National Park solo trip

Old Oct 29th, 2023, 06:48 PM
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National Park solo trip

I am a man living in Southeast Michigan. I am planning a solo trip for the last week in June or later, in 2024. In case I need to make reservations immediately or plan a different trip, before all the campsites are reserved.

Which of these parks would be safer for me to travel solo to, or are they equally safe or unsafe: Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, or Great Smokey Mountains National park in Tennessee?

So far I am aware that I would have to buy bear spray when I arrive, and other wild animals could be dangerous too.

If I go to Tennessee, I probably would see a both cities and park(s). Nashville has a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

My assumption is that I would take a plane and then rental car, for either location.

Under 2-1/2 years ago, I took a solo trip to Sleeping bear dunes national park in Michigan, in the 2nd week of May. I camped there for 2 nights. I had a tent and 8 top-layers but I didn’t bring a sleeping bag, it was approximately in the 40’s at night, and I had a lot of trouble falling sleeping.

I am not interested in wildlife. My main interest would be unusual scenery – mountains, waterfalls, canyons, lakes, and so on.

In or near Yellowstone, I would probably be sleeping in a tent at a campground, because the hotels are too expensive for me. The cheapest hotel near Yellowstone is just under $113, probably not including some taxes and fees. Most hotels in the Yellowstone area are about $125 to $400 a night. I am vaguely aware that you are “not supposed to” hike solo, but I would want to do at least a little bit of walking each day, at least to compensate for possibly driving so much.

michaelpianko is offline  
Old Oct 30th, 2023, 03:47 AM
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You certainly will get interesting and varied scenery in Yellowstone. Southwest flys into Bozeman which is less than two hours from the north entrance to Yellowstone. Look for ranger led hikes if you are uncomfortable hiking alone.
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Old Oct 31st, 2023, 06:59 AM
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I've taken a few solo trips since 2001. Among my favorites are the ones where I took a train near my destination and then rented a car and stayed in motels or yurts. As for safety, I would consider Tennessee to be safer from all types of animals. The last night I remember spending in TN was in Sieverville which is close to Great Smokey Mt. NP without getting into the tourist trap of Pigeon Forge/Dollywood.
Another spot in TN I have visited was near Chattanooga. On Lookout Mountain- Chicamuaga.
Think about taking one of the early morning trains west from Toledo to Chicago and then taking an afternoon train out of Chicago. You could take the California Zephyr to Denver or even SLC and go from there. Another possibility is the Southwest Chief to Albuquerque and renting a car to go see the Grand Canyon an Sedona. For the Grand Canyon, we stayed in a cheap motel in Flagstaff.
East of Flagstaff we made a good stop in Winslow Arizona. Yes, there is a "corner" in Winslow with a statue of Glen Frey and a parked flat bed Ford. There is a good little restaurant across the street that is in an old bank building. The town jewelry store is in the bank vault.
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Old Oct 31st, 2023, 07:35 AM
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I've travelled solo many times with no problems. It's usually not as fun but still can be enjoyable if you have the right attitude. If you want mts., waterfalls, canyons, etc. you should go to Yellowstone. It has the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with fantastic waterfalls. Nearby are the Teton Mts. which are the most majestic mts. in the Lower 48. Yellowstone has grizzlies, wolves, elk and moose. The wolves won't bother you., but the other ones might if you get too close. Yes, have bear spray and a bell. Be sure to follow the safety guidelines for storing food. Get a sleeping bag and a mat. With the right attitude and preparation, you'll have a great time.
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Old Nov 1st, 2023, 07:29 AM
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If it is too late to reserve a campsite in the national park itself, you can usually find one in a surrounding national forest in a campground (first come, first served). Best to get there on a weekday mid-morning. As a last resort you can stay in a dispersed campsite in the national forest (without water or restrooms).
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Old Dec 22nd, 2023, 10:48 AM
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I think national parks are some of the best places to travel solo! Plenty of people around (especially at Yellowstone) but the scenery will be amazing for solo exploration. Renting a car will be best, and it sounds like you'll upgrade your gear this time to maybe bring a sleeping bag to be safe—making sure you have the proper gear will definitely be the best way you can prepare. Getting a campsite in the park will be tough, but there are sites like Hipcamp that offer inexpensive (and uncrowded) campsites just outside the park. Campflare also lets you set up free alerts to snag potential campsite cancellations within the park.
jenfuld is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 06:35 AM
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Paging Michael: Please come back and let us know your plans and if you made any reservations.
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Old Dec 24th, 2023, 01:25 AM
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If you scroll down a bit you will find Michael is doing a trip to the Smokies and has an extensive itinerary posted.
Gretchen is offline  
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