Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel
2018, I'm the only one in the group that could do anything but the easiest of hikes. Any other advice is also appreciated.
"anything but the easiest of hikes" doesn't make sense.....
In most of the park, the park trails are relatively flat with many actually are boardwalks you walk on. In the parts of the park on the west side from old faithful to Norris to mammoth you cant assume the ground is safe to walk on because you don't know if this is a pie crust you are walking on. You should always stay on the trails.
The park is a large park. You need 3 days at least to visit it all. think of it in 3 parts
1. old faithful and geyser basin
2. north loop/Lamar Valley
3. Hayden/Lake Yellowstone
Only Canyon Lodge is the most central to use that as a center for your visit. With others you want to look at splitting between north and south stays( Mammoth, Roosevelt, Mammoth, Gardiner, cooke city vs west Yellowstone, old faithful, lake, Grant) or east and west ( Lake, Grant, Roosevelt, Canyon vs Mammoth, west Yellowstone, gardiner, old faithful)
for visiting the park the window of time is May-Sept
May ---there is still snow, roads gradually get cleared with the last roads usually opening memorial day weekend if not a heavy spring snow. Lodges tend to open Memorial day weekend.
June--you can still get snow (usually overnight) and it can still be cold. this time the roads are open and the park is starting to get crowded.
August--You don't see much of a drop off, but there is a drop pff in families with kids because schools starting back mid Augusts on. This time of year you have wildfire risk either in the park or in terms of air quality.
September--after Labor Day the lodges start to close starting with Roosevelt and the rest closing by the last weekend of September. In September you start to get back to real snow risk as the month goes on. After laboir day is road work season, so usually this means some part of the rough figure 8 in the park is blocked entirely or limited to just one lane. They work till snow comes. Any work to still do carries over into May/June.