Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Yosemite or Yellowstone or another Western National Park choice for summer?

Yosemite or Yellowstone or another Western National Park choice for summer?

Old Oct 16th, 2023, 06:18 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 186
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yosemite or Yellowstone or another Western National Park choice for summer?

Need advice based on my travel abilities . . . decades ago my husband and I took long road trips, camping in national parks and monuments, especially in the Southwest. Now, I still want to visit national parks, especially ones I've never been to, but now I need parks that I get to by plane, that I can enjoy without a car. This past summer I had a great trip to Glacier National Park; I was able to get an airport shuttle from Kalispell to McDonald Lake Motel. I rode the national park shuttle for 2 days (which had a stop right outside my motel), getting to various places, and then was part of a 5 day Road Scholar tour group (staying in the same motel) that got me on group hikes and to the eastern side of the park.

I wonder if something remotely similar could be possible for other parks, such as Yosemite (which I've never visited) or Yellowstone/Grand Tetons (which I visited 40+ years ago). Road Scholar has tours to both places but they are short and I want some time on my own, to explore to add to them or to another similar tour. Does anyone have experience with these 2 parks and would know if there are shuttles or reliable park transportation that could make this possible? Or even a lodging option that would have lots of trails and views from the immediate area?

I realize Grand Tetons and Yellowstone are very large and not the same but still hopeful.

I am open to another of the parks in California that have redwoods (that's one thing I want to see). I am flexible about dates but figured summer, through mid or late September, was best for temperatures. Glacier National Park was terribly crowded (1st week in August) this year and I am guessing that is true of all the big parks now.

Thanks for your advice!
CLBtravel is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2023, 08:00 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 22,965
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yosemite has shuttles on the valley floor and going to Sentinel Dome


The tree no longer exists.
Michael is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2023, 09:18 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 72,726
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Shuttles in both parks. ✔️

Easy ro spend time on your own ✔️

When in summer can make a big difference in Yosemite. July and August get very crowded, and by August many of the waterfalls are mere trickles or even dry. May / June on the other hand are less crowded and the watherfalls are gushing.

As for Redwoods, if you mean Coastal redwoods -- Redwood National Park is nice but actually the many California State Parks are better. They got there first and sewed up the most magnificent stands of old growth trees.

For Sequoia Gigantea (the trees in the Sierra Nevada - and entirely different secies) there is Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP, or Calaveras Big Trees SP which is nearer to Yosemite. There are some Sequoia in Yosemite as well - the Mariposa Grove.

Coastal are the really REALLY tall ones in mostly lush coastal settings. The Sierra variety are the really REALLY big around ones mostly in drier/rocky settings
janisj is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2023, 09:35 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 299
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yellowstone only has private bus tours such as provided by Xanterra Parks Resorts. Not sure if they would take you to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone which has a steep, deep canyon with waterfalls and the Lamar Valley which has roaming herds of bison and elk plus wolves feeding on them. Perhaps the most majestic of the mt. ranges in the Lower 48 are the Teton Mts. You'll be awe-struck by their beauty. You can fly into Jackson.
PrairieHikerI is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2023, 06:15 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yosemite has shuttles on the valley floor and going to Sentinel Dome
...running for a fee ($40-50) some months of the year, did not run in 2022 or 2023, maybe next year is the charm? It's still a high altitude climb from the shuttle stop so not sure what your abilities are.

The free shuttle on the Yosemite Valley floor isn't particularly well-run but it works. My experience is that it is best to let a standing room only shuttle pass hoping an emptier one comes right after. There is a private shuttle (YARTS) to and from the park and connecting to 2 cities with airports. It would be conceivable to use YARTS to the Mariposa Grove one day and spend the night, then on to Fresno for the airport another day, if you want to see sequoias in Yosemite. Personally I find the sequoias to be more impressive to view than coastal redwoods which grow in dark groves where the top half of the trees is not visible. Sequoia trees grow in brighter and less crowded conditions where the whole tree can be admired.

A lot depends on your ability to get accommodations in either park that coincide with the group tour dates for the tour that you select. Yosemite for summer 2024 will be difficult, Yellowstone won't be easy either.
tom_mn is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2023, 06:54 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 186
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks! From a quick look, it seems that Yosemite has the best shuttle system. It may have its problems like Glacier's did (very late with the morning pickups because of high demand) but great to know that some options exist. I went on Xanterra's website for Yellowstone but didn't see anything about them operating tours. I will check deeper into it.
CLBtravel is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2023, 07:00 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 186
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you. I've never been to Yosemite so this is very helpful. Was not aware of the differences in the 2 sequoias. And yes, accommodations to coincide with group tour may be impossible. I was very lucky with Glacier that it did work out with the same motel. I should have started several months earlier on this!

Yes, hiking with altitude climbs will be a problem for me. I live close to sea level. One reason for going to Glacier before my tour started was to get used to altitude. I'm flying out of Atlanta, too, so almost need a day to ensure that connections work and I arrive on time!

CLBtravel is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2023, 10:14 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Was not aware of the differences in the 2 sequoias
Here is reading on the 3 redwoods (using the term a bit loosely), there's a Chinese "redwood" that is a common ornamental on the East Coast. All 3 trees are really different, only thing in common is the reddish color of the wood and that they are distantly related.

https://www.nps.gov/redw/planyourvis...s-2014-508.pdf
tom_mn is offline  
Related Topics

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -