Timing factors

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 18:03:47 02/16/16

In Reply to: June 9-12 posted by Erin K


Virtually every week in June is a good news/bad news story. If you graphed what I am speaking of, you might have two straight lines forming an "X". As the month goes on, the weather tends to steadily improve (particularly if you look at averages over many years). Unfortunately, as the month goes on, the crowds gradually increase. The last week of June has by far and away the best weather, almost always, over time. It is the only week in June where I don't think I've ever been snowed on, and even rain tends to be fairly sparse. On the other hand, the last week of June is when visitation numbers finally near their seasonal pinnacle, and stay up their for about 2 months.

So, what are some of the implications for your tribe? June 9-12 is early enough that the crowds won't be nearly as bad as they will be a few weeks later. The risk of nasty weather is considerably higher than if you were coming in late June. This means you need to come prepared, in terms of clothing. I have been snowed on 2 or 3 times during the THIRD week of June in Yellowstone over the years. Two of those storms dumped close to a foot of snow. That's the bad news. The good news is that once the clouds clear, the snow is gone in a matter of hours. However you prefer to do it, via one sturdy winter parka, with accessories (hat/gloves), or a series of layers that can equal a parka, I would suggest bringing it. Back in 1985, we spent a week in June that was about a week after when you will be there. We had sun on the Saturday we arrived, and rain/clouds/cold temps Sunday through Friday. Finally, on Saturday, before our Sunday morning departure, we got some sun. It was the single worst string of weather I have experienced in Yellowstone. Now, because we already had substantial familiarity with the park, we were able to get out every day (we were tent camping), and have fun in spite of the weather. We took advantage of the crumby weather to explore a number of rather obscure thermal areas that are away from the road, with no boardwalks or trails. Sure, the photos weren't so great, given the flat light, but we had a good time.

On the potentially positive side, you could have some days where the sun is out, and the temps get into the 70s or even 80s. (Remember, you are going to be at an elevation between 5,000 and 8,000 feet, in a relatively dry climate, which means the temperatures are going to drop substantially in the evening, even on nice days.)

Early to mid-June can be bad for mosquitoes, but that varies from year to year, and the portion of the park where you are. Early to mid-June is still early enough in the season to still have to be wary of ticks. Thankfully, they are on the wane by the time you will be in the park.

More to come.


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