Yellowstone NP in September

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zeldak
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Yellowstone NP in September

Post by zeldak »

DW and I are planning a 1 week trip to Yellowstone NP in September, flying out of Philadelphia.

Please advise...

Should we fly into Bozeman or a different airport?

Ideally we would like to spend 3 nights each in 2 different locations in order to maximize fun/minimize driving.
According to the NPS website it seems there is availability in the park at Canyon Lodge and Lake Yellowstone Hotel.
Maybe 3 nights at one of these, and 3 nights at a VRBO near the North entrance?

YNP is huge and planning is a bit overwhelming.

Appreciate any advice...
ClaycordJCA
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by ClaycordJCA »

This topic is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (travel).
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MrBobcat
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by MrBobcat »

Yes fly into Bozeman.

I've never stayed at the Canyon Lodge, but I'm sure it's fine. We really like Yellowstone Hotel.

IMO, I would just pick one of those places in the park as your base camp. Staying a few nights in Gardner would be worthwhile though as it is easy access to Mammoth and the Lamar Valley.
Mopar440
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by Mopar440 »

Bozeman is most convenient of all.
We flew into it numerous times when our daughter worked in the park (5 years)in Mammoth Hot Springs.
September is beautiful in the park, little less crowded than summer, not as many kids.
Have visited in all 4 seasons and fall and winter is the best, I prefer winter.

Have fun.
wanderer
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by wanderer »

We enjoyed our 2023 stay at Yellowstone Lodge whereas our 2021 stay in Canyon Village was not a good fit. The Canyon Village hotel had a cheap motel vibe. We also preferred the food options at Yellowstone (more "sit-down") vs. the restaurants at Canyon ("fast food").

We have also enjoyed Gardiner VRBOs and Old Faithful Inn. We've also stayed in West Yellowstone hotels for budget/availability reasons, but this feels more distant from the park.

Your plan to stay 3 nights at 2 different sides of the park has worked well for us.
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zeldak
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by zeldak »

Thanks everyone for the info/advice.

At this point Im thinking...

Fly into Bozeman
2 nights in Gardiner/North entrance
1 night in Canyon in YNP
2 nights at Lake in YNP
1 night near West entrance
Back to Bozeman

I dont like the constant moving, but an itinerary like this may allow for more fun/less driving.
jbmitt
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by jbmitt »

The Beartooth Pass and Red Lodge are accessible via Billings. Less flight options, and generally more expensive tickets. The pass closes seasonally but is worth a visit.

You’d then enter YNP from the Northeast entrance close to the Lamar Valley, know for animals. We’ve stayed at Sage Lodge in the Paradise Valley several times.
jeep5ter
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by jeep5ter »

September is a good time to visit. Usually the massive summer crowds have dissipated. I stayed at Grant Village, which many people pan, but I booked late, and frankly it was not bad - akin to a room at a Hilton. The lake hotel is 20 minutes to the east of Grant, and is a nice place. I had breakfast there. The hotel is also close to Hayden Valley which is an excellent spot for wildlife viewing, and also not far from the Yellowstone Falls which is a must see. The key to Yellowstone is to get up with the sun and hit your first stop long before those staying outside the park arrive. That gives you the best conditions to see the wildlife.

Also, when you stay in the park, you have more time in the evening than those driving out. You can have dinner at one of a few restaraunts near old faithful and watch it with fewer crowds.
Last edited by jeep5ter on Tue Apr 02, 2024 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jeep5ter
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by jeep5ter »

" Idont like the constant moving, but an itinerary like this may allow for more fun/less driving."


You will be doing quite a bit of driving anyway, since the park is so huge. The driving isn't bad, though. You drive slow and see plenty along the way, and besides the normal stops there are plenty of turn offs to stop in when you see bison or elk herds.
ondarvr
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by ondarvr »

The park isn't that big if you're driving and staying near the road, if you plan on hiking it is. I'd pick one location, maybe two, and drive as needed during the day. I've stayed in Gardener, West Yellowstone, and in the park in September they were all fine, and each offered a different experience. We could drive just about anywhere in the park easly from any of them, but staying in the park is a bit nicer of an experience.
GoFish
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by GoFish »

I’ve stayed at Canyon Village, and it was nice. But I would have a strong preference for staying at Lake. I like that part of the park more, and Lake Hotel is iconic.

I have flown into Bozeman, Jackson, and even Salt Lake City for visits to YNP. Bozeman was most convenient, but I really enjoyed the drive from SLC to West Yellowstone. I am an avid fly fisher and driving along the fabled waters of the Henry’s Fork in Idaho meant a lot to me (yes, I stopped and fished).

The thermal features all along the Firehole River are among my favorite attractions and are more easily accessible from Lake. Of course, Canyon is a lot closer to the falls area, so chose your poison.

September would also be my first choice for a YNP visit. But I have been chased off by an incoming snowstorm as I crossed Beartooth Pass leaving Yellowstone in mid-month :happy
Fiddle-Bow
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by Fiddle-Bow »

Have you looked at flying into Cody and driving through the East entrance to YNP? It’s a very pretty drive and just as likely to see wildlife. From Cody to the East gate is about an hour drive with great views and likely less traffic as other gates. I’ve flown into Cody a few times and it’s an easy airport to get in and out of and a very interesting place to visit.
Walkitoff
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by Walkitoff »

We did a September trip in 2022 and were concerned about drive times so stayed at several places as we were there about 10 days. Drive times were not an issue however - park maps suggested lengthy drive times but they were really for the summer crowd. It's very enjoyable driving around from a base camp. Our fave was Canyon Lodge with Lake Yellowstone and Old Faithful trailing. Grant Village was like a dormitory.

Highly recommend one hub. Cool to drive around and stop for a buffalo nursing its calf in the middle of the road. Not something one sees everyday.
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Random Musings
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by Random Musings »

zeldak wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:06 pm Thanks everyone for the info/advice.

At this point Im thinking...

Fly into Bozeman
2 nights in Gardiner/North entrance
1 night in Canyon in YNP
2 nights at Lake in YNP
1 night near West entrance
Back to Bozeman

I dont like the constant moving, but an itinerary like this may allow for more fun/less driving.
How about 2 nights in Gardiner, 2 in Canyon and 2 at Lake? Don't see any major reason to stay in West Yellowstone (or around there) and you've eliminated one move. IMHO, Canyon is a better hub than Lake and our favorite inside the park for that reason. Only reason I can think of staying at Grant is if you want the option to take a day trip to Grand Teton NP as it's about 60 miles to Jenny Lake.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ
InMyDreams
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by InMyDreams »

Years ago, I was at Yellowstone the weekend after Labor Day weekend. We had a good time, but be prepared for cool to cold weather that may be damp or just plain rain.

We camped. There was an elk looking for his mate, going thru the campground, calling in the wee hours of the morning. Great experience.
tfunk
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by tfunk »

Why not fly into West Yellowstone? I have visited YNP over 10 times from Southern California. West is at the border of YNP. I have also flown into Jackson, WY. Good place to visit Teton NP and go up to Yellowstone. Bozeman is quite a drive from YNP compared to those two. Of course, not sure if the flights from your location are good for West Yellowstone or Jackson. I have also arrived from Cody if you can find any flights there. All three are better than Bozeman.
Houseofbricks
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Re: Yellowstone NP in September

Post by Houseofbricks »

We went to YNP just after Labor Day 2021. Ended up flying into West Yellowstone instead of Bozeman due to better fares and could get into the park quickly after a day of flying. We hopped between Old Faithful, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone Lake Hotel. OF and YL were best for scenery, classic setting, and bumping into others if that’s your thing. As others have said, you could settle in one spot a drive around more.

Drives into all entrances have scenic views and advantages.

I also recommend checking out TravelAdvisor / Yellowstone National Park / Forums. There are 2 or 3 local posters who will answer most questions and will give timely feedback on road closures/alternatives. And others will tell where grizzly momma is hanging out etc. when you get down to your vacation week.
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