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Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

Washington, DC
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Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

My fiance and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier National Parks for 2 weeks in September. Our plan is to tent camp wherever possible. Neither of us are a fan of huge crowds, particularly while we're camping/hiking. We're wondering what the crowds would be like in Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier during Labor Day weekend and the following week? Do the crowds die down the day after Labor Day? Or would we need to wait until the following week?

Also, does anyone have advice on good campgrounds in these parks for tent camping? We're looking for places that are quiet, relatively private and ideally has some good scenery.

Thanks in advance.

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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1. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

It's all beautiful, don't have to worry about that!

Curious, where are you flying into and out of? You started your post with YNP, then GTNP and end with GNP, which is a bit backward, but perhaps you knew that. Anyway, perhaps you want itinerary advice to maximize your two weeks?

These parks are so distant from urban America that the kids/families will have returned to school and the "crowds" evaporated. There still will be lots of folks, but nothing to be concerned about.

You might not want to plan a later September trip as you will be getting into seasonal weather changes.

Weather is the big "if" factor, so you'll want to tune into weather reports for all three parks; then you can decide if you'll want to drive to GNP, which is essentially a full day so you will have used two days of your trip traveling from YNP to GNP - unless your return flight is from that general area.

Have you looked at this website? You might want to check out reserved campground availability and, if necessary, grab one while awaiting further replies to your post. You can always change location. Canyon is the most central.

Website, Official Lodging and Tour vendor for Yellowstone National Park (Call them frequently, cancellations occur. Don't use other resources, they charge a service fee and, in the end, they have to call Xanterra themselves, which you can do for free.)

http://www.travelyellowstone.com/

I'm assuming you will have a rental car, correct?

Edited: 23 January 2010, 05:12
Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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2. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

I agree with voyaging and might add that you will not want to wait too far into Sept. to go to Glacier. From what I have read and been told (going there this summer) much of the park starts to close down after labor day. Early Sept. will be a great time to visit YNP and GT but it is a long days drive from YNP to Glacier.

PA
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3. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

In 2009 we spent the first week of September in Glacier park. It was great, with mild weather, but there were more people than I expected. If you hike you will get away from most crowds, except at Logan Pass. Don't miss the hikes in the Swiftcurrent Pass area, especially the short walk to Fishercap Lake. We went five times and saw moose 4 times and bears 3 times.

After the first week at Glacier, we went to Yellowstone and GTNP for the next two weeks. Again the first week was more crowded than we expected in all the main areas. The Canyon area and Old Faithful area was fairly crowded most days. Again, when hiking, you get completely away from the crowds. The last week we were there, we were elated to see that we had a lot of areas to ourselves. The weather was cold in the mornings with mild afternoons and we had a very enjoyable time. You will love it!

Washington, DC
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4. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

Thanks for all the advice.

You're right about the park ordering - I posted them in the wrong order. Our planned itinerary at this point is to fly into Jackson, spend 2 days in Grand Tetons, 4 days in Yellowstone, 1 day driving to Glacier, 5 days in Glacier and then fly home from Missoula. We are debating reversing the trip based on the expected weather. We will have a rental car for the trip.

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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5. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

Glacier NP is, as you know, very much a (spectacular) hiking park. If that is a strong focus, go for it! Otherwise, five days there might be a bit much.

If a bit much, you might consider another day or so in YNP, visit Cody, then GTNP and return.

Why a bit much? You can only drive the GTTSR so many times. There are other roads into the park that "dead end", but with incredibly beautiful ends. I love GNP, we are headed there again this summer, staying at Swiftcurrent, for 3 days as part of a longer trip. Backpacking there leads to incredibly beautiful country - but it's all beautiful.

Why YNP an extra day? Because there is so much to see and wait to see and the days are getting shorter.

Why Cody? See website, below.

Inside Page, Wildlife Viewing and Photography:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60999-c96653/Yellows…

Inside Page, Packing for Your Trip (This is applicable to your whole trip, everyone's trip, to these NPs, written by a trip advisor.)

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28973-c100586/Wyomin…

Two very worthwhile museums to visit:

Cody, WY – Buffalo Bill Museums (Do not underestimate this venue, for all ages.) And the rodeo if inclined.

www.bbhc.org/home/index.cfm…

North of Jackson

http://www.wildlifeart.org/

Edited: 23 January 2010, 16:49
Washington, DC
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6. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

We took your advice and adjusted the itinerary to have 4 days in Glacier and 5 in Yellowstone. Does anyone happen to know what times the Slough Creek, Tower Fall and Norris campgrounds fill up in the 9/11 - 9/15 time frame?

7. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Tetons/Glacier Labor Day Crowds

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