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Old 11-25-2016, 06:52 PM   #15
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Fishing Bridge is fine, we stayed for 3 days in August 2015. Yellowstone Grizzly in West Yellowstone(3 days) is much nicer and a short drive in to discover the west side of the park. 5-6 days is lots if you have a toad. Make sure you leave early to see the sights. At Tetons we stayed a Coulter for 4 days, That was enough time for us to sight see and kick back after 5pm.
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Old 11-25-2016, 07:31 PM   #16
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We have been to Yellowstone NP about 12 times for a week or more. All but four were in February or early March. Nothing can compare with snowmobiling in the park or on the groomed trails around West Yellowstone. Mammoth Hot Springs in available for camping in the park, but we usually stay in a motel at West Yellowstone. Suggest you take the Lamar Valley overnight wolf watching tour.
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Old 11-25-2016, 07:57 PM   #17
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Anyone now what the reservation window is? 6 months ahead?
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Old 11-25-2016, 08:39 PM   #18
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Here is Yellowstone's site. Click on 'Places To Go' and then each area of the park to see what's there. Click on 'Xanterra' and plug in your dates to see what's available for reservations. You can also call Xanterra to ask any questions. Note that not all campgrounds accept reservations. We've never made them for our 40' motorhome.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm


OP: If you want to zero in on hiking and fishing I'd add another day to Grand Teton NP and delete one from Yellowstone.

If you are thinking of bringing bikes, Yellowstone is definitely not a biker's place - no shoulders and too much traffic.... and animals at the roads.

The Tetons have a wonderful paved trail with constant views of the mountains.


https://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm
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Old 11-26-2016, 09:23 AM   #19
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I was there as a teen maybe in 73', so I still have vivid memories. Do you think mid May is too early for Yellowstone (10 days YS & 5 in Teton's) ?
The earliest we have been in Ystone is mid-June and there was still plenty of snow on the ground and even in between the campground loops at Fishing Bridge - so May is only colder and more residual snow and, as you can see below, roads JUST opening in some places.

From the NPS website:
2017 Spring Road Opening Dates

April 21: Mammoth to Old Faithful; Madison to West Entrance; Norris to Canyon.
May 5: Canyon Junction to Lake; Lake to East Entrance (Sylvan Pass).
May 12: Lake to West Thumb, West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass), and South Entrance to West Thumb; Tower Junction to Tower Fall.
May 26: Tower Fall to Canyon Junction (Dunraven Pass)
May 26: Beartooth Highway
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:42 PM   #20
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Still plenty of snow in mid June.....how about campground sites? Are there plenty of empty ones or were campgrounds pretty full at that time? I want to be there early June 2017 but have not made reservations.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:55 AM   #21
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About a year in advance. We made our reservations at fishing bridge last summer.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:03 PM   #22
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Some general information about YNP (some general items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or less for 1/4 mile or more, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 mph radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! I don't mean to scare you but to inform you of reality. (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line.)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking. And again I don't mean to scare you but rather to inform you, after all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015 (record number)

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until shortly before 10 PM then there is a long twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise spotty.

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YSNP yes, drink lots of water!HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas have only pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line at the lower Geyser Basin 25 or more feet long (bless the tour busses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area!

Sun- At YSNPs altitude the sun is intense (uv) have and apply sun screen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear sun glasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have a hour and 10-20 minutes wait for the next one. Tour the O/F geyser basin while waiting for the next eruption. Old Faithful INN is a must see (meals are "OK" also).

We have lived about 110 miles (4739' elevation) from W. Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go there 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all of it yet!

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/SEATING TABLE ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 7 times and the US open fiddle championship twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pad to fold up to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money for your trip! Check out their website.

Bar J Chuckwagon
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:56 AM   #23
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We stayed in West Yellowstone and Colter Bay (Tetons). We wish we had more time in the Tetons than we did. Our schedule was much like yours, except for we went in August.

Start early for several days if you can. People seem to not arrive at sites until well after 10 AM because they prefer to sleep in. We started out at 7 AM on several days. Big difference. Happier and more active wildlife. We didn't have a toad at the time and rented a small car for in Yellowstone. It was important at crowded sites.
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Old 11-28-2016, 03:14 PM   #24
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Still plenty of snow in mid June.....how about campground sites? Are there plenty of empty ones or were campgrounds pretty full at that time? I want to be there early June 2017 but have not made reservations.
Go to the Yellowstone site and it will tell when each campground opens and closes for the season.

Early June you will get a site within in park without reservations. There are campgrounds that don't even accept reservations.
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Old 12-01-2016, 02:44 PM   #25
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SUPERSLIFF,
I just got reservations for the Headwaters Lodge and RV park in the Grand Tetons Park TODAY for the last week of June.

I originally wanted to stay at The Coulter RV park along with Fishing Bridge Park, but there were only a couple days available for my 40 foot RV, so we opted to stay at Headwaters. It may be different for you if your rig is smaller.

The Headwaters park is only a few miles south of the south entrance to Yellowstone.

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Old 12-01-2016, 04:10 PM   #26
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I was there as a teen maybe in 73', so I still have vivid memories. Do you think mid May is too early for Yellowstone (10 days YS & 5 in Teton's) ?
14 years old back in '67 flying on a stop and go in Yellowstone. It was snowed in July 4th no less. We couldn't land made our way to Helena Mt and it was Spring like! We returned for a great week of camping, including the bears visiting our campsite. Loved it...fond memories!
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Old 12-02-2016, 05:25 PM   #27
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SUPERSLIFF,
I just got reservations for the Headwaters Lodge and RV park in the Grand Tetons Park TODAY for the last week of June.

I originally wanted to stay at The Coulter RV park along with Fishing Bridge Park, but there were only a couple days available for my 40 foot RV, so we opted to stay at Headwaters. It may be different for you if your rig is smaller.

The Headwaters park is only a few miles south of the south entrance to Yellowstone.

Jim
Jim,
We had no problem getting into Coulter with a 33' 2 weeks ago. I think it opens a year in advance and it is based on size.

We always Melanie reservations to high impacted tourist areas, then we always get an early start each day to beat the crowds and get back early to relax and enjoy the quiet while people are still out, just like lots have said here. I didn't think the weather would be as cold with snow mid June but we are prepared as I am a scoutmaster with lots of time being prepared (maybe that's why my MH is 2x over gross weight... just kidding).

Thanks everyone!
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Old 12-02-2016, 06:01 PM   #28
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Jim,
We had no problem getting into Coulter with a 33' 2 weeks ago. I think it opens a year in advance and it is based on size.

We always Melanie reservations to high impacted tourist areas, then we always get an early start each day to beat the crowds and get back early to relax and enjoy the quiet while people are still out, just like lots have said here. I didn't think the weather would be as cold with snow mid June but we are prepared as I am a scoutmaster with lots of time being prepared (maybe that's why my MH is 2x over gross weight... just kidding).

Thanks everyone!
I drove over the Beartooth Pass road into Yellowstone in July 2015, and it was in bright sun, but still freezing cold on top. I made a photo stop (see my thread Cody WY Day Drive) and after about 10 minutes, I couldn't feel my fingers. Yellowstone is a high plateau surrounded by even higher mountains, and it creates its own weather. You never know for sure what you might get there, even in midsummer.
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