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  1. Default Denver to LA via Yellowstone and Grand Canyon in October?

    The plan is to fly into Denver in mid-October, rent an RV and head to Yellowstone for around 3 days, then south via Salt Lake city and Canyonlands to the Grand Canyon. (Or maybe straight to Vegas then out to the GC, missing out on Canyonlands, if we don't have enough time.) Then from Vegas to LA (if we have time would like to go via Death Valley, Yosemite and San Francisco) flying back to Australia on November 6th i.e. 3 weeks to make the trip. We would just be hitting the major attractions and not spending much time at each - probably just one or two nights. Questions for the forum: a)Is this at all realistic? b)Will the roads be accessible? Are we likely to hit bad weather? c)Is an RV a good option or would we be better with a car and motels? What is the RV "camping" like in the NPs and how far ahead would we need to book? NB. We are complete RV novices and have never visited the Western United States before.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Maybe too late.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    The first thing you need to realise is that by October there will be very few services in Yellowstone, as it is basically going into winter mode. Yellowstone has a very short season, mostly from May to Sept. There is also an outside chance that by late October the eastern entrance - Tioga Pass - into Yosemite from Death Valley, will be closed.

    I know these are things you do not need to worry about at home, but in the States they are a reality.

    As for the RV, if you are thinking of it as a budget option, then you will find that car and motel will be a lot cheaper. Also by October it will be getting quite cold in the high country, and you may not always be able to use all the facilities of the RV.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 05-23-2015 at 06:39 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Yellowstone ??

    It's not a good time of year to visit Yellowstone and is late in the year for an RV, but we have travelled in an RV in October. Expect it to be more expensive than a car and motels and prepare for some cold nights where you may have to winterize the RV (drain water tanks) in extreme cold. Pack layered and warm clothing ! With 3 weeks you could also consider doing a loop trip, starting and ending in the same city. That would prevent the one way drop off fees on your rental and you can be more flexible in finding the best flight deals into a choice of City's. Even without Yellowstone, there are many other great places closer to the others you have mentioned.

    This Denver loop that took place in the first half of October may give you an insight into RV'ing at that time of year. With 3 weeks you could include a trip to through Monument valley to the Grand canyon, or you could start in Vegas.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 05-23-2015 at 03:34 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Here is a list of the opening/closing dates of facilities within Yellowstone for this year. As you can see, the only campground open all year is Mammoth Campground, up on the north end of the park. Fishing Bridge RV park, the only campground with hookups, is closed by mid-September. Even if you would decide to stay outside of the park, you might find that getting around Yellowstone is difficult. Dunraven Pass, 8859 ft elevation, is supposed to close Nov. 2nd, but this past year, it closed sooner than that because of winter weather. Dunraven is between Tower-Roosevelt, and Canyon Village. Craig Pass, at 8260 ft, is between Bridge Bay/Fishing Bridge and Old Faithful. It usually closes right around the same time or just after Dunraven Pass. The vast majority of Yellowstone is above 6000 ft elevation, and therefore, subject to freezing. As was pointed out above, you may have to winterize an RV.

    For October and November travel, I'd stick with car/motel and check out the other ideas suggested.


    Donna (former RV'er)

  5. Default

    Thank you for your advice! We have decided to postpone this trip for another year when we can start earlier in the season. What time of year do you think would be the best? Early June maybe? Or late August? I'm thinking about how busy and crowded it's likely to be.

  6. Default

    I might have to book now for next year to be sure of finding a vacancy!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Early June shouldn't be terribly crowded, but late August would be. Early September, immediately after Labor Day should be okay. I'd also consider flying into SLC instead of Denver, it's closer to Yellowstone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    During June Yellowstone is opening up for the summer season and can be a lovely time to visit. We love travelling around mid September into the beginning of October when the crowds have dwindled and the weather is usually reasonable, not too hot in the desert and not too cold in the mountains.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Other times of the year.

    Of my visits to Yellowstone, the best one was in late May/early June. It was crowded, but not as bad as other times I have been there in summer. The best part was all the young wildlife with their mothers. That attracted a large proportion of those visiting.

    Do you by any chance have a road atlas from previous visits? If you do, you will find that a great help in planning this trip. If you don't, I can't recommend strongly enough that you get one, or some good detailed maps of the south western States. You do not mention in which State you live, but the atlas is available in Melbourne, just round the corner from where I live. You could also get a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store. You'll have it in a couple of weeks.

    You can then plan your route hitting all the NPs you'd like to see. RV travel at that time of the year will be more comfortable, but you may be restricted taking an RV into Death Valley in summer.

    On the other hand, late August early September will guarantee Tioga Pass to be open.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default That's right.

    Quote Originally Posted by OzzieZoe View Post
    I might have to book now for next year to be sure of finding a vacancy!
    You are quite correct. Set your dates and book the RV. Keep an eye on the Yellowstone website and get in as soon as the booking window opens. Sites are limited and much sought after.

    Lifey

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