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first trip to Yellowstone & Glacier
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Jan 3, 2019 08:20:36   #
traderjohn (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?


AAA and check to see if there is any information from the various Offices of Tourism.

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Jan 3, 2019 08:33:39   #
mizzee (a regular here)
 
At Yellowstone our favorite was the Jackson Lake Lodge. Pricey, BUT well worth it. (For a once in a lifetime sort of trip) When we stayed there, I told my husband we were going to pay up for a room with a view. He grumbled, but, as a wise man, he knows about the happy wife... when we opened the curtains to our room and saw the entire snow-capped Grand Tetons range, he turned to me and said, simply, “Worth it.” The food was excellent and front desk was very helpful.Yellowstone has been described, as I’m sure you know, as the American Serengeti so bring a good lens for wildlife and a wide angle for the vistas. There is a photo tour of the park where the small group is transported in the restored Yellowstone... not really a cab, not a bus, not a van, but an experience in itself.

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Jan 3, 2019 08:50:05   #
wds0410
 
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?


We went in 2018 at the same time you are planning and it was fantastic. We stayed at the Many Glacier Hotel, which as others have indicated, is a fantastic location. Take the Red Bus tour when you are there for a good overview of the main section of the park (when we were there half of the Going to the Sun Road was closed because of forest fires but the Red Bus tour bus was able to drive through the closed section which we would have missed had not been for the tour). We then motored down to Yellowstone and stayed two nights in Gardiner, MT to take care of the northern part of Yellowstone and then at the Yellowstone Lodge for the southern part of the park. Yellowstone is huge and it can take a couple of hours to drive from once section of the park to others. Also, as others have indicated you should also take in Grand Teton which is only a couple hour drive from the southern part of Yellowstone. As for time, I would say you need at least 3 days in Glacier, at least four days in Yellowstone, and 2 in Grand Teton. The more time the better. We spent 5 days in Glacier, 6 in Yellowstone and 3 in Grand Teton and we could have done more. Photo opportunities are plentiful in all three parks.

What to see depends on how much hiking you are up to which is the best way to see the parks. Hiking opportunities are plentiful but the altitude can take it out of you. Best bet is get a good guide book plus the NPS site has tons of useful information and up to date information on road closures, etc.

Good luck you're going to have a great trip.

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Jan 3, 2019 09:13:22   #
DougS (a regular here)
 
If the 'Going to the Sun' road is closed, go around the south end of GNP, to access the beautiful east side! Check the closing date of 'Going to the Sun' road. We got there on Sept 19, 2011 and it was the last day of the year it was open! Our last visit, it was closed for maintenance.
There is a neat little store at Polebridge, MT (northwest side of Glacier). Great sweetbreads! And then there the lakes, rough dirt roads in that area.
Since you are in the area... Waterton in Canada is beautiful as well. It adjoins Glacier NP, on the north side. Passports required for that.
At Yellowstone, I recommend a stop at 'Artist Paint Pots', smallish but very colorful, and different; Also Dragon's Mouth Spring area.
MAKE IT A POINT to go over the Beartooth Pass. Yes, it is out of the way (but oh so worth it!), Northeast entrance to Yellowstone. For a quiet place to stay, you might consider Silver Gate, Northeast entrance. That is the area where the most buffalo roam.

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Jan 3, 2019 09:54:28   #
piloto caliente
 
Both parks are spectacular, but if you trade one of your Yellowstone days for a short drive south to Grand Teton NP you'll never regret it.

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Jan 3, 2019 09:57:26   #
MT native (a regular here)
 
Enjoy the grandeur of these two parks. Your dates should be just fine. I personally would wait a bit later to enjoy the fall colors. Have a great time.

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Jan 3, 2019 10:03:20   #
guardineer
 
Great time to visit, the colors and bugling elk are nearing their climax (oops, sorry). Get a sunrise photo of the lower falls. Take an evening trip to Tom Miner Basin's B Bar Ranch, 14 miles N of Gardiner, to see perhaps 10 grizzly bears. Night time photography in the park is great, pick any of thousands of points of interest, free of light pollution.

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Jan 3, 2019 10:44:26   #
genocolo
 
I was in Yellowstone and Grand Teton last year, one week later. Weather perfect and crowds down. Great time to be there. Check out Jeff Clow’s book and Moose Henderson’s excellent book. Take good long zoom lens.

Jackson Lake Lodge is very large and touristy with many tour busses. Spring for a night or two at Jenny Lake Lodge for an unforgettable experience.

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Jan 3, 2019 11:10:22   #
oldfaithful
 
September 10th will be late in the season and some facilities may be closed so check to make sure. Both parks are spectacular. I have been to Glacier three times and Yellowstone five times(4 summer, 1 winter) Lots to see and do. If you plan on hiking I would suggest additional time. Check with the Rangers to see about weather as well as their availability. Start at Glacier(3 days at least) and then go to Yellowstone(6 days) Three days for Mammoth Hot Springs, Canyon Waterfall and the northern loop and three days for the Tetons and the southern loop. I was snowed out of Glacier in July but that was unusual. Bring warm gear as winter comes early. If you are thinking about animal photos, again check with the Rangers to see who stays around in September. Elk may be gone to the refuge in Jackson Hole but Bison stay all winter. Hot Springs, geysers, mud pots go all year!!!! Enjoy your trip it will be memorable, take in the sights as well as the photos.

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Jan 3, 2019 11:34:53   #
Barndog
 
Go to the website for Yellowstone and Glacier. We got their newspaper sent to us which was very valuable as far as info. Yellowstone’s paper gave info on which roads would be closed for work. Which turned out to be about half of them. No parking anywhere in the area of construction was allowed. Cramped everyone in specific areas of the park. We stayed at a very nice resort between Yellowstone and The Tetons. That gave nice access to both. Glacier is gorgeous. The later you go the better. The east side has more of the scenic access from what I remember. There are several places to stay. Take time to move around and stay a couple of days at each of the access points. Bring your passport to get into the Canadian portion of Glacier. If you plan to go along the south portion of glacier which is pretty, check out the salt lick for Mt. Goats. The south end is a very long drive, most of a day longer if you stop along the way. Go to Visit Montana web site and ask for travel info on the areas you will be driving through. Also do the same for Wyoming. They will send you lots of info as well as maps all with suggestions for scenic views and drives. Also request info from individual parks who will also send you maps and stuff. We went in mid July and there was still lots of snow on the top of the Going to the Sun Road, don’t remember if there is anywhere to pull off at view points. Lake McDonald is beautiful. Have fun. I would like to go back.

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Jan 3, 2019 11:38:23   #
LBOYD1946
 
... if you have access to Facebook, I recommend following this group... https://www.facebook.com/groups/46442708325/ .... there are many worthwhile posts
there, and the members are always willing to offer suggestions based on their experiences ... BTW many of the members are local to the area.

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Jan 3, 2019 11:40:47   #
BlueMorel (a regular here)
 
wds0410 wrote:
.... Take the Red Bus tour when you are there for a good overview of the main section of the park (when we were there half of the Going to the Sun Road was closed because of forest fires but the Red Bus tour bus was able to drive through the closed section which we would have missed had not been for the tour). ....


The Red Bus tour in Glacier stops shortly after Labor Day, so check the schedule. Also, when we were there in mid-September there was a lot of bear activity due to blueberry gathering getting ready for the winter. Some of the areas and campgrounds were closed due to bear and mountain lion activity. We were in our car driving through, but we did see one grizzly along the GTTS road up on the hill feeding on blueberries.

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Jan 3, 2019 12:12:17   #
IDguy (a regular here)
 
You don’t say if you are flying or driving. In any case another good entry point is Jackson, WY. It has an airport with good connections. In any case stay a night in Jackson before heading north through Grand Teton into Yellowstone is my preferred route.

Staying at the Old Faithfull lodging is also an option. A lot of easy trails and thermal features nearby. If interested in photographing wildlife, including a chance for a wolf, Lamar Valley is the place to look. For it Mammouth Hotel or Gardener are best choices.

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Jan 3, 2019 12:22:14   #
JFCoupe
 
My wife and I spent 10 days in Yellowstone in Sept 2015. We rented an RV in Bozeman, Mt and used an RV campground at Gardiner, MT (north entrance) and then moved to a campground that was in the central part of the park. We could not tow a vehicle with the rental RV, so my wife drove our Outback to Gardiner. From our two campgrounds we used the Outback for numerous day trips to just about every part of the park.

September is a great time. The crowds have diminished significantly and weather is generally very good. However, we started with 3-4 days of mid-80s, then had 3 days of rain and some snow flurries (1-2") and then about 3 days back into the 80s. So pack for both warm weather and snow.

We saw many herds of Bison, elk, antelope and some big horn sheep just inside the park near Gardiner. We saw a black bear but seemed to miss grizzly sightings by a day or so, no matter where we went.

At the time I was shooting a Canon 5d MK II and a 24-70, 70-200 and 300 f2.8 prime(+ 2x TC). Used them all at various times. Thrermal springs and pools are amazing. Get to Old Faithful about 45 minutes ahead of a schedule eruption as even in Sept, it was crowded there.


Have a terrific trip. YNP is a magical place.

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Jan 3, 2019 12:30:52   #
Unclehoss
 
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?


Great time of year to visit both, with the caveat that winter can come early in these high elevations. Get the non-photographer to drive or like other's have said and splurge for a private tour. Stay as close or in Yellowstone as you can afford too. It will make it much easier to photograph animals moving at daylight and twilight. I have seen and photographed ALL of the North American big 7 animals in Yellowstone over the years. You need to take lots of zoom and lots of wide angle. When at Glacier look up Ted Chase at the Summit Mountain Lodge. I worked with Ted in a different industry several years ago and cannot say enough about how great a person he is. He will make you feel right at home, his photography isn't bad either.

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