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Bighorn National Forest and Yellowstone National Park end of May

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Jul 5th, 2013, 07:38 PM
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Bighorn National Forest and Yellowstone National Park end of May

Wondering what the driving conditions are typical at the end of May or first week of June?
We have been to Yellowstone, but might make a trip through again. This time of year might be iffy on what roads would be open. Any ideas? We were there on a June 15-20 a few years ago and the only road that was closed was between Tower and Canyon area.

Any thoughts on this. We have reservations at Custer State Park for 5 days, but are debating about seeing Battle of Little Bighorn, Devils Tower, Spearfish Canyon, Bighorn National Forest(just drive thru). It would seem a shame to be that close to YS and not visit it again. Also debating about adding a day at Theodore Roosevelt NP.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 05:58 AM
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No one is able to predict the weather. The best you can do is to make plans and be willing to modify them.

All roads were open by May 23rd this year -
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hours.htm

The website will let you follow the progress of the plows.
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/plowing.htm

We were there earlier in June three years ago and all roads were open. I'd plan the trip with the intentions of staying in the park - if I could get a park room.

When you are on the Cody side, be sure to drive out to the little town of Meeteetse. It looks like a western set and is where Amelia Earhart planned to live after her flight. They have a nice little local museum but the biggest draw is probably by the chocolates made by the cowboy chocolatier -
http://www.meeteetsewy.com/

http://www.meeteetsechocolatier.com/
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Jul 6th, 2013, 06:07 AM
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One of the prettiest drives of our trip was unexpected. Headed east from Cody to Little Big Horn, Hwy 14 through Bighorn National Forest is a gorgeous drive -
http://www.scenicdrivesusa.com/node/228

There's a hint of Sedona, beautiful canyon with falls and we saw a lone moose crossing the road. Just beautiful.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 08:00 AM
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starrs,

I have done a lot of research on the area, but somehow didn't see anything about the chocolate/cowboy. Thanks.

I know its somewhat of a crapshoot with Yellowstone. I was a bit worried about the drive over Bighorn National Forest(the roads/weather). It is likely that I would just do the portion in Custer and that my wife and daughter(daughter will be 20 years old by then) would do the rest on their own. This is the only time we can actually go anywhere as a family because my daughter is adamant about finishing college in 2.5-3 years, so she likes to go the entire month of June, July, and part of August. She graduated high school last year and she has 68 hours already.

I would suspect that part of the road in YS would be closed. But probably really wouldn't totally know until a couple of weeks before we went. I would have things pretty planned out, so not sure I really want to include YS. Seems slightly risky
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Jul 6th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Hello Spirobulldog,

End of May 1st week of June should be ok weather wise. It has happened a rare blizzard but the snow does not stick. It will be chilly tho so hoodies & jeans work well.

If you plan on going East on 14 from Sheridan (medium size town)over the Bighorns to Greybull (tiny town with 2 gas stations, a grocery store and very few restaurants, 1 decent old Trucker hotel), then to Cody (good size cowboy town) and then to East Entrance of Yellowstone weather wise should be ok.

Taking binoculars, you should be able to see wildlife.

There is a big uphill grade from Sheridan to the top of the Bighorns. There are wonderful wild big meadows, streams a nice lake seen from the road, lots of side roads for wandering, but 4 wheel drive is highly recommended as the ground is wet and the roads are rough). Lots of deer, moose and an occasional Elk, Bear. There are also cows free-pastured who stand in the middle of the road, so you do need to be cautious. Hitting any of these can be a serious accident and being in a 4 wheel drive will bode better, healthcare of any kind is an hour to 2 hours away... There is a windy downhill grade (check the brakes!)Shell Falls here. After Shell, there is a flat part of the Highway and if you watch close you will see a sign to a unpaved gravel road Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite on the left side of the road. You will feel like you are driving no where but you will eventually see the dig. Absolutely worth seeing as at one point in time the area was a giant salt water ocean and dinosaurs roamed the area; covered picnic tables but no other amenities. Sometimes there is a Volunteer there and he is an amazing wealth of knowledge.

Warning...do obey ALL speed signs. Trust me you will get a ticket. Also, if you drive early am like dawn to 9:00am or so or late dusk or dark, watch out for the animals. The antelope are hard to see and jump the fences.

Be sure to stop and get gas every chance. The 2 lane roads are good to drive but generally it is long distances without amenities. (Sheridan to Greybull 2 hours without stop, Greybull to Cody 1 hour, Cody to Yellowstone East Entrance 45 minutes - 1 hour)

FYI, Verizon cellphone gets the best receptions but some parts get even no Verizon cellphone so you are reliant on the goodwill of the locals who will help or get you help on the roads.

Cody has several restaurants and amenities...I like AmericInn hotels with decent breakfast, stuffed critters in the lobby and Bubba BBQ restaurant with a good salad bar in the parking lot. Great museum. Several gas stations and Wal-Mart Superstore with Subway to stop at and load up before going on to East Yellowstone Entrance which opened this year May 3.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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1JAR,

Thanks for the detailed info on Bighorn. That was just what I wanted.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 11:29 AM
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"I know its somewhat of a crapshoot with Yellowstone"

I don't think it's much of a crapshoot with Yellowstone.

Unless it's a very unusual year for snowfall, I think you can count on having the road in Yellowstone open in June.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 12:25 PM
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Your welcome Spiro!
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Jul 6th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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I guess, I'm basing it on our one visit to YS. The road wasn't fully open that year until June 15.
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