OT: A Great Day in Yellowstone

uscg1984

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Mar 9, 2006
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We decided to go down to Yellowstone yesterday for the first time in the 2020 season. We stayed in the northern part of the park, from the Gardiner entrance over to Roosevelt Junction and ventured a bit into the Lamar River Valley. The traffic in this part of the park was brisk, but noticeably lighter than most summers. There were a good number of California plates in the park yesterday, but zero tour buses and zero international tourists. The traffic at the Gardiner entrance was backed up 100 yards or so, but that is not unusual for July. The Mammoth Hot Springs area had plenty of parking and was not the frantic node of activity that it usually is. All of the trail heads we passed had ample parking. We did two hikes today: The Yellowstone River Overlook Trail and the Hellroaring Creek Trail. We've never done either of these hikes, but really enjoyed them. They are both fairly low-investment hikes; each about 4 miles round-trip and with lots of great views along the way. The Overlook Trail follows the cliff on the north side of the river, opposite the Tower Falls area. For the first 3 miles of this trail, we didn't see a single person. The Hellroaring creek trail crosses the old pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the Yellowstone River for some really spectacular views of the river through a very narrow canyon. It's hard to imagine how they even built the bridge in this back-country area.

If you want to see Yellowstone but really despise the summer crowds, this August would be a great time to do it. And if you've already seen the "check the box" tourist sites in the park like Old Faithful and the Yellowstone Falls, it's a really great time to get out and do some hikes in the less famous areas of the park with practically zero other tourists.
 

Freddie.B.Cocky

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Jul 19, 2002
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We decided to go down to Yellowstone yesterday for the first time in the 2020 season. We stayed in the northern part of the park, from the Gardiner entrance over to Roosevelt Junction and ventured a bit into the Lamar River Valley. The traffic in this part of the park was brisk, but noticeably lighter than most summers. There were a good number of California plates in the park yesterday, but zero tour buses and zero international tourists. The traffic at the Gardiner entrance was backed up 100 yards or so, but that is not unusual for July. The Mammoth Hot Springs area had plenty of parking and was not the frantic node of activity that it usually is. All of the trail heads we passed had ample parking. We did two hikes today: The Yellowstone River Overlook Trail and the Hellroaring Creek Trail. We've never done either of these hikes, but really enjoyed them. They are both fairly low-investment hikes; each about 4 miles round-trip and with lots of great views along the way. The Overlook Trail follows the cliff on the north side of the river, opposite the Tower Falls area. For the first 3 miles of this trail, we didn't see a single person. The Hellroaring creek trail crosses the old pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the Yellowstone River for some really spectacular views of the river through a very narrow canyon. It's hard to imagine how they even built the bridge in this back-country area.

If you want to see Yellowstone but really despise the summer crowds, this August would be a great time to do it. And if you've already seen the "check the box" tourist sites in the park like Old Faithful and the Yellowstone Falls, it's a really great time to get out and do some hikes in the less famous areas of the park with practically zero other tourists.
Oh boy, am I ever so envious of you. Is the Gardiner Entrance the one that has a huge arch at the entrance with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt?
 

uscg1984

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Mar 9, 2006
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Oh boy, am I ever so envious of you. Is the Gardiner Entrance the one that has a huge arch at the entrance with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt?
Yes, the Roosevelt Arch is at the Gardiner entrance. Gardiner sits near the junction of the Gardiner River and the Yellowstone River. The drive to Gardiner from Livingston, MT follows the Yellowstone River through the beautiful Paradise Valley.
 

Freddie.B.Cocky

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Yes, the Roosevelt Arch is at the Gardiner entrance. Gardiner sits near the junction of the Gardiner River and the Yellowstone River. The drive to Gardiner from Livingston, MT follows the Yellowstone River through the beautiful Paradise Valley.
When we visited Yellowstone in 2013 we entered via the South Entrance coming from Jackson Hole. However, we were there for about a week and wondered up to the North Entrance. It was right at the Montana line.
 

Freddie.B.Cocky

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Yes, the Roosevelt Arch is at the Gardiner entrance. Gardiner sits near the junction of the Gardiner River and the Yellowstone River. The drive to Gardiner from Livingston, MT follows the Yellowstone River through the beautiful Paradise Valley.
The next time I visit Yellowstone I may just drive through Livingston and Paradise Valley. I drove through Livingston from Billings going to Glacier National Park in 2016.
 

mavcock

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Apr 20, 2002
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Mauldin, SC
We decided to go down to Yellowstone yesterday for the first time in the 2020 season. We stayed in the northern part of the park, from the Gardiner entrance over to Roosevelt Junction and ventured a bit into the Lamar River Valley. The traffic in this part of the park was brisk, but noticeably lighter than most summers. There were a good number of California plates in the park yesterday, but zero tour buses and zero international tourists. The traffic at the Gardiner entrance was backed up 100 yards or so, but that is not unusual for July. The Mammoth Hot Springs area had plenty of parking and was not the frantic node of activity that it usually is. All of the trail heads we passed had ample parking. We did two hikes today: The Yellowstone River Overlook Trail and the Hellroaring Creek Trail. We've never done either of these hikes, but really enjoyed them. They are both fairly low-investment hikes; each about 4 miles round-trip and with lots of great views along the way. The Overlook Trail follows the cliff on the north side of the river, opposite the Tower Falls area. For the first 3 miles of this trail, we didn't see a single person. The Hellroaring creek trail crosses the old pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the Yellowstone River for some really spectacular views of the river through a very narrow canyon. It's hard to imagine how they even built the bridge in this back-country area.

If you want to see Yellowstone but really despise the summer crowds, this August would be a great time to do it. And if you've already seen the "check the box" tourist sites in the park like Old Faithful and the Yellowstone Falls, it's a really great time to get out and do some hikes in the less famous areas of the park with practically zero other tourists.
You get a chance to fish? I'm finalizing my drive out there for late September/early October.
 

hobcawcreekcock

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My Mom took me and one of my sisters out West the dinner of 1971. Three favorites of the trip for me were:

The state of Arizona, so much diversity of climate and beauty.
Yosemite National Park - I think we camped at around 10,000 ft above sea level
Yellowstone
 
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mavcock

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Will that be a little too late? Example, will there be snow there in late September early October.
There will be snow there, which only makes things better. I normally head to Colorado in September to see the aspens change, but I got a $47 ticket on American from Charlotte to Denver in two weeks, so I guess I'll see the wildflowers.
 
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Freddie.B.Cocky

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There will be snow there, which only makes things better. I normally head to Colorado in September to see the aspens change, but I got a $47 ticket on American from Charlotte to Denver in two weeks, so I guess I'll see the wildflowers.
Cool! The Aspens are beautiful.
 

Freddie.B.Cocky

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Have you ever driven the Beartooth Parkway? Hwy 212 from Red Bluff Montana to the North East entrance of the Yellowstone.
I drove the Beartooth Parkway from Cook City, Mt to Red Lodge, Mt in 2016. Beautiful drive.
 

viennacocks

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Dec 19, 2011
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We decided to go down to Yellowstone yesterday for the first time in the 2020 season. We stayed in the northern part of the park, from the Gardiner entrance over to Roosevelt Junction and ventured a bit into the Lamar River Valley. The traffic in this part of the park was brisk, but noticeably lighter than most summers. There were a good number of California plates in the park yesterday, but zero tour buses and zero international tourists. The traffic at the Gardiner entrance was backed up 100 yards or so, but that is not unusual for July. The Mammoth Hot Springs area had plenty of parking and was not the frantic node of activity that it usually is. All of the trail heads we passed had ample parking. We did two hikes today: The Yellowstone River Overlook Trail and the Hellroaring Creek Trail. We've never done either of these hikes, but really enjoyed them. They are both fairly low-investment hikes; each about 4 miles round-trip and with lots of great views along the way. The Overlook Trail follows the cliff on the north side of the river, opposite the Tower Falls area. For the first 3 miles of this trail, we didn't see a single person. The Hellroaring creek trail crosses the old pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the Yellowstone River for some really spectacular views of the river through a very narrow canyon. It's hard to imagine how they even built the bridge in this back-country area.

If you want to see Yellowstone but really despise the summer crowds, this August would be a great time to do it. And if you've already seen the "check the box" tourist sites in the park like Old Faithful and the Yellowstone Falls, it's a really great time to get out and do some hikes in the less famous areas of the park with practically zero other tourists.
We are in Denver now. Bozeman later today. First time to Yellowstone. Any other suggestions? I am most excited about the Jackson Hole area.
 
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gamecox4982

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We (three couples) went two years ago and stayed in Jackson Hole. Found a rental at Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis neighborhood (wow what a home). Yellowstone was absolutely breathtaking. Horseback riding, Whitewater Rafting, Golf, Tennis and Yellowstone.... Will go back
 
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uscg1984

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We are in Denver now. Bozeman later today. First time to Yellowstone. Any other suggestions? I am most excited about the Jackson Hole area.
The Beartooth Highway is not to be missed if you are that close. I dont know if you are using Bozeman as a basecamp or heading somewhere else from there, but grab a map and see if you can figure out how to work in a Red Lodge to Cooke City (or vice versa) trip. You will not regret it. It is one of the most spectacular drives in America and will also take you through the northeast entrance of the park and the Lamar River Valley of Yellowstone. It's probably my favorite part of the park and is the home territory of Yellowstone's great bison herd. Since its your first time in Yellowstone, obviously, you will need to see Old Faithful and the Canyon Village (Yellowstone Falls) area. I'm curious to see how crowded they are this summer. Normally, those places are madhouse, but with the lodges being closed this year, it may not be so bad. But those are must-see places, along with Grand Teton National Park north of Jackson Hole. Yellowstone is like 5 National Parks in one. It is so diverse and so large. Dont try to see it all or else you will spend all your time driving in the car. The drive is spectacular, but if you are able, get out and do some hikes. One of my favorites is the Mystic Falls hike from Biscuit Basin, but there are so many. No matter how crowded the touristy areas of the park get, you will find solitude on the hikes because 99% of tourists never get off a boardwalk. If you hike, pick up some bear spray in Bozeman or Jackson. Costco in Bozeman has two-pack for about the same price as single-packs at other stores.
 

uscg1984

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You get a chance to fish? I'm finalizing my drive out there for late September/early October.
I didnt, but I scouted some areas. Lava creek has some good access. Check it out in your guidebook. And, of course, the Lamar River and nearby Soda Butte Creek are bucket list fisheries for any fly fisherman. Fly fishing while hundreds of bison graze the valley around you is something you can only experience in Yellowstone. I havent done it yet, but it looks absolutely epic.

By early October, we WILL see snow, but acces to these areas is pretty good, so as long as we dont have a blizzard, we should be OK. Just dont wait until mid October to make those reservations. I'd focus on the last week of September.
 

Freddie.B.Cocky

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I drove it in 2017, it was newly paved and beautiful.
When I first started the drive I would stop every 100 yards and take shots then I realized that if I continued the trend I would never get to Red Lodge. Man it was a beautiful drive with the scenery around the next turn being prettier than the last turn.
 
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Flameout12

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I drove it in 2017, it was newly paved and beautiful.
I tried to drive it 6/15/'17...it was closed about a 1/3 way in. :(
I thought the upper and lower falls were the best feature of the park. I have 4k video of them.
 

viennacocks

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Dec 19, 2011
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The Beartooth Highway is not to be missed if you are that close. I dont know if you are using Bozeman as a basecamp or heading somewhere else from there, but grab a map and see if you can figure out how to work in a Red Lodge to Cooke City (or vice versa) trip. You will not regret it. It is one of the most spectacular drives in America and will also take you through the northeast entrance of the park and the Lamar River Valley of Yellowstone. It's probably my favorite part of the park and is the home territory of Yellowstone's great bison herd. Since its your first time in Yellowstone, obviously, you will need to see Old Faithful and the Canyon Village (Yellowstone Falls) area. I'm curious to see how crowded they are this summer. Normally, those places are madhouse, but with the lodges being closed this year, it may not be so bad. But those are must-see places, along with Grand Teton National Park north of Jackson Hole. Yellowstone is like 5 National Parks in one. It is so diverse and so large. Dont try to see it all or else you will spend all your time driving in the car. The drive is spectacular, but if you are able, get out and do some hikes. One of my favorites is the Mystic Falls hike from Biscuit Basin, but there are so many. No matter how crowded the touristy areas of the park get, you will find solitude on the hikes because 99% of tourists never get off a boardwalk. If you hike, pick up some bear spray in Bozeman or Jackson. Costco in Bozeman has two-pack for about the same price as single-packs at other stores.
Thanks. Loved Bozeman. I could definitely see myself living there. My niece is a competitive big mountain snowboarder and is likely going to Montana State to snowboard. A little bit of sticker shock on housing prices.

Did the hot springs / geyser basin today along with some white water rafting. Lots of fun. I have two kids. That was high on their priority list.

We are staying in Island Park for three nights before heading to the Jackson Hole area. We enjoy hiking so really looking forward to that in the Tetons.

Appreciate the help! By the way, hardly any traffic today. I am guessing the weekend will be much worse but pleasantly surprised today.
 

Freddie.B.Cocky

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Thanks. Loved Bozeman. I could definitely see myself living there. My niece is a competitive big mountain snowboarder and is likely going to Montana State to snowboard. A little bit of sticker shock on housing prices.

Did the hot springs / geyser basin today along with some white water rafting. Lots of fun. I have two kids. That was high on their priority list.

We are staying in Island Park for three nights before heading to the Jackson Hole area. We enjoy hiking so really looking forward to that in the Tetons.

Appreciate the help! By the way, hardly any traffic today. I am guessing the weekend will be much worse but pleasantly surprised today.
Tell me about the sticker shock on housing. I would love to live in Montana but I know it will never happen but I can still dream but would like to know the price of housing.
 

viennacocks

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Tell me about the sticker shock on housing. I would love to live in Montana but I know it will never happen but I can still dream but would like to know the price of housing.
I would say the average price on a 3 bd, 2 bath, 2500 sq foot house is around $700k in the downtown area of Bozeman. Some are much more expensive. I did find several outside of town less expensive.

I am for sure buying a house out west in the next several years. Colorado and Montana are in the lead.
 
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uscg1984

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I would say the average price on a 3 bd, 2 bath, 2500 sq foot house is around $700k in the downtown area of Bozeman. Some are much more expensive. I did find several outside of town less expensive.

I am for sure buying a house out west in the next several years. Colorado and Montana are in the lead.
That sounds about right. They don't call it Boze-Angeles for nothing. But there are a lot more affordable options in Montana (though none are cheap). I'm not sure why people get tunnel vision for Bozeman - it's pretty, but all of western Montana is pretty.

Vienna, Island Park is a nice area. When we tow the camper down to Yellowstone, we actually stay at Henry's Lake State Park there in Idaho. It's only about 8 miles to the West Yellowstone entrance and the RV spots are way nicer, and about 1/3 the price, of anything inside the park.
 

viennacocks

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That sounds about right. They don't call it Boze-Angeles for nothing. But there are a lot more affordable options in Montana (though none are cheap). I'm not sure why people get tunnel vision for Bozeman - it's pretty, but all of western Montana is pretty.

Vienna, Island Park is a nice area. When we tow the camper down to Yellowstone, we actually stay at Henry's Lake State Park there in Idaho. It's only about 8 miles to the West Yellowstone entrance and the RV spots are way nicer, and about 1/3 the price, of anything inside the park.
We drove right by Henry's lake. We are about 15 miles from the entrance.

This is the first time I've been to Montana. Not necessarily hung up on Bozeman but I like the fact you can fly in to Bozeman and be at your house in 15 min. Also love to snowboard and backcountry splitboard. I heard Bozeman is great place to do both.
 
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uscg1984

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I am for sure buying a house out west in the next several years. Colorado and Montana are in the lead.
One more thought: Assuming you mean that you plan to buy a home out here as your primary residence and not simply a summer home (and there are lots of those), definitely make some visits in the winter. As awesome as the summer is out here, when people say that the summers are worth putting up with the long winters, that's not really true. You really need to like winter. You dont have to love it as much as the summer, but anybody who hates winter will be miserable out here. In the three MT winters we have experienced, the coldest temperature we have recorded here at the house is -35. That's not windchill. It didn't get that cold last winter, but we did hit -13 one night in OCTOBER.
 

viennacocks

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One more thought: Assuming you mean that you plan to buy a home out here as your primary residence and not simply a summer home (and there are lots of those), definitely make some visits in the winter. As awesome as the summer is out here, when people say that the summers are worth putting up with the long winters, that's not really true. You really need to like winter. You dont have to love it as much as the summer, but anybody who hates winter will be miserable out here. In the three MT winters we have experienced, the coldest temperature we have recorded here at the house is -35. That's not windchill. It didn't get that cold last winter, but we did hit -13 one night in OCTOBER.
It would be a 2nd home and I would likely spend a good bit of time out here in the winter. As mentioned, I like my winter sports. I would likely come for a couple weeks at a time in the winter. My guess is we would spend 65% of our time on the east coast, 35% out west.

Where do you live? Are you full-time in Montana?
 

The Coup Nazi

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The Beartooth Highway is not to be missed if you are that close. I dont know if you are using Bozeman as a basecamp or heading somewhere else from there, but grab a map and see if you can figure out how to work in a Red Lodge to Cooke City (or vice versa) trip. You will not regret it. It is one of the most spectacular drives in America and will also take you through the northeast entrance of the park and the Lamar River Valley of Yellowstone. It's probably my favorite part of the park and is the home territory of Yellowstone's great bison herd. Since its your first time in Yellowstone, obviously, you will need to see Old Faithful and the Canyon Village (Yellowstone Falls) area. I'm curious to see how crowded they are this summer. Normally, those places are madhouse, but with the lodges being closed this year, it may not be so bad. But those are must-see places, along with Grand Teton National Park north of Jackson Hole. Yellowstone is like 5 National Parks in one. It is so diverse and so large. Dont try to see it all or else you will spend all your time driving in the car. The drive is spectacular, but if you are able, get out and do some hikes. One of my favorites is the Mystic Falls hike from Biscuit Basin, but there are so many. No matter how crowded the touristy areas of the park get, you will find solitude on the hikes because 99% of tourists never get off a boardwalk. If you hike, pick up some bear spray in Bozeman or Jackson. Costco in Bozeman has two-pack for about the same price as single-packs at other stores.
Bear spray? I’ve never heard of it but I’ve never been to Montana either. Anyway if a bear charges me, if the smell of my fresh dump doesn’t stop him, I don’t figure the spray will help much either.
 
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uscg1984

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It would be a 2nd home and I would likely spend a good bit of time out here in the winter. As mentioned, I like my winter sports. I would likely come for a couple weeks at a time in the winter. My guess is we would spend 65% of our time on the east coast, 35% out west.

Where do you live? Are you full-time in Montana?
Yep, full time. I basically caught lightning in a bottle with my employer and was transferred and promoted into my dream location here in SW Montana. We bought a chalet style log home on about 5 acres with 30 or 40 mile views off the back deck. We love it out here and consider ourselves blessed beyond our dreams. For the sake of internet anonymity, I'll just say we live in a very small town within comfortable driving distance of Bozeman, Butte, and Helena.

In the fall, my son and I hunt. In the winter, my son and I ski and my wife cross-country skis. We also do some snowshoeing in the national forests. If you don't mind $130+ lift tickets, the skiing and boarding doesnt get much better than Big Sky. Every time they acquire more land, they raise the lift ticket prices, but there is still only so much mountain I can ski in a day. So, we do most of our skiing at Discovery, west of Butte, and Bridger Bowl north of Bozeman. We usually go down to Grand Targhee and/or Jackson once each winter and make an occasional trip over to Red Lodge. There is also some beautiful cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Yellowstone from trailheads along the only road in the park that remains open in the winter (runs from Mammoth to Cooke City Mt and is the only way in and out of Cooke City in the winter).
 

uscg1984

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Bear spray? I’ve never heard of it but I’ve never been to Montana either. Anyway if a bear charges me, if the smell of my fresh dump doesn’t stop him, I don’t figure the spray will help much either.
It's pretty ubiquitous out here. Wherever grizzlies roam the woods, you dont want to mess around. Lol. Fortunately, I have never stumbled upon a grizzly while hiking or hunting and I hope I never do.
 
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importcock

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Bear spray? I’ve never heard of it but I’ve never been to Montana either. Anyway if a bear charges me, if the smell of my fresh dump doesn’t stop him, I don’t figure the spray will help much either.
Look up bear spray videos on YouTube. I always carried it when I hiked on the Appalachian Trail even though there are no grizzlies and most people say it’s not needed for black bears. It just gave me peace of mind. I definitely wouldn’t go into grizzly country without it.
 
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Freddie.B.Cocky

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I would say the average price on a 3 bd, 2 bath, 2500 sq foot house is around $700k in the downtown area of Bozeman. Some are much more expensive. I did find several outside of town less expensive.

I am for sure buying a house out west in the next several years. Colorado and Montana are in the lead.
Wow! I live in a four bedroom house two stories and a full basement and I might get $350k if I were to sell it today. I have 2 1/2 baths.
 

Freddie.B.Cocky

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We decided to go down to Yellowstone yesterday for the first time in the 2020 season. We stayed in the northern part of the park, from the Gardiner entrance over to Roosevelt Junction and ventured a bit into the Lamar River Valley. The traffic in this part of the park was brisk, but noticeably lighter than most summers. There were a good number of California plates in the park yesterday, but zero tour buses and zero international tourists. The traffic at the Gardiner entrance was backed up 100 yards or so, but that is not unusual for July. The Mammoth Hot Springs area had plenty of parking and was not the frantic node of activity that it usually is. All of the trail heads we passed had ample parking. We did two hikes today: The Yellowstone River Overlook Trail and the Hellroaring Creek Trail. We've never done either of these hikes, but really enjoyed them. They are both fairly low-investment hikes; each about 4 miles round-trip and with lots of great views along the way. The Overlook Trail follows the cliff on the north side of the river, opposite the Tower Falls area. For the first 3 miles of this trail, we didn't see a single person. The Hellroaring creek trail crosses the old pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the Yellowstone River for some really spectacular views of the river through a very narrow canyon. It's hard to imagine how they even built the bridge in this back-country area.

If you want to see Yellowstone but really despise the summer crowds, this August would be a great time to do it. And if you've already seen the "check the box" tourist sites in the park like Old Faithful and the Yellowstone Falls, it's a really great time to get out and do some hikes in the less famous areas of the park with practically zero other tourists.
Hey uscg1984, why don't you start a blog about Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Montana, Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, Wyoming, Colorado, etc and charge a subscription fee. I would subscribe in a heart beat.
 

viennacocks

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Yep, full time. I basically caught lightning in a bottle with my employer and was transferred and promoted into my dream location here in SW Montana. We bought a chalet style log home on about 5 acres with 30 or 40 mile views off the back deck. We love it out here and consider ourselves blessed beyond our dreams. For the sake of internet anonymity, I'll just say we live in a very small town within comfortable driving distance of Bozeman, Butte, and Helena.

In the fall, my son and I hunt. In the winter, my son and I ski and my wife cross-country skis. We also do some snowshoeing in the national forests. If you don't mind $130+ lift tickets, the skiing and boarding doesnt get much better than Big Sky. Every time they acquire more land, they raise the lift ticket prices, but there is still only so much mountain I can ski in a day. So, we do most of our skiing at Discovery, west of Butte, and Bridger Bowl north of Bozeman. We usually go down to Grand Targhee and/or Jackson once each winter and make an occasional trip over to Red Lodge. There is also some beautiful cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Yellowstone from trailheads along the only road in the park that remains open in the winter (runs from Mammoth to Cooke City Mt and is the only way in and out of Cooke City in the winter).
Outside of your current residence, which town / area would be your first choice to reside in this area? I would like to check it out before I head back.
 

Flameout12

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Outside of your current residence, which town / area would be your first choice to reside in this area? I would like to check it out before I head back.
Check out Missoula if you get a chance. I spent a month there last summer. Exceptional weather for July.
Seems their weather is a little more moderate in winters, but flights in and out are pricey.
Homes are stupid high. :(
 
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uscg1984

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Outside of your current residence, which town / area would be your first choice to reside in this area? I would like to check it out before I head back.
Depends on what you are looking for. If you want to live in one of the larger cities, I really like Helena. It's in a beautiful area and the real estate prices there seem fairly moderate. It's about equal distance from Yellowstone and Glacier and surrounded by national forests. It's a little bit of a drive to get to the larger ski resorts, but in the summer, it makes up for that with its access to water-sports options.

If you want small town living, I really like the little towns of Ennis, MT and Dillon, MT. Dillon has the advantage of being on I-15, which makes it a little more accessible. Ennis is on the backside of the mountains from Big Sky and is one of the epicenters of Montana fly fishing - which means its one of the fly fishing epicenters of the world. It's also just a hop, skip, and a jump from West Yellowstone and the park.

If you want acreage, find it wherever you can. Just make sure it had good access and a reliable snow-clearing plan for that access.

If you are thinking more along the lines of ski resort vacation property, check out the Georgetown Lake area west of Annaconda, MT. The lake is gorgeous and the vacation properties there have year-round usefulness since Discovery Ski Area is right there. Discovery is one of the best "local" ski mountains I've seen. They have about 7 lifts and they are all slow, but the mountain is respectable. It has about 1600 feet of vertical and about 2000 acres. They do a midnight madness sale in March for season passes that run about $300. Discovery and the Georgetown Lake area is one of the best kept secrets in the west, in my opinion. But it won't stay that way forever.

Whatever route you go, understand where the public lands are around wherever you want to buy (national forests, BLM, and state lands) and the public access points and trailheads. Sometimes a 40 acre parcel that backs up to national forests will give you more recreational options than a 400 acre parcel that doesn't adjoin public lands.
 

viennacocks

Well-Known Member
Dec 19, 2011
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Depends on what you are looking for. If you want to live in one of the larger cities, I really like Helena. It's in a beautiful area and the real estate prices there seem fairly moderate. It's about equal distance from Yellowstone and Glacier and surrounded by national forests. It's a little bit of a drive to get to the larger ski resorts, but in the summer, it makes up for that with its access to water-sports options.

If you want small town living, I really like the little towns of Ennis, MT and Dillon, MT. Dillon has the advantage of being on I-15, which makes it a little more accessible. Ennis is on the backside of the mountains from Big Sky and is one of the epicenters of Montana fly fishing - which means its one of the fly fishing epicenters of the world. It's also just a hop, skip, and a jump from West Yellowstone and the park.

If you want acreage, find it wherever you can. Just make sure it had good access and a reliable snow-clearing plan for that access.

If you are thinking more along the lines of ski resort vacation property, check out the Georgetown Lake area west of Annaconda, MT. The lake is gorgeous and the vacation properties there have year-round usefulness since Discovery Ski Area is right there. Discovery is one of the best "local" ski mountains I've seen. They have about 7 lifts and they are all slow, but the mountain is respectable. It has about 1600 feet of vertical and about 2000 acres. They do a midnight madness sale in March for season passes that run about $300. Discovery and the Georgetown Lake area is one of the best kept secrets in the west, in my opinion. But it won't stay that way forever.

Whatever route you go, understand where the public lands are around wherever you want to buy (national forests, BLM, and state lands) and the public access points and trailheads. Sometimes a 40 acre parcel that backs up to national forests will give you more recreational options than a 400 acre parcel that doesn't adjoin public lands.
Appreciate you taking the time to pass along all this info. I am going to do some research.
 

ken in sacramento

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2000
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We decided to go down to Yellowstone yesterday for the first time in the 2020 season. We stayed in the northern part of the park, from the Gardiner entrance over to Roosevelt Junction and ventured a bit into the Lamar River Valley. The traffic in this part of the park was brisk, but noticeably lighter than most summers. There were a good number of California plates in the park yesterday, but zero tour buses and zero international tourists. The traffic at the Gardiner entrance was backed up 100 yards or so, but that is not unusual for July. The Mammoth Hot Springs area had plenty of parking and was not the frantic node of activity that it usually is. All of the trail heads we passed had ample parking. We did two hikes today: The Yellowstone River Overlook Trail and the Hellroaring Creek Trail. We've never done either of these hikes, but really enjoyed them. They are both fairly low-investment hikes; each about 4 miles round-trip and with lots of great views along the way. The Overlook Trail follows the cliff on the north side of the river, opposite the Tower Falls area. For the first 3 miles of this trail, we didn't see a single person. The Hellroaring creek trail crosses the old pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the Yellowstone River for some really spectacular views of the river through a very narrow canyon. It's hard to imagine how they even built the bridge in this back-country area.

If you want to see Yellowstone but really despise the summer crowds, this August would be a great time to do it. And if you've already seen the "check the box" tourist sites in the park like Old Faithful and the Yellowstone Falls, it's a really great time to get out and do some hikes in the less famous areas of the park with practically zero other tourists.
I was there last week!