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-   -   Yellowstone in 9 days in Mar/Apr (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/yellowstone-in-9-days-in-mar-apr-966814/)

manishbit Feb 13th, 2013 08:32 PM

Yellowstone in 9 days in Mar/Apr
 
Hi,
I would like to make a 1 week trip to Yellowstone NP and nearby surroundings. I would be with my wife and 6 month old son and planning to do this in Mar/Apr

Considering that I will be traveling from NJ, can someone suggest how best can I spend my time and cover most places.

I also like driving and love photography and would like to cover some scenic byways.

Thanks
Manish

PaulRabe Feb 13th, 2013 09:20 PM

Yellowstone in March or April or even May will be a bit early. Check the closing dates for facilities here:
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisi...CP_JUMP_329760

Unless you are intending to be in an area with a lot of snow, most facilities and roads (and all trails) closed, and weather that can turn VERY nasty VERY quickly; then Yellowstone in March or April is not a place I'd recommend. Particularly if you're traveling from NJ and have a newborn in tow. The national parks of the desert southwest are just about perfect at this time, and have beautiful places for photography, so you may wish to consider another area to visit.

Just my two cents.

janisj Feb 13th, 2013 11:23 PM

I totally agree w/ PaulRabe. Yellowstone simply isn't an early Spring destination - especially w/ an infant.

Zion/South rim of the Grand Canyon and other SW parks would be great. But if you want Yellowstone, you'll want to delay your trip a couple of months.

Dayle Feb 14th, 2013 09:39 AM

M,

The roads in Yellowstone are closed for the winter (except for the very most northern section for a little ways. The snowmobile and snowcoach trips into the Old Faithful area have stopped running by then.

You need to plan for late May at the earliest.

I went up to the Tetons mid-May last year and had beautiful weather - BUT that was a completely abnormal, warm, and snowless year. Certainly not the type of weather to plan on for a long distance trip.

manishbit Mar 6th, 2013 04:58 PM

Thanks all for your responses. After going through the comments, I have been trying to make an earnest attempt to reschedule my visit to late May or later.

I have already covered Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands so want to cover Yellowstone and Grand Teton now

Few questions:
1. I may be asking too much, but does someone happen to have a day wise itinerary suggestion of how to spend each of these 7-8 days in Yellowstone and Grand Teton

2. From the following months - May/Jun/Jul/Aug , what time of the year am I more likely to get cheaper rates and/or lesser crowd?

3. I am even thinking of combining this as a Road trip i.e. fly from New Jersey to Denver, then drive to Yellowstone, through some scenic routes, and then spend time in Yellowstone/Grand Teton, before taking a return flight from some airport near to these NP. Feasible/Farfetched, any thoughts ?

Thanks,
Manish

PaulRabe Mar 6th, 2013 05:14 PM

2 - As the summer wears on, the tourists increase and bargains become harder to find. Thus, May will be the cheapest and least crowded, while August will be the opposite. May will also have almost all trails closed, but that will not be a problem unless you plan to get away from the road.

3 - Feasible, yes. Inexpensive, no. Your biggest problem is that renting a car in Denver and dropping it off far from Denver is going to cost a bundle in drop-off fees. Even if the car rental company says "No drop off fees," they're still going to zap you with a high daily rate. So I strongly recommend you fly into and out of the same city (perhaps Salt Lake City or Bozeman), doing the same with pick-up and return of your rental car.

ElendilPickle Mar 7th, 2013 10:19 AM

We visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone in early June. There was still some snow on the ground, and lodging in the Roosevelt area was not open yet. We still had a wonderful time; here is my trip report if you'd like to read a little about what we did.
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...d-gorgeous.cfm

Lee Ann

WhereAreWe Mar 7th, 2013 10:21 AM

July is the busiest month, followed by August, June and then May. May by far has the least number of visitors, but you have to remember the roads don't open til mid-May or later, so most of the May visitors are in the last half of the month. I would say late May and early June are going to be the least crowded of all your options...but keep in mind that snow plowing is 1-2 weeks behind schedule due to budget cuts so early June would probably be a safer bet.

Visitation stats are here (hope the link works):
https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSRepor...onth?Park=YELL

And again, I can't emphasize enough that most of the May visitors are in the last half of the month, with most of those in the last week for Memorial Day week(end). So early June might even be less crowded than going late May and running into Memorial Day visitation.

I don't see the point in dropping your car off and flying out of a much smaller airport near the parks. Grand Teton is only about 8 hours from Denver - and any flight from Jackson Hole is probably going to just be a connecting flight to Salt Lake City or Denver...so you'd pay more for the drop-off, pay more for the flight from a small airport, and not gain much in time savings due to a connecting flight and layover. Feel free to explore those options if you want but I'd be surprised if found airfare and rental costs to be reasonable for the amount of time you'd save.

Lodging - it is clearly best to stay in the park for Yellowstone as you'd waste too much time driving back and forth from the bordering communities. I don't think they have cheaper rates for any of the summer months, but lodging does fill up quickly. They may even already be booked, you will have to check and keep calling back every day until you can find lodging in the park for your dates. So figure out your dates ASAP and get to work on booking lodging.

boom_boom Mar 7th, 2013 10:41 AM

Local media reports Yellowstone is looking to delay some snow removal and road opening because of the budget cuts, Be sure to check the latest status when you travel.

jnjfraz Mar 7th, 2013 12:30 PM

They are closing Yellowstone this week for the winter snow tracks and snowmobiles. May is typically the month that the park reopens. It has however been a very light snow year so maybe it would open in April.

June is a wonderful month to visit the park if you like all the baby animals and there are less tourists.... bit it can still be below freezing in the evening.

jnjfraz Mar 9th, 2013 10:44 AM

Your cheapest fare would probably be Salt Lake City or Bozeman.

manishbit Mar 20th, 2013 05:17 PM

(Administrator - Please let me know if I need to post this question as a separate thread)

Hi All,

Slight change in plans. I am now planning to combine Yellowstone/Grand Teton with Glacier NP in the last week of May

First 3-4 days in Yellowstone and the next 3-4 in Glacier. Please provide some suggestions

Thanks,
Manish

janisj Mar 20th, 2013 09:46 PM

I'm not a moderator- but no, there's no need to start a new thread unless you want to. This is really just modification/more discussion of your original plans.

My one concern is the last week in May is Memorial Day. I haven't visited that time of year, but w/ more of the park territory open and the holiday my guess is you'd need to book early. But maybe others have detailed advice.

manishbit Mar 20th, 2013 11:25 PM

Thanks, this is the only time which I will get to visit this region so I want to make most out of it.

My tentative plan is as follows

5/24- arrive Bozeman
5/25 to 5/28 - yellowstone and grand Teton (need help on the breakup)
5/29 - drive to Glacier NP
5/30-5/31 - Glacier NP
6/1 - drive back for my return flight on 6/2 ( departure location TBD)

Regards
Manish

manishbit Mar 26th, 2013 08:51 PM

Hi All,

Thanks again for all your detailed inputs, it helps a lot, which is why I am now planning my trip in the week of 4th July.

Below is my itinerary, a few milestones are yet to be planned/booked so would need your help again.

Day 0 – 6/28 FRI Land at Bozeman, MT / Billings, MT and stay overnight at a nearby hotel
Day 1 – 6/29 SAT What all should I cover this day?. Staying overnight at Old Faithful Inn
Day 2 - 6/30 SUN What all should I cover this day?. Staying overnight at Lake Yellowstone Hotel
Day 3 – 7/01 MON What all should I cover this day?. Staying overnight at Canyon Lodge
Day 4 – 7/02 TUE What all should I cover this day?. Staying overnight at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

Day 5 – 7/03 WED Drive to Glacier NP, stay overnight at some Hotel in West Glacier
Day 6 – 7/04 THUR Do Chair Lift rides at Whitefish. What all should I cover this day? Stay overnight at some Hotel in West Glacier
Day 7 – 7/05 FRI “Going to the Sun Road”. Stay Overnight at “Rising Sun Motor Inn” on East Glacier
Day 8 – 7/06 SAT What all should I cover this day?. Stay Overnight at “Rising Sun Motor Inn” on East Glacier
Day 9 – 7/07 SUN Leave for Great Falls Airport for return flight

Apart from the questions mentioned above, I have the following queries as well

1. Between Day 1 and Day 3, where and how do I fit Grand Teton National Park?
2. Which are the scenic routes that I should take during my entire 9 day trip?
3. I can only do a couple of short hikes/treks during my trip so which ones should I go for?
4. Any other Tips and Tricks to make our vacation more enjoyable ?

I truly understand that I will just be “touching” upon the places….. so still trying to make the best achievable and enjoyable plan !!

Thanks,
Manish

manishbit Mar 29th, 2013 09:53 AM

Thanks All. Wanted to throw in another question.

- Instead of staying in Old Faithful on Day 1, can I go further south and stay near Grand Teton so that I could cover that. Since I will be travelling so much, how much sense does it make to stay at OFI...also there is the fact that it is pretty expensive

-Thanks

kayd Mar 29th, 2013 11:48 AM

As you move from one hotel to the next, you make multiple stops along the way to see the sights (geysers, canyon overlooks, bubbling pools, etc.) and take short hikes along your route. You have made reservations for the Yellowstone lodges, I am guessing (if you haven't, drop everything and get started on that right away, because you may need to alter your plans to match hotel availability).
The paved roads through the parks are the scenic routes you will take. I cannot help with the Glacier portion, but overall I think you may be trying to cram too much territory into too little time, especially as you can't predict the baby's moods and needs.

manishbit Jun 16th, 2013 10:49 PM

Thanks everyone for your inputs. The time has finally come and this is my final itinerary. Please suggest some ideas on Photography, Scenic Routes, Wildlife Watching, Small hiking (Yellowstone & Glacier NP only) ideas and Places to see.
Day 0 – 6/28 FRI --> Land at Billings, MT and staying overnight at a nearby hotel
Day 1 – 6/29 SAT --> Long Drive to “Teton Village” via the Beartooth Highway (Please suggest the best possible scenic route). See Grand Teton NP and staying overnight at Teton Village
Day 2 - 6/30 SUN --> See Grand Teton National Park. Staying overnight at Lake Yellowstone Hotel
Day 3 – 7/01 MON --> What all should I cover this day?. Staying overnight at Canyon Lodge
Day 4 – 7/02 TUE --> What all should I cover this day?. Staying overnight at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel
Day 5 – 7/03 WED --> Drive to Glacier NP, staying overnight at Apgar Village Lodge in West Glacier
Day 6 – 7/04 THUR --> What all should I cover this day? (Is Chair Lift rides at Whitefish worth covering). Stay overnight at Apgar Village Lodge in West Glacier
Day 7 – 7/05 FRI --> “Going to the Sun Road”. Staying Overnight at “Rising Sun Motor Inn” on East Glacier
Day 8 – 7/06 SAT --> What all should I cover this day?. Staying Overnight at “Rising Sun Motor Inn” on East Glacier
Day 9 – 7/07 SUN --> Leave for Missoula Airport for return flight in the evening at 7 PM

regards
Manish

Katzgar Jun 17th, 2013 03:11 AM

you are over thinking it...

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”

Colin Powell

J62 Jun 17th, 2013 01:34 PM

When are you planning to slow down and enjoy the places you are visting?


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