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Yellowstone in September?
Old 05-12-2016, 02:58 PM   #1
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Yellowstone in September?

We are thinking of a late September trip to Yellowstone. I understand snow is a possibility any time of year, but is Sept too risky to attempt?
Also, is there a better side of the park to enter when the weather is dicey? We will be flying in from Florida, perhaps to Salt Lake, but not sure.
Also, looking for hotel feedback from recent travelers.
thanks, chuck
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:28 PM   #2
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Roads

I have been to Yellowstone in September a few times over the years. I have experienced road closures in the park. I have stayed in the town on west entrance and have also stayed at the lodge where old faithful is. The lodge was nice but quite expensive. In the town I just stayed in national chain hotels. Yellowstone is my favorite National Park.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:29 PM   #3
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I was there on Memorial Weekend, and they had just plowed the roads the day before. They would have been impassible until then. It was the road from Red Lodge.

I am not sure about September.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:32 PM   #4
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I Haven't been there recently so I can't help with lodging, I read that many facilities will be closed by late September.

But I have read that the first week after Labor day can be an excellent time to visit. This is because the summer crowds have thinned and the weather may just hold up.

Late September weather is (as you suspect) somewhat more risky.

Here's an interesting Q&A on Late September in Yellowstone:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi...k_Wyoming.html


< From the Link>
My husband and I went to GTNP and YNP in late Sept. one year and got snowed on big time. GTNP was nothing but a bank of clouds, cold and damp. Made it into YNP in driving snow and then got snowed out at West Yellowstone. They finally let us go as far south as Old Faithful but no farther than that. Dunraven Pass was closed for the year so we didn't get to see all that we wanted to see. The snow brought the animals down into the valleys so we saw lots more than we might have otherwise. It is a gamble.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:39 PM   #5
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I was there in early to mid September a couple years ago. A few facilities were closing, but most were open and the park was not crowded. I stayed only at park lodging as I did not want to lose time commuting in and out from a border hotel. However, you have to book very early. West Yellowstone might be the closest place to enter, we came in from Boseman, MT.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:51 PM   #6
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I think late September is a 50/50 proposition. Might be great or roads might be shut down. I highly recommend coming into the park from Red Lodge. The road is called Beartooth Highway and is a special treat in and of itself. But earlier in September might be advisable.


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Old 05-12-2016, 03:59 PM   #7
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One of the reasons why facilities close mid-late September is that they are staffed by college students, their workforce leaves and the hordes of tourists with younger children must head home. Actually mid-late September can be beautiful in the west, October is when the Rockies start to accumulate snow.

Look for a time-share or other rental in or around Jackson.
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Old 05-12-2016, 04:28 PM   #8
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Was there in mid-September two years ago and it was a great time to be there. Lodging inside the park is a little expensive for what you get but if you're able to splurge it does make getting around the park a lot easier, Yellowstone is huge. West Yellowstone is also a decent place to stay and you'll probably fine something reasonably priced at that time of year. If flying in I would also look at Idaho Falls, it's ~100 miles from West Yellowstone.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:46 PM   #9
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I am also planning an early to mid-September trip to Yellowstone (not this year). While noodling around, I came on this site, which has proven to be quite useful.

Planning for Yellowstone
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:30 PM   #10
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One of the few splurges this frugal gal springs for is in-park lodgings whenever possible in National Parks. Most of the nat'l parks are HUGE - so it can be quite a commute from a town outside the park, into the center of the park.

We spent a week in Yellowstone a few years ago. Because of the sheer size of the park we had 3 different accommodations, in 3 different parts of the park. This allowed us to explore the area near our accommodations, then move to the next area and explore that one... without 2-3 hour drives back to our cabin or lodge room. Add in moose or buffalo blocking the road and you can be looking at very long drive times between points in the park - let alone having to drive out of the park to get to bed.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:49 PM   #11
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Yes, staying in the park is the way to go. Reservations may be difficult to get. Even the campgrounds for our RV had to be booked way in advance.

The one time we visited Yellowstone, it was a few days past July 4th. All roads were open, but there was snow still on the ground. Impressive.
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rodi View Post
One of the few splurges this frugal gal springs for is in-park lodgings whenever possible in National Parks. Most of the nat'l parks are HUGE - so it can be quite a commute from a town outside the park, into the center of the park.

We spent a week in Yellowstone a few years ago. Because of the sheer size of the park we had 3 different accommodations, in 3 different parts of the park. This allowed us to explore the area near our accommodations, then move to the next area and explore that one... without 2-3 hour drives back to our cabin or lodge room. Add in moose or buffalo blocking the road and you can be looking at very long drive times between points in the park - let alone having to drive out of the park to get to bed.
We did the same a few years back in early-mid Sept. Stayed in 3 diff areas of the park and spent total of 10 days. My favorite NP. Definitely worth staying inside since it is so large.
I would shoot for early Sept rather than late Sept. I have been there early November too but lots of areas were closed. Mammoth Springs area I believe is more likely to stay open until later.
Keep checking for in-park lodging even it is sold out initially. Since cancelation policy is generous, there are lot of cancelations.
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Old 05-13-2016, 07:25 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rodi View Post
One of the few splurges this frugal gal springs for is in-park lodgings whenever possible in National Parks. Most of the nat'l parks are HUGE - so it can be quite a commute from a town outside the park, into the center of the park.

We spent a week in Yellowstone a few years ago. Because of the sheer size of the park we had 3 different accommodations, in 3 different parts of the park. This allowed us to explore the area near our accommodations, then move to the next area and explore that one... without 2-3 hour drives back to our cabin or lodge room. Add in moose or buffalo blocking the road and you can be looking at very long drive times between points in the park - let alone having to drive out of the park to get to bed.
After watching Great Lodges of the National Parks, we bucket listed all the lodges. I just get goosebumps walking into the lobbies and grand rooms of the old lodges. I just feel like I am following the footsteps of history. We missed out in Denali, because we wanted to stay in the back country, in the only lodge with a bar Kantishna Roadhouse.

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Old 05-13-2016, 07:27 AM   #14
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I highly recommend coming into the park from Red Lodge. The road is called Beartooth Highway and is a special treat in and of itself.
Spectacular road. Drive up to Red Lodge from Cody, WY. The Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody is well worth a 1/2 to full day. We drove down to Cody after spending 3-4 days in Tetons/south Yellowstone, spent two nights in Cody, then went back to the north part of park on Beartooth. Cuts lodging costs while doing other great things.
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Old 05-13-2016, 11:51 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
I Haven't been there recently so I can't help with lodging, I read that many facilities will be closed by late September.

But I have read that the first week after Labor day can be an excellent time to visit. This is because the summer crowds have thinned and the weather may just hold up.

Late September weather is (as you suspect) somewhat more risky.

...

I can confirm this. My wife and I visited Yellowstone a week after Labor Day a few years ago, and a lot of the parks facilities had been shut down (or were in the process). Even though the park wasn't crowded, the limited available lodging was booked. We did luck out and get a room in the park due to a cancellation and good timing, but dining options were limited and crowded with long wait times. Apparently, a lot of the park's summer employees are college students that go back to school after Labor Day, so some facilities are closed because of this.

Overall, the weather was good, but chilly at night and we did get a bit of rain and light snow one night. However, we were able hike in shorts during the day.

Regards,
Wino
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by rodi View Post
One of the few splurges this frugal gal springs for is in-park lodgings whenever possible in National Parks. Most of the nat'l parks are HUGE - so it can be quite a commute from a town outside the park, into the center of the park.

We spent a week in Yellowstone a few years ago. Because of the sheer size of the park we had 3 different accommodations, in 3 different parts of the park. This allowed us to explore the area near our accommodations, then move to the next area and explore that one... without 2-3 hour drives back to our cabin or lodge room. Add in moose or buffalo blocking the road and you can be looking at very long drive times between points in the park - let alone having to drive out of the park to get to bed.
+1 I did the same thing in Yellostone, at Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, and plan the same for Yosemite next year. I do enough driving for work. On vacation, I want my time to be in the scenery.
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Old 05-14-2016, 07:39 AM   #17
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Thanks everyone for the great information. Where do you recommend for hotel accommodations near Grand Teton National Park?


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Old 05-14-2016, 08:57 AM   #18
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Add in moose or buffalo blocking the road and you can be looking at very long drive times between points in the park - let alone having to drive out of the park to get to bed.
We had a first hand look at a buffalo jam. Only cost us a little time and we got eye to eye with hundreds of these magnificent creatures while locked safely in my truck. The folks headed the other way, North, were stuck several hours and other than a couple of cars saw nothing except a traffic jam. Have a great time. Good advice as always.
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:07 AM   #19
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Where do you recommend for hotel accommodations near Grand Teton National Park?
We stayed at Signal Mountain Lodge and would do so again.
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:26 AM   #20
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Spectacular road. Drive up to Red Lodge from Cody, WY. The Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody is well worth a 1/2 to full day. We drove down to Cody after spending 3-4 days in Tetons/south Yellowstone, spent two nights in Cody, then went back to the north part of park on Beartooth. Cuts lodging costs while doing other great things.
Did the road to Cody out of Yellowstone on Fourth of July weekend one year. Went over the pass in a driving snowstorm. A bit nerve wracking with six inches of snow on the ground while riding large motorcycles, but certainly a memorable day!
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