Recent Trip to Yellowstone - some traveler advice

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MartyD

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I just returned from a week long trip in Yellowstone. We stayed at Roosevelt Lodge near the Lamar Valley but traveled down to the Canyon and Hayden Valley area on several occasions. This was a fishing trip and not a photography trip but I know that several have posted on this site recently about taking fall trips to Yellowstone so I though I would add a few experiences.

There are two delays in getting to the Lamar Valley from Tower Junction.

They are replacing the bridge over the Yellowstone River and there is a short delay crossing the bridge. This is usually not a very long delay but could be 10-15 minutes. The earlier the better in getting through this construction zone. They were usually getting this area setup at about 5:30 in the morning so moving through this area before that is a time saver.

There is considerable construction in the Lamar Canyon due to the floods of last year. This can be a 30 minute delay because it is a one lane road through the canyon but there is also a delay if they are bringing rock trucks out of the construction zone. Earlier is better on this construction zone as well but you can expect 30 minutes delays during certain times of the day. They also have been doing some blasting in this area so pay attention to the alerts for schedule changes as you travel through this area.

So if you are traveling out to the Lamar Valley from Yellowstone plan 45-60 minutes in extra travel time, if you hit the delays right it could be a lot less but you never know. I would also check the construction schedules for other areas of the park especially the south entrance.

It seems to me that the food and retail services are really running a restricted schedules this summer. We normally have breakfast every morning at Roosevelt Lodge but his year they had stopped serving a hot breakfast due to staffing issues, they did offer a bagged breakfast each morning but I missed the usual breakfast offerings. We also noticed their dinner menu was very limited this year and we heard from other travelers that this was the case in other dinning offerings in the park as well. We also found that some of the stores were closing early. The stores in Canyon were closing at 6:00 pm.

We also experienced this in restaurants we visited in Gardiner and Cooke City. A regular Pizza/Calzone/Salad restaurant we usually visit was now just a Pizza restaurant. It was a "get what you get and don't have a fit" for many of our meals.

I would suggest that you check the NPS Yellowstone Site and the Xanterra sites if you are staying in the park to check on park offerings and schedules. You might want to contact the places you are staying and ask about available options and possible changes.

Just a heads up!
 
I head to Yellowstone in two weeks, so this is very helpful. I’m staying in Silver Gate, just a few miles west of Cooke City, and planning on spending most of my time in the Lamar. Are you saying that the main road through the Lamar (212) is down to only one lane? If so, that could be a major disaster! Thanks again.
 
Best advice overall is to get up and out early in the day. Most tourists have a leisurely breakfast and don't begin to enter the valley until after 9a.m. and before that one has the park pretty much to themselves.
 
I head to Yellowstone in two weeks, so this is very helpful. I’m staying in Silver Gate, just a few miles west of Cooke City, and planning on spending most of my time in the Lamar. Are you saying that the main road through the Lamar (212) is down to only one lane? If so, that could be a major disaster! Thanks again.

No the road is only reduced to one lane through the two construction zones. The road from Silver Gate and Cooke City through the Lamar Valley to the start of the Lamar Canyon construction is fine. Between the two construction zones is the Slough Creek area and the road is fine through there as well.

We had several meals in the Silver Gate and Cooke City area and they were fine. Can't tell you what the names of the little restaurants were but you really don't have a lot of choices.

There will be traffic into the Lamar Valley area starting before sun up, there are lots of wolf watchers out early.
 
Fish pics 🙏

Wish I had fish pics! When we travel into that area of the park there is no cell service except for a short stretch near the Slough Creek road so I don't even carry my cell phone with me. I should probably start. We did have good fishing on Soda Butte Creek for native cutthroat.
 
Best advice overall is to get up and out early in the day. Most tourists have a leisurely breakfast and don't begin to enter the valley until after 9a.m. and before that one has the park pretty much to themselves.

There are lots of wolf watchers in the Lamar Valley entering from both ends so traffic starts before sunrise.
 
Wish I had fish pics! When we travel into that area of the park there is no cell service except for a short stretch near the Slough Creek road so I don't even carry my cell phone with me. I should probably start. We did have good fishing on Soda Butte Creek for native cutthroat.
Yeah it’s nice to have the fishing memories. In our first time in Glacier my wife was terrified of the grizzlies until she started catching fish every other cast with a pink grasshopper.
 
I head to Yellowstone in two weeks, so this is very helpful. I’m staying in Silver Gate, just a few miles west of Cooke City, and planning on spending most of my time in the Lamar. Are you saying that the main road through the Lamar (212) is down to only one lane? If so, that could be a major disaster! Thanks again.

I will also add that there is very little cell phone service in the Lamar Valley area or in Silver Gate and Cooke City. Most of the hotels in Silver Gate and Cooke City have some form of wifi access. If you need cell phone access in the Lamar Valley there is some service down the Slough Creek campground road. The Slough Creek road is just east of the Lamar Canyon construction zone. There is also service at the developed areas like Old Faithful, Mammoth, and Canyon but not at Roosevelt Lodge.
 
No the road is only reduced to one lane through the two construction zones. The road from Silver Gate and Cooke City through the Lamar Valley to the start of the Lamar Canyon construction is fine. Between the two construction zones is the Slough Creek area and the road is fine through there as well.

We had several meals in the Silver Gate and Cooke City area and they were fine. Can't tell you what the names of the little restaurants were but you really don't have a lot of choices.

There will be traffic into the Lamar Valley area starting before sun up, there are lots of wolf watchers out early.
Yeah, I’m fairly familiar with the area but haven’t been there since the floods. Silver Gate is my go-to base while there, and the Log Cabin Cafe is my daily big meal. Love it there.
thanks for the clarification!
 
Yeah, I’m fairly familiar with the area but haven’t been there since the floods. Silver Gate is my go-to base while there, and the Log Cabin Cafe is my daily big meal. Love it there.
thanks for the clarification!
I believe we had breakfast there on our trip home.
 
I just returned from a week long trip in Yellowstone. We stayed at Roosevelt Lodge near the Lamar Valley but traveled down to the Canyon and Hayden Valley area on several occasions. This was a fishing trip and not a photography trip but I know that several have posted on this site recently about taking fall trips to Yellowstone so I though I would add a few experiences.

There are two delays in getting to the Lamar Valley from Tower Junction.

They are replacing the bridge over the Yellowstone River and there is a short delay crossing the bridge. This is usually not a very long delay but could be 10-15 minutes. The earlier the better in getting through this construction zone. They were usually getting this area setup at about 5:30 in the morning so moving through this area before that is a time saver.

There is considerable construction in the Lamar Canyon due to the floods of last year. This can be a 30 minute delay because it is a one lane road through the canyon but there is also a delay if they are bringing rock trucks out of the construction zone. Earlier is better on this construction zone as well but you can expect 30 minutes delays during certain times of the day. They also have been doing some blasting in this area so pay attention to the alerts for schedule changes as you travel through this area.

So if you are traveling out to the Lamar Valley from Yellowstone plan 45-60 minutes in extra travel time, if you hit the delays right it could be a lot less but you never know. I would also check the construction schedules for other areas of the park especially the south entrance.

It seems to me that the food and retail services are really running a restricted schedules this summer. We normally have breakfast every morning at Roosevelt Lodge but his year they had stopped serving a hot breakfast due to staffing issues, they did offer a bagged breakfast each morning but I missed the usual breakfast offerings. We also noticed their dinner menu was very limited this year and we heard from other travelers that this was the case in other dinning offerings in the park as well. We also found that some of the stores were closing early. The stores in Canyon were closing at 6:00 pm.

We also experienced this in restaurants we visited in Gardiner and Cooke City. A regular Pizza/Calzone/Salad restaurant we usually visit was now just a Pizza restaurant. It was a "get what you get and don't have a fit" for many of our meals.

I would suggest that you check the NPS Yellowstone Site and the Xanterra sites if you are staying in the park to check on park offerings and schedules. You might want to contact the places you are staying and ask about available options and possible changes.

Just a heads up!
That’s great info! I’m headed up there on Sept 20th-Oct 4th.
 
Where do you recommend staying in Silver Gate? I'll plan to be there for a few days around the 20th then moving on to Gardiner, then Jackson.
There is a Super 8 in Cooke City, that is the only chain that I am aware of. There are a lot of small cabins and small motels through Silver Gate and Cooke City.
 
Thanks for the information.
I'm going to Yellowstone in a few days.
I don't stay in the park, but camp in my RV.
I always get up very early and get into the parks before sunrise so hopefully I'll miss any traffic going in.
Where will you be camping?
 
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