How to Escape the Crowds at Yellowstone

Emerald_pool_in_yellowstone_2As one of America’s most popular outdoor destinations, Yellowstone National Park attracts millions of visitors every year.  Despite the park’s beautiful setting, it can be hard to find solace and experience the peacefulness of nature. Here are just a few ways to get away from long lines, loud kids, and annoying tour busses:

Visit in the fall 

Summer vacations are over and the kids are back in school. Plan you trip around the first week in October to see the foliage explode with color. Lodging rates are lower at this time than during the summer months, wildlife is more prevalent, and trails are less crowded.

Take alternate driving routes 

Alternate routes, like the Grassy Lake Road, are often less congested with traffic. You should ensure that your vehicle is equipped to handle the terrain on these routes before starting your drive. You should also collect relevant maps or a GPS with good reception in case you lose your way off the beaten path.

Hike backcountry trails 

There’s no better way to experience the true spirit of Yellowstone than in the backcountry. Check out the Bechler River area and the Thorofare region for a truly wild outing.  The Bechler River runs along the southwest section of Yellowstone and is home to over half of the park’s waterfalls. You can hike for 30 miles in any direction without ever reaching a road in the Thorofare region.  Hikers should always check in with a nearby ranger station to obtain necessary permits, collect maps, and provide contact information in case of emergency.

Try Cross-country instead of downhill skiing

If you’re planning a trip during the winter months, you’ll probably want to try out some of the nearby skiing options. Jackson Hole and Grand Teton Resorts are consistently crowded and expensive at pretty much all times. For a more laid back skiing experience, give cross-country a try. Jackson Hole has become an increasingly popular center for cross-country skiing on a varied landscape. Nordic centers offer beginners with rental gear and trail recommendations. More advanced skiers won’t get bored with the incredible cross-country routes in the surrounding mountains.