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Author Topic: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep  (Read 893 times)


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Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« on: April 26, 2017, 02:35:03 PM »
We are looking at visiting Yellowstone in late August or early September.  Does anyone have input at to crowds and weather?  We were there in late July 2014 and it was quite crowded.  My thinking is most tourists will be heading home getting ready for school in late Aug/early Sep.  Happy RVing everyone.


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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2017, 02:45:08 PM »
Remember in the 80s when 2/3rds of Yellowstone was on fire? The army, marines, air force and firefighters worked all summer to put out the fires and failed. The fires were not put out until September when the snow put the fires out. So that is why the park is crowded in the summer and empty in the winter. Yes you will have less people but you are at 7000 feet in the Rocky Mountains so expect snow and cold weather.
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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2017, 04:31:36 PM »
Late August and early September should be fine if you don't expect 75 degree days and 50 degree nights. It is variable weather then. You might get glorious days or get a small amount of snow. It is rather like mid-May when we like to go to Yellowstone. Bring clothes for variable weather. We have been at YNP during this period 3-4 times, and while the crowds thin out as compared to July, they can still be significant. Fewer kids and US families but still a lot of international tourists, particularly European tourists with their August vacations. We have been in the park,as late as mid-October, but that is taking a crap shoot for weather. Luckily we live not too far away and can go when the weather looks good. Just prepare for some cooler weather and go for it. The park is actually magical in the snow! Remember the campgrounds inside the park start closing in early September, so look outside the park or stay at Mammoth Springs.
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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2017, 09:13:54 PM »
After Labor Day is your best bet. but, yeah, weather is a crap shoot that time of year. 
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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2017, 09:21:20 PM »
This year will make my 4th September trip to Yellowstone. We visit between labor day and the 2nd week. Temps have ranged from warm (shorts) to snow (not shorts) last year.  Usually it is hiking in shorts and carrying a light sweater. If it is sunny it will be/feel warm. If overcast not so much. Usually by dusk it is getting a little cool to sit outside and mornings are very cool.

We will be in the Tetons Labor day for a week then Yellowstone for 5 days after that. My fingers are crossed cause we will be bringing my touring motorcycle to get around.....
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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2017, 10:46:21 PM »
We have visited the last 20 plus years in late August and September.... unfortunately, we used to be able to visit with no crowds then... ha no more. Two years ago we took last campsite in Madison on Sept. 22nd... so be prepared and have a reservation or come ready to take any site. And yes almost all park campgrounds close day after labor day... that being said... the best time to go to Yellowstone...
 But be prepared for all 4 seasons!
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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 07:54:36 AM »
I was there in September. last year. Yellowstone is not quite as crowded then, and is absolutely beautiful in the snow. This photo was taken 9/12/16.
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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2017, 07:17:02 PM »
     We were in Yellowstone September 5 and 6th last year, and there were daytime highs of about 34 and the lows I believe around 24 degrees. We were able to get a spot at fishing bridge campground just a week before we got there. I do know that they had a us unhook our water in the evening time and they let the faucets drip.

     While we were out exploring the park during the day it was constantly changing weather from rain, to snow, to sunshine. We just bundled up and had lots of layers with hats and gloves, and stripped them off as needed. We never had a hard time parking our toad; having said that it was still fairly crowded. Everyone was doing exactly what we were doing, which was still exploring Yellowstone in maybe not the most ideal conditions. I'm glad we had a variety of clothing to keep us warm, but it was still incredibly beautiful and very well worth it. Just plan ahead and be prepared for every kind of weather.

     One thing we always do when traveling in any National Park is we bring a cooler with all of the food and our own little Weber gas grill. We always cook our lunch and dinner when we are exploring any park. Two reasons, crowds of people trying to eat at lunch and supper, or are there just is not food available when we're ready to eat (I guess I could also add most of the food is not very good and often crazy expensive). On those days in Yellowstone when it was so cold, I do recall very long lines at the restaurants within the park.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 07:21:20 PM by sswon1 »
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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 07:26:36 PM »
Well I will be out that way after Labor day for a couple weeks. I'm looking forward to different weather.


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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2017, 07:51:51 PM »
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 as you planned on in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or all stop for 1/4 mile or more blocking both directions of travel, 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! (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line to check it out)

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.

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  shiny 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 YNP 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 buses) 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 up to 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, reportedly the largest LOG building in the US. (meals are "A-OK" also).

We have lived about 110 miles (4739' my driveway 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! So don't be discouraged that you didn't have the time to see all of YSNP. Just plan on coming back another time!

I honestly don't mean to scare or discourage you but to give you a heads up as to what to expect!  After all there was 4.1 Million visitors in 2015! And as far as I know didn't lose one of them!

Note- I have seen on this blog and others about folks "day tripping" from YNP to GTNP. It is done all the time (myself included) however, remember this is BIG country, and with the 45 MPH speed limit, you will be doing a LOT of driving. From the Grant Village visitor center (extreme S/E corner of the lower loop road) to Jackson, WY is about 80 miles with Coulter Bay being about 1/2 way. Then from Grant Village you have to add the distance to your CG it will be a LONG days trip. A point of clarification, There are two (2) CG's at Coulter Bay, I forgot their names! One a full service "RV Park" with FHU's that takes reservations, the other "CG" has no hookups and no reservations. They are located basically across the road from each other.

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 seats/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pads to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer just 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. 


Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2017, 07:44:22 AM »
Really excellent advice from coxid! Please listen to it and abide!

I also concur with his recommendation of the Bar J dinner show in Jackson Hole.  It's a fun evening and good entertainment for the price.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 07:46:48 AM by Gary RVer Emeritus »
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Re: Yellowstone late Aug/early Sep
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2017, 07:38:47 PM »
try to get reservations for the times you are referencing and this will be a good indication how popular and busy it will be.