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best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

Sydney, Australia
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best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

We will be driving around california next year for about 1 month. My husband is a very keen bush walker we wanted to know what is the best time to travel for walks. We are looking around May or September. Starting in Los Angeles around to Vegas,Grand Canyon,Death Valley,Yosemite,Yellowstone then to San Fran.

Any ideas

Tel Aviv, Israel
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1. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

Yosemite's better in May because there is water in the water falls. A lot of Yellowstone can still be snow-bound in May, so later is better. Death Valley will probably be brutal in either month. I'd suggest seeing the national parks in Utah instead: Zion, Bryce, Arches are all extraordinary. Either month is good.

If May, avoid May 26-28 (Memorial Day weekend) in any of the national parks. They are all always jam-packed. If September, avoid Sep 1-3 (Labor Day weekend) for the same reason.

If you decide on fall, October is probably better than September, less crowded, less heat.

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2. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

Whoa! You're taking quite a zig zag route and a LOT of driving. Probably be able to see more with less driving if did something like San Fran - Yosemite - DV - Vegas - North Rim Grand Canyon - Zion - Bryce - Capitol Reef - Arches & Canyonlands - and then maybe up to Yellowstone. You could fly out of Salt Lake City.

In May you won't be able to get up into Tuolumne Meadows (due to snow) which is my favorite part of Yosemite.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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3. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

Aw, the valley is lovely in Yosemite. I've never been in the fall, is it green?

Yellowstone is really far away, from just about everywhere. It is exceptional, though. Yellowstone to San Francisco is about 16 hours of highway driving, most of it pretty boring. That doesn't include stops. You could probably drop the rental in Salt Lake City on the way back, then fly Southwest (about $100 each) to a San Francisco area airport (Oakland or San Jose or San Francisco), depending on which ones have non-stop flights.

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4. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

Yellowstone is far away from the rest of these, and if you want to include Yellowstone on this trip, it would be much better to simply fly to the airport at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It is a tiny airport but it is served by American, Delta, Frontier, Skywest and United Airlines. The airport is within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park, the only airport inside a U.S. national park. You can rent a car right at the airport and drive around and sightsee at Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, which are only 6 miles apart. Your entrance fee to one counts for both, and it's for 7 days, so you will only have to pay the $25 fee once for those parks.

It takes 4 full days to do justice to those 2 parks, either 3 days in Yellowstone and 1 in Grand Teton or else 2 and 2. There are other possible sights nearby, such as the Beartooth Highway northeast of Yellowstone and the Wind River Country southeast of Grand Teton. When you are done in the area, leave your car at that airport and fly to the next destination on your trip. To try to drive to that area would take 2 extra days of driving there and 2 days back, wasting 4 days of your trip, when you can simply fly there within 4 hours of almost anywhere in the western U.S. Much, much better than driving all the way there.

The Yellowstone/Grand Teton area is best starting around late May or June, through late September or possibly early October if the weather cooperates. The rest of the year it's way too cold there and many park roads will be closed to cars because of snow, though in some months the same roads are open to snowmobiles.

Temperatures of -50 F (-45 C) are common in the winter there, dangerously cold for people. Bison survive without hibernating by standing near geothermal features which provide heat. So you do not want to go to that area in the winter unless you are going to go snowmobiling or skiing at the ski resorts around Jackson and Teton Village. Because of its somewhat short visiting season, Yellowstone can be very crowded when it is fully open. However it is a huge park, so the crowds are spread out.

Yosemite can be visited all year though some park roads during the winter months. The floor of Yosemite Valley is generally accessible all year. I believe a first-time visit to Yosemite should be during the season the waterfalls are at their best, which is May and June. Memorial Day weekend (which in 2012 will be May 26, 27 and 28) is way too crowded at Yosemite, so try to schedule your Yosemite visit either before or after that. September is a great month for travel in the U.S., but the famous waterfalls of Yosemite will not be nearly as impressive in September, and Yosemite Falls may be just a dry wall in September. If the entrance fees to all the national parks and monuments you are going to visit adds up to more than $80, just by the America the Beautiful pass for $80 and that gives you entrance to nearly all U.S. national parks, monuments, forests, recreation areas and historic sites for one year.

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5. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

"Yosemite can be visited all year though some park roads during the winter months."

I think bw left out two words:

"Yosemite can be visited all year though some park roads *are closed* during the winter months." Historical data: nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm

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>>My husband is a very keen bush walker we wanted to know what is the best time to travel for walks.<< This sounds like early September to me. You will not want to miss Tuolumne Meadows and the Yosemite high country. You can even see some waterfalls or water features up there, but not tall ones like in the Valley. The Valley is lovely, but not for someone who relishes long hikes. Many of those trails will still have snow in May.

However, if your husband is an experience backcountry hiker, is willing to rent or buy snowshoes, and has excellent route-finding skills, he may enjoy the high country in snow.

Read some of the Trip Reports linked to the Top Questions and see which season sounds best to you. May has some of the largest crowds, partly because the high country roads are closed so most folks are in the Valley, and partly to see the waterfalls.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

thanks for the great ideas you have given us. Looks like the small plane trips is going to be the thing to do to save a lot of car driving. Mid may to mid June might be the time we will be going. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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7. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

For hiking (walking), I'd choose September over June.

Much of the high sierras will still be snow bound in May, or you may have to deal with really tough (sometimes impossible) stream crossings.

Grand Canyon (below the rim) is too hot in June. Ideal time is April or October.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

Would late may and early June be the best time what would the temperatures be also is this school holiday time. Small plane trips sounds to be the best fly from LA to Vegas then hire a car to grand canyon back to Vegas then fly up to yosemite then on to yellowstone.Any other suggestions would be appreciated

Washington State
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9. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

>>Would late may and early June be the best time<<

Avoid the National Parks over the very busy Memorial Day Weekend. Yosemite is especially crazy. But it can be a nice time to visit many of the areas in your list.

This is a good time to see full waterfalls.

>>what would the temperatures be<<

I would guess that the high temperatures will range from 55 degrees to 100 degrees in your various locations. There isn't one temperature as you have quite a variety on your list. Yellowstone may be quite winter-like. Ask folks on that forum for best feedback.

>>is this school holiday time<<

Yes. All schools will be out for Memorial Day. Some school districts end their school year at the end of May, but most continue the year until early June or even mid June.

Las Vegas to Yosemite might be LV -> Death Valley -> eastern Sierra / Hwy 395 to Tioga Pass -> into Yosemite's high country / Tuolumne Meadows -> down to Yosemite Valley -> to an airport to fly to Yellowstone (SFO is big, FAT is closest.)

Lodging reservations will be absolutely essential in Yosemite. Some options are already fully booked for next June.

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Now, since you're really asking lots & lots of questions about places that are not Yosemite, it's better to make a new thread on a broader forum. I suggest the Road Trips forum, even though you are planning some internal flights. tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567 When you repost, let them know lots about your travel style. Try to separate the questions so that one doesn't get missed. Let them know what you want out of this trip, and they'll be happy to help. (I may see you over there myself!)

Happy Planning.

Edited: 05 October 2011, 15:13
San Antonio, Texas
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10. Re: best time to travel to yosemite next year may or september

I would avoid both May and June if you want to do lots of hiking. The high country of Yosemite will be blanketed in snow, and the best hiking area in the Yellowstone area (the Beartooths) will be even worse, still in full-blown winter at that time. I have heard a saying that Yellowstone only has two seasons: winter and August, lol. May and June are awesome to visit Yosemite for the waterfalls and they're great for Yellowstone to see the newborn bear cubs, coyotes, elk, etc, but for hiking I'd only advise a late winter trip like that if you really like snow and are backpacking.