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Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

Ohio
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251 posts
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Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

I am starting to plan a trip to Yellowstone / Mt. Rushmore for Sept. 2011. I was wondering when is the best time to go? I want to try and avoid some of the summer crowds, but I also don't want it to be too cool / or have to deal with snow. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Wyoming & Sanibel
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1. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

Fall weather in Yellowstone is unpredictable and can change dramatically. I've been in the park on Labor Day week-end and have had it snow the entire time and I've been there on the third week in September and the temperatures were in the high 70s and low 80s and not a hint of frost in the mornings! In Yellowstone activities begin shutting down the beginning of September and most lodging, restaurants and shops are closed by the end of September. The earlier in the month the better chance for good weather, plus more lodging choices. You also need to get going on lodging in or around Yellowstone, we've had many posters recently who haven't been able to get in park lodging in September. There are often cancellations, so keep trying.

Ohio
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2. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

Thanks for the quick reply. I am actually looking at traveling next year, so I should have plenty of time / opportunities. I was not aware that things started shutting down at the end of September, so it sounds like earlier is better. I think I may want to wait until after Labor Day, but I'll see what else others have to say.

Iowa
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3. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

We went the second week of September, and thought that was a great time to go. Not very much in the way of crowds except at the most popular areas (Old Faithful, Canyon) ;and from what I've read those areas are almost always very busy no matter when during the spring/summer/fall you go. Hit them early in the morning if you want peace and quiet, as at those times very few tourists are up and about yet.

Weather was great when we were there. Highs in the 70s during the day, then it cooled down to the 30s at night. We had a bit of rain, but didn't mind it--in fact, it clears everyone out so the places we stopped at we had completely to ourselves--wonderful! Like the previous poster stated, the weather can and does change dramatically in Yellowstone--be prepared for everything!

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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4. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

See you are coming in 2011 so time to get that lodging in the park. Call Xanterra beginning the first of July this year. As I said on the Black Hills forum and agree with Shell_Net the first of Sept to mid Sept would be better weather wise and crowds will be down. Most schools start back the end of August so a lot of people finish their vacations by mid to late August. The Canyon area in YNP is the best and most centrally located for lodging.

Ohio
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5. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

Thanks for the responses. I am actually looking into a tour through CaravanTours, so lodging will be taken care of by them. I was really hoping to leave the weekend after Labor Day and this sounds like an ideal time to visit.

Billings, Montana
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6. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

Stay MID to LATE month...Stay in Gardiner Montana and bring your camera and binoculars. Plan on spending time in MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS - the ELK are in rut! They are bugling, sparing, and very very territorial of the cows they are trying to impress! That will make your trip a once-in-a-lifetime.

Yes, the weather does change on a dime, but just be prepared. Bring jackets/coats - socks and shoes (along with the flip flops) -

I am a local, I have a season pass, and have typically been to the park 6 or 7 times before the 4th of July. I rarely deal with Xanterra - once you get there, you will see why. Sometimes, its inevitable.

If you are looking for geothermal features, the lower loop is amazing - jump on www.nps.gov site - good information there.

Find out when sunrise and sunset are and plan on being OUT and on the road 30 minutes prior - Hayden Valley, Lamar Valley, Mammoth, between Tower Junction and Roosevelt are GREAT places to see bears. Sometimes they are far away, sometimes they cross the road in from of you. Just depends. And wolf sightings - best bet is to just ask around some of the rangers and other folks there. Dont be shy - If you come across a traffic jam and there are a lot of cars off the sides of the road, go ahead and ask someone walking by what they see. MOST PEOPLE will not mind telling you. If there is a park ranger in the middle of the jam, its likely to be a bear - but not always.

Good luck - have fun!

Green Valley...
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7. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

@ marci4tony, kind of left us all hanging when you said this:

"I rarely deal with Xanterra - once you get there, you will see why. Sometimes, its inevitable."

What do you mean?

Ennis MT
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for Yellowstone National Park, Ennis
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8. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

Thanks for asking that voyaging - I'm wondering the same thing.....

9. Re: Planning Trip Sept 2011 - early or late in the month?

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