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Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

minneapolis
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41 posts
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Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

I would like to take my mother to Yellowstone over the week of October 10th, driving from Minneapolis. I am reading lots of things closed like lodging and roads. Would this still be an enjoyable time to go, I know we are limited to things we can see in a wheelchair, however I beleive most of the main attractions are still open, we may just have to do a bit of driving? I would also like to know if there is a preferred route from MPLS to the Park if anyone has taken it before. Any suggestions/ideas are welcome, since I can't seem to find a telephone number for the park where I can actually ask a live person.

Driggs, Idaho
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for Grand Teton National Park
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1. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

Hi There,

Hopefully you're weather will be nice. That will be your biggest possible concern as it can change on a dime.

Here is some information on Accessibility in Yellowstone:

nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm

Billings, Montana
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for Yellowstone National Park
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2. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

All roads will be open during the October 10th week with the exception of the Canyon to Tower road which closes for the season on October 11th. However, any road can be temporarily closed due to snowy conditions.

You are correct in the fact that most facilities and services will be closed during the October 10th week. The only lodging inside the park that will be open is the Old Faithful Snow Lodge (closes on 10/23).

The only area to eat inside the park during the October 10th week is the Old Faithful Snow Lodge Dining Room (closes on 10/23) and the Old Faithful Snow Geyser Grill (closes on 11/6). The Mammoth Terrace Grill closes on 10/16.

Availability for gas inside the park will be very limited. Only Canyon and Old Faithul will have gas but they close on 10/16.

You might luck out and get lodging at Old Faithful if there are any cancellations. You will need to call Xanterra directly to see. You can also stay at either Gardiner or West Yellowstone. Gardiner makes a good base for exploring the northern part of Yellowstone and West Yellowstone makes a good base for exploring the southern part of the park. West Yellowstone has more amenities.

The good news is that all natural attractions are open during the time you will be there and there will be fewer people. Weather can and will be very unpredictable. Be prepared for any type of weather and be prepared to be flexible in your daily plans. If any of the above is a concern and you can wait until next summer to take a trip you might want to do that.

Deb

Appleton, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

This is a really challenging time to go for anyone, let alone with someone who is wheelchair bound. Be prepared for any weather (sun, rain, snow, cold). Weather in the mountains changes quickly. There are some park sites that have nice board walks - but you will need to be very fit to assist getting the wheelchair through it all. Bring lots of clothing layers, fleeces, raincoats, winter hats and gloves, so if the weather turns, you will be prepared. Plan carefully, keep snacks/drinks in the car and keep your gas tank full because many of the usual services will be closed. Be flexable and well prepared and you can make it work. Also - bring books in case you are hotel bound for the day (no TV's in the park).

As for driving, I usually take I 90 to Buffalo, WY. This does go through the Big Horns - be cautious if the weather goes bad, but will likely be fine in Oct, - Hwy 16 to Worland, north to Greybull the west to Cody and into the park. It is 2 VERY long days to YNP from Minneapolis. Coming from WI we usually take 3 days.

Green Valley...
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4. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

Here come the wet blanket comments, Sam, and I apologize in advance.

Agree with KamperGirl, it is a very long drive; according to Google Maps, Minneapolis to Canyon Village, 1,013 mi, 16 hours 24 mins, I-94 W.

And that is relentless driving time over two, as noted, days, without adding time for stops.

One way.

Which, given a week, at best leaves you with 3 days to see YNP.

When the daylight hours are getting fewer.

And facilities and services are closing or closed.

And there are some 300 miles of road in the park.

And the weather could turn sour.

As Deb suggested, could you wait until summer? I'll add, perhaps with a few more days?

I think you are a great guy for planning this trip; I would not recommend it in this season, with only a week.

Edited: 15 September 2011, 06:02
minneapolis
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5. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

I appreciate all of the comments. I will have to re-read and review. I ususally take my mom somewhere over the Thankgiving week due to limited vacation days availalbe from work, however, we both have wanted to see this for awhile and neither of us are getting any younger. I'm a girl by the way :) And I am pretty good with getting my mom around in the wheelchair, we usually make it work. I know we probably need more time, but if we can get lucky and see anything that's cool, it will be worth the trip because it's about making memories with my mom and not necessarily seeing everything. Hopefully we have the abilitly go go and see what we can and that the weather cooperates, but I hear the comments, you never know and we are from Minnesota, so we are kind of used to that, although, I'm sure not to that extreme as it is in YNP. The thing I was concerned with is which way to go to get to the park because mapquest said there is a seasonal restriction road advisory and instead of taking you to the northern entrance it takes you down around the southern entrance and adds like 4 hours to my trip! This is the part where I don't know how to tell if I can take the original route and come in from the north or if I need to take an alternative route and come in to the south? THANKS for your quick comments!

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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6. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

Oh, thanks for letting us know what Mapquest said. Interestingly, the North entrance is the ONLY entrance that is open all year around! The road across the N. end of the park leads to Silver Gate and Cooke City MT and in the winter this is their only access. At that time of the year, barring weather problems, all 4 entrances are open. The park closes 11/7 but the road thru Mammoth and across the Lamar Valley remain open. You could come in the East entrance or the North entrance whichever suits your lodging choice.

It is an advantage that you are from MN as opposed to say, San Diego or Key West!! You will have your winter emergency kit in your car and it seems as if you have enough sense to bail if weather turns bad.

I understand completely making memories with your Mom before it is not possible any more.

Pam

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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7. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

...and PS, if the weather is still good, you might want to try to come in or out of the S. entrance if your Mom has not seen the Tetons. The view just from the highway thru Jackson and up to Yellowstone are amazing.

Pam

minneapolis
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8. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

Good advice, we haven't seen the Tetons and whatever we can see via the car or just getting out of the car and not having to go all that far is a blessing!!! THANKS!

KCK
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9. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

Take the extra 4 hours drive time and come in the south entrance, or leave that way. The Tetons are gorgeous and all you have to do is pull over to enjoy them.

From the Xanterra web site it looks like rooms are still available at Snow Lodge for the 12th, 13th and 14th. If it might be a once in a lifetime trip, you may want to consider staying there. Nice to be able to go right outside your door to see the geysers.

minneapolis
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10. Re: Yellowstone in early October with wheelchair bound individua

Oh I was actually hoping that I could come in through ND/Montana and in the North side (barring that advisory) and then go home though the south, so we can see the Tetons and take a different drive home through Wyoming and South Dakota.