Yellowstone National Park the last week in March ? Crazy or not?
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Nov 8, 2013 6:02 PM Last Post By: Dutch_Uncle
Oct 14, 2012 6:50 AM
Yellowstone National Park the last week in March ? Crazy or not?Hi Folks,
Due to limited time and work vacation schedule, the only time we could possibly visit Yellowstone would be last week in March. In reading the forums, it may be that weather, road closures etc would make a visit at that time of year not at all wise. While it may not be the best time, could we see some cool sights ? or is it just plan crazy to go at that time of year.?
any thoughts would be appreciated.
Oct 14, 2012 6:58 AM
1It's a very bad time of year to go. The services will be closed, most of the roads will be closed, and the weather will be awful.
But if it's the only time you can go, the road in the north (between the northeast entrance, Gardiner and Mammoth) is open year-round, so you could have a limited visit.
Oct 14, 2012 7:24 AM
Oct 14, 2012 7:29 AM
3thanks Folks, for the quick response, I was afraid that would be the case, so as you say will go there at a different time of year..
so, we are looking at Pacific Northwest, last week of march, although that area gets alot of rain, we could pack rain gear and go.. would you be willing to offer opinions on weather in Pacific Northwest ? and if so inclined some cool sights to see ?
thanks again for your input, very helpful !
Oct 14, 2012 8:32 AM
4Crazy to go? No. But it will be cold and with very limited access to many parts of the park. This article is pretty accurate http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/wyoming/yellowstone-national-park/when-to-go.html
Oct 14, 2012 10:39 AM
Oct 14, 2012 10:50 AM
6The weather in March in the PNW is really bad. cold and lots of rain on the coast and in the Valley, and East of the Cascades it is still very much winter. We got most of our snow last year in March (in Central Oregon/Bend). The skiing was great if that's your thing. I don't think Washington State has much different weather than Oregon. The mountain passes won't be easily passable yet and it is just kind of sad at that time of year.
The best place in the US in March is the Southwest. Cool nights, warm days. I'd look at the Utah National Parks, New Mexico, or the Grand Canyon.
I have been to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons in the dead of winter. It is magical and I loved it, but it takes a lot of planning and you need to be really competent driving in the snow.
Edited by: travellingtrixie
Oct 14, 2012 1:01 PM
7Some questions first.
How much time will you have?
Where are you coming from?
Would it be correct to infer from your original question that you're more interested in the back country than in the cities? In any case, please briefly describe yourselves and what you hope to get out of your trip.
What are your budget constraints?
Thanks. I have some ideas in mind, but I don't want to do a brain dump only to learn that you wouldn't have been interested to begin with.
Oct 14, 2012 2:22 PM
8thanks Traveling Trixie & Willysnoutredux for your feedback..
we would have one week, we are coming from Long Island NY, more interested in back country than cities for this trip.. hiking, wild life viewing, bird watching, do have budget constraints, i.e. could not hire a guide .
We have decided to give up on Glacier and Yellowstone for this excursion.
thanks for your input.
Oct 14, 2012 6:08 PM
The desert southwest is without question the best place for you to go in March. Southeastern and south-central Arizona will have fabulous spring weather with warm days and cool nights, terrific hiking opportunities and world-famous bird watching. You won't find the famous, iconic National Parks in this region, but you will find abundant public lands and superb scenic wilderness areas - the one National Park in the region (Saguaro) is actually outshined in terms of scenery by the other nearby wilderness lands.
The high plateaus of Northern Arizona and southern Utah will be colder and windier, but still quite reasonable to explore - think Grand Canyon and surrounding areas, or the National Parks of Utah.
Oct 14, 2012 7:41 PM
Oct 14, 2012 8:48 PM
11Agree with Flag. Southern and/or Northern Arizona offer excellent March hiking.
If S. Az gets a wet spring it can be very pretty with wildflowers.
The lower elevations in extreme S. Utah are also reasonably comfortable that time of year. The southern section of Grand Staircase Nat. Monument offers literally endless hiking in the scenic desert. If the local unpaved roads are in good shape, you could easily spend 2~3 days exploring the area between Page and Kanab. The Vermillion Cliffs area would also be worth a visit.
Central Az is somewhat less attractive, but there are some pleasant forests and wilderness areas in the mountains northeast of Phoenix.
With only a week, it probably makes sense to choose one half of the state or the other. Driving north and south across most of the state of Az will waste an entire day or more.
Personally, I'd fly into Vegas and aim for the Kanab area. If you want to see the Grand Canyon, fly into Phoenix and add Flagstaff and Sedona to your trip; both offer plenty of pretty back country hiking.
Southern Az has a little less variety, but there's still plenty to keep you busy for a week. Also, there's about zero chance of getting snow or a heavy winter storm.
Oct 14, 2012 9:01 PM
12I gave this some thought, and I agree with the desert SW idea. Late March in the
Pacific NW is unpredictable, but most likely will be overcast with a slight drizzle in Seattle or
Portland, and showers or rain on the coast. You can do it, but it'll probably be a drab time. I had been thinking about recommending a trip through Eastern Oregon, but late March is too early. Some of the best roads will be snowed in.
If you go to the Southwest, you should base yourself in Vegas, Salt Lake, or Phoenix (in that order), depending on your specific itinerary. If you haven't been to the Grand Canyon, you absolutely, definitely ought to go.
Oct 15, 2012 3:54 AM
13Thanks Willysnoutredux, FlagStaff & Geo Nerd ! We've been to Grand Canyon and Zion and Bryce. They were incredible and as much as we would like to go back, given a limited travel budget we would like to see as much of this great planet as possible. We did indeed fly into Las Vegas, rented a car and stayed in Kanab Utah as a central location.
We are going to to have to re group now.. Thanks very much for taking the time to share your knowledge with us !
Oct 15, 2012 5:36 AM
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