MAY AND JUNE IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK; SPRING TRAVELERS REWARDED WITH NATURAL BEAUTY, WILDLIFE AND WIDE RANGE OF ROOM OPTIONS
Although the first official spring day this year is March 20, Yellowstone National Park will ignore the memo. Again. Springtime comes as much as two months later in Yellowstone National Park than it does in some other parts of the country, but most visitors say that experiencing springtime in the park is well worth the wait.
Right about when the in-park lodges operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts begin reopening for the season and newborn bison, wolves, bears and elk make their first appearance. And for travelers whose Yellowstone bucket list includes staying in some of the most popular lodges like Old Faithful Inn and Lake Yellowstone Hotel, spring is the best season for securing the type of room they want on the dates they want to travel.
Park lodges close after the winter season in early March and then begin reopening for the summer season on a staggered schedule in May and June. The first to open are Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Old Faithful Snow Lodge on May 3, followed by Old Faithful Inn, May 10; Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Old Faithful Lodge, May 17; Grant Village, May 24; and Canyon Lodge, May 31. Roosevelt Lodge and Lake Lodge open early in June.
“We love spring around here,” said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Yellowstone National Park Lodges. “In Yellowstone, our unofficial gauge for the arrival of spring is when someone announces they saw a bison calf.”
Bear cubs begin to emerge from their dens in late March, bison calves and wolf pups begin appearing in April and May, and elk calves are born in June.
A good way to experience the park’s springtime renewal is to participate in the “Spring Wolf and Bear Discovery,” a multi-day “Lodging & Learning” package offered by Xanterra in partnership with the non-profit Yellowstone Association Institute. Designed to showcase the park’s premier predators, this package provides an in-depth and active park experience filled with field activities led by an Institute naturalist, four nights of lodging in the historic Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, three breakfasts and lunches and one dinner person, a welcome gift and in-park transportation. The package is $699 per adult, double occupancy. Groups are kept small – a maximum of 12 participants – to ensure a personal experience. The package is open to participants over the age of 12.
Another great way to observe the park’s wildlife, otherworldly geothermal features, breathtaking vistas and other natural features is to take a Xanterra tour. The “Circle of Fire” tour begins May 25. This all-day experience introduces passengers to major sights located in the lower portion of the park including the Upper and Lower Geyser Basins, Yellowstone Lake, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and Norris Geyser Basin. Like all Xanterra tours, participants spend the day in the company of a trained interpretive guide – certified by the National Association for Interpretation – who is knowledgeable about the park’s many wildlife species and natural features.
There are numerous other tours and activities – most beginning in June. Guided tours are offered by a variety of road-based touring vehicles like historic Yellow Buses, but can also be experienced on horseback, stagecoach and boats. And Xanterra also offers custom guided tours for individuals or small groups who want to customize their Yellowstone experience. Tour operating dates vary according to the location of the designated lodge pick-up point and the area of the park to be explored, and tours vary in length from just a few hours to full days.
For lodging reservations and complete listing of winter-season packages, tours and other experiences, visit www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com or call (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free (1) 866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375).