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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I and a friend are planning a couple of weeks to ride from SC out to the Yellowstone area and back next year. I'm a little concerned about the crowds in July and the temps in May.

Curious from some of you that have done it think. What is the best time to ride that area???

Thanks in advance!


Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So it's not a creeping parking lot then? I was worried about getting into slow crowds and bagging the ride plan.

Thanks!
 

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I was there a couple years ago the week before Sturgis. I can tell you that is not a great time to go. It was packed. Maybe it is all summer long.
 

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Just remember weather is fickle, last trip 8 August we got 9" of snow in a couple of hours 30 or so miles from any cover, went from upper 60's to 30 in 20 min.

An hour later roads were dry and temp was back up to mid 40's.
 

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I never been there so I wonder how it is in early September, at least the kids would be back in school and it wouldn't be as crowded. Maybe someone can chime in and tell us if that would be a good time to go.
 

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I have been twice, both times around the second week of July, this past summer was one of my visits, we spent several days riding around the area, and we went in or out of all entrances to the park, be prepared, for some traffic, some rain, and even really cool to cold mornings. Also be prepared for road work because of a limited time to work on the roads. This past summer we had to ride for more than 5 miles on rutted out dirt and gravel where they had the roads torn up an were doing work..i am not complaining because it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, just be prepared for all weather conditions and road conditions.
 

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I have been there 3 times. First two won't count as they were both over 30 years ago.

4 years ago (2011) I went in mid June and there was still a ton of snow in the mountains, but the main valley was fine. Not too crowded either. It was a bit chill, but not too bad. Later in the year, as suggested, would probably have been better.
 

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If you plan on camping in the park , you need to make reservations for the campground and they will want to know how many tents and their size , or camper size and the exact dates you plan to be there

JtB
 

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The last two weeks of August are the best time people wise. Most kids are back in school by then and the temps are perfect. I've done it the first week or so of September also. Just remember, you are pretty far north and the the nights start getting cool pretty quick after that. Have a great time and enjoy your trip.
 

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Yellowstone

Summer is high season from June to the end of August. Summer is also construction season as noted above. The biggest obstacle are the rental motorhomes. Usually drive by european tourists who are not used to their size compared to their VW and BMW back home.

Beware the rental motorhome because they will screech to halt without warning, turn left without warning and pull into traffic when you least expect them too.

I've been through the park in late June early July and also a couple times in early August, tourist traffic seemed the same each time.

If I were planning a trip out that way here is what I would do. Coming from the east I would make my first base stop at Cody, Wy.

A few reasons for this.
-Cody is about 1.5 hours or so east of the East park entrance. It has good access to the Chief Joseph and Beartooth hwys. You can make a nice loop ride over both end up in Red Lodge for a nice afternoon lunch and ride the reverse route or go east and south back to Cody. I prefer to ride them in the morning, I find that the cloud and moisture build up in the afternoon in the summertime in that region almost inevitably leads to rain on the Beartooth in the afternoon.
-Cody has a nightly rodeo on the west side of town. If you've never been to a rodeo this is a good one to see. Then after you are a short ride back to your hotel
-Cody has a wide variety of accommodation in camping and hotel/motels. You can literally pay from 30$ a night for a tent site to close to 300$ a night for a hotel room. Another reason is the food. You are not paying the tourist prices for breakfast, lunch and dinner while staying in the park.
- you can make a couple excursions into the east side of Yellowstone and loop back around to Cody to see that side best.
-there are a few museums and some colorful water holes in Cody as well to be checked out.

2nd base camp, West Yellowstone.
-most of the good stuff to see in Yellowstone is in the west half of the park.
-a decent range of accommodation here and food choices as well.
-plan a day ride to go back east into the park then north up to Mammoth Hotsprings and see the Roosevelt Gate at Gardiner Montana. My advice is to ride up and back in one day and take your time, make your stops on the right hand side only when travelling, crossing traffic to access is a nightmare.
-plan a day ride to back east and south to Old Faithful and West Thumb. The exit at Old Faithful is more user friendly than anywhere in the park.
-beware of buses full of tourists. Do not park near the buses. Japanese tourist have a much lower threshold of personal space and boundaries, they will sit on your bike for photo ops without you being there, just their nature. European tourists will admire your bikes, take pictures and usually will ask permission to take your picture or ask to be in a picture with you.

Have fun, stop often to take in the scenery and enjoy yourselves while you're there. Ride safe

Calgaryglide
 

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Been there a few time also. It can and does snow there anytime of the year. Just be prepared for the weather. Before the schools let out is the best time to enjoy the park and the ride. Good luck.
 

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Funny story about Japanese tourist, after riding thru Yellowstone for several days this year, Japanese tourist on many occasions would just literally step out in front of us as we were leaving or arriving at some attraction in the park to take our pictures on the bikes. ....so after several days of this, near the last day we stopped at a giant sign that says Yellowstone park" there were several of us, so we were off the bikes taking our pictures in front of the Yellowstone sign, when in pulled a big touring van full of Japanese , we all looked at one another and had the same thought and we all jumped out in front of the van and started taking pictures of them...should have seen their faces
 

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we all looked at one another and had the same thought and we all jumped out in front of the van and started taking pictures of them...should have seen their faces
Now THAT'S funny!!!
 

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Funny story about Japanese tourist, after riding thru Yellowstone for several days this year, Japanese tourist on many occasions would just literally step out in front of us as we were leaving or arriving at some attraction in the park to take our pictures on the bikes. ....so after several days of this, near the last day we stopped at a giant sign that says Yellowstone park" there were several of us, so we were off the bikes taking our pictures in front of the Yellowstone sign, when in pulled a big touring van full of Japanese , we all looked at one another and had the same thought and we all jumped out in front of the van and started taking pictures of them...should have seen their faces
WOW. Just gotta start doing that also :laugh:!!
 

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'Been to Yellowstone 2x after Sturgis, great weather both times.
Yes it is busy but not a parking lot by any means, traffic can get slow at times when buffalo or other critters are crossing / near the roads, no problem parking the bike anywhere.

It is a little disconcerting when you are stopped in traffic and a buffalo walks up next to the bike within arms reach :surprise:

We have been going through Red Lodge / Beartooth Pass, EPIC! and make a counterclockwise loop to spend the night at N, W, then exit South to Jackson Hole, 3 nights is barely enough with all there is to see. Next time we will check out Cody, WY 'heard nothing but good things about Cody.

Unless you make reservations (I don't) plan on being out of the Park at around 4-4:30 to find lodging as the town(s) of Red Lodge, North Yellowstone, West Yellowstone, book up very quickly around that time. Be prepared to pay a premium, as these towns (N&W) are only open 2-3 months out of the year, and they have to amortize their investment somehow...

'Been all over the lower 48 on a bike, Yellowstone is at / very near the top of our list!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great info all - thanks! This will definitely help us plan timing & some great places also. I appreciate!

Ron
 

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Good Plan

Calgaryglide has a good plan mapped out. June is good. Most of the snow is gone from down low and the chance of snow is slight, but ever present higher up. Cody, Red Lodge and West Yellowstone are good and a must see.

The only thing I would add is, time permitting, swing down into Teton National Park as well. From there is some spectacular elevation and a nice ride down into Jackson Hole and Jackson. Plan on another day for that leg but well worth the trip. A ride up and over Teton Pass into Idaho is also a spectacular view. The back side of the Tetons gives a different perspective.

Enjoy the trip however it goes!:smile:
 
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