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1 of many dream trips...where to start? Yosemite or Yellowstone?

1 of many dream trips...where to start? Yosemite or Yellowstone?

Nov 18th, 2008, 07:33 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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1 of many dream trips...where to start? Yosemite or Yellowstone?

I have a long list of places I'd like to see and these are just two on the list, my question is of these two which would you guys recommend hitting first? Some things to consider: best time of year for photography, not crowds (schedule hasn't been set yet) and if we have the time which location offers more options of things to see. Let's say if we have 5-7 days to spend?

I know this might be a loaded question, but for those of you who have been there I'd like to know if there is a preference.

For what's its worth I've been to Zion, Bryce, Arches, Capitol Reef, GC. From the east (NC) loved Capitol Reef the best.

Thanks for the help!

SLWR is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 07:38 AM
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I'd go to Yellowstone (with a stop at Grand Teton NP) and I'd go in spring or fall - when the kids are not out for the summer. Fewer crowds but good weather.
starrs is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 07:49 AM
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I agree with Starrs regarding Yellowstone and Grand Tetons however if you go there in the spring several of the roads can still be closed.This year they had a lot of snow the middle of June.The photography is amazing anytime of year in the Yellowstone area and in the summer it can be very crowded in the main tourist areas. Yellowstone is immense and you can always find areas that are off the tourist trail.Go to the Xanterra web site and there are schedules regarding when various areas/roads are opened in the spring and closed in the fall.If I had a choice I would go the beginning of September.Yosemite is nice but can't even compare to Yellowstone imho.
Be sure to add Glacier National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park to your wish list.I prefer both of those places over Yosemite.
letsgo39 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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I agree. We've spent a week on 2 different occasions in Yellowstone and the Tetons and had more than enough to do. I might lean for the fall.
dfr4848 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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That's a hard decision! I absolutely LOVE Yosemite! It's breathtaking! You only need about 2 days there unless you decide to go to San Francisco(one of my favorite cities)! Yellowstone is spectacular but for different reasons than Yosemite! It will take several days to see everything plus the Tetons! We went to Yosemite in June and Yellowstone in July! I didn't find either to be overly crowded!
tambennett is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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I'm not sure which one I'd visit first, but I'd plan for a May or June trip to Yosemite, when the waterfalls are at their zenith and September for Yellowstone and the Teton to witness these two magnificent parks during the foliage season.
And, as bonus for both, going those times means you'll avoid the summer crowds!
HowardR is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 11:12 AM
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The first time I ever went to Yosemite was when I was visiting my brother in California the end of September several years ago and there was not a waterfall in sight.It must have been in the middle of a drought! I was so disappointed.The second time was in May and the waterfalls were amazing.
letsgo39 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 12:35 PM
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We have been to around 20 National Parks. We don't have a favorite. But, to us Yellowstone is the most Complete Package. If I were to only visit one National Park in my life, that would be the one for me. It has a little bit of everything. Maybe not the jaw dropping beauty of other parks, but the Tetons nearby are pretty hard to beat. Yellowstone has a lot of wildlife, great historic lodges, and some good waterfalls (although not those like Yosemite). Everyone goes to Yosemite Valley and it is crowded. Yellowstone is divided up into several different areas that everyone visits, making it not as crowded. But, just pick one, and it will make you want to go to the other one even more.

I've been to all the places you mentioned but haven't been to Bryce or Cap Reef. So your CR statement makes me want to go there even more. I want to camp in Fruita. We loved Arches and Zion. Rafted the Grand Canyon and that was a different experience as well.
spirobulldog is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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I would avoid either place in July and August.
spirobulldog is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 11:40 PM
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I'll throw my vote in for Yellowstone as long as you make it 7 days (or more).

If I have to pick a favorite national park, it would be Yellowstone.

utahtea is offline  
Nov 19th, 2008, 11:36 AM
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I'd do Yellowstone and the Tetons. The Grand Tetons was my favorite park of all that I have been to. It is just beautiful and Jackson Hole is a neat town. Yellowstone is also wonderful.

I certainly would not discourage you from Yosemite and you really can't compare the parks, they are so different. I've been to Yosemite and don't have to go there again, but there are people that love it and go many many times. I could go back to the Tetons over and over again.
crefloors is offline  
Nov 19th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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crefloors, I'm with you all the way. The Teton is our favorite as well! Its beauty and majesty are not to be equaled anywhere!
HowardR is offline  
Nov 25th, 2008, 06:08 PM
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You guys are great! I knew I could get the info I needed to get me started. I tried to post this about a week ago and it never showed up, so hopefully those of you that helped will see my gratitude.

We almost booked a last minute flight to head out west this weekend but couldn't find a friendly airfare.

I think I will start planning a trip to Yellowstone and the Teton's! Can't wait.

spirobulldog- the thing I loved about CR was the rawness of it. It was the first place I really felt like I was out in the wild west, and the history there to support that was great. The campground looked nice and make sure if you go to do so when the fruit trees in the orchard are producing! It's all the fresh fruit you can eat for free, or $5 for a basket. Great place.

Thanks again everyone! And for those just seeing this feel free to add on, I'll be keeping track.
SLWR is offline  
Nov 26th, 2008, 03:01 AM
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hey, it doesn't get anymore Wild West than Buffalo taking over the highways in Yellowstone. LOL.
spirobulldog is offline  
Nov 26th, 2008, 04:21 AM
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The waterfalls are only in the late spring from the snow runoff.
I would choose Yosemite. Don't forget the Sequoias on the way in, and Tioga Pass on the way out to the East.
And I love Yellowstone, but love the Tetons even more. We are blessed in this country with great places for scenery--and National Parks to preserve them.
OP, put the Badlands on your list too!!
Gretchen is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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Okay, I do plan to get to Yosemite eventually, but I'm thinking we will do Yellowstone/Tetons this year. My new question:
My wife has a real job so we have to be mindful of vacation days. We'd like to plan this trip around a free 3 day weekend to save a vaca day.

How's the area around Labor Day? And we would go Sat-the next Sun, so we have some time to play with, though I know we won't see it all, I'm thinking if the holiday weekend is busy we could go to the farther areas then and head back later in the week?


And I sadly realize the waterfalls won't be as great then, but like I said, we have to plan this around my wife's free time....

Thanks in advance!
SLWR is offline  
Dec 15th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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If you like Grand Teton NP then add Alaska to your short list of must sees. It is mountain range, after mountain range, after mountain range of Teton look alikes, with those along the coast dropping straight into the bluest ocean you have ever seen. The abundance of glaciers, wildlife and wide open spaces is just amazing. Alaska is truely eye poppingly beautiful.
Barblab is offline  
Dec 16th, 2008, 05:18 AM
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If your last inquiry is about Yosemite...The park will be crowded Labor Day weekend. It will likely be hot and dry in the Valley. You could split the week up between the high Sierra camps and the Valley. Make reservation early for the most comfortable rooms at any of the accomodations in the Valley. I would plan as many of the weekdays after the holiday than you can in the Valley. It will be less crowded than during the week. If I had to pick a holiday weekend (to save vacation days) to visit, I would pick Memorial Day, as the falls would be surging and the dogwood trees would probably still be in bloom.

The High Sierra is another world than the Valley. Fewer people, 9,000 + elevations, high mountain meadows, amazing granite peaks, and some of the most beautiful hiking in the world. It is open usually from mid to late June through August and weather depending into the first two weeks of September. Getting reservations at Tuolumne Meadows can be a little tricky. There are less than 50 tent cabins, so reservations a year in advance are the norm. I have gotten in on last minute cancellations a few times. I have also stayed at Tioga Pass Resort a few times, which is out of the park right at Tioga Pass on 120.
iamq is offline  
Dec 16th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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Yosemite Park was so crowded on a Memorial Day weekend that you could not find a parking spot or a bathroom. Have been to Yellowstone several times and it is very crowded - especially on holidays. I would recommend not going on a holiday weekend.
Two years ago there was still snow in June in Yellowstone. And we have been snowed on when camping in Yellowstone in July.
Both parks are beautiful and not to be missed.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Hey, just bumping this up, looking for any more info on Yellowstone and Grand Teton's at this point.

We're still thinking Sept.

If there are normally crowds at YS, should we hit GT first and then head north into YS?

Also considering flying into Salt Lake City, to save some on airfare. Has anyone else done this? Is it worth the savings?

All help is appreciated!

SLWR is offline  

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