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Old 08-14-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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Well I called some lodging number and the run down for lodging closure is

Roosevelt Lodge - closes Sept 6! Dang thats the closest lodge to Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley - snow now what. That's a bit too soon for me to get there.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:42 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
the run down for lodging closure is

Roosevelt Lodge - closes Sept 6! ... snow now what.
Don't sweat the small stuff, You can get anywhere in Yellowstone in a few Hrs from West Yellowstone if necessary (snow / winter can delay that, but is very improbable). Find lodging at the available places and enjoy your stay.


You may be driving over the same roads a few times, but if it is your first visit you will not be bored with that.

Remember.... no trip will be perfect (you certainly know that if you have been stranded as a international or business traveler). Just enjoy the moment and enjoy where you 'light'.

Be flexible
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Don't sweat the small stuff, You can get anywhere in Yellowstone in a few Hrs from West Yellowstone if necessary. You may be driving over the same roads a few times, but if it is your first visit you will not be bored with that. Be flexible
Funny, I just posted a message in the Wyoming forum. I will re-post it here, as we did a two day trip and I found it enjoyable. We went in mid-Sept. 2007 and saw plenty of wildlife. You will need more than two days if you plan to take hikes down to waterfalls, hikes into the back country, Ranger programs, etc.. You might be able to fit a few in, but you will end the park at 8AM and likely be exiting around 8PM.

We stayed in W. Yellowstone, which is right next to west park entry. Our hotel offered one of those continental breakfast deals, a/k/a sugar breakfast. It was good enough for something light. We left early and our days went like this:

Day 1, North loop: Enter through west entry, like around 8AM. Drove to Norris, it was about 10:15AM. Looked around, took our pictures. After Norris, drove to Mammoth Hot Springs. According to my photos, we arrived in the Mammoth area around 11:36AM. We looked around, and ate lunch here. When we arrived, parking was still OK, but traffic had definitely picked up. After lunch we drove to the Tower-Roosevelt area. At 1:30PM, I was taking photos of the petrified tree in that area. We also drove out towards the Lamar Valley, but I have no idea how far we went. Drove back towards T-R, then south to Canyon Village, then back to W. Yellowstone, MT. We likely exited the park around 4:30PM.

Day 2, South loop: Entered the park again through west entry, likely entered around 8:15? We drove towards the Old Faithful area, and I believe we stopped along the way and visited a shop and saw some other thermal features. At 9:15, we were at Old Faithful. My last photo in the area was at 10:22. We then drove towards Grant Village and then up to Fishing Bridge. We stopped at one of those places around 12:41 because I have photos of the lake and inside of one of the visitor's center/info buildings at that time. We ended up eating a late lunch that day, stopping at Canyon Villiage. My guess it was around 1:30? At 2:40, we were at one of the waterfalls, not sure if it was the upper or lower falls. After this, we headed back towards W. Yellowstone going through Norris and Madison. Just before we exited the park, I got a shot of a bald eagle right at 4PM.

Our third day we visited the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery center in W. Yellowstone. A neat place, but only takes about an hour to two hours, there really isn't that much too it. We should have gotten in the van and driven down into Grand Teton. While the speed limits aren't that fast, if you don't run into any traffic, the drives aren't that bad at all. Get a map and look at my times for the different areas. It will give you an idea on how long various drives are. While we likely did speed somewhat in the park, I never did anything over five to ten MPH fast than the posted limit. We also never got into any traffic at all. Maybe had to slow down to 10MPH or so, but only for a block or so, then right back up to speed. Not animal jams either.


During this same trip, we also were in Rapid City about a seven days prior. We drove through Custer SP and also saw tons of wildlife. I would say that a Sept. trip might help with wildlife viewing??
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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I always like people who compare the various national parks. It is like comparing supermodels on beauty. They all have their strong points.

When I traveled to Yellowstone NP, we found a cheap fare into Salt Lake City and made the eight hour drive to West Yellowstone. There were three things that I expected to see: 1) beautiful mountain scenes with flowing mountain streams, 2) animals such as bison and elk, and 3) many burned areas from recent fires.

What blew me away were the huge number of geothermal areas throughout the park. Old Faithful may have been spectacular but would barely make my top ten in the park. The fields of calderas and the like were great.

The worst part of the park is traffic, especially during July and August. The traffic in June was not all that bad BUT the weather was not the greatest.

If you head to YNP, make a trip to Cody, WY on the eastern side of the park to see the Buffalo Bill Museum and the nightly rodeos.

Do realize that ANY drive May-September may require 5-30 minute waits as the Wyoming/Idaho/Montana road crews do their best to keep the roads in pretty decent shape. Generally, the flag men are really friendly and talkative.
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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Default Yellowstone

Sorry to read that some members had visited Yellowstone and found it disappointing. I drove from Jackson WY to the Entrance of Yellowstone and to Old Faithful, on a one day trip in mid October. My friend and I saw an abundance of wildlife (black bear with cubs by signal mountain, mule deer everywhere, Elk that stood so tall and still they resembled a statue, a wolf , grizzly bear, and so many buffalo that we had to wait for them to get out of our way). We were amazed at the scenery and wildlife, and it was absolutely fantastic. We kept seeing one animal after another at every turn, and we got out of our car frequently to take in the beautiful sights. Long after we have returned home we remain excited about this trip, and are still talking about our adventures. In my lifetime I will never forget the wolf who turned back to look at us from the hill, or the grizzly who was passing nose down following the scent of something right in front of our car. When I returned home I purchased several books about the wildlife in Yellowstone, as I was inspired to read and learn more. I have pictures and memories of a lifetime.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:31 AM
 
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Since this thread resurfaced I should post my thanks for everyone who gave me advice on this or the WY forum.
My trip went pretty smoothly, stayed at the Travel Lodge in Gardiner which was ok. The Hotwire tip about renting cars is key. I don't think I've ever driven so much in my life.
I think its hard not to on your first trip because you really don't know the distances involved and how the few roads work - but it is definately something for 1st timers to try to avoid. I was aware I was doing it, was exhausted and sort of depressed about it on day three - you really have to fight it and plan. But....the park is actually set up for driving, its not like they have benches set up at the pull outs.
Its a fairly long drive into and out of the main part of the park everyday from either Gardiner or West Yellowstone. From what I saw I thought the traffic on the road in from West Yellowstone may be worse but that could be the time of day I was around there. Driving in very early and out late I did not run into traffic - but it was also late September.
Yellowstone is an exceptional patch of wilderness and I have to commend the people who lobbied and fought for it to be made an area for all the public to enjoy. We owe those people an awful lot.
It was still pretty crowded in late September. I have read that the park is full and past full earlier and later in the season all the time. I cannot even imagine being their during peak times.

I did see people getting so close to wildlife I consider it harrassment. It was very disturbing to see so much of that. The rangers mostly go from bear jam to bear jam and there aren't enough to help protect the elk and bison from people getting to close, touching. I saw an elk trying to rest on the bank of the river , hemmed in by people a bare couple of feet away with rings of more people further out. There were tons of what I dubbed wildlife papparazzi everywhere.
Yellowstone is amazing, truly spectacular, the volcanic caldara, the rivers, the gorges, waterfalls - so many packed into one area. Personally though I will seek out less crowded, though less spectacular places in the future.

Last edited by Giesela; 12-19-2010 at 08:44 AM..
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:04 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
... stayed at the Travel Lodge in Gardiner which was ok. The Hotwire tip about renting cars is key. I don't think I've ever driven so much in my life. ...
Thanks for the follow-up, that is what will help others.

FWIW, I have had my worst experiences in Travel Lodge (hopefully a coincidence) I never stay in them now that I travel via guest homes. ( I would rather sleep well and drive further)

Driving in the great western states takes on a whole new meaning. I used to have a 863 mile newspaper route (daily !!. not by bicycle ). Many folks have to drive 1- 2 hrs @ 70 mph for groceries and medical care. Yellowstone can be tediously slow driving.


Quote:
Yellowstone is amazing, truly spectacular, the volcanic caldara, the rivers, the gorges, waterfalls - so many packed into one area. Personally though I will seek out less crowded, though less spectacular places in the future.
While you didn't have the extra time on this trip, taking a river or horse excursion is really a plus for those wanting a more personal / quiet encounter with the 'Parks'. Also having a plan everyday to 'get-away'. I often quiz the rangers as to where they go on their days off.

Some very low key areas I've enjoyed.
Lassen, Redwoods, and Sequoia CA
Great Basin, NV
Bryce, UT
Snowy Range, WY (And Bighorns / Burgess Jct) also 'Back country' Yellowstone and Tetons. You will never know there is anyone else in the park! (except getting to the parking lot... I do that before and after daylight)

I have been in some remote and quiet areas of the Smokies and Acadia too.

For even greater solace and beauty consider Canadian Parks off season. (be cautious for closures and travel WARM.)
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
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We went to Yellowstone this past October, the 2nd week, and it was fantastic. Past the vacation season, no traffic, no crowds, terrific roads, perfect weather, lots of wildlife. We stayed in West Yellowstone at a motel that was good and convenient to everything. Lot's of nice pictures.
The only complaint was the stupid tourists stopping their vehicles in the middle of the road taking pictures of nearby wildlife. Not only blocking the road but a danger to everyone nearby.
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Some very low key areas I've enjoyed.
Lassen, Redwoods, and Sequoia CA
Great Basin, NV
Bryce, UT
Snowy Range, WY (And Bighorns / Burgess Jct) also 'Back country' Yellowstone and Tetons. You will never know there is anyone else in the park! (except getting to the parking lot... I do that before and after daylight)
If you are looking for other remote and silent places:

Ruby Meadows, Tuscarora, and Lemoille Canyon outside of Elko, NV
Capitol Reef, UT
Tecopa Hot Springs, CA
Big Bend, TX
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:09 PM
 
Location: West Coast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
S
Yellowstone is amazing, truly spectacular, the volcanic caldara, the rivers, the gorges, waterfalls - so many packed into one area. Personally though I will seek out less crowded, though less spectacular places in the future.
Ever been to less crowded and still somewhat spectacular redwoods?

Click on some of the images on this redwood page, or find the albums too:

The Giant Information Page about Giant Coast Redwoods

There's pics of Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt, Hyperion near Lost Man Creek, Prairie Creek by Orick, Grove of Titans close to Hiouchis, an elk prairie and more. Some off the beaten path and some easily accessible.

Some say that the more off-season it is, the better the hiking. Also good is:

http://www.redwoodhikes.com
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