Yellowstone, etc. w/o Dinghy

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JGarrick

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We're not exactly diving in head first, but we have dipped a toe in the water and rented a 31' MH for a trip out west. We'll be hitting Yellowstone, the Tetons, and other points south of there in Utah and Colorado.

I'm looking for any campground suggestions anyone has around Yellowstone especially. We will not be towing a dinghy. The RV (and our feet) will be our only means of transport on this trip, and I'm somewhat concerned about being able to park and get around in Yellowstone. We'll be traveling in August (not ideal, I know, but it's the only time we can get away).

Any ideas?
 

Jim Godward

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J,

August will be a crowded time.  VBG  We and some others on this forum usually recommend Grizzly RV park in West Yellowstone.  Pricey but by far the best.

August is a bad time to be without a car but it can be done.  We did it a few years ago in a 34' MH.  NOT recommended.  I suggest that you consider renting a car.  Rentals in this area are always expensive because of the tourist nature of this area.  Skiing in winter, etc. etc. the rest of the year.  Without knowing the direction you are coming from, I can't make any recommendations for rentals but generally around here the farther you can get from Yellowstone the better.  Often times the best deal is from a car dealer or rent a wreck.

Let me know if I can help as we are 90 miles north of West Yellowstone.
 

Chet18013

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JGarrick said:
We're not exactly diving in head first, but we have dipped a toe in the water and rented a 31' MH for a trip out west. We'll be hitting Yellowstone, the Tetons, and other points south of there in Utah and Colorado.

I'm looking for any campground suggestions anyone has around Yellowstone especially. We will not be towing a dinghy. The RV (and our feet) will be our only means of transport on this trip, and I'm somewhat concerned about being able to park and get around in Yellowstone. We'll be traveling in August (not ideal, I know, but it's the only time we can get away).

Any ideas?

We did Yellowstone about that time in 2005. It was crowded. Don't even think about trying to drive the 31' MH around the park. You'll never find a place to stop and park it. We had a toad and the parking was still tough in some areas. The advice to stay outside thepark and rent a car is the way I'd go if I didn't have a toad.

Chet18013
 

Phil

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JGarrick said:
I'm looking for any campground suggestions anyone has around Yellowstone especially. We will not be towing a dinghy. The RV (and our feet) will be our only means of transport on this trip, and I'm somewhat concerned about being able to park and get around in Yellowstone. We'll be traveling in August (not ideal, I know, but it's the only time we can get away).

Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone is nice and about an hour from Old Faithful.

Canyon Village is in the park on the east side.  Dry camping but a nice campground.

Most tourist spots will accommodate your 31 ft MH just fine.  A few turnouts might be a problem if they happen to be full but you should be just fine most of the time.

The Colter Bay area on Jackson Lake is convenient to the south end of Yellowstone.  There is a full hookup RV park and a NPS campground at Colter Bay.

Flagg Ranch is a little north of Colter Bay but is not as nice as Colter Bay.  It's a good place if Colter Bay is full.

Fishing Bridge has an OLD RV park.

Phil
 

BruceinFL

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JGarrick said:
We're not exactly diving in head first, but we have dipped a toe in the water and rented a 31' MH for a trip out west. We'll be hitting Yellowstone, the Tetons, and other points south of there in Utah and Colorado.

I'm looking for any campground suggestions anyone has around Yellowstone especially. We will not be towing a dinghy. The RV (and our feet) will be our only means of transport on this trip, and I'm somewhat concerned about being able to park and get around in Yellowstone. We'll be traveling in August (not ideal, I know, but it's the only time we can get away).

Any ideas?

If you stay in Cody or West Yellowstone, you can rent a car to tour the Park. Might be easier than schlepping around in the motorhome. Parking can be pretty tight, although I have seen plenty of people using their motorhomes to tour the parks.
 

Wendy

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Xterra, the concessionaire in Yellowstone, has bus tours....not cheap but led by very knowledgable folks and much, much easier than trying to find a place to park a motorhome or fight your way past the dingbats who have parked in the road blocking traffic so they can take a picture of the kids standing next to a bear, moose, or other large, angry wildlife.
 

JGarrick

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OK, a few morel details, if it helps.

The basic plan is a whirlwind tour of the west. We wanted to try the RV more for comfort on the road than in camp.

We'll be coming from Minnesota, probably via Montana, staying in Yellowstone two or at most three days, and in the Tetons maybe two days. In Yellowstone, we expect to be mostly just stopping at the usual tourist spots, but at the Tetons we're hoping to just find a nice campsite and mostly just relax for a couple of days to decompress after the crowds and bustle of Yellowstone (actually, the rest of the gang will be relaxing while I burn a few rolls of film photographing the area). If we can find a spot with big trees with a nice view we'll probably stay an extra night - maybe two if it's also on a lake.

We haven't figured out any sort of detailed plan yet, but I was hoping we could camp either in or just north or east of Yellowstone for a night or two, then go through to the Tetons on the last day and camp there for night or two. Unless it's just impossible or doesn't make sense, I'd rather avoid renting or towing a car. Unless something really critical is only reachable by car, I'd rather just go somewhere else in the MH. The details aren't that important because we expect to return to anywhere that's really great.

Regardless of other details of where we go and what we see, I much prefer wooded campsites, and places where we can have a fire at night, and I'm willing to drive a little and/or pay more for both. I don't much care about campground faciilities other than trees and I'm willing to dry camp for as long as the rig can support us. In fact, if we're away from electrical hookups and can turn off the TVs and video games, I'd be that much happier. Solitude is the most important campground amenity I want. I've seen Grizzly mentioned on several threads - are the spots quiet and shadedr? I see ads for some RV parks boasting of things like paved parking for your rig, cable TV, WiFi internet, etc., which is the exact opposite of what I want. In fact, those are things that would make me inclined to avoid a place. At night I want to hear the wind and see stars. If I wanted to watch TV, I could stay at home.

Thanks everyone - you guys are a great help.
 

Rex

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Well, as you have never been there, you are in for a big shock.  It is a VERY BIG PLACE.  On my visit there, I picked Flag Ranch as a base camp and was going to tour Yellowstone from there.  Well that was not a good idea as it takes hours to get to anywhere in Yellowstone.  Flag Ranch is South of Yellowstone.  Doesn't look far on the maps, but it is MUCH longer by road than it looks.  After a two days we pulled up and went to Fishing Bridge.  It is centrally located in Yellowstone and we spent all day each day for a week touring the park.  As I said, Yellowstone is a VERY BIG PLACE.  Yellowstone and the Tetons together are larger than many states.  If you plan two days in Yellowstone, well one day driving in, and one day driving out.  Not much time to see anything.  You need at least a week to see it.  I was not near as impressed with the Tetons.  Oh they were nice to look at, but not much to do but view them.  Jackson Hole was a big disappointment.  Just a tourist trap.

Have fun,
 

rhmahoney

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"I've seen Grizzly mentioned on several threads - are the spots quiet and shadedr? I see ads for some RV parks boasting of things like paved parking for your rig, cable TV, WiFi internet, etc., which is the exact opposite of what I want. In fact, those are things that would make me inclined to avoid a place. At night I want to hear the wind and see stars. If I wanted to watch TV, I could stay at home."

It has been several years since I stayed at Grizzly CG. I seem to remember it as open. But then it was fairly new so that may have changed.

For the type of site you favor, I recommend Nat Park Svc CGs.

Many of us are fulltimers. We are at the far end of the spectrum from you. Since our rigs are our homes, we want TV and internet service at all times. Thus we abhor treed sites! In addition to sat TV, I have a broadband internet satellite connection.

Level sites are a must but pavement is not.
 

JGarrick

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rhmahoney said:
...we want TV and internet service at all times...

I don't even watch TV at home, except for the recently completed Winter Olympics (I admit I'm an Olympics junkie), and a baseball game from time to time. On vacation, I'd prefer no access to TV, internet, or phone. I spent the last seven years being on-call 24x7 with a phone and pager hanging on my waist. We're well connected at work and home, so on vacation I want to be as far from that environment and lifestyle as I can get. I don't even want to know there are satelites, much less be able to see them. My books work just great without electricity. :)

It sounds like the public lands might be a good option for us to be looking at. I know we'll need to stop somewhere with hookups from time to time in order to add water and dump God knows what, but the rest of the time, the further from the world I can get, the better I'll feel.

On the other hand, I suspect my kids aren't quite as enthusiastic as I am about getting away from cable TV. :)
 

Phil

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rhmahoney said:
"I've seen Grizzly mentioned on several threads - are the spots quiet and shadedr?

Russ,

If I recommend a campground, you can bet that my satellite dish worked ok.  ;D

Phil
 

JGarrick

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rbdtanasi said:
It is a VERY BIG PLACE.
...
Yellowstone and the Tetons together are larger than many states.

Living in Minnesota, I'm used to long drives. The few things that are interesting enough to visit are a long drive from home.

On the map Yellowstone appears to be similar in size to the Black Hills, where we've been a few times. I'm curious if it takes significantly longer to get around in Yellowstone than it takes to go similar distances in the Black Hills (or, for example, SW CO or the Sierras). I had more or less planned on roughtly 1.5 times the travel time for the same distance in the Black Hills, accounting for higher altitudes, bigger mountains, and more traffic. I've driven many parts of Colorado, Utah, and the Sierra Nevadas in California. Are the roads more difficult or the traffic a lot heavier in the summer in Yellowstone?

Has anyone been to both Yellowstone and Yosemite in a MH? Is Yellowstone traffic as bad as Yosemite valley?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Is Yellowstone traffic as bad as Yosemite valley?

Yes. 

Once inside the park the roads are relatively narrow, they are loaded with cars (especialy in mid summer) and drivers are frequently pulling over to view scenery or wildlife along the road.  It is similar to Custer State Park in the Black Hills in the tourist season.
 

JGarrick

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RV Roamer said:
It is similar to Custer State Park in the Black Hills in the tourist season.

Well, that's a comparison I can definitely relate to - we may have to give more serious consideration to the idea of a toad or rental.
 

Phil

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JGarrick said:
Has anyone been to both Yellowstone and Yosemite in a MH? Is Yellowstone traffic as bad as Yosemite valley?

I have camped in both Yellowstone and Yosemite in a MH.  Yosemite traffic is many times worse than traffic in Yellowstone. 

There have been many road upgrade projects in Yellowstone over the last few years.  The only section that I would not want to take my MH on is between Norris and Mammoth but, my MH is only 32 feet long.

Phil
 

Ron

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I would recommend staying in Cody Wyo and driving either a towed or rental car into Yellowstone.? Cody also has a lot to offer like the buffalo Bill Museum, and rodeos every night.? Also a trip North out of Cody to the Chief Joseph Highway around to the Beartooth highway to Red Lodge Mt and back to Cody IMHO will give you better scenic opportunities than in Yellowstone but DO NOT take your coach on this trip.? Personally I would not plan a trip to see yellowstone without a toad or rental car.? The drive from Cody around the South loop in Yellowston to the South exit to visit the Tetons is about all I would do with the coach.
 

Wendy

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If you plan on staying at one of the NPS campgrounds in Yellowstone, you'd better go with a reservation. It's been years since Mike and I were there but I remember pulling into the first NPS campground we came to at 1 pm and getting the very last campsite left and the only reason we got it was because we were in a VW camper and the 4 vehicles in front of us were motorhomes that wouldn't fit in the last remaining space. The campgrounds, as I recall, had trees and fire pits but they were anything but quiet and peaceful. Yellowstone is an incredible place but "quiet and peaceful" do NOT describe it in August. If they've upgraded the roads, that would make it better but you still have to be prepared to sit in traffic when some yahoo parks in the middle of the road to jump out and take a picture. I found the Tetons much more relaxing, sitting by the lake, under a tree, enjoying the scenery. As for internet access, cell phone reception, and TV, we've got it all in our motorhome but sometimes, someplaces, you just want to shut it all off and suck up nature.

 

Gr8ful1

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We stayed at Grizzly Rv park and we rented a car through them.  They brought the car right to us at our site.  I highly recommend this Rv Park.
 
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