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Yellowstone vs Yosemite

Chesterfield...
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Yellowstone vs Yosemite

We're planning a family vacation in July to either Yellowstone or Yosemite. Has anyone been to both? It will consist of my husband, myself and our 3 grown children and their spouses. No children. We're interested in beautiful landscape, hiking, horseback riding, and rafting.

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Ohio, USA
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1. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

Welcome to the forum, btstl.

I've been to both Yellowstone and Yosemite and I have enjoyed my time in both parks. Both parks have a lot to offer, including beautiful landscapes and hiking. Yellowstone probably has the edge for horseback riding and rafting (well, maybe including Grand Teton and the surrounding area). Yellowstone has the advantage in terms of wildlife. Plus Yellowstone has the amazing thermal features. But Yosemite has the massive granite formations as well as huge Sequoias.

The good news is that there is no wrong answer as they are two outstanding parks. Since you are 6 months from your trip, the availability of lodging may be a determining factor.

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Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

Made a brief visit to Yosemite many, many years ago and going back this September but have been to Yellowstone many, many years ago and have also been 4 times in the past 6 years.

For diversity and wildlife then I agree with OhioHick to pick Yellowstone. Getting in park or nearby lodging may be what decides the answer for you. Both parks are outstanding and either one would be a great vacation.

PS. If I had to choose then Yellowstone gets my vote!!

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3. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

Both are amazing places and belong on the bucket list.

Yellowstone has more wildlife and thermal features. Yosemite is more rugged alpine scenery and nearby giant sequoia groves.

Yellowstone has more road access. Much of the easy access of Yosemite is the crowded valley.

Both have many miles of backcountry trails but I would give the edge to the rugged backcountry and climbing opportunities to Yosemite for hiking and backpacking.

If you go to Yosemite I'd plan the visit for the weekdays instead of weekends. Much busier on weekends as both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas are close enough for weekend travel vs Yellowstone having no really large metro areas nearby.

There are raftting and horseback riding opportunities outside all the entrances and concessionaire horseback riding inside the park and outfitters that can provide trips Yellowstone.

I've been to Yosemite twice and Yellowstone twenty times so you can see my preference.

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Chesterfield...
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4. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

Thanks for your input! Do you have a favorite place to stay in Yellowstone?

West Yellowstone...
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5. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

Sounds like you're leaning, but I'm going to go ahead and throw in my 2 cents, anyway.

I've been to Yosemite twice. I've been to Yellowstone many times. Here are some comparisons in my mind:

Wildlife: Definitely Yellowstone. While in Yosemite (staying at the Redwoods near Wawona, outside of the valley, in 2012, we saw exactly one deer over 3 days. That was the extent of the wildlife, except for birds and squirrels and a few crazy tourists that don't count.

Scenic beauty: Probably a tie. While in Yosemite, you can see amazing beauty all around without having to drive around to see it. Yosemite is known for its waterfalls and granite formations, but Yellowstone has at least as many waterfalls. You just have to drive, or in some cases hike, to see them.

Crowds: Definitely more crowded in Yosemite. The valley floor is where the majority of sights, and people, are and it's much more compact than Yellowstone.

Hiking: Can't really say. The two times I've been to Yosemite, I've not been with people who were capable of much more than a couple of miles, so I really haven't scratched the surface there. However, Yellowstone has a plethora of amazing hikes that will take you to see places that are really worth getting out there for (Lonestar Geyser is a favorite).

Thermal Features: Only in Yellowstone.

Rafting: Not available in Yellowstone, but is is available in Grand Teton (easy drive south) and outside the park on the west side along 191 north of West Yellowstone.

Horseback Riding is available in Yellowstone, but I can't speak to it, having not been along for that ride. There are trail rides as well as a western cookout ride at Roosevelt. There are also operators outside the park, same as rafting. I don't have anything to compare it to at Yosemite.

As far as where to stay, how much time do you have? If you want more togetherness, consider cabins in West Yellowstone. The Explorer Cabins are right in town, 5 minutes to the west gate, have kitchenettes and front porches and there are two-bedroom units. But if you don't mind hotel rooms, I'd split between Old Faithful and something on the east side - Roosevelt, Canyon or Lake areas.

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Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone
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Old Faithful
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Chesterfield...
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6. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

Thanks for all the great information. Getting excited!

Nashville
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7. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

I was in Yellowstone when I was a kid and again with my wife and kids in 08. My wife and I spent time in Yosemite on a 25th anniversary trip in 2012.

For scenery, I would give the edge to Yosemite. Yellowstone is scenic, but in Yosemite, it seemed like there was a postcard scene around every curve. However, if you drive 2 hours south of Yellowstone and spend a couple of days in the Grand Tetons, then my scenery vote goes back to Wyoming. You just can't beat the Tetons for natural beauty.

For wildlife, there is no contest. Yellowstone has many more wildlife opportunities than Yosemite. I also found it to be much easier to get away from the crowds in Yellowstone.

One other thing to consider is how much time do you have? You could easily spend a week in Yellowstone. Unless you plan to do extensive back country hiking, you can see the highlights of Yosemite in a few days. If you want diversity, then Yosemite offers several options. You can be at a stunning coastal location (Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey) with a four hour drive to the west, or you can be in beautiful Lake Tahoe by driving 3 hours north of Yosemite.

If I were choosing a trip for this summer, I would pick Wyoming. But Yosemite is also a must see and the diverse areas that are within a few hours make it a great option.

As someone above said. Whichever one you decide to visit, you will have a wonderful trip. Good luck with your decision and with your planning.

Edited: 07 January 2014, 04:50
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Wyoming
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Big Sur
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Carmel
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Ohio, USA
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8. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

btstl: I noticed you only posted this your query in the Yellowstone forum; perhaps that is an indication of where you really want to go ;-) But you might want to also post in the Yosemite forum to get additional thoughts.

As for lodging, I think that being inside the park (either Yellowstone or Yosemite) is important. It is all about location. There are gateway towns that provide lodging/access options outside of both parks and while I have never stayed in those towns, I think that the ones around Yellowstone provide better/closer access to the park than the towns around Yosemite (longer drive to get into the park; at least that is my impression).

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Ohio, USA
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9. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

In case you are interested, I posted (very long and detailed) trip reports from our most recent excursions to both Yellowstone and Yosemite. These might give you some ideas for your trip:

Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon (late June 2012):

tripadvisor.com/…42757911

Yellowstone and Grand Teton (late August 2011):

tripadvisor.com/…37164363

If you try the links to the photos you will get a grid of photos; click on any of the photos to go to a slideshow mode (at least that is how it supposed to work).

Did I mention that these are really long reports? ;-)

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Lewes, United...
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10. Re: Yellowstone vs Yosemite

I'd totally agree with the above comments

I think tntands summed it up quite well. I'd also give consideration to how much time you have available. If time is short, I'd say Yosemite is easier to get a good flavour of and an enjoyable time and still catch the key highlights because it's smaller - well less driving, at least! Plus it's more accessible from major cities and their airports. However, it suffers worse, especially at weekends, from crowds and in peak season thanks to those crowds (because of the cities and airports convenience factor, inevitably), you won't catch any wildlife. Other than deer and a few birds, we saw the backside of a bear way out on a long hike in the remote Hetch Hetchy sector only in a whole week. We'd barely entered the gate (NE near Cooke City) on the first trip to Yellowstone before we were engulfed in our first of many herds of bison!

Oh, and do get comfy and set up a beverage or two before you dare to embark on any of OH's TRs, their legendary!!! ;-)

SWT

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