Yellowstone National Park Trip Planning


TPF Noob!
Jun 28, 2011
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Cotulla, TX
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Howdy guys,

I took a trip to Yellowstone last year and am looking to return this year and wanted to post about my experience and see if I experienced a normal visit for the time of year I was there and any advice some may have for round 2!

Last year my family and I went to Yellowstone in mid may the week before Memorial Day to beat the crowds. We were able to get reservations everywhere we wanted that was open in advance and had an amazing time. Tons of animals and minimal people in the park!

My number one question is was the snowfall we saw the usual pattern for Yellowstone in mid May. The whole southern half of the park was snow packed, the main roads were open except for Dunraven pass but all trails in the southern half were closed except for the ones around the thermal areas near Old Faithful and Madison. The northern part of the park near Mammoth was the most snow free area and the best wildlife viewing and photography was near the llamar valley which was basically snow free. I know the entire park is usually muddy from all the snow melt that time of year and from what everyone told me the snow that was still on the ground was way above average but just wanted to see if anyone experienced things differently in May from previous years.

Anyone hike any of the trails in mid may that they would recommend? We were only able to hike 3, the Beaver Ponds Trail loop north of Mammoth nice short hike but didn't see any beavers. The shorter loop trail of the Specimen Ridge trail near Tower junction is an awesome little hike along the edge of the canyon where we spotted a Peregrine Falcon and lots of other wildlife. The last trail we hiked was a horrible snow tredging adventure in blue jeans and a pouring rain the Mallard Creek Trail north of Old Faithful. We didn't finish so all I can say is if there is snow around don't try it!

Also was curious if anyone has visited in September after Labor Day? I have heard that is the only other time to visit and avoid the crowds.



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