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Old 10-03-2018, 08:26 AM   #11
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I would skip Madison for Norris.
All other advice is great.
Edit: I see Norris is closed now.
https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
Not many choices, I would definitely stay at Lewis Lake and Slough Creek, they aren't filling up until the afternoon and Lewis Lake didn't fill at all yesterday.
Slough Creek fills at like 7:30am during the regular season and I hear there is a line and people walking from site to site asking if you are going to leave.
That chart showing when the site filled the day before is a great indicator for what you have to do to get a walk in site when its busy. Usually means you have to move sites early.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:32 AM   #12
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Check for road closures on the figure 8 this time of year. There was a small section closed off years ago and it took approx 2.5 hours to get from old faithful to whatever lodge we were at.
oh, Don’t get stuck driving at night..... buffalo eyes don’t glare in the headlights. We were stuck driving about 1.5 hours after dark and apparently all the movement I “thought” I saw on the side of the road wasn’t my imagination
The whole park is surreal. 2 days will get gobbled up real quick. Take advantage of every minute of daylight... one buffalo crossing can easily kill 2 hours
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:30 AM   #13
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We just spent a couple days there last week (the last couple days of Sept) on the tail end of our travels from Alaska and we were surprised that it was still such a ZOO with tourists and traffic! I haven't been there in 30 years and I was literally shocked at the amount of people and traffic this late in the season. Maybe it will be less shocking for you as you are from California especially the LA area, but for my wife and I who spend most of our time in Alaska and the desert SW it was pretty crazy for late Sept.

We camped outside the west entrance to the park 2 nights due to not being able to find an available campsite within the park and booked 2 nights at Madison campground a week before our arrival as those 2 nights were the only available ones to reserve that entire week for the entire park.

On the 3rd morning, we got a late start going into the park and it took us just over 2 hours of mostly dead stopped traffic to travel 6 miles (no exaggeration). This was due to folks stopping to take pictures of the bison. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get out of the park one evening as well, possibly for the same reason. I have no idea as it was dark by the time we traveled to the west entrance and never saw what animal(s) caused the jam. Yes, I know this happens quite often but again, I was surprised for this time of the year.

Once away from the West entrance and Old Faithful/geyser area, traffic was better for the most part. We came in from Montana thru the NE entrance and the ride up to the pass on Beartooth Hwy (10,947 ft) was very scenic with spectacular mountain vistas and way less folks. We hiked several less popular trails and saw very few if any folks. Like usual, most people are not willing to travel too far from the parking lots once they have there photos. That being said, hikes closer to the geyser area (like Fairy Falls) were very busy with limited to no room to park in the parking lots during certain times of the day.

Be prepared for some cool nights as it was already dropping into the low 20's at night as most of the park is in the 6800'-7200' elevation. The temps during the day were very pleasant at around 60+ degrees, perfect for hiking.

Like others have said, 2-3 days is short but you can see a fair amount if you concentrate on a couple particular areas. Hope you enjoy your visit.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:29 PM   #14
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Picture of crowd around Old Faithful mid-week late Sept. I have no idea what it would be like during the peak season in the summer........ but still pretty busy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akfiredude View Post
We just spent a couple days there last week (the last couple days of Sept) on the tail end of our travels from Alaska and we were surprised that it was still such a ZOO with tourists and traffic! I haven't been there in 30 years and I was literally shocked at the amount of people and traffic this late in the season. Maybe it will be less shocking for you as you are from California especially the LA area, but for my wife and I who spend most of our time in Alaska and the desert SW it was pretty crazy for late Sept.

We camped outside the west entrance to the park 2 nights due to not being able to find an available campsite within the park and booked 2 nights at Madison campground a week before our arrival as those 2 nights were the only available ones to reserve that entire week for the entire park.

On the 3rd morning, we got a late start going into the park and it took us just over 2 hours of mostly dead stopped traffic to travel 6 miles (no exaggeration). This was due to folks stopping to take pictures of the bison. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get out of the park one evening as well, possibly for the same reason. I have no idea as it was dark by the time we traveled to the west entrance and never saw what animal(s) caused the jam. Yes, I know this happens quite often but again, I was surprised for this time of the year.

Once away from the West entrance and Old Faithful/geyser area, traffic was better for the most part. We came in from Montana thru the NE entrance and the ride up to the pass on Beartooth Hwy (10,947 ft) was very scenic with spectacular mountain vistas and way less folks. We hiked several less popular trails and saw very few if any folks. Like usual, most people are not willing to travel too far from the parking lots once they have there photos. That being said, hikes closer to the geyser area (like Fairy Falls) were very busy with limited to no room to park in the parking lots during certain times of the day.

Be prepared for some cool nights as it was already dropping into the low 20's at night as most of the park is in the 6800'-7200' elevation. The temps during the day were very pleasant at around 60+ degrees, perfect for hiking.

Like others have said, 2-3 days is short but you can see a fair amount if you concentrate on a couple particular areas. Hope you enjoy your visit.
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:15 PM   #15
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As some stated already:
for wildlife: Lamar Valley and Hayden valley, esp. early morning, late afternoon
for geysers: west side park
Note: winter (Jan/Feb) is really cool too!
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Old 10-03-2018, 04:24 PM   #16
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I have only visited the park a couple of times and thought the lower loop was best of the two. I've only visited Old Faithful once about 10 years ago and there wasn't half the people as shown in the above pic. Maybe I just got lucky. I parked on the N/W side and didn't have to walk very far at all.



I did enjoy taking any small one way roads whenever I got the chance. Spurs like firehole lake drive, firehole canyon drive and Virginia Cascade drive are worth a look. Many of the boardwalk trails take you to some beautiful pools. The Grand Canyon was unreal even with the crowds. I also enjoyed any of the terraces. I always stayed outside Grand Teton NP away from all the crowds and drove to YNP to explore but it's a drive that takes extra time and fuel.
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Old 10-03-2018, 04:31 PM   #17
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You need to give us more info about your trip: what do you like to see? Animals, landscapes, water,? Where are you entering and exiting the park, and what does your 3 nights/2 full days look like (i.e., first night arriving after dark, or first thing in the morning, last day leaving immediately or having all day there)?


This would help us suggest an itinerary better. It's like my friends from Europe who come to the West Coast for two weeks and say "What should I see?" :-)
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Old 10-03-2018, 04:48 PM   #18
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We spent 3 days in the Park last week & agree with akfiredude to the zoo-like crowds. The 2 nights at Madison were fine. We were apprehensive given the 8am to 8pm permitted time for generator use ... no worse than Glacier NP which limits use to 6 hrs/day.

Yes, go early ... by 8am there will be private & commercial groups of wildlife photographers out ... especially Lamar Valley.

The park’s camping page will show what time the four open campgrounds fill. We met folks who were camping 30 miles away ‘cause that’s all they could find. All the USFS campgrounds along US 212 from Beartooth Pass that had water at a tap in-season were gated & closed. FS road 128 east of junction with 296 leads to camping at Lily Lake.

Showers are < $6 at Old Faithful Inn ... go to check-in desk.

Next time we’ll go to one of the scenic drives, Firehole or Gibbon river canyons, park on a pullout and spend the day on the river.
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:33 PM   #19
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It’s pretty easy to grab a feee shower at Ild Faithful Inn. The “old house” part (wings facing the front off the center hall) has shared bathroom on most floors. I’m not saying you should, but...

We’ve had very good luck over the years finding last minute lodging at YNP. From campgrounds to lodges, including multiple times at Old Faithful. The basic rooms at OF Inn are a good value, at around $120 night for a two-bed room with shared bath.
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:56 PM   #20
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holy cow. that pic of ole faithful is insane. last time I went to show my wife that geyser the viewing area didn't go past the building on the left. first time I went there couldn't have been more than 30-40 people. the park experience sure has changed there


lone star is an out of the way geyser that most wont go to because you have to actually hike/bike to it. taller geyser than ole faithful, but dosent erupt as often or as punctual. morning glory pool is one of my favorite features. theres signs for it on the way into the lodge. again, lots of people wont hike into it cause its more than 100 steps away from the car. the lodge is a must see regardless of crowds. its just a really cool structure. other than those things all the goods have been mentioned.


I was lucky enough in the early 90's to have a friend working there. he gave us a tour of the lodge. showed us the haunted rooms and took us up in the crows nest. I grew up in Idaho falls and went there often as a kid/teen. I miss being so close to the park....till I see pix of the crowds.


enjoy your trip. theres no bad parts of the park. just remember to do your shopping outside of the park. everything in there is way overpriced.
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