If you plan on visiting either Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks before July, you better be prepared. You will want to bring a snow shovel or have plenty of time to watch the snow melt. Here are a few other things you will want to keep in mind before taking off.
There’s a possibility right now of 40′ or more of snow in the higher elevations of both parks. Combined with the 10′ that’s fallen in the valley this past winter, a lot of roads will be closed until the first week of July. Some of the higher, less-traveled roads are closed 8 months every year due to snow and impassable conditions.
If you were hoping to drive to Grand Teton during your trip, you’ll have to make time for a 4-hour drive around the park to get there. The shorter road between the two parks is closed until at least May 10th. Other roads may close and open at different times based on current conditions. It’s a good idea to have a flexible schedule and to plan for delays and detours.
As early as mid-March, 98% of the lodging in Yellowstone is usually booked for the season. This is typical for this late in the year. However, if you’re persistent you can catch a cancellation right as it opens up. Just be diligent in checking the website for availability several times a day until you get that reservation. It is possible.
Visit the the Yellowstone Lodging website for current openings.
Even during the busy season, it is always a good idea to have food and drinks with you. In the off-season, it is even more important as most of the restaurants are closed. They don’t open until the majority of the other businesses do and tourist traffic increases. You may find some eateries open in the lodges but they may be a bit pricy.
On a side note, it is always a good idea to keep emergency water and snacks in your vehicle. It can even be life-saving when traveling through areas where the weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Pack other emergency supplies such as blankets, extra jackets and flashlights.
Know Before You Go
Being prepared and knowing what to expect before you go is what helps you have an enjoyable trip. Once you have these important things figured out and planned for, you can start deciding on the many things you’re going to do while visiting two of America’s most beautiful national parks. How about taking the family on an extended RV camping trip?