Yellowstone is an iconic National Park full of kaleidoscoping colors, grand canyons, beautiful vistas, hiking trails and gushing geysers that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
You could visit Yellowstone every year and still see something new each time due to the ever changing environment. Like this lone tree on the precipice of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
September is by far the best time to visit Yellowstone and here are 5 reasons why:
1. The Elk Rut-
While visiting Yellowstone in autumn you will be enthralled by the unforgettable call of the bull elk in mating season.
The sound of a bull elk bugling draws many visitors each year. Interpreted as a challenge from one bull elk to another as the younger bull steps into the meadow of a dominant bull guarding his harem of cows. The challenger bellows a call and in return, the herd bull gives his answer. A stand off may occur with a clashing of antlers until the first bull is run off by the herd bull. If fortunate, a less mature bull might slip in and breed with one of the cows during the stand off of the other two bulls.
2. The Fall Colors-
During the fall you will see a rainbow of colors in Yellowstone; the crisp blue autumn sky, the yellow leaves on the quaking aspen, the reds, oranges and yellow hues of the dirt and mineral build up in the water around the hot pots & springs or the green of the pine trees covering the sloping hillsides. The beauty of all of these are worth the visit alone.
3. Less Crowded-
Summer is one of the busiest times, so as the weather cools down you will find fewer crowds out and about in Yellowstone.
This makes it easy to get around without having long lines of cars waiting in traffic as the roads get blocked due to animals crossing. You also won’t have to dodge others along the trails which is always nice, and best of all you can get better photos without the worry of someone walking into your shot.
Fewer crowds gives you amazing photo opportunities like this shot of a buffalo grazing in one of the campgrounds.
4. Cooler Temperatures-
You may or may not like cooler temps while spending all day outdoors, but it definitely makes hiking more comfortable. Wear a layer that will keep you warm in the morning frost and chill but can be removed as the sun starts warming up the day.
The cooler temps also make the scenery more beautiful as the steam from the hot springs is more defined and the misty morning brings out the animals to graze in security.
I love how the morning steam hitting the cool air makes the forest look foggy and mystical.
We were amazed to catch sight of this big guy right off the side of the road as we rounded a tight curve. We were grateful we could stop and take a photo without holding up traffic around us.
This image makes me think of what the world would look like during an apocalypse, lol.
5. Catching Sights of Bears Foraging Before Hibernation-
Before they tuck away for the winter months the bears will be out enjoying the last of the warm sunshine while foraging for berries and grubs to fatten themselves up for the long winter sleep. Keep your eyes peeled for Black, Brown and Grizzly bears along the hill sides, especially on the smaller back roads.
It was so fun watching this little black bear rolling around the hillside warming in the morning sunshine and playing.
There is a lot to see in Yellowstone so be sure to plan a few days to tour both loops.
Coming next…. A 2-Day Yellowstone Guide for First-Time Visitors
Comment below about your favorite hike or site to visit in Yellowstone.
Until Next Time….Travel On!
For more amazing guides of US destinations check out this post on A Self Guided Walking Tour of Boston
or this post on Top 10 Must-Do San Diego Activities
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