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Archive 2013 · Yellowstone - late april or early may
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Yellowstone - late april or early may


i have been to yellowstone in June, August and October but never early spring.

which week would you pick to go to yellowstone and why?

april 19-26
april 26-may 3
mar 3-10
may 17-24



Mar 10, 2013 at 03:23 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Yellowstone - late april or early may

This year you may have issues with roads and some facilities opening 1-2 weeks later than normal.

For me, visiting for the animals means the northern tier of the park, so I would be going the second half of May, either week.

Check the park website to see if they have updated their roads and facilities opening dates due to the sequester cutes......it amounts to over 1.7 million dollars and the press release said 1 million of that was coming out of spring snow removal on roads and the rest out of hiring of summer rangers and workforce (NOT the Xanterra and other concessionaires, though they may also be delayed in some places).

Same thing is going on in Grand Teton and several other popular parks.

Mar 10, 2013 at 04:02 PM

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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Yellowstone - late april or early may

Late April and early May can be very good for grizzlies as winter kill bisons and elk are uncovered from the melting snow and hungry bears fight over their carcasses. Bison are birthing their calves and streaming back into the Park. There are also a lot less photographers and tourists. However, the Park tends to look awful unless you get a fresh snowfall. You'll miss out on the elk calving, likely pronghorn too. Likewise, too early for fox, badger and coyote dens.

Mar 10, 2013 at 05:22 PM

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Yellowstone - late april or early may

On the advice of other photographers, I went there last year (2012) in the 3rd week of May for two+ weeks. Photography conditions depend on the residual snow and weather. If the snow persists, many roads will be closed into June--limiting photo access to only the main artery roads. However, one open artery road is between Cooke City and Gardiner--through the Lamar Valley--a prime location for bison, wolves, bears, badgers, etc. Spring weather is iffy--if the area is in deep, gray cloud cover, you will have limited light without the benefit of puffy cloud backgrounds or moody ground fog. Also, contrary to some web information, you will not "beat the crowds" in the last half of May. There were many people jamming locations where any animals were within camera range (or beyond camera range, too). Expect the few, but inevitable, morons running up to the bison for photo opportunities. (In hindsight, the photo opportunity could be yours, if you want to post the goring on YouTube.) All the cars, chirping car horns, slamming car doors, yelling spouses ("Who has the keys, Honey do you have the keys? Where's Donny? .... Did you lock the car? Beep Beep. The car's locked...") keep the animals at a distance. Also, many of the animals will be shedding their winter coats--and looking ragged. To catch wolves and bears around winter carcasses, earlier would be better, but weather may hamper your shooting opportunities. Also, a high-clearance 4wd vehicle will allow you to pull off the road in the rougher parking areas that have a considerable drop-off from the pavement to the gravel, but fewer tourists raising havoc. Based on my spring experience, when I go back, it will be in the fall, after school starts, and the animals and landscape will be in prime condition.

Mar 10, 2013 at 06:02 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Yellowstone - late april or early may

Like others have said, the road closures are a pain these times of the year.

I usually go the first week of June in the Spring. Right after the Memorial Day madness and before all the schools let out.

The photography window in June is June 1-21. the sooner the better...

Mar 11, 2013 at 02:40 AM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Yellowstone - late april or early may

thanks for all the advice.


Mar 11, 2013 at 03:06 AM

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