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Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

Montreal, Canada
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Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

As early as now, I am already planning our trip to both national parks. Here is the plan:

1. Travel the first week of September 2014 ( week of Labor Day)

2. Stay overnight in Jackson Hole, WY

3. Drive to GTNP and stay overnight

4. From GTNP, drive to YNP. Plan to stay 5 days in YNP

5. Back to Jackson Hole for our return flight

Questions:

1. From GTNP, where do you suggest that we go? Go West, where the Old Geyser and do the loop? Or, we should go to East and do the loop?

2. If we opt to see the Old Geyser first, where do you suggest that we stay so we can do the loop?

3. Since we are going during the week of Labor Day, will the park be very busy? Or, would you suggest that we go after the Labor Day?

Thank you.

Lilitz

P.S. I want to reserve my hotel accommodation as early as now via Xanterra.

Mount Washburn
Mountains, National Parks
Gibbon Falls
Waterfalls, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Geologic Formations, National Parks
Spery, Iowa
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1. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

With 5 nights in Yellowstone, you can spit 2 and 3.. Roosevelt closes Labor Day, so if you want north, your choice would be Mammoth. Then split Old Faithful and Mammoth for north and south split. Or you Can split Old Faithful and either Canyon or Lake or an east and west split. Your time split will depend on your interests- wildlife or thermals more of a priority? If you like moving more than driving, you could do 2 OF, 1 Mammoth and 2 Lake or Canyon.

Labor Day this year was very busy, but to get away from more people simply wake early and stay out later, and when walking, walk a little farther. Choose to spend time in the highest tourist areas early and late, with the less traveled areas in the peak hours (I found 10-4 the busiest hours)

N. Idaho
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2. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

Lilitz, I would suggest you not really concentrate on *doing the loop*. In my mind there are 2 big areas to concentrate on in the Lower loop area...the Geyser Basins between Old Faithful going north to the Madison Jct area and the area from Canyon down to Fishing Bridge. I can easily spend at least a day in each of those areas. There is also Norris Geyser basin which is where the Upper and Lower loops meet, plus the sights at Mammoth and out the NE entrance road in Lamar Valley.

Have you had a look at the park map? That might help clarify things for you.

nps.gov/common/…

If you have 5 nights in Yellowstone, I would probably divide those nights between at least 2 lodging areas. I would do 2 days at Old Faithful area and 3 at Canyon or Lake areas. If you don't mind doing a one night stay, you could also do 2 at OF, 1 at Mammoth or Roosevelt(if it is still open when you decide to travel) and 2 at Canyon or Lake. That gives you some distribution throughout the park.

Some services start to shut down on Labor Day, Roosevelt area being one of those. I am not sure there is much difference in amount of people. There is a drop off when kids go back to school in mid-August, but there are still a lot of people around.

You have a good plan to go ahead and book reservations now for next year. Don't be discouraged if everything shows full. There is a lot of movement in the reservations as Xanterra has a very generous cancellation policy.

Pam

N. Idaho
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3. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

OMG...I am laughing so hard. I have been away for 3.5 weeks, but apparently the *shared brain* thing with thbergs did NOT take a vacation!

So glad we agree!

Pam

Spery, Iowa
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4. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

ok Pam, this is just getting scary now......lol I wonder who used the brain when we were BOTH gone?

lilitz, feel free to ask more questions- we love to help!

Cork, Ireland
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5. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

Hi lilitz, we were in Wyoming the week after Labor Day this year and I did not find it particularly crowded. We are early risers and we had a lot of touring done by lunch time when some of the sleepy heads were only getting going! Though we were in Rocky Mountain National Park over the Labor day weekend and we found the town of Estes Park VERY busy. The park was fine once we got on the road early, or went out in later evening when the day trippers had gone, so maybe you could use the same strategy for Grand Tetons (just make sure you're back in your accomodation before dark, it's not advisable to drive in the dark due to animals)

We had a similar time frame to you (we had three nights in Jackson though)In Yellowstone, we stayed two nights in Canyon Lodge and three nights in Old Faithful Lodge Cabins. I felt this gave us a great split and we spent the first couple of days exploring the East side of the park and the Beartooth Highway and then used OFL as a base to explore the west side of the park. Personally, I felt there was more of interest on the West side of the park, but that is just a personal opinion. Plus, I much preferred Old Faithful Lodge to Canyon Village, so if I were doing it again, I would probably reverse it and spend 2 at Canyon and 3 at Old Faithful. But as the previous knowledgable ladies pointed out, it's very much personal preference.

I don't think it would make much difference which order you did them in, I would look to book accomodation asap and you might find availability dictates what you decide.

Saint James, New...
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6. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

We arrived this year the day before Labor Day.

The crowds were not too bad at all, Labor Day was the lightest of the week+ we were there. If you are up early you can see a lot with not too many people around. If you are into hiking, the middle of the day is better to get away from the masses.

We spent one night in Jackson Hole

One night in Lake Lodge

Two nights in Canyon Village

Two nights in Old Faithful Snow Lodge (Liked this place the best)

Two nights in Teton Village

This allowed us to see most all of both parks, but little time for backwoods hiking. That gives me a reason to return someday!

The way you go depends on what you want to do. I am an early riser and I preferred wildlife watching. The geysers and thermal features were cool, but after a while (and seeing most all of them) I'd rather look for critters. Of course that is a personal preference.

Edited: 01 October 2013, 21:12
Montreal, Canada
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7. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

Thank you very much to all who responded. I really appreciate it. My personal preference is to see nature, animals, and to take a picture of nature etc. while my friend likes to see the thermal. So, I really have to divide our time equally. We are both looking forward to this trip.

D0bby, I will study the map and thank you for the link. Unfortunately, since the federal government has shutdown, so is their webpage. I will save the link or come back to this forum.

NCMC, thank you for giving me a heads-up about driving in the dark. I will make sure that we will be back at Jackson Hole before dark.

As soon as I studied the map, I will post more questions. Again, thank you for all your feedback.

Lilitz

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

We were there Sept 6 to 15 and found it to be much more crowded that we expected. There were times that we could not find a parking place. At one point, cars were circling the parking lot at Old Faithful looking for parking (I believe that was on Sept 9). I have not been there during the peak time (July/August) so don't know if what I thought was crowded was "not that bad" in comparison. We much preferred GTNP to Yellowstone. I would consider doing 3 nights there.

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

We were in the parks in mid September and found there were a lot of people but not something we could not handle. We spent three days in the Tetons and two in Yellowstone concentrating on the lower loop. The town of Jackson Hole had a lot of people and our hotel there was booked for all three nights.

N. Idaho
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10. Re: Travel to YNP and GTNP in September 2014

Lilitz, yes, interesting that the website was up when I posted the link early yest. AM, but went down later. Once all the nonsense is sorted out in Washington, the easy way to find the map is to go to www.nps.gov/yell which is the front page. If you scroll down, on the left side of the page is a link to *View Map*.

One thing to consider is that just square mile wise Yellowstone is many times bigger than Grand Tetons, thus warrants more time to cover. If your travel partner is interested in thermal areas you will probably want a full day in the OF area so I would go for the 2 nights there. If you are interested in photography you can get some awesome shots in the thermal areas!

Pam