I am going on a trip in the west of the US and planning on visiting Yellowstone (and Grand Teton probably) in the 20-25 period.
I've checked the yellowstone website (national park service website) about opening of roads and lodges and stuff. But any info of people who travelled there early in season would be welcome. Are hiking trails possible already or are they still a bit muddy after snow melting?
Also, with about 4 full days in the park, what activities and sights do you recommend. Can I visit most places during 4 days? Not doing all hikes of course. What's the best area for bear spotting?
Thanks in advance!
I've spent most of my time around the Mammoth Hot Springs area, and mostly in winter. If I was you, I'd plan on doing plan on seeing seeing a lot of the geothermal features, aka Old Faithful and the Geyser Valley. I would certainly go for a soak in the Boiling River Hot Spring (located on the Montana/Wyoming Border).
I'm not sure where the bears are, one of the first things I would do when you get there, is talk to the rangers. They know the park better than anyone.
Bison and bears and wolves and coyotes are all over the park--but like Rhombus said--the park rangers will know of recent sightings.
Be aware that bears are wild animals and will attack humans randomly. Some are tranquilized and moved after such attacks, while others will be killed if determined to be seeking out humans or their possessions.
There are many hiking trails in the park. I find the best places (especially early in the springtime) to find wildlife is near the geothermal areas (as Rhombus suggests). The animals (such as the bison) hike into the hot geyser areas to get warm when the weather is cold or a late season snowstorm hits.
Here is a link to my son's pictures (they are the first two pictures posted on my profile page) from when he was at Yellowstone with his girlfriend back in March of this year--2010 (they snowmobiled in since the park was closed otherwise). The picture of the bison was taken just a short walk down the hiking trail from the Old Faithful geyser.
Thanks again guys for the helpful replies!
Guess I am going to warm up near the geysers as well.
Early season could put you into the mosquito time of year,if so wear clothing with no skin showing,buy some mosquito repellant to put around collars,wrists,ankles (On the clothing) and you may want to buy some inexpensive Mosquito hats http://www.rei.com/product/751951
Hopefully you wont need this stuff but if you do and you dont have it forget about any hiking in the woods as you will be driven mad with the onslaught of bugs..
It's quite important to clean out your car prior to entering any bear country. Bears can smell food a mile away and can easily rip the door off of a car or break a window to get at any food you might be carrying. This has been a major problem in Yosemite and I'm sure it's no less a problem in Yellowstone.
Thanks for the extra tips guys.
Don't mess with bears, even if it's Yogi
And DEET we still have, bring that as well.
19 days and counting....