Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Yellowstone in June ?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Northern Rockies. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Northern Rockies Climbing Partners section.
 

Yellowstone in June ?

Postby lcarreau » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:33 pm

My wife and I are thinking about visiting Yellowstone this year and are trying to decide WHEN. We will combine this with visiting family in Salt Lake City, UT.

We pretty much can go anytime, but I figure June would be better for less crowds and good weather combined.

I know the weather can be unpredictable any time of the year in Yellowstone, but would the last
two weeks of June be a good time to visit ??? :?:

How about the vast numbers of "tour-ons" visiting Yellowstone? Is June EARLY enough to avoid some of them? Obviously, we DO NOT want to see anything like THIS while visiting Yellowstone, because it could RUIN our entire trip ... :roll:

Image
User Avatar
lcarreau

 
Posts: 4050
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Court of the Crimson King, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 877 times in 658 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby lcarreau » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:58 pm

SERIOUSLY, I intend to stay glued to this picnic table, until I get an answer to my question ..

Is June a good month to visit the Tetons and Yellowstone ???
User Avatar
lcarreau

 
Posts: 4050
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Court of the Crimson King, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 877 times in 658 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby Arthur Digbee » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:11 pm

I've been there in June for maybe 6-7 of the last ten years. First thing to remember is that early June is late winter, and the rest is spring.

Going backwards:

If you want to avoid bad weather, your odds are best in the last week of June. However, the elk will have largely moved out of the lower valleys (Madison, Hayden, Lamar) and many of the bison will also have begun to move to higher country. The wolves will follow them. Pronghorns don't calve until the end of the month, though sometimes a week earlier in Jackson Hole (Tetons).

Week 3 you will still have elk and bison calves visible from roadside locations, along with wolves in the Lamar and grizzlies on the carcasses. We've had light snow at this time; some weeks with clear skies, others with rain for a week (light and heavy). But Canyon is pretty with snow, so it's not all a bad thing. I've also had weather in the 70s, which feels downright hot in southern exposures in the Black canyon.

Week 2, figure some "bad" weather will occur. In all three weeks, if you're camping, be ready for below-freezing nights. Might not happen, but I'd just expect it and be happy.

Week 1, I haven't been.

For all of the above: depends a lot where you are. Bechler quarter (SW) is inaccessible, too wet. South central (Shoshone and Lewis Lakes) always seems to be drizzling in June, and there are lots of bear closures there and east of Lake Yellowstone. Lake Yellowstone is often the coldest spot in the lower 48 in June because it's a huge body of cold water in a basin, and it just holds that cold air there for a long time. Canyon is high, and therefore colder, and the campground doesn't open until late in the month. The Mount Washburn trail has been snowpacked in all but one of the years we've been there. The NW (Gardiner-Mammoth) often has pretty nice weather, it's lower in elevation even though it's farther north. Sepulcher and Electric peaks may or may not be snowed in still. In the NE, Slough Creek and Lamar are usually somewhere between partly sunny and mostly cloudy. The Beartooth Highway won't open until late in the month, but coming from AZ that's probably not an issue.

What do you want to do when you're there?
OCCUPY SUMMITPOST !
User Avatar
Arthur Digbee

 
Posts: 2284
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:03 pm
Location: Indianapolisish, United States
Thanked: 255 times in 173 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby Bill Reed » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:15 am

Larry,
Arthur's consul is good and it sound like he speaks from much experience. The earliest I've been there is about the last week in June and that year at least, was cool and wet. If it's June you're locked in on, I would shoot for the latter half of the month for sure to avoid Arthur's aptly named "Late Winter."
June in Yellowstone is early. My favorite times to visit are July and September, but every season has it's advantages and disadvantages-Be prepared my friend.

The good news as I see it in June is-
Less People
Less Bugs
Good Wildlife viewing possibilities
Seeing Yellowstone awaken from it's long winter sleep

The bad news is-
Colder, possibly wetter conditions
Limitations due to snow/early season situations-Hiking into many areas may be difficult due to snow, how difficult depends on the snowpack. Some Facilities may not be up and running.

Where is it you hope to go and what do you intend to do while you're there?
User Avatar
Bill Reed

 
Posts: 447
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:46 pm
Location: High Plains, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 41 times in 33 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby lcarreau » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:38 am

Geez, I forgot to mention this will be my FIRST trip to Yellowstone. Yes, it's mainly sight-seeing.

Just looking at the map, I'd like to focus on the Firehole Falls / Firehole Canyon area, with its
colorful jumbled cliffs of rhyolite-breccia and abundance of water.

My original plan was to enter the Park from the south, and exit through West Yellowstone.

Great to know that Idaho Falls is only 110-mi from the west entrance. Being this is my FIRST visit, I could possibly do a LOOP from Idaho Falls along highways 26 - 89 -20 respectively, weather permitting.

Basically, my wife would like to explore some of the Park's geysers and waterfalls, as we don't have
TOO MANY of those here in Arid Arizona. If we run into a bear or bison, then that'd be an added BONUS. If we spy a bear sitting on a picnic table, then that'd be a moment to cherish forever.

Thanks for the information, and I'm really getting excited about our FIRST Yellowstone trip !! :!:
User Avatar
lcarreau

 
Posts: 4050
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Court of the Crimson King, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 877 times in 658 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby Arthur Digbee » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:08 am

Not too many bison or grizz in Arizona, either, Larry. Most people come for the geysers but stay for the wildlife.

I'd make Week 3 your target then. Do the loop, and spend a few days in Jackson Hole and the Tetons before Yellowstone -- the scenery will blow you away. It's a bit warmer and drier there, and then a half-day drive to Old Faithful and the tourons. (My fave geyser basin is at West Thumb though.)

PM me for a 5-6 mile hike idea for the first-time visitor with a very nice surprise built in.
OCCUPY SUMMITPOST !
User Avatar
Arthur Digbee

 
Posts: 2284
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:03 pm
Location: Indianapolisish, United States
Thanked: 255 times in 173 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby KujoA2 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:16 am

I spent all summer working in Yellowstone/GTNP, so I got to see all the seasons and their weather/tourist crowds. So I only have one season's experience, but it was an entire season. June, at least for 2010, was almost non-stop rain, which obviously meant snow on the higher mountains/passes. The waterfalls were spectacular, though. Dunraven pass didn't open until VERY late. If you're main concern is avoiding the crowds, my honest advice would be to go in early to mid July, when it's not quite at the peak season yet but most everything is fairly accessible, and hit up the less-popular areas. You'll still see plenty of wildlife.

My personal favorite area for losing the crowds was the Bechler region, but Grassy Lake road and the river fords weren't passable until late july. PM me if you want some more suggestions and ideas for hikes and whatnot.
User Avatar
KujoA2

 
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:39 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby Doublecabin » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:25 pm

June is a great time to see Black Bears and moose in the lower reaches of the Tetons. GTNP was rated the number one place to see wildlife in North America a few years back. Most Bison DO NOT move to higher country in GTNP, they can be seen year round East of the Snake River on Antelope Flats. A large resident herd of elk remains at lower elevations west of the Snake, generally from the Climbers Ranch up to Sargeants Bay. I have a list I share with friends of "secrets." May is IMO the best month and June would probably come in at number 4 for wildlife. Try and get the Spaulding Bay "backcountry" drive in campsite. Watch for Grizz in JD Rockefeeler JR. Parkway and south to Signal Mountain. If its open and you have a mountain vehicle drive the RKO and Old River Roads in GTNP. Hermitage Point past the crowds at Heron Pond and Swan Lake is exquisite for wildlife, IMHO better than the Lamar or Pelican. Everything from Otters to trumpeters.

Staying at the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch will allow for some awesome hiking right out the door. Not very crowded AT ALL in most of June after work week. There are lots of great waterfalls in the entire GYE. Granite Creek south of Jackson is like Double Cabin near Dubois, about as pretty a place as you will EVER drive a mountain vehicle. Subarus aren't much good after little rain on many roads so so be careful if you're using a more suburban ride. All wheel Drive isn't nearly as versatile and useful as REAL 4WD. Never forget that.

In Yellowstone the lower elevations of the Northern tier are worth your time in June. Black Canyon is an awesome overnight or HUGE dayhike IN JUNE. If I can help yuo message me as "Double Cabin" [note space] at backpacker.com as I don't get here terribly often. Thanks for bringing your vacation dollars to Wyoming,

John
User Avatar
Doublecabin

 
Posts: 222
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:30 pm
Location: High Country, Wyoming, United States
Thanked: 11 times in 11 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby chugach mtn boy » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:46 pm

Larry, I had four seasons working in the park back in the day, plus some recent visits. My impressions:
--Tourism was definitely lower in June than in July. Numbers ramp up all through June but don't really hit peak levels till July 4.
--Weather in June was sometimes very, very good--it's just unpredictable. It CAN sock during June in a way that doesn't happen in July or early August.
--Sometimes the ice stayed on Yellowstone Lake as late as the first week of June. You don't really want to be there before ice-out, in my opinion. But once the ice goes, spring moves fast.
--For high country hiking, June is a month of deep snow in the woods just below treeline, but you can still do stuff if you pick the right spot and time of day.
--If you enter from the south and go out at W. Yellowstone, oh, please don't just limit yourself to the direct route between those two points. You should really try to go to Canyon to see the falls there, and also up the Lamar Valley to the Northeast Entrance, even if you don't continue out that way.
Best of luck, Chris
User Avatar
chugach mtn boy

 
Posts: 888
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 7:54 pm
Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States
Thanked: 181 times in 109 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby lcarreau » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:22 am

Arthur Digbee wrote: The NW (Gardiner-Mammoth) often has pretty nice weather, it's lower in elevation even though it's farther north.


Excellent, I always wondered about that area! Perhaps I could spend the night at a lodge in
Gardiner, and then work my way SOUTH to cover more territory. I could also take in the Lamar Valley from that point on the map. Always appreciate your insightful information, Art !

chugach mtn boy wrote:--If you enter from the south and go out at W. Yellowstone, oh, please don't just limit yourself to the direct route between those two points. You should really try to go to Canyon to see the falls there, and also up the Lamar Valley to the Northeast Entrance, even if you don't continue out that way.


Brilliant suggestion, Chris ! Perhaps I should EXPAND my horizons, and explore the northern tier
of the Park. My wife really likes waterfalls and sweeping vistas. If I reserve some lodging in
Gardiner, that would be a GREAT way to escape from some of the more CROWDED areas.

Thanks ALL for the insight and information! This will definitely be one hell of a TRIP..

Image
User Avatar
lcarreau

 
Posts: 4050
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Court of the Crimson King, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 877 times in 658 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby lcarreau » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:07 am

While searching the Web, came across this map :

Image

Point Sublime along the South Rim appears to be an awesome day-hike! Can you imagine what it would look like on a clear day in June ???

Definitely, too cool for school..

Image
User Avatar
lcarreau

 
Posts: 4050
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Court of the Crimson King, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 877 times in 658 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby Arthur Digbee » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:44 am

PM me Larry.
OCCUPY SUMMITPOST !
User Avatar
Arthur Digbee

 
Posts: 2284
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:03 pm
Location: Indianapolisish, United States
Thanked: 255 times in 173 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby KujoA2 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:45 am

The canyon's good if you're looking for waterfalls and sweeping vistas. I'll send you a PM with my favorite hikes in the area.
User Avatar
KujoA2

 
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:39 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby chugach mtn boy » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:15 pm

lcarreau wrote:... If I reserve some lodging in Gardiner, that would be a GREAT way to escape from some of the more CROWDED areas.

Hmmm, Larry, it might just be that GARDINDER, with all those motels and honky tonks, is the one place you'd find the most crowds in June! How about Roosevelt Lodge
http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/roosevelt-lodge-cabins-133.html
So central, so idyllic, small ... you and the missus would love it. And you're right on the spot for early morning/late evening wildlife watching in the Lamar.
User Avatar
chugach mtn boy

 
Posts: 888
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 7:54 pm
Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States
Thanked: 181 times in 109 posts

Re: Yellowstone in June ?

Postby Doublecabin » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:47 pm

Because I'm far more interested in Waterfalls and Wildlife for me the Mammoth/Gardiner area doesn't do much. If you're not going to check out the generally better wildife viewing opportunities in GTNP I would concentrate MUCH more on the NE part of the park than the NW one. Although the Wildlife will not be as good as GTNP IMO Slough Creek, Pelican Valley, etc., will be a lot better for wildlife than Mammoth to Madison. I much prefer Cooke City over Gardiner. If you can go late enough in the month combining the Lamar area with Canyon is really nice. The Beartooth and Chief Joseph Highways are really special. There is nothing like Pilot and Index in the park.
User Avatar
Doublecabin

 
Posts: 222
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:30 pm
Location: High Country, Wyoming, United States
Thanked: 11 times in 11 posts

Next

Return to Northern Rockies (ID, MT, WY)

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.