Yellowstone in June? Crowds, birds, weather?

Oct 28th, 2010, 06:31 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 470
Yellowstone in June? Crowds, birds, weather?

Hi - I'm just starting to research and Fodors forums are always a good resource. Deciding on timing for Yellowstone - 2 of us, "mature" adults, are into bird-watching, unusual scenery, day-hikes, wildlife. Would like to visit when the vegetation is out, the birds are abundant, the weather is decent for spending time outdoors without having to bundle against the cold, and the crowds are not at their highest. I'm not sure this combination is possible. I believe September is often thought to be a good month for fewer crowds and nice weather, but bird-watching (in general, and I assume at Yellowstone) often tends to be better in spring and early summer.

Just how crowded can I expect mid June to be? I'm also reading hints that it may be necessary to book accommodations "well" in advance. How far typically?

Any other general thoughts and recommendations would be great.
mat54 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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We went to Yellowstone early in June, just before all the schools closed for the summer. Wildlife was abundant and so were the new babies. We had cool nights and warm days; in fact, one morning we had to scrape the frost from our windshield. And yes, I had to book accomodations a year ahead of time to stay in the park. We stayed at Lake Yellowstone, Old Faithful Inn, and our favorite were the cabins at Roosevelt. (Sort of like camping with maid service!) We have been to several national parks and Yellowstone is definitely the most unique. is a wonderful trip.
Love2RV is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 10:16 AM
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I was in Yellowstone and Grand tetons the first week of Aug 2010. The weather was beautiful. It rained the last afternoon.

The waterfalls were great and so was the wildlife. Since I'm not a bird watcher I don't remember. Bison all over the place.

The only time the crowds were an annoyance was a Sunday afternoon (my fault) hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point in Grand Tetons.
Myer is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 11:38 AM
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Hidden Falls was crowded in June as well. Here are photos of our trip June 15th(5 day trip) from a couple of years ago.

The road opened the day we arrived, but a lot of the park had been closed the day before(due to snow). The Beartooth Hwy wasn't open and we had hoped to see that. I didn't swim in the firehole river or boiling river, because the snowmelt had it running way to fast to even consider getting in. However, I thought it was a fantastic trip. I did see some sort of pretty blue bird(in my photos) and an eagle or two. I think any season would be interesting in YS. I hope to go back, several times, to experience it at different time of the year. There are trade offs and risks depending on each month.

We stayed at Old Faithful Inn, Lake Hotel, and Roosevelt Lodge(cabins) and then at a cabin in Colter Village in the Tetons. Enjoyed all of them.

Get 1/4 mile from the road on any trail, in just about any park, and it isn't very crowded. I would suggest carrying bear spray and perhaps doing ranger-led hikes. Bears are there. We saw several on our trip. Hiking with just 2 people is slightly risky. At the same time, thousands of people hike there in groups of 2 every year and rarely is there a problem.
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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We spent part of the first week of June in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Some of the park lodging had just opened for the summer. We had cool weather and really enjoyed our time there. If you click on my screen name, you can read my trip report.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 03:42 PM
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I was a week behind the Pickles (and found their nesting owls). The first two weeks of June are great and not as crowded as the rest of the summer. Make reservations as far ahead as possible, especially for rooms IN the parks.
I have a trip report too. Finding the Pickles' owls was highlight of the trip.
starrs is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 05:18 PM
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I'd say about one year in advance for reservations. But if you are thinking of this June call tomorrow and see whats available. There is no penalty fees for canceling your reservation in Yellowstone, that is why it books up so fast, people arent worried about the commitment - they just want to get something in the books. There is a fee in Grand Teton, so you will see more availability.
I found the Xanterra folks to be really helpful and willing to spend a lot of time with you in the phone. They helped me pick my dates and lodgings based on availability in the park.
MiamiBeachMomma is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2010, 12:47 PM
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Posts: 470
Thanks. One year ahead for what I think of as the "shoulder season" surprised me (would have expected it for maybe late June to late August and holiday weekends). The little I've read so far seems to suggest that much of the lodging right in the park varies between "rustic" and basic, and probably over-priced for what you get. But I also have the impression that it might be better to stay right in the park anyway for a number of reasons. Any comments on that would be appreciated. And which of the park accommodations you would recommend, I understand there are several. And/or which outside locations and accommodations are best alternatives. I don't need luxury or fancy, but I do really like a certain degree of modern comfort, e.g. a good bed, and a bright not too cramped room. Thanks again.
mat54 is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 04:58 AM
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I think you're always better off inpark. You don't have to go there. You are there.

In these parks with such beautiful sunrise, sunsets and wildlife that are most visible early and late, being there makes for a lot less driving in the dark.

I stayed at Old Faithful Lodg, canyon cabins and Signal Mountain.

Because we did two hikes (plus Mt Washburn between Tower and Canyon) near Tower and went briefly to Lamar Valley, we could have moved 1 night to the Tower area.

But that would have meant another move and I wanted to stay in canyon.

So, being efficient isn't always about minimizing driving but changing locations as well.

If I went back again I'd probably consider the same places again as I wouldn't redo some of the hikes near Tower.

I thought Signal Mountain was a good choice. It's close to Colter Bay and Jenny lake and its own area is right beside Signal Mountain wildlife, Oxbow Bend and other great sights.
Myer is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 10:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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We (Mr.Pickle, our 15yo son, and I) spent one night in the Old Faithful Lodge cabins, one at the Mammoth cabins, and one in the Canyon Pioneer cabins. All worked well for us; each room was bright and comfortable.

The cabins at Old Faithful and Mammoth have sinks in the room, but no bathroom. The showers and toilets were a very short walk from our cabin and were always clean and well stocked. Canyon's Pioneer cabins have their own attached bathroom.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 05:57 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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We stayed at one of the cabins/motel at Lake Lodge. It was clean had its own bathroom with shower and basics. It was not too expensive and close to Lake Hotel where there was good dining.
emalloy is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 06:10 AM
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Some of the Old Faithful Lodge Cabins have bathrooms. We had one cabin with and one without. They are a good value. We were there in Early June and the weather was fine.
bigtyke is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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I really like Yellowstone in June--as other have said, it's not as busy and (usually) there are cool nights, warm days. Based on this, I advised my brother to take his family in June a few years ago. They had a foot of snow! So you never know.

Even though the accommodations in the park are not fancy, I really recommend staying inside the park. You will save lots of time driving, and when the daytrippers clear out in the evening, the park has a completely different feel. We loved driving in the early morning and at dusk to view animals. This is much easier if staying right in the park.

My favorite places to stay are the Old Faithful Inn and the Lake Hotel for their history and the Roosevelt Lodge cabins for their location--the quietest area and the best place to view wildlife.
Digbydog is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 10:25 AM
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We stayed exactly at the places that Digby recommend and we really enjoyed them. We stayed at a cabin in Colter Village in the Tetons and thought they were great as well.
spirobulldog is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960
Can be colder and rainier but your likely to see more animals (bears especially). This is from years of experience.
Connie is offline  

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