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first trip to Yellowstone & Glacier
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Jan 2, 2019 14:47:05   #
cbtsam
 
We're planning on visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks beginning about September 10. Any suggestions re where to stay, what to see, what to avoid?

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Jan 2, 2019 15:24:46   #
pmorin
 
cbtsam wrote:
We're planning on visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks beginning about September 10. Any suggestions re where to stay, what to see, what to avoid?


If you stay at a hotel park in Yellowstone I would recommend The Lake Lodge. It is a slice out of time ⌛️. Just a beautiful place for photography and it has the best restaurant in the park as far as we could tell. If you take a tour and can afford the extra, get a private tour. That way the guide can help you to decide which places to visit and where to get the best wildlife views. Otherwise you are stuck in an 8-person Van with non photographers. I used a company called Ecotours.
The Park Service itself also has tours. We did the historic open top bus tour and took a few hours one morning in a boat tour catching Golden Trout. I think it was well worth the expense. Here’s a web link to the NPS Yellowstone site with links to info on all their tours.
https://www.nps.gov/search/?affiliate=nps&query=Yellowstone+Park+bus

For Glacier NP you’re going to need another’s thoughts. I have it on the list, but have not yet been.

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Jan 2, 2019 15:25:31   #
DaveO (a regular here)
 
Just curious ...why are you planning a trip to these places? Have you done any research to see what features may be of interest to you?

BTW, here is a link to check lodging availability, etc. People began booking Yellowstone lodging in May of 2018 for this year. I would see where the majority of your interests are before booking. Yellowstone Lake area is out of the way for many places, having stayed in most of the park lodging. Don't let the distances between points of interest fool you into tightly planning your travels. Our interests are mainly north and northeast, so Gardiner, Mt works best for us.

https://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/stay/summer-lodges/

https://s3.amazonaws.com/static-yellowstonepark/public/Yellowstone-official-road-map_2016-2.pdf

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Jan 2, 2019 15:52:13   #
SierraP
 
They are both great. Allow yourself plenty of time on each. Yellowstone roads form a figure eight. You can do one loop per day. I suggest that you stay in West Yellowstone. Cheaper prices and many more restaurants. As a senior you can purchase a Golden Age pass, good for life, it gets you into all national parks free as long as you live, so you can enter and leave any park without additional charges. I would drive myself around the park as there is a parking area wherever there it something to photograph and you won't feel that you have a guide on the clock. You can start and stop on you own schedule.
I prefer Teton NP to Glacier NP but no denying,Glacier is nice. On your map, you will see just south west of Glacier is the National Bison Reserve. They have Deer, Elk and a variety of wildlife. It's a drive through park around a couple of small mountains.

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Jan 2, 2019 17:52:25   #
larryepage (a regular here)
 
cbtsam wrote:
We're planning on visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks beginning about September 10. Any suggestions re where to stay, what to see, what to avoid?

Yellowstone facilities are not all open all year. Some of the entrances close during the fall. September may be early enough to avoid most of the closures, but I'd suggest an early check to verify what is going to still be open and accessible at that time.

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Jan 2, 2019 19:33:29   #
davidrb
 
cbtsam wrote:
We're planning on visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks beginning about September 10. Any suggestions re where to stay, what to see, what to avoid?


Both places are in the throws of shut-down. Weather in Glacier could cause the main east-west road to be closed for the season. Yellowstone is in the midst of closing most of the lodges and inns. We were there from Sept. 15-20 and food in the park's restaurants was scarce. Gardner is outside the park and has more to offer. You will need to do much research on this trip. From Yellowstone park to Glacier is about a day's drive in good weather. Your plans have you arriving too late to be able to enjoy much of the area. There will be other tourists at this time, but their plans and accomodations were made well in advance. Hotels will be very scarce and expensive. West Yellowstone is a big stop for tourists, as is Jackson. The park roads TO the upper park will close when the weather dictates. The main east-west road across the north portion of Yellowstone in open daily year-around. This road is the life-line for Cooke City Mt. and connects the inhabitants of Cooke City to the outside world during the winter. As far as what to see, see everything! You have no idea how big Yellowstone is. Good luck to you, you will need all you can get. Have fun, start very early in the day, and shoot it twice. Drink lots of water.

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Jan 3, 2019 06:32:31   #
FotoPhreak
 
I would suggest going a bit earlier if you plan to stay at any lodging within the parks. I has been my experience that all lodging in both parks closes down for the season in mid September.

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Jan 3, 2019 06:57:44   #
DaveO (a regular here)
 
The first reply to this thread contained a link with all of the pertinent dates.

Mid September is an excellent time for a park visit as the crowds are a little smaller. It all depends on what you are looking for and the OP has indicated that he has no idea.

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Jan 3, 2019 06:58:25   #
steve49
 
We did the same trip a year earlier in the same time frame.
Weather was really nice and the crowds were thinned out.
Glacier had some fires that closed Going to the Sun Road from the west side...
you could go part way through from the east side up to the middle and the park building there. We also went to Many Glaciers but could not get accommodation in the park.
We had to stay in Browning... about 20 miles away.

There is a lot of road construction out there during this time of year... after peak tourist but before it's too cold to work. Plan for some time
" behind a loader".

Yellowstone is awesome and huge. We stayed in the park there for 3-4 nights. In the park accommodations are hard to get and scarce.. We also stayed a few days in Gardner as well. It is right at one of the park entrances... I thk you will be able to get a spot there even at the last minute in mid Sept.
Road construction there as well and there are no shorts cuts through.

Beautiful parks both. Enjoy them

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Jan 3, 2019 07:03:00   #
Revet
 
That's when we went this year. I second Lake Lodge but we stayed in the cabins behind the lodge. A little more private with easy access to the Lodge for meals etc. It is centrally located in the Park especially if you plan on going south to the Tetons for a day(which you should if you have not been there). The Canyon area is more centrally located in the Park itself but it is more crowded and I didn't think the food choices were as good for lunch and dinner (if you are not eating at one of the parks restaurants that require reservations). I don't think you can go wrong wherever you stay in the park. Do be afraid to explore but travel in groups and carry Bear Spray (even if just doing the hot spots that are crowded).

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Jan 3, 2019 07:38:27   #
JayemCO
 
cbtsam wrote:
We're planning on visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks beginning about September 10. Any suggestions re where to stay, what to see, what to avoid?


Many Glacier Lodge is my favorite place to stay in Glacier NP. Don't skip Grand Teton it is beautiful and next door to Yellowstone.

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Jan 3, 2019 07:55:50   #
BlueMorel (a regular here)
 
First, Sept. 11 is getting late in the season for Glacier at least. We were there two years ago and Logan Pass/Going to the Sun Road was closed by about Sept. 20 or 21 due to snow. It was closed on the 18th and 20th while we were there due to snow - we left on the 21st to head south. I think this is typical weather for that time of year. We went to Yellowstone after that and it was fine, though crowded. We stayed in Livingston at the Super 8.
At Glacier we stayed in East Glacier for the few days we were there, at the East Glacier Motel. There are nicer places but we were lucky to get their more modern cabin with a kitchen for a good price. East Glacier is a good central place for visiting Two Medicine, Many Glacier, and St. Mary's - the east entrance to the GTTS Road. Twenty years ago we stayed at Apgar Lodge in Apgar Village at the west end of Lake McDonald, easy access to that side of the park. And in between we have stayed at the old park cabins at Rising Sun, but they were OLD. Maybe they've gotten better.

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Jan 3, 2019 08:07:20   #
MarciaES
 
It's been many years since we went to Yellowstone in good weather and that was probably 30 years ago when we put up our tent around the Lewis Lake area. We've gone snowmobiling in the winter there many times and always stayed at the Stagecoach Inn in West Yellowstone. Have also been to Glacier & love it too. We've stayed at Many Glacier Lodge twice and if you get up early, get your cup of coffee & sit out on the back deck to watch the sunrise on the mountains across Swiftcurrent Lake -- you're in heaven! Have seen bears on the hillside to the right. If you get the chance, don't pass up a night at the Prince of Wales either. Some waterfalls nearby. Don't know if Going to the Sun Rd. will be open yet at that time. Sometimes plowing doesn't finish up until the beginning of June.

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Jan 3, 2019 08:07:49   #
DaveO (a regular here)
 
DaveO wrote:
The first reply to this thread contained a link with all of the pertinent dates.

Mid September is an excellent time for a park visit as the crowds are a little smaller. It all depends on what you are looking for and the OP has indicated that he has no idea.


Apologies for my early morning message which was meant to reference Yellowstone! The second reply to the OP's query, not the first, contained two links that give the dates for lodging, restaurants/menus, and activities. You can plug in dates and check availability for lodging, closures, etc. When the magical May date arrives for opening reservations for the following year, it can take hours using the internet and phone.

The second link is a park service map.

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Jan 3, 2019 08:12:56   #
BlueMorel (a regular here)
 
BTW, if you go in June instead, we've gone in early June and the roads were in the process of being plowed. We followed a snowplow up the road a bit, probably halfway to Logan Pass, and drove around the park on Hwy 2 to go up the other end about halfway. I think probably the window for Logan Pass is mid-June to mid-September.

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