Changing Travel Patterns — An Example in Yellowstone National Park

We’ve visited Yellowstone National Park more times than we can remember over the years. One thing that has held true every time we visited after Labor Day — a U.S. holiday at the beginning of September — is that the crowds are gone except at the most popular spots like Old Faithful, and, even there, the crowds are not as large.

It’s not holding true in 2007. The crowd to watch Old Faithful do its thing was standing room only. It was difficult to find a place to park in those huge parking lots. On the roads, there is a steady stream of vehicles, not bumper to bumper, but usually there is always a car or two in sight ahead of you and another one or two behind you on these winding mountain roads.

We thought it would not be necessary to make a reservation for dinner at Old Faithful Inn. Wrong! –We made a reservation for Friday evening.

We are staying at campground near West Yellowstone. The lady at the check-in desk told me — when I asked how crowded things were — that one of the hotels in town had called to see if they had any cabins available, because the hotel was full. She said that this was the first time it had happened this year.

A man and his daughter staying in one of the cabins told me a similar story. They had been to Yellowstone before in September and didn’t anticipate that they would need reservations. Not a single room was available in West Yellowstone. They managed to get a cabin at this campground, which is several miles from town.

My guess is that some folks, many of them retirees like us, postponed their trip until September because of the extreme heat at the beginning of summer and the wild fires of July and August in the western states — much as we did. As well, more people know how great Yellowstone is in September — so more people come. There was also a lot of foreign tourists, as well.

Never-the-less, we are enjoying our visit to Yellowstone. I’ve disconnected the water hose to the camper because it is supposed to freeze tonight, but tomorrow is supposed to be a cool, but sunny, day.

on the road, people, places, retirement, travel, travel journal, weather

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Opal Tribble Sep 13, 2007

    I've always wanted to go to Yellowstone now that I have my daughter I think it would be fantastic to take her along.

  • Mike Goad Sep 13, 2007

    Yellowstone is a wonderful gift from 19th century visionaries. I highly recommend visiting Yellowstone.

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