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Old 11-14-2015, 06:10 PM   #1
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Yellowstone in early May

Does anyone know what the conditions in Yellowstone are like in early May. DW and I will be leaving Florida in April and instead of coming straight back to Canada will take a circle tour to the west coast coming back through Yellowstone area in early May.

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Old 11-14-2015, 06:22 PM   #2
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Take your insulateds. Brr.

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Old 11-14-2015, 06:24 PM   #3
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Here is a link to a calendar with the temps from May 2015
May Weather for Yellowstone, WY| Weather Underground

Looks like highs in the 50-60's during the day and down in the mid 20's at night. Doable if you plan accordingly.

We went to Yellowstone in June of 2009, it snowed as we coming into the Tetons.
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Old 11-14-2015, 06:30 PM   #4
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In 2004 we had reservations for opening day ( 5/21 ) . We were held at the Ranger station till the sun melted the ice on the roads. Stayed a few days and it was the only time I was ever able to photograph my MH with snow on it .

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Old 11-14-2015, 06:34 PM   #5
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It varies. One year may find "comfortable" temperatures. In another year, (as others have said) there's snow on the ground and freezing temperatures.

We went in June and the weather was fine. Upper 60s to low 70s during the day. In the 40s and 50s at night.
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Old 11-14-2015, 07:19 PM   #6
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we hosted the Buffalo State Park May 15-Sept 15, we arrived at the end of April...Yellowstone Lake still was covered with ice...most mountain peaks had snow but the roads in Yellowstone were cleared....all depends on the weather...
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Old 11-14-2015, 08:26 PM   #7
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We were there about 10 years ago (BEFORE global warming ) in May and it was fine. Don't plan on taking the Beartooth Highway beyond Cooke City as it will still be closed due to snow. There will be snow at the higher elevations, but in the valleys it will be cool spring. It's a beautiful area- enjoy!

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Old 11-14-2015, 08:53 PM   #8
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One year we were in Custer, SD a week, then going to Yellowstone for the first week of June. A neighbor in the CG recommended phoning there first. I phoned and was told Yellowstone was closed to all traffic due to a snowstorm. We stayed at Crazy Horse CG 2 more days, phoned again and roads were open.
Bottom line - phone a few days before you get there to get the latest news.
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Old 11-17-2015, 04:29 PM   #9
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Brother Rick. In Early May, may areas will still be closed due to snow.

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Old 11-17-2015, 04:55 PM   #10
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As always, traveling in that area in early May requires patience. You can have great weather, followed directly by road closing blizzards that will leave you stuck for 2-3 days. Always make sure you've got lots of fuel/propane/whatnot so you can stay nice and cozy and warm whilst sitting around.

But it can be very cool!

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Old 11-17-2015, 05:04 PM   #11
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....and then again, you might have 70 deg!! I say, go for it...it's on your way home anyway.
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:15 AM   #12
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Yes, the lakes will still have ice and some roads may be closed. The park campgrounds will be closed, but the RV parks outside the park will mostly be open. The advantages of early season traveling are the lack of crowds but lots of animals. I have been the second week of May and saw lots of mamas and babies. Yes, it will be cold at night, and weather is unpredictable. With a flexible schedule you can adapt to the changing forecast and do fine.
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Old 11-18-2015, 06:55 PM   #13
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Other than the north end (Mamouth area, open all year) the park closes to over snow travel the middle of Mar. Snow Plowing starts, the first road to open for vehicular traffic about mid To late April is from W. Yellowstone to Old faithful. The other roads open incrementally, with limited tourist facilities by mid May. The last to open is from O/F to W. Thumb, the Canyon area and the road from Grand Teton NP to W. Thumb. (Remember this area is about/over 7,000 ft in elevation. Check on line for up to date information.

All roads and tourist facilities open on Memorial Day weekend! Having said all this, it is subject to the whims of weather!

Even the Bar J (see next post below) doesn't open until the Sat of MM day weekend.
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Old 11-18-2015, 06:59 PM   #14
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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 4-5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 4-5 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, Old Faithful- 7365 ft, up to 7734 ft at Canyon and Grant to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge. 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 is normally 3.5 million visitors annually.

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 5 PM and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 7-10 PM. Remember that from mid June to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until shortly before 10 PM.

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 for 51 years, go there 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all of it yet and at 80 years young pace myself when walking/hiking.

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 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 contest twice". 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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