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Author Topic: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!  (Read 2180 times)

Dreamsend

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If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« on: August 06, 2020, 01:12:12 PM »
By now I guess we all know that things out here are MORE than crowded.  But, around Jackson Hole I guess it's almost pandemonium.  Have a look at this local article.

https://www.jhnewsandguide.com/news/environmental/on-the-bustling-bridger-teton-every-day-is-like-the-eclipse/article_dacd5749-cdd6-59d9-a476-08e1a7adf232.html

It's so bad, that Bridger-Teton National Forest developed and has posted an online tool to aid campers in finding spots.  Here's the link.

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=cbb801efefc0496992ea3a1788b10e6e

The park facilities, including Gros Ventre CG which is known for NEVER completely filling, are simply overwhelmed this year.  I've decided to skip my planned week in the Tetons and stay here for another week at West Yellowstone.  I'm in a beautiful spot with great camp hosts it's fun to visit with, so why not?

Linda
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garyb1st

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2020, 02:20:45 PM »
Linda, I've already concluded that finding a spot in most of the well known camping areas will be challenging with all the new RVers.  What I hadn't thought  about is the influx of car campers.  That's going to make finding space in many campgrounds during the high season much more challenging.  We're planning on heading out after labor day.  I'm hoping that with the summer vacation season coming to an end things will improve.  However, because of the virus, that might change.  Think families car camping with children schooling at their new seasonal "tent home".

What has been your experience at some of the less well known areas you have visited?   The pix of the Bridger-Teton area suggests much of the crowd is the result of car campers.   
Gary B1st

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Dreamsend

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2020, 02:59:50 PM »
Hey Gary

I agree that there are mucho many more car campers this year.  The FS spot I'm at now has told me they have significantly more tent campers this year than normal.  The last RV park I was at did not allow tent camping - a nice gesture towards their RV bread and butter clientele.  The Cooke City FS camp I was at only allowed "hard-sided" camping - I guess a guy got eaten 10 years ago after being pulled from his tent by an emaciated grizzly bear.

Since May, when I was at a State Park in Cottonwood, AZ, the reports from camp hosts and rangers has been that everything fills up every nite. Even then, RVers were camping in one site, and then had to move each day to another site to get a longer stay.   Only place I know of that didn't fill was Helper, UT at Castle Gate RV Park.  But, I haven't been to truly "boonie" spots - been in Winslow (SP), Flagstaff, Cortez, Moab, Vernal, Cody, Cooke City, Gardiner, MT and now West Yellowstone.  More than that, I have spent hours and hours on recreation.gov planning a route and looking for spots to reserve.  The Forest Service has added lots of campgrounds to the reservation system.  Everything is reserved - much more than usual which I take as another indication of lots of folks out and about. I have reservations everywhere up through Sept. 17 - and will be adding another week onto that soon as I think I'll visit the folks I met in Las Vegas last spring.  From October 1 through Jan. 15 2021, I also have reservations. 

I'm still chicken when it comes to heading for truly boonie spots -- like many of those on Campendium.  Plus my travels are still taking me to parks, and attractions, rather than just camping/staying somewhere in the rig.  I wish I could be of more help and recommend some great places for you.  Alas, I cannot.  I do hope your prediction of less crowding in September comes to fruition.

Linda
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Memtb

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2020, 03:17:46 PM »

    About a week ago, I heard on local news, that Jackson is seeing  approximately 40,000 visitors/tourists per day!  Thatís a bunch of folks passing through!  memtb
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Joezeppy

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2020, 03:26:13 PM »
That's a lot of tape on the ground at 6' intervals, LOL!
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Lynx0849

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2020, 05:04:38 PM »
Hey Gary

I agree that there are mucho many more car campers this year.  The FS spot I'm at now has told me they have significantly more tent campers this year than normal.  The last RV park I was at did not allow tent camping - a nice gesture towards their RV bread and butter clientele.  The Cooke City FS camp I was at only allowed "hard-sided" camping - I guess a guy got eaten 10 years ago after being pulled from his tent by an emaciated grizzly bear.

Since May, when I was at a State Park in Cottonwood, AZ, the reports from camp hosts and rangers has been that everything fills up every nite. Even then, RVers were camping in one site, and then had to move each day to another site to get a longer stay.   Only place I know of that didn't fill was Helper, UT at Castle Gate RV Park.  But, I haven't been to truly "boonie" spots - been in Winslow (SP), Flagstaff, Cortez, Moab, Vernal, Cody, Cooke City, Gardiner, MT and now West Yellowstone.  More than that, I have spent hours and hours on recreation.gov planning a route and looking for spots to reserve.  The Forest Service has added lots of campgrounds to the reservation system.  Everything is reserved - much more than usual which I take as another indication of lots of folks out and about. I have reservations everywhere up through Sept. 17 - and will be adding another week onto that soon as I think I'll visit the folks I met in Las Vegas last spring.  From October 1 through Jan. 15 2021, I also have reservations. 

I'm still chicken when it comes to heading for truly boonie spots -- like many of those on Campendium.  Plus my travels are still taking me to parks, and attractions, rather than just camping/staying somewhere in the rig.  I wish I could be of more help and recommend some great places for you.  Alas, I cannot.  I do hope your prediction of less crowding in September comes to fruition.

Linda

What park were you at in Cottonwood? My late wifeís sister lives in Cornville so Cottonwood would be convenient to visit.

How did you like the park in Helper?

Thanks
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Kevin Means

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2020, 05:15:16 PM »
Interesting Linda. Thanks for sharing that. BTW, did you get my PM?

Gary, Cyndi and I have been on the road for about a month, and here's our read on campground  occupancy...

Nice RV park in Red Bluff, CA - 90% full
Nice RV park in Kennewick, WA - 75% full
Nice new RV park in Spokane, WA - 90% full
Boondocking for a week at Devil's Elbow campground in Northern Idaho - 30% full
KOA in Butte, MT for one night - 70% full
RV park in Sheridan, WY 80% full
RV park at Devils Tower, WY 70% full
RV park at Mount Rushmore 60% full
RV park at Hot Springs, SD 90% full
RV park at Fort Collins, CO (where we are now) 95% full

I've noticed that there are a lot more tent campers at RV parks than I'm used to seeing - probably due, for one reason or another, to the virus. A lot of RV parks and campgrounds are open, but a lot of the activities within the campgrounds are closed. (Not a problem for us)

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Dreamsend

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2020, 07:46:18 PM »
What park were you at in Cottonwood? My late wifeís sister lives in Cornville so Cottonwood would be convenient to visit.

How did you like the park in Helper?
Thanks

I was at Dead Horse Ranch State Park ($33 I think and includes $8 park entrance fee), and I do like it there.  It's right along the Verde River, lots of vegetation, nice views, quiet for the most past.  Some nice places to hike, and a fantastic birding area stocked with about 30 feeders and benches for sitting while viewing - draws all kinds of birds. Watched a Great-Horned Owl and baby there for an hour on two different days.  The touristy old mining town of Jerome is just up the road a bit which is kinda cool to explore, as is the Verde Valley train ride, which was not operating when I was there in May.  There's a casino in Camp Verde, Tuzigoot Nat'l Monument, and a historic military camp.  The Verde Valley is VERY scenic and there's actually quite a lot to do.  Cottonwood itself has some good restaurants (minutes from the CG), as does Camp Verde, about 12 miles east of there.

In Helper, the Castle Gate RV Park is only about a year old.  So very new, very well kept, but no activities or special amenities yet, and generally no shade trees.  The camp hosts were helpful - even came and got my propane tank and took it to fill and returned.  That was nice.  It's pricey compared to older CGs, but lately it seems like everything in the southwest is headed to $50 a night.  They do Good Same discount, not sure about others perks. 

The Railroad and Mining Museum in Helper is worth a visit.  Helper is also convenient to Nine Mile Canyon (hundreds of petroglyphs) and shopping in Price and other historical stuff from its mining heydays.

If you do a Forum Search for "Castle Gate" you'll find some other folks comments about it - pretty recent.

Linda
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UTTransplant

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2020, 09:28:50 PM »
It is my understanding that many public campgrounds went to reservation only to allow for contactless registration. They donít want to touch money and have their hosts have to check people in and out. Right now all Missouri state parks are reservation only for that reason, and lots are grumbling about having to pay a reservation fee for what used to be first come, first served sites.
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Dragginourbedaround

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2020, 06:55:03 AM »
Interesting Linda. Thanks for sharing that. BTW, did you get my PM?

Gary, Cyndi and I have been on the road for about a month, and here's our read on campground  occupancy...

Nice RV park in Red Bluff, CA - 90% full
Nice RV park in Kennewick, WA - 75% full
Nice new RV park in Spokane, WA - 90% full
Boondocking for a week at Devil's Elbow campground in Northern Idaho - 30% full
KOA in Butte, MT for one night - 70% full
RV park in Sheridan, WY 80% full
RV park at Devils Tower, WY 70% full
RV park at Mount Rushmore 60% full
RV park at Hot Springs, SD 90% full
RV park at Fort Collins, CO (where we are now) 95% full

I've noticed that there are a lot more tent campers at RV parks than I'm used to seeing - probably due, for one reason or another, to the virus. A lot of RV parks and campgrounds are open, but a lot of the activities within the campgrounds are closed. (Not a problem for us)

Kev
Love Fort Collins. We used to stay at the Lakeside KOA in Fort Collins and Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland for two to three months this this time of year. So much to do there. Very bicycle friendly city . We used to take our bikes into the city from the KOA. Lots of biking and hiking trails, restaurants, museums, and micro breweries. Fat Tire has a great brewery tour. (reservations suggested)
Gene

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Kevin Means

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2020, 01:26:54 PM »
Yeah Gene, thatís exactly where we are. Really nice park. Well cared for, decent sized sites and plenty to do. We havenít stayed at KOAs for many, many years, but it seems that theyíve upped the quality at many of their campgrounds. We still prefer to boondock, but this is really a nice campground.

Kev
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Larry N.

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2020, 02:15:31 PM »
It is my understanding that many public campgrounds went to reservation only to allow for contactless registration. They donít want to touch money and have their hosts have to check people in and out. Right now all Missouri state parks are reservation only for that reason, and lots are grumbling about having to pay a reservation fee for what used to be first come, first served sites.
Colorado went to reservations-only in the summer of 2018, so it wasn't COVID related -- I still don't know why, but I think that was about the same time that they required you to go to the CO Parks website to reserve sites, instead of reserve-america. It's awkward compared to the previous first come if unreserved, but that's how they do it now.
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John Stephens

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2020, 04:26:54 PM »
I had planned out a 90 day trip around the country for this year that had to be canceled due to Covid. We want to make that same trip next year because a couple of RV parks refused to give us deposit refunds and instead, gave us gift certificates that have to be used within one year.

Because of the influx of new RV'ers, I am wondering how quickly the parks around NP's are going to book up and wonder if they will begin taking reservations for next year before the beginning of their season. It is usually impossible to book many of these parks the year before. Does anyone have an opinion of the best time to reserve a site at the popular national parks, such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Crater Lake, etc.?
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LarsMac

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2020, 05:30:44 PM »
cousins and I are heading to Tetons after Labor Day.
Hopefully, it has settled down by then.
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PancakeBill

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2020, 09:27:42 PM »
Dreamsend Linda
Where in West Yell?  Jolene and I are here for the season.

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Dragginourbedaround

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2020, 09:47:34 AM »
Yeah Gene, thatís exactly where we are. Really nice park. Well cared for, decent sized sites and plenty to do. We havenít stayed at KOAs for many, many years, but it seems that theyíve upped the quality at many of their campgrounds. We still prefer to boondock, but this is really a nice campground.

Kev
Lakeside is the best KOA that weíve stayed at. If youíre going to be in or near Ft Collins for awhile I sent you a PM with some recommendations.


Gene

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Kevin Means

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2020, 11:43:28 AM »
Got it Gene. Thanks. The guy who delivered our pizza last night, and his wife, have lived and worked here for five years. He told us that this KOA was purchased by KOA corporate last year. I'm hoping that the quality and service remain the same, because it's a great campground.

Kev
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jackiemac

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2020, 01:58:15 PM »
Dreamsend Linda
Where in West Yell?  Jolene and I are here for the season.

I know she was trying to get into Baker's Hole Bill...
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Dreamsend

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2020, 04:42:30 PM »
I PM-ed Bill and Jolene this morning.  Haven't heard back yet. Yes, I'm at Bakers Hole.
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jackiemac

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2020, 06:30:57 PM »
I PM-ed Bill and Jolene this morning.  Haven't heard back yet. Yes, I'm at Bakers Hole.
Fab, wasn't sure you'd have wifi. Have fun!
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garyb1st

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2020, 08:47:35 PM »
Kev, glad you're out and about.  We have a serious case of Rock Fever and the temp is rising.  Originally I figured we'd be on the road by the end of June.  Then Maria suggested maybe August or September would be better.  For now it looks like some time after the kids are back in school.  At least that's the plan if the school reopening works.  If not, who knows.  For now, it's looking like post Labor Day if all things Covid 19 don't go crazy. 

What's it been like boon docking so far?

Linda, same question. 

 
Gary B1st

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Dragginourbedaround

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2020, 10:07:00 AM »
Got it Gene. Thanks. The guy who delivered our pizza last night, and his wife, have lived and worked here for five years. He told us that this KOA was purchased by KOA corporate last year. I'm hoping that the quality and service remain the same, because it's a great campground.

Kev
I think I remember them. They started working there about the same time we started going there. Nice people. When we were going there it was family owned and run by the SIL, a tall lanky guy hard to miss (wish I could remember his name). We have a son in the area and their guest fees were crazy high. So, I talked to him about it and he gave us a pass for our son. He only used it a few times. At the end of our stay we gave him a $50 gift card as a thank you. The next year when we were trying to make a reservation they told us they were full. We started looking for some place else and KOA called back, said they had a site for us. I asked what happened and she said the SIL heard our name and set about finding us a spot.  :) We were camped near a few workampers and they were making good money besides the free site and electric. I hope corporate does right by them. Kid friendly and lots to do in the CG, they were very popular.
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PancakeBill

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2020, 07:56:16 PM »
We found Linda wandering around town with pizza!  Contact made.  Nice lunch and mini rally.
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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2020, 03:55:00 PM »
So is anyone at Gros Ventre or Jackson now? We should be in that area in a week and wondered about site

garyb1st

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2020, 05:13:44 PM »
So is anyone at Gros Ventre or Jackson now? We should be in that area in a week and wondered about site

Mike, thought you were there a month ago. 
Gary B1st

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2020, 07:05:39 PM »
Mike, thought you were there a month ago.

I was, we got bored and too hot and decided to return to the higher elevations. We are planning to stay on the road until a major hurricane pops up .

jackiemac

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2020, 04:17:14 AM »
I was, we got bored and too hot and decided to return to the higher elevations. We are planning to stay on the road until a major hurricane pops up .
We were told that a large number (old brain can't remember exact number) of people left every day. Just get there by 9.30 and be prepared to wait and you should get a spot..

Alternatively.

You don't show your rig details but if you are not in a huge RV, there are a few forest Campgrounds down towards Alpine. We stayed at East Table and it was fantastic, no hook ups.

Or boondock somewhere along the Greys River Road.

Check these places are open.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 04:23:27 AM by jackiemac »
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richclover

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2020, 08:55:00 AM »
Havenít been there myself but Iíve heard from locals that the Greyís and Little Greyís River roads are packed with campers. Same for the Smithís Fork road south of Star Valley, east of Raymond Mt.

Weíll likely do a day trip north of Cokeville or Kemmerer looking for a camp spot before committing to our traditional September boondocks trip. 
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Dreamsend

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2020, 09:36:55 AM »
Havenít been there myself but Iíve heard from locals that the Greyís and Little Greyís River roads are packed with campers. Same for the Smithís Fork road south of Star Valley, east of Raymond Mt.

The above is correct.  Latest bad news is the piles of human waste - the Forest Service has reported it's one big toilet in the camping areas.  They brought in at least one porta potty, but there is no way that's sufficient.

I've kept up by getting daily news alerts about Grand Tetons via Google alerts in my gmail.  If one is headed to Gros Ventre CG, I'd get there before 7:00 AM as pics have shown campers lined half-way up the entrance road already at 8:00 AM.

Linda
« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 09:39:50 AM by Dreamsend »
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richclover

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Re: If You're Headed to Grand Teton-BEWARE!
« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2020, 10:03:34 AM »
Iím sorry to hear that , Linda!

Wife and I gave up the archery hunt a few years ago (whole month of September).  Too many people in the woods.  Sounds like we will forgo the September camp and stay home ...
Rich, Jill, the Pups, Buddy and Bitsy
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