Best Places YellowStone This September to October?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by jay_huse, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. Well, I will more than likely be taking a trip to yellowstone park this late
    summer. I think I will go after Labor Day but before october 10th. I am
    curious when the best time to go is for shooting photos and still have places
    hotels open and activity. For example in October, South Dakota and Rushmore is
    dead and most hotels are closed down, you can barely find a place to eat.

    Does anybody know the best time to go in the late summer early fall as far as
    prices and places being open ?

    Also I been searching so much info on places to photograph my head is spining
    Is there a top 10 items that a person should see or photograph there ? We will
    also want to hike some.

    Thanks any help would be great.

  2. Yellowstone, if you walk 50 feet off of any road. Is empty year round. The "hubby-mommies" don't leave the safety of their RV/SUV's.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Back in 1993, we went to Yellowstone around September 12, approximately a week after Labor Day. The biggest crowd was gone but it was still a bit hard to find motel rooms. One night we didn't reserve in advance and almost had to sleep in our rental car. By late September into October, your chance of running into some snow storm increases.

    I think some time around mid September is optimal and I picked September 12 for a reason.
  4. Snow can happen anytime in YS NP but probably it is best if you go early September rather than late for that reason.

    I have been to YS NP twice.,. once in 1984 in mid September and it was more crowded than I anticipated and last year the first week in September and it was less crowded (on weekdays) than I expected.

    If you do the off the traveled road thing, which I recommend, be sure to have bear spray and pay attention. Last year I saw this guy sitting next to Trout Pond enjoying the day.. and a big bull Bison snuck up on him from behind.. when he realized it and leaped up I am unsure who was more startled.. Him of the Bison...
  5. I think we could help you more if you were to tell use what you like to shoot. Yellowstone, and the Tetons are huge and offer a lot of opportunity. If youre just trying to replicate what other people have done, you'll find that in ANY book, or web page about yellowstone. For me I shoot most wildlife, so i'd say the top ten things are, elk, bears, elk, elk, bison, elk, elk, did I mention elk? I likely would not spend any time on the paint pots, or old faithful, it's been done so many times under so many conditions that it does not encourage me to stand around, in the only spots that you can, and shoot those images.

    That's my $.02.
  6. I am with Tony on his comments I just got back from Yellowstone and Grand Teton N.P. The last weekend in May and enjoyed it very much:
    Norris Basin and Mammoth springs , upper lower falls and yellowstone Grand Canyon those are the places I enjoyed But theres more there than one enjoy In a Year of visits , I came away with about 1200 pictures and still am looking thru them: enjoy your self its worth it:
  7. We visited Yellowstone the summer of 2005 and had good luck getting a place to stay in the park, but reservations are good if you can plan that way. Our visit was just after Labor Day and seemed fairly optimal (less people on weekdays, still good weather). By far I thought the best location to book a room was Canyon Village. That's where I would stay the next time.

    For general peace and quiet, the Tetons were much less busy. Enjoy! -Greg-

    Yellowstone coyotes:
  8. Fall color is best from Sept. 20-30 or so. Tetons generally have better fall color opportunities then Yellowstone. Search the archives here for tips on where to shoot--there are many places in both parks, and actually, they are all worth going to! Check both NPS park websites for lodging/campground closing dates. Have fun!
  9. Greg Very very nice pictures. In reply to Tony, I shoot mainly Wildlife but also some landscapes when it is easy to get some shots. I have all kind of gear for the landscape and widlife but not sure what to really take. I am also afraid of taking it all for fear of getting it stolen LOL!

    So I was planning on a few hikiing trips where that would be My MF Bronica RF645 gear and a Nikon D80 with a wide Super wide & Zooming lens.

    For straight out wildlife I have a Tamron 200-500 and a Canon 400mmF5.6X + 1.4X canon 30D.

    The Problem for me is Narrowing down the best places for Landscape & Wolves/Coyotes/ like Gregs photos.
  10. I live in Montana and get down there about half dozen times a year. As far as places to
    There are usually some big bull elk right around Mammoth. Be a little cautious - last
    October one of these guys put his antlers through a pickup truck. They're in the rut and
    displaying and bugling like crazy.
    Just outside Gardiner, before you go through the Roosevelt Arch, there's a road to the
    right going past the high school. This road actually runs through a section of the park and
    there are often antelope back there, with Electric Peak in the background.
    At the rescue creek trailhead you can cross the Gardiner river, then go right cross country
    up to the McKinn bench behind the Sheep Management area. (The flats across the river
    also often have a herd of antelope). This is about a mile hike and UP, but there are often
    bighorn sheep up there. I've had them graze close enough to me that I got up and moved
    off. The rams are BIG. You should check it out with a spotting scope before making the
    climb. Another area where you sometimes find sheep is where Soda Butte Creek enters the
    Lamar river - there's a steep hill there which often has rams on it.
    After the wolf introduction the coyote population dipped, but last winter there were quite a
    number of coyotes to be found in the Lamar Valley. If you're lucky you'll see wolves there,
    but they're usually too far off for a good shot.
    There's a willow flat between Silver gate and Cooke City which occasionally has Moose in
    it. Another possible area is between Mammoth and Norris.
    If they haven't flown South yet there will be Trumpeter Swans on the Madison River.

    By the way, if you have the time and the weather is very good, the Red Rocks Wildlife
    refuge is a day trip from West Yellowstone and has a good sized population of trumpeter
    swans, and should be getting a lot of migrating waterfowl then. Be forewarned the road
    there is gravel, goes over a mountain pass, and requires good tires and should not be
    attempted if the roads are wet. Check out their website, though, it's worth it if you have
    the time.
    Also, you'll see plenty of photographers while you're there - pick their brains about what
    they've seen and where to go.
    Good luck!
  11. I like Yellowstone and the Tetons just after Labor Day and have gone there on that schedule twice since I've moved to the region. Crowds leave YS after Labor Day - it's usually not too bad getting a reservation even on the Labor Day weekend. Also, though you don't mention it, I usually combine the trip with a Teton excursion and almost always wind up with an evening storm that dusts the mountains with snow and provides great fog effects come the next morning.

    Others have covered the "good spots" that I'd recommend in Yellowstone. Enjoy your trip!
  12. I'd expect you'd find some accomodations and eateries these days (more general off season tourism everywhere) but it's between the summer season and snow seasons. You may want to plan ahead on accomodations and maybe be sure you've got day food, breakfast snacks, etc., just in case you are out and about when the munchies hit. Of course, you need to be careful with leaving food in the vehicle overnight as well.

    Years ago, end of September/early October the Inn at Old Faithful (go see this - and the geyser basin too)) was closing for the season, maybe a week or two left on their schedule, the hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs was getting ready to re-open, West Yellowstone was almost dead quiet and many places closed. Staying at Signa Mountain, in Grand Tetons, we almost had to drive to our next reservations at Old Faithful via Idaho when an early storm came through. The Yellowstone NPS site has a list of seasonal closures.

    I would certainly recommend the geyser basins around Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs for the springs and when we were there, the elk activity was intense, sparring out on the parade ground, bugling and challenges going on all over the area, we also saw bighorn sheep and pronghorn in the area especially on the way to/from Gardiner. IIRC, bison were plentiful but we saw more in the Hayden Valley area. Elk were all over.

    It's worth a side trip to Grand Tetons, especially if in good color, the Signal Mountain Inn was still open, nice accomodations and eats, view across the lake from the balcony (or anywhere along the lake there) is stunning. Oxbow Bend usually has a lot of activity, we've seen moose, otter and eagles as wellas tremendous views.
  13. Thanks everybody, I'm another innocent thinking about going to Yellowstone in Sept-Oct. I appreciate the discussion very much.

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