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Need advice on memberships that support locations near Rocky Mountain NP and Glacier NP


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I have been reviewing C2C and RPI memberships with the intent of being able to stay near some of my favorite destinations (Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier NP). I am not finding any RV resorts that are very close to these destinations so I am hoping that others here can point me in the right direction.

 

I am trying to find a solution that places me in reasonable proximity to the above mentioned National Parks during the months of June through September. Reasonable is defined as a 45 min drive or less. I am an avid hiker and photographer so I want to be able to get to these locations on a daily basis and then after a week or two, move on to the next location. I could always plan and schedule camping at each of the national parks I believe, but I am hopeful there is a more affordable and better solution.

 

Any tips and advice is appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

 

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Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!

 

The maps and websites that I use for trip planning do not show any Thousand Trails, Encore, Coast 2 Coast, Resorts of Destiction, or Resort Property International campgrounds what I would consider near Yellowstone, Grand Teton or Rocky Mountain National Parks,

 

There are a few Passport America participating parks in those areas, but the time of year and length of stay restrictions for the time period you want may not work all that well for you.

 

If you have an America the Beautiful Senior or Access Pass, The National Park and Forest Service run campgrounds will likely be your most economical alternatives. The concession run campgrounds in the National Parks(these are often the ones with hookups or other amenities) may or may not give a discount to Pass Holders. I believe the Forest Service concession campgrounds still do. The government agency managed campgrounds give the discount on the basic campsite and add the electric fee if there is one. In addition to the Forest Camping Guide linked to above, the Recreation.gov website will help you locate campgrounds on federal lands managed by the Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Corps of Engineers.

 

Again, Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!

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If you have an America the Beautiful Senior or Access Pass,

 

According to another post, the OP is 50, so he would not be eligible for the Senior Pass. And, since he says he likes to hike, he's most likely not eligible for the Access Pass, either. He could, however, purchase the annual parks pass that will get him into national parks for free, although it won't provide half-price for things like campgrounds:

 

http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

 

Still, government campgrounds (USFS, BLM, etc.) would be more economical that staying in RV parks. Plus, you'd be in the middle of nature and not crammed together like sardines in an RV park!

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I highly doubt that you will find much by way of discounted RV parks near any of the major attractions. The reason is that parks which are handy to such attractions stay full of the entire season without offering any discounts. Off season you can find them but that is when roads are closed for winter or similar situations. I'd agree with the suggestion of either Passport America or the forest service parks as you are not likely to find any cheap commercial RV parks in such locations. If they are there, we never found them in many years of travels.

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The best place to stay just outside of Yellowstone - if not staying in the park itself - is Baker's Hole national forest campground. They don't accept reservations and it's becoming very popular so you have to get there early morning when folks are leaving to get a site. If you can get one of the dry camping sites along the Madison River that's the best. It also has some electric sites up in front. There's no dump station but water is available. Folks usually dump at their next stop or in the town of West Yellowstone at one of the RV parks for a fee.

 

In Yellowstone our favorite is Mammoth campground. It does not accept reservations so again, you have to get there early as folks are leaving.

 

The Tetons have two non-reservable campground of 300 sites each. They rarely fill. They have a dump station and water fill but no hookups. They are Colter Bay and Gros Ventre campgrounds, our favorites. We've always gotten sites with our 40' motorhome.

 

For Rocky Mountain Glacier Basin was our favorite and we've volunteered there. It is near some beautiful hiking trails. You do need reservations. Moraine is another good campground in the same area but down the mountain a bit.

 

All your mentioned parks are surrounded by national forest lands so there will be campgrounds for a more reasonable way to go.

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Thank you. I am still learning all the ropes and options. I do have a NP pass, so that does in fact save me on entry fees. It looks like I just need to get smart about how to use and navigate the NPS websites for reservations, etc. Thanks!!

 

 

 

According to another post, the OP is 50, so he would not be eligible for the Senior Pass. And, since he says he likes to hike, he's most likely not eligible for the Access Pass, either. He could, however, purchase the annual parks pass that will get him into national parks for free, although it won't provide half-price for things like campgrounds:

 

http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

 

Still, government campgrounds (USFS, BLM, etc.) would be more economical that staying in RV parks. Plus, you'd be in the middle of nature and not crammed together like sardines in an RV park!

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Thank you Kirk, I appreciate the information. This helps me use my time wisely. I need to learn the NPS camping system. Enjoy your day!!

 

Tim

 

I highly doubt that you will find much by way of discounted RV parks near any of the major attractions. The reason is that parks which are handy to such attractions stay full of the entire season without offering any discounts. Off season you can find them but that is when roads are closed for winter or similar situations. I'd agree with the suggestion of either Passport America or the forest service parks as you are not likely to find any cheap commercial RV parks in such locations. If they are there, we never found them in many years of travels.

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Hi, thank you for the info. I am just starting to build the knowledge I need to do this, so I am grateful for your time and help. I am leaving for RMNP in two weeks and then passing through Tetons/Yellowstone and ending at Glacier. This will be a 4 week trip for me.

 

I am a dry camper so my requirements are very minimal. I have all the A/C and 12VDC covered and so I just onboard water for the basics. I do need to find a better solution for a water holding tank, so I am in the process of researching this. I am hopeful that i can find something in the 30 gallon range that has a hose on it for dispensing. I am in a 2500 Sprinter (12 feet x 6 feet of living space with a high roof).

 

Tim

 

The best place to stay just outside of Yellowstone - if not staying in the park itself - is Baker's Hole national forest campground. They don't accept reservations and it's becoming very popular so you have to get there early morning when folks are leaving to get a site. If you can get one of the dry camping sites along the Madison River that's the best. It also has some electric sites up in front. There's no dump station but water is available. Folks usually dump at their next stop or in the town of West Yellowstone at one of the RV parks for a fee.

 

In Yellowstone our favorite is Mammoth campground. It does not accept reservations so again, you have to get there early as folks are leaving.

 

The Tetons have two non-reservable campground of 300 sites each. They rarely fill. They have a dump station and water fill but no hookups. They are Colter Bay and Gros Ventre campgrounds, our favorites. We've always gotten sites with our 40' motorhome.

 

For Rocky Mountain Glacier Basin was our favorite and we've volunteered there. It is near some beautiful hiking trails. You do need reservations. Moraine is another good campground in the same area but down the mountain a bit.

 

All your mentioned parks are surrounded by national forest lands so there will be campgrounds for a more reasonable way to go.

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On the fresh water supply, have you considered installing some sort of permanent tank into which you could put water when near a good supply, much as the factory RVs do? Check out this potable water tank kit which holds 26 gallons of water. With something of this type you could pretty easily install an outside fill or one just inside of the door and even put in a 12V pump to supply the water or one of the hand pumps to draw it out from the bottom of the tank. I think that for the long term travels that you have in mind this would quickly become a very convenient addition.

41WKlAeilPL._SX355_.jpg419DrHjlLsL._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg

If you have not done so, take a look at these options that are available from Amazon.

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Tim,

 

Yellowstone is a large park. Just driving each loop road can take a whole day. With your interest in photography and hiking, I suggest trying to stay at a couple of different campgrounds. With your size RV, you will be able to fit in all of the campgrounds in the park. Baker's Hole is a nice enough campground, but it is still located outside the park which means you can get backed up at the entrance gate and then it is about 16 miles to the junction of the loop road. In my opinion, Madison or Norris are just as good a choice as Baker's Hole for the West side of the park and the Geyser Basins. Do check on the road construction as that can create issues with getting around the park.

 

In my opinion, the only things Mammoth campground has going for it is that it has the largest number of large sites and allows generator use. It is located in the center of a switchback in the main North entrance road. For a small RV, the Forest Service's Eagle Creek campground not far outside the town of Gardiner is much more scenic and peaceful. Slough Creek and Pebble Creek campgrounds are in good locations for wildlife viewing in the Slough Creek, Lamar and Soda Butte Valleys. Outside the Northeast entrance are more Forest Service Campgrounds with Soda Butte being the closest to the entrance to the park. Outside the Northeast entrance of the park, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and Beartooth Highway are popular with photographers. I have never encountered much of a line at the North or Northeast entrance stations. Canyon is a concession run campground so more expensive, but it is convenient to the Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Falls and does take reservations. It is also not that far from the hiking trail that leads to the top of Mount Washburn.

 

Hope you have a great time in Yellowstone!!!

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Hi Kirk, I am definitely going to need to move to a solution like this without a doubt. I am going to see how much water I consume and use on this upcoming trip and that will help me decide what capacity I need to get. Thanks for the link and info.

 

Tim

 

On the fresh water supply, have you considered installing some sort of permanent tank into which you could put water when near a good supply, much as the factory RVs do? Check out this potable water tank kit which holds 26 gallons of water. With something of this type you could pretty easily install an outside fill or one just inside of the door and even put in a 12V pump to supply the water or one of the hand pumps to draw it out from the bottom of the tank. I think that for the long term travels that you have in mind this would quickly become a very convenient addition.

41WKlAeilPL._SX355_.jpg419DrHjlLsL._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg

If you have not done so, take a look at these options that are available from Amazon.

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Wow!! This is some very helpful information. I can see it is going to take a while to learn all of the finer points, but that process is all part of the fun and adventure. I will keep your note handy on this trip. Thank you.

 

Tim

 

Tim,

 

Yellowstone is a large park. Just driving each loop road can take a whole day. With your interest in photography and hiking, I suggest trying to stay at a couple of different campgrounds. With your size RV, you will be able to fit in all of the campgrounds in the park. Baker's Hole is a nice enough campground, but it is still located outside the park which means you can get backed up at the entrance gate and then it is about 16 miles to the junction of the loop road. In my opinion, Madison or Norris are just as good a choice as Baker's Hole for the West side of the park and the Geyser Basins. Do check on the road construction as that can create issues with getting around the park.

 

In my opinion, the only things Mammoth campground has going for it is that it has the largest number of large sites and allows generator use. It is located in the center of a switchback in the main North entrance road. For a small RV, the Forest Service's Eagle Creek campground not far outside the town of Gardiner is much more scenic and peaceful. Slough Creek and Pebble Creek campgrounds are in good locations for wildlife viewing in the Slough Creek, Lamar and Soda Butte Valleys. Outside the Northeast entrance are more Forest Service Campgrounds with Soda Butte being the closest to the entrance to the park. Outside the Northeast entrance of the park, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and Beartooth Highway are popular with photographers. I have never encountered much of a line at the North or Northeast entrance stations. Canyon is a concession run campground so more expensive, but it is convenient to the Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Falls and does take reservations. It is also not that far from the hiking trail that leads to the top of Mount Washburn.

 

Hope you have a great time in Yellowstone!!!

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I have been researching Sawtooth National Forest for next year and this places looks just incredible. http://www.fs.usda.gov/sawtooth/

 

My plan is to learn and gain knowledge in the easier areas this year and then be much better prepared for BLM and wilderness areas which is where I really want to spend most of my time in the future. I want to be able to focus, be relaxed and connect with the land and nature.

 

Tim

 

 

I have heard that Idaho has some nice state parks not too far. I am heading to work at Yellowstone for end of season with Xanterra. They may still have some workamp opportunities

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Teri-W, As far as I know, they are still looking for someone for the Johnny Sack Cabin in Island Park, ID. Go to www.volunteer.gov and it listed under Idaho. It is just off US 20 on the way to West Yellowstone. It also still listed in a weekly news sheet here in this area.

That was meant to be a suggestion to Tim. I have a confirmed job at Yellowstone starting Aug 4.

Thanks

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Thanks Linda!

 

I am starting to get my mind around all of the many options and it appears to me that this is very important aspect of being successful (finding places to stay) and also being relaxed and comfortable. I am trying to learn the BLM options in CO, WY, MT, UT, NM first, because these are the areas that I plan on visiting the most.

 

It appears the campground in the national parks are booked so far in advance that there is little chance of getting a place without significant planning, which is the opposite of how I want to live moving forward. A little planning is good, but having to think about reserving a camping site 6 months in advance is not what I want to be doing. I am thinking that the dispersed camping approach on BLM lands are going to be a good fit for me. I just need some experience and time out in the locations in order to find the places that I want to be. For me, it is all about nature, hiking, and photographing these beautiful places and sharing these experiences with others. I get just a little smarter each day, so I hope that I will be more prepared in the coming months.

 

Thanks

 

Tim

 

 

 

 

 

Here's another website with a wealth of information on all the USFS campgrounds:

 

http://www.forestcamping.com/

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If you have a smartphone, either an iPhone or an Android, download the Ultimate US Public Campgrounds app from Toad Hall Enterprises (there is a small fee). Another good app is the Allstays Camp and RV, which also has a small fee.

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Wow!! Thank you Linda!! Just downloaded both of these and this is a game changer!! Thank you.

 

Tim

 

 

If you have a smartphone, either an iPhone or an Android, download the Ultimate US Public Campgrounds app from Toad Hall Enterprises (there is a small fee). Another good app is the Allstays Camp and RV, which also has a small fee.

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