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Old 02-26-2014, 09:56 AM   #1
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Best time of year for National Parks

Hi everyone, we are new to iRV2 and have already learned so much from the forums. First of all, we are also new to RVing, never having camped before! We toured Alaska for a few weeks in a rental motorhome in 2010 because we were not interested in cruising. And we have had our fill of airports, car rentals and hotels. We fell in love with the lifestyle and purchased our first RV the autumn of 2011 and have made a few trips up and down the east coast, from the New England area. We are almost fully retired and want to plan a 2-3 month trip out west to our National Parks in 2015. This would include Yellowstone, Tetons, Grand Canyon etc… My question is, in your opinion, what would be the best time of year to visit these sites taking into consideration weather and crowds. We are not interested in July and August. I'm thinking half of April, all of May and half of June. Then again, is the fall a better time?
Thank you all.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:08 AM   #2
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Hi folks! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang !

We took a 2-month trip out west in May and June of 2012. We covered over 7000 miles in the MH plus bunches of miles in the toad! We went through 13 states. It was great! We plan to take another trip out west next spring, but will be leaving the 1st of April to spend time in south Texas before it gets so hot there!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:28 PM   #3
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Good luck with your travel plans.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:32 PM   #4
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We've been to Yellowstone in January, Grand Canyon in February, Yosemite in March and Grand Teton in November. It just depends on your tolerance for cold!
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:47 PM   #5
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Welcome! I'd suggest that you check out the dates that the parks you want to visit are open and accessible. Some, such as Yosemite, are only accessible from the west side of the Sierras until July (typically), when Tioga pass opens over the Sierras.

The Grand Canyon is great most any time of the year, but the north side of the canyon can be snow bound on occasion.

Enjoy the trip!
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:05 PM   #6
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:35 PM   #7
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You may have seen the statement "We are loving our national parks to death". The busiest, and maybe worst, times to visit would be during school vacations. The parks can get very crowded in the summer, that's why there is a partial cloverleaf interchange at the old faithful geyser in Yellowstone. We first visited Yellowstone and Teton parks in the late 70's, and a float trip guide told us then that he had seen the crowds starting and ending a month earlier and later than ever before. However, we are going back this fall (mid September)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gladie View Post
Hi everyone, we are new to iRV2 and have already learned so much from the forums. First of all, we are also new to RVing, never having camped before! We toured Alaska for a few weeks in a rental motorhome in 2010 because we were not interested in cruising. And we have had our fill of airports, car rentals and hotels. We fell in love with the lifestyle and purchased our first RV the autumn of 2011 and have made a few trips up and down the east coast, from the New England area. We are almost fully retired and want to plan a 2-3 month trip out west to our National Parks in 2015. This would include Yellowstone, Tetons, Grand Canyon etc… My question is, in your opinion, what would be the best time of year to visit these sites taking into consideration weather and crowds. We are not interested in July and August. I'm thinking half of April, all of May and half of June. Then again, is the fall a better time?
Thank you all.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:34 PM   #8
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Be sure to verify when certain parks and/or portions of parks open for visitors. The north rim of the Grand Canyon opens May 15. Portions of Mesa Verde are similar. The road around one side of Crater Lake is mid-July. And so on. I have also seen the Going to the Sun road in Glacier not open until mid-June due to snow. Some are scheduled, and some Mother Nature determines.

In 2012 we celebrated our retirement by taking a 5 1/2 month trip to the places you mentioned and many you didn't mention. We left home (South Carolina) on April 20 heading southwest. We returned home on October 8. While we experienced more crowds in July and August, I would not say it was excessive. There were times in Glacier and Yellowstone that I wished I were there in early June, or perhaps September, but I was in Mesa Verde and Rocky Mountain in those months.

Make sure to give yourself time to really see and enjoy those places. We had seen much of them in years past when vacationing with the kids, and having enough time was not in the cards. This time we tried to slow down and enjoy. As an example, I am a big fan of ancient Indian cultures. We spent a month in Cortez, Colorado. We went to Mesa Verde on six occasions. We saw everything we could find within a couple hours drive, and even spent a full day driving to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. When we moved on, it was to Utah, where we spent a couple more weeks.

Enjoy your planning, and ultimately your trip. We are temporarily side-tracked caring for an elderly parent, but can't wait to get back out there.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:49 AM   #9
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Welcome to the forum....It is hard to pinpoint a specific date as being optimal for the parks you have mentioned. To avoid crowds, you need to go when the kids are in school, which works real well for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, but it will be a little chilly in Yellowstone and the Tetons. I personally like Yellowstone in June and September but that is just me..... Happy trails...
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:57 AM   #10
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Thank you all for the useful information! Still trying to figure out my way around this site. Now re-thinking might want to do this trip in the fall. So many places to discover!
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