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Archive 2005 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice
  
 
nutek
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Hi everyone,

I am planning to go to Grand Teton and Yellowstone Natl Parks at the end of this month, and I've got some questions that I hope you guys can help answer.

1) Is this a good time to go?

2) Which airport do you normally fly in to (i.e. in terms of accessibility from the eastern USA, and minimal driving to reach Grand Teton)?

If you have pictures taken during this season, please post them too. I'm sure they'll whet my appetite

If not Grand Teton/Yellowstone, would you have any other suggestions where might be a good locations for landscape/nature photography in the Eastern USA? (I'm in Pittsburgh, PA).

Thanks!
Wenyao



May 05, 2005 at 04:22 AM
jsandfort
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


1) I think anytime is good. But it really depends on what you're after. This month might be a little early for the babies. And it'll probably be too early for wild flowers. But I'm sure there's something to see.

2) Jackson/Jackson Hole is closest to GTNP. But it may be enough cheaper to justify flying into SLC and driving up.

I'd make sure to email or call the ranger station and ask about road conditions/closures. They may be able to offer ideas about what's in season.

http://www.nps.gov/grte/
http://www.nps.gov/yell/



May 05, 2005 at 04:38 AM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


We went several years ago and got to Jackson for the Memorial Day weekend (IIRC). We did have periodic thunderstorms and a severe storm in the Salt Lake City area on the way home. There was some potential for snow problems in the high country but we didn't have any.

There is kind of a different mix of animals in some places depending on season but nothing to say don't go. One advantage is that before Memorial Day, crowds haven't started to build up - but some of the more touristy attractions may not be running on full schedule either, like local rodeos, chuckwagon dinner shows, etc.

Ny sister-in-law has vacation property near Pinedale, she tends to fly most to Salt Lake City. It isn't as close as maybe some smaller city airports (Pocatello or Idaho Falls??) but gets a lot more service. You might even be able to short hop into Jackson.



May 05, 2005 at 04:40 AM
dobro
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


I've flown into ID Falls, Bozeman, and Salt Lake City several times. SLC is good because of the lower airfares and cheap rental cars. The drive isn't that bad, and serves to get me in the mood. Jackson Hole would be best for Teton access, and West Yellowstone would be best for Yellowstone access, but for me, the cheap airfares to SLC win most of the time. If you're really short on time, go with one of the closer airports though.

I was working in Boise ID one year in early May and got finished with the job early...I considered taking the rest of the week off and running over to Yellowstone, but decided to head on home. Our flight went over the park, and it was solid white...didn't look like anything had melted at all. I'm sure late May would be better, but I tend to wait until the middle of July to go to Yellowstone (that's also fishing related however).

I'd really like to head out that way in September...

Lee




May 05, 2005 at 07:10 AM
nma
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


You have scheduled your trip fairly early in the season. If you are planning on any hiking, which I certainly recommend, there is going to be snow on trails, even at fairly low elevations. As another writer mentioned, there is also the possibilty of spring snow storms. Typically, they don't amount to much, but the roads can be rather slippery. This is a particular problem if your rental car has crappy tires, as they often do. Be prepared.

On the other hand, with good weather there should be wonderful opportunities to photograph the mountains with lot's of snow.

We have always flown into SLC. We drive up through Pocatello and Idaho Falls. Then we cross over through the Swan Valley (can be really beautiful!) go over the pass (probably see lots of snow here, but open year round except during storms) and down into Teton Village. This takes us about 5-6 hours of driving with stops.

As another writer mentioned, there is another airport at Bozeman. I would check that out. If that worked, you could stay over night (or longer) in West Yellowstone (this can be a cheaper stop than Jackson Hole) and then travel down through GTNP at a liesurely pace.

Hope this helps



May 05, 2005 at 11:58 AM
vonhaupt
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


We're heading out there the first 2 weeks of September and would love to see/hear about your trip when you return. No matter what, HAVE FUN because that's what its all about.



May 05, 2005 at 12:36 PM
nutek
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Hi everyone, thanks very much for your advice! I'm looking at airfares into SLC now.
Yes the timing will be a little too early, but this is the only time when I can do it...
I intend to spend a week there - so I guess with the snow, camping isn't an option?



May 05, 2005 at 02:48 PM
nma
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Camping is probably OK. The GTNP campgrounds are near Jenny Lake, so the snow is probably melted there. You need to be prepared for cold nights.


May 05, 2005 at 02:57 PM
PhotoRon
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


I've been out there something like 18 times, starting back in 1970, so I guess I know my way around as well as anybody by now. Memorial Day is kind of early, but the park will be much less crowded. Depending on the snow this year, they may not even have all the roads open yet. I've been there as early as March, and the whole feeling of the park in the early season is different than in summer. Wildlife much more accessible, landscapes more dramatic.

Because I'm near Chicago, I can get direct flights into the Jackson Hole airport, so that saves a lot of time, and I'd rather spend the extra money and get there quickly, but that's just me. You can usually get flights from Denver and SLC into Jackson as well.

There are campgrounds in many areas of the park. Jenny Lake is the prettiest, but hardest to get into because it is also pretty small. As it is, they moved the campground a few years ago, and it's not in as quite as nice a spot. The campground at Colter Bay is pretty large, but it's in a nice spot. I've camped in most of the campgrounds, and they're all pretty nice. This early, it's still going to get kind of cold. You might also consider the cabins at Colter Bay Village, which is sort of in the middle of the park. Not very expensive. I've stayed in them a couple of times, and they're simple, but neat and clean, with easy access to most areas of the park. There's a really good pizza place just up the road a bit from Colter Bay, too, at the boat landing

You should be able to get up into Yellowstone, and if you can, I'd definitely suggest a visit to the geyser basin. Expecially early in the year you can get some pretty neat contrasts between the geysers/hotsprings/mudpots/ etc and the snow, if it's still there. The higher elevations of the park might still be closed to road traffic. Stick your nose into the Old Faithful Inn as well. You can get some nice interior shots at some times of day in the central lobby.

Hope that helps a bit.

Ron



May 05, 2005 at 05:08 PM
 

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traveler
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Well I live in Salt Lake and have made that trip many times, in particular Jackson WY to see some accounts of mine. It's a nice drive, and if you can take your time, head up from Salt Lake North through Logan Canyon (a beautiful area in it's own right) and then follow small highways up the Utah/Wyoming border up to Jackson and then up to the park. It's a nice drive and very scenic with tons of photo ops along the way. You'll see bison, deer, eagles and other wildlife all over the place just driving up there. Lot's of rivers and of course famous Bear Lake (a blue you can't believe). Check it out......


May 05, 2005 at 06:32 PM
nma
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Traveler

Makes a good point about Logan Canyon and Bear Lake. However, we found the roads to be very slippery during spring/summer snow storms. Along with the scenery and animals is a longer drive with many fewer options for stops, food, etc.



May 05, 2005 at 08:25 PM
timclymer
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Hey, I'm actually headed up the end of this month as well! We're going from the 28th to the 5th (Grand Tetons first, then Yellowstone). Currently I'm flying into Denver and my friend is picking me up, then my girlfriend is flying into Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole really seems to be the best, though flights into there may be fairly expensive by now. I know when I booked my trip, I looked into flying in closer, but it actually would have been cheaper to rent a car (between the 3 or 4 of us) and drive up.

I was in Yellowstone in early June (first week or so) last year and it was beautiful. I slept in the cap of my truck (built a platform halfway up, slept on top and stored stuff underneath) and it was just fine, though it was chilly (in the 30s or so) at night. In the daytime it was beautiful, usually in the 60s or 70s. I'm told this is pretty typical for this time of year. When we got there, most of the snow was melted, but we did end up seeing some around the waterfalls and such (not sure why there...).

Unfortunately we didn't do much hiking, but we plan to this year (and I plan on bringing boots in case of mud). We're also camping in tents this year, but I don't believe it'll be too bad as long as you have a warm sleeping bag and maybe a couple extra blankets (you can always sleep in your clothes I suppose, that's what I did at times :-).

As far as scenery, everything was very green and all the leaves were out on the trees. I'm hoping it'll be the same this year. As far as wildflowers, I'm told that some will be out but they'll definitely not be in full bloom (I didn't much notice the presence/absense last year).

I think it's a good time of year to go. The crowds aren't really bad at all and I think we only waited once because of construction on the roads (the roads weren't bad either, definitely not muddy or anything). The weather during our stay last year was pretty nice, though it did get cloudy during part. It was certainly comfortable in the day too, not too hot or too cold.

Well anyways, I've done enough rambling. If you see someone in either of the parks with 3 cameras (10D, Elan 7, and Hasselblad), be sure to say hi! :-)



May 05, 2005 at 08:57 PM
StormRider
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


I live in Jackson so I’ll try to be of some help. If you have any other questions about the area please ask away.

The end of May should be a good time to visit. The crowds will be low, except Memorial Day Weekend. The days are cool enough that the animals will still be on the move during daylight hours – Antelope Flats is a good area for wildlife and landscapes. The weather can be variable so you might not get stuck with those boring clear blue skies.
Check [url]www.mountainweather.com[/url] before your trip for the most accurate weather report available.

The valley is mostly clear of snow by now. There might still be some in the woods on north facing slopes. Hiking on the lower trails shouldn’t be too bad, but could be a little muddy. The nights could still be getting down to the low 30’s and possibly 20’s so camping is definitely a personal decision. You’ll hit more snow and cooler temps the further north you go.

Flying right into Jackson Hole is the most convenient way to go, but Idaho Falls (1.5 hour drive) and Salt Lake City (4.5 hour drive) can be cheaper options.

BTW, it’ll rain over Memorial Day weekend – it always does.



May 06, 2005 at 03:17 AM
nutek
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Hi everyone, thanks for all the great responses and help again!
I'll be arriving 24th May and leaving 31st. Looks like I'm be flying to Salt Lake City then driving up from there, and I'll definitely want to visit the places that have been mentioned

If you see a lone Asian guy with a D30 freezing his butt off in the Tetons, that'll be me

Thanks again!
Wenyao



May 06, 2005 at 04:36 AM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


The times I've gone, we did go via Logan going in and out via Idaho. Logan Canyon is beautiful, then past the lake and we went up via Montpelier and up 89 to Alpine then to Jackson. All the routes are different and all offer a variety of different scenery. I don't know that they still do it but there was a mini rendezvous (mountain man) held in the Jackson area which might interest you for colorful people and activity shots.


May 06, 2005 at 06:38 AM
snowboarder
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Stay in Jackson Hole, it's really great location,
on the way from/to Yellowstone you drive through a little forest (just a few miles
from Jackson Hole) by a river where you can see moose VERY close every evening.

Andrew



May 06, 2005 at 01:58 PM
klinquist
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Grand Teton/Yellowstone advice


Found this thread searching. I'll be the third to chime in and say that I'll also be there at the end of this month. I'm renting a car and driving (from San Jose, CA). I'll be in a hotel somewhere along the way the first night, followed by 3 days camping in Yellowstone, one day in a hotel, and two days camping in Grand Teton. It'll be my first visit to the park as well. Sounds like my 3000 BTU catalytic propane tent heater will come in handy

Can't wait!




May 09, 2005 at 12:54 AM







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