Yellowstone time needed

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
andyandyandy
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:36 am

Yellowstone time needed

Post by andyandyandy » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:13 pm

All,

I understand Yellowstone park is huge and needs lot of time.
But with my contract job (taking off costs), I can afford 2-3 off. With a family of 4 I will fly from DC.

I was thinking to go in May Mid or June.
Day 1 -Fly Friday morning from DC to Salt Lake City and then drive to Park. Night stay in Park if lodging available.
Day 2 and 3 - Cover Park.
Day 4- Half day in Park and drive back to Salt Lake City for night Flight.

Does it make sense or waste considering short time :) ? Appreciate input!
Any suggestions on lodging are welcome if its worth to go for that much time.
Thank you very much!

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 5686
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by Pajamas » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:20 pm

To me, it makes no sense to fly a family of four across the country for a day or a day and a half in Yellowstone. Better to do something outdoors near D.C. such as take a trip down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park or visit of the National Forests.

http://visitskylinedrive.org/Home.aspx

http://visitskylinedrive.org/Where-To-S ... dging.aspx

https://www.fs.usda.gov/gwj

https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/gwj/re ... &actid=101
Last edited by Pajamas on Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Allixi
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 4:01 am

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by Allixi » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:26 pm

You could do it, but I don't think it would be a very fun trip.

It takes 4.5 - 6 hours to drive from Salt Lake City to the park, without traffic, bathroom breaks, or stopping for food. I'm planning an August trip to Yellowstone as we speak, and almost all lodging within the park are completely booked. The only thing I found was at the Lake Hotel which are ~$450 a night (in August). I don't recall seeing any rooms available for May/June. So you'd have to find lodging outside the park in West Yellowstone or Jackson. I don't think 2 days is enough time to get to all the "must-see" scenic areas.

andyandyandy
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:36 am

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by andyandyandy » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:39 pm

Allixi wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:26 pm
You could do it, but I don't think it would be a very fun trip.

It takes 4.5 - 6 hours to drive from Salt Lake City to the park, without traffic, bathroom breaks, or stopping for food. I'm planning an August trip to Yellowstone as we speak, and almost all lodging within the park are completely booked. The only thing I found was at the Lake Hotel which are ~$450 a night (in August). I don't recall seeing any rooms available for May/June. So you'd have to find lodging outside the park in West Yellowstone or Jackson. I don't think 2 days is enough time to get to all the "must-see" scenic areas.
Understood and thank you! That's what I am trying to gauge if its worth the hassle or wait for better and more time!
Thanks again!

andyandyandy
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:36 am

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by andyandyandy » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:48 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:20 pm
To me, it makes no sense to fly a family of four across the country for a day or a day and a half in Yellowstone. Better to do something outdoors near D.C. such as take a trip down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park or visit of the National Forests.

http://visitskylinedrive.org/Home.aspx

http://visitskylinedrive.org/Where-To-S ... dging.aspx

https://www.fs.usda.gov/gwj

https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/gwj/re ... &actid=101
Thank you! Good suggestions.

livesoft
Posts: 61341
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by livesoft » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:06 pm

As long as you plan to go again, then I see no problem going for a few days.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

Shallowpockets
Posts: 557
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by Shallowpockets » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:51 pm

Not worth it considering the driving time and short stay.
If you show up in Yellowstone without a place to stay, you will not have a place to stay. Plan for a place to stay if you can even get one now.

There are very frequent posts here on BH regarding vacations with timeframes and driving distances that are unrealistic. As if people would say they are going to NYC and they were thinking of popping up to Maine and having a lobster. Or maybe flying into Atlanta and perhaps we will drive to check out Miami for a day.
There must be some things within closer driving distance of your home where you can make better use of your time.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 13439
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by Watty » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:54 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:20 pm
To me, it makes no sense to fly a family of four across the country for a day or a day and a half in Yellowstone. Better to do something outdoors near D.C. such as take a trip down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park or visit of the National Forests.
+1000

A huge problem with your plan that has not been mention is that with only two days in the park, if all the stars align, you could easily hit two days of bad weather that would ruin your entire trip. When you are staying for a week or longer a few days of bad weather is not as critical.

In June and especially May you could also get snow so you would need to be prepared for that.

euroswiss
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by euroswiss » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:21 pm

Agree with the majority here: not worth it. We visited Yellowstone last Fall with 4 nights inside the Park and we felt that was barely enough. It is a REALLY big place!

amoose
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 5:16 pm

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by amoose » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:09 pm

I was thinking to go in May Mid or June
As others have said, I want to emphasize that this is very early in the season for Yellowstone. In mid-May many of the roads will still be closed (but the road from West Yellowstone should be open through to Old Faithful and up to Gardiner). Even by June some of the services will still not be open. You might see snow.

I personally think a two day stay is short, but I'd do it much later in the year. I would also fly in much closer than SLC. I've driven from SLC to Yellowstone in May and experienced heavy snow conditions, so be prepared especially if you have a rental that might not have great winter tires.

white_water
Posts: 201
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Yellow Stone time needed

Post by white_water » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:03 pm

SLC airport to West Yellowstone is about 325 miles. If you want to make that trip w/in that time allowance, you might fly into Idaho Falls instead.
If you're in a time crunch stay in W. Yellowstone, not Jackson to minimize drive time. Yellowstone inside the park accommodations are probably already booked.

quantAndHold
Posts: 1701
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:09 pm

If you’re really going to do this, fly into Jackson, WY. Drive through the Tetons.

Stuff doesn’t really get open in Yellowstone until late May. Which is both good and bad, since the crowds hit sometime the first week of June. We really enjoyed being there the last week of May.

RudyS
Posts: 1166
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:11 am

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by RudyS » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:30 pm

Having been there, that is way too short of a time. I doubt you'd enjoy the trip. I'd consider the options suggested by others instead.

Tourist asked a park ranger, "if you only had 4 hours to see this park, what would you do?"
Answer from ranger: "Cry."

MJS
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:55 pm

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by MJS » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:45 pm

Given your limited time, consider leaving Thursday evening instead of Friday morning. Many of the Eastern sites can all be reached before 10pm by car. Take a redeye flight if flying.

jlawrence01
Posts: 1371
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:43 am

It does not sound like a lot of fun to me.

Fly into Salt Lake City from Washington which when you include flight time, pre-flight time and the like is a six to eight hour commitment. Arrive in SLC, rent a car, and drive 6+ hours on what can be a tricky drive in mid-May. And repeat the same scenario three days later. Especially a late night flight after a 6+ hour drive and trying to spend some time in the park. Actually, it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Yellowstone weather in May is iffy at best. We arrived on June 23rd in West yellowstone and had to clear the snow off of my car.

Globalviewer58
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:26 pm

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by Globalviewer58 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:03 am

The OP should realize that Yellowstone lodging books up a year in advance. If you plan now you may be able to reserve rooms for the 2019 season.

livesoft
Posts: 61341
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by livesoft » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:09 am

The OP will find out soon enough about trying to book lodging. :twisted:
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 2073
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:23 am

Globalviewer58 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:03 am
The OP should realize that Yellowstone lodging books up a year in advance. If you plan now you may be able to reserve rooms for the 2019 season.
I recently booked lodging in the park for early May. Some, although not all of the roads are expected to be open then.

But- I agree this is a crazy plan. As far as I can tell no one else has pointed out that a redeye will kill OP's ability to work during the next few days.

OP should do something different this time around. And figure out how to get more than 4 days off from work for a vacation.

2cents2
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:31 am

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by 2cents2 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:13 am

The park covers a lot of area. There were always lots of other cars on the road every time we have visited (although it's been quite a few years). The highest speed limit in the park is 45 mph, but it is slower on twisty, turny roads and where it is congested. Also, sometimes the animals crossing the road which stops traffic. But, anytime there are animals to be seen the traffic slows down.
http://www.yellowstone.co/roads.htm

Lodging is in high demand. So, the earlier you book the better. (It is probably already too late--especially for June). But, getting back to the park covers a lot of area--it would be a pain to have to exit the park for lodging each night.

There are many things to see and do at Yellowstone.
Plan your visit
https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/index.htm

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/things2do.htm

Ranger programs:
https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/ ... ograms.htm

There's a junior ranger program for kids:
https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/kidsyout ... ranger.htm

There were some memorable programs that we enjoyed while we were there. We took a trail ride on a horse. We had a chuck wagon dinner. We also listened to a ranger talk after dark.

I think 5-7 days in the park itself (not counting commuting time to get to the park) would make your visit much more relaxed and enjoyable.

User avatar
vitaflo
Posts: 916
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:02 pm

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by vitaflo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:48 am

You will basically have enough time to drive thru the park, stop every once and a while for 15 mins to see some feature, and then continue driving. And you'll still not be able to hit half the main roads in the park.

We did this once. We saw a lot of things for a little amount of time each. Loved the everything about the park but it was total sensory overload running through it that fast. Plus then you are guaranteed to always be around huge amounts of people (few people leave the roadside attractions so they tend to be packed).

If you're dead set on it, I'd suggest finding one small area of the park you find interesting and just explore that and ignore the rest of the park. You can always go back and explore the areas you ignored some other time.

Also, I wouldn't fly into SLC. I'd fly into Bozeman MT, they have an international airport there and it's only about an hour from the park. Flying to Jackson WY is by far the best, but it's expensive.
Last edited by vitaflo on Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Alexa9
Posts: 1365
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:41 am

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by Alexa9 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:52 am

You're much closer to Shenandoah (75 miles) and you can use your own vehicle if you want to car camp or rent an RV.
I think you need at least 5 days (preferably 7) for Yellowstone factoring in travel.

User avatar
DaftInvestor
Posts: 3931
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:54 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:52 am
You're much closer to Shenandoah (75 miles) and you can use your own vehicle if you want to car camp or rent an RV.
I think you need at least 5 days (preferably 7) for Yellowstone factoring in travel.
Or if you've already been to Shenandoah look at something that is at least on the East Coast and shorter combined flight/drive (Acadia National Park is one example).

m1collector
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Post by m1collector » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:09 am

I have been to the Tetons and Yellowstone during Memorial Day week, and it snowed three of the days we were there. Seems like they have received a lot of snow lately. There is not as much traffic in May but can be cold.

Post Reply