM   #8
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Making plans for 2016 - Yellowstone and Yosemite

Are there in-park RV facilities that anyone would recommend?


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