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Yellowstone and the Tetons for summer 2022


solo318
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We just returned from 21 days in the Black Hills. we are planning our summer trip for next year and are interested in going to Yellowstone and the Tetons. To this end, I'm looking for advice. We will be needing a campground that will hold an 80ft long rig with room for our 3 traveling companions and their campers. Cabins for a non camping family would be a plus. I'm also wondering how long we will need to "see" the parks and what else there is to do there.  Most of the group are older folk and not hikers, so we do a lot of sightseeing and scenic drives.  It's a 5k mile round trip and I want to see as much as we can.

Any suggestions for campgrounds and activities are welcome. Our Black Hills adventure was fantastic, and alot of our activities were suggestions from members. :)

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You have zero hope of getting sites inside the park so it will have to be a private cg. The only advice I can give is to get reservations as early as possible. Take a look at YNP parks in Campground Reviews

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As for seeing Yellowstone and the Tetons, we have spent at least a month in YNP and probably 2 weeks in GT and still haven't seen it all. We plan on another 4 or 5 days in August to see the Lamar Valley in YNP this year. YNP is bigger than some eastern states.

 

Edited by agesilaus
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Plan to stay in West Yellowstone or the immediate outskirts.

Each national park has a great website which includes things to do, map, special alerts regarding fires, road construction, etc.  Read them thoroughly and Google the surrounding towns for things to do.  Everyone's wants are different and it sounds like you want to reserve various types of accommodations.  Also, check back on these websites just before leaving so you're not disappointed on possible closures for various reasons.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/things2do.htm#onthisPage-0

https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/things2do.htm

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6 hours ago, solo318 said:

I'm also wondering how long we will need to "see" the parks and what else there is to do there.  Most of the group are older folk and not hikers, so we do a lot of sightseeing and scenic drives.  It's a 5k mile round trip and I want to see as much as we can.

While I can't suggest an RV park, I do have quite a lot of experience visiting Yellowstone NP. We visited with our sons several times in our years living in WY, but it never seemed to be long enough, even for the boys and we spent as much as 10 days in the park, staying inside of it, but that was years ago. More recently we spent a summer in a volunteer position that was about 30 miles outside of the west entrance to the park and finally got to spend long enough to feel that we had seen everything that could be seen without extensive hiking. We would pack a lunch and leave early to often spend an entire day in one location, walking about the boardwalks at the different thermal pool sites, or walking short distances to picnic where we could overlook a major attraction, waterfall, etc. Between Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton NP, we spent a total of 28 days there that summer. While I doubt that you will want to spend quite that long, we also spent a summer in the Black Hills area and I would consider that Yellowstone has just as much to see as do the Black Hills so you may want to use that as a guide for your planning. Much also depends on those who are going to be in your party. If they feel that "once you have seen 1 or 2 geysers you have seen them all" you'll nor want to spend as long as we did, since we tried to see all of them. That same thing is true for thermal pools and various other features. 

As you are planning, consider attending at least some of the ranger programs as Yellowstone has many of them and they are excellent. Some do involve a lot of walking, but most do not and many are in an amphitheater where you are seated. 

Edited by Kirk W
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The only campground I can think of would be Valley View in Island Park, ID. about 13 miles from the west gate at West Yellowstone. They can handle 80' on some sites. Also Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone lists 80' pull-thrus. If this is a four rig trip, reservations need to be made now. Quite an accomplishment to pull it off in my estimation. We have been in that area 15 times out of the last 18 summers.

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11 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

Do you really need your car if you are traveling with several others that have cars?  That would increase the possibility of finding sites.  

We are traveling a lot further than the rest of the group. Besides, I built this toad for sightseeing :)

217749197_5786382704736678_5276222623367505089_n.jpg

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21 hours ago, solo318 said:

Besides, I built this toad for sightseeing

That, my friend, is a grizzly bear lunch wagon. Imagine being in a traffic jam in YNP with grizzly's in the road.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

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1 hour ago, Jinx & Wayne said:

Imagine being in a traffic jam in YNP with grizzly's in the road.

 Since the efforts to separate people and bears began to be effective more than 30 years ago, it has become rare for anyone to see a grizzly and the black bears are usually at some distance. People regularly travel through the park on motorcycles and do not encounter any bears of either type. 

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I know its  rare but it only takes once.  Looks like an easy head entry for the head of a TATANKA or Elk or even a mad squirel.  Not that it would be common. Actually my first thought was rain, sleet, and hail. Still looks fun.

Side note.  I think I have read somewhere that there are some parks that won't allow anything but a hard sided camper.  Not even pop-up tent campers.  Anyone know this for sure.

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1 minute ago, durangodon said:

I drove through a herd of bison in Yellowstone a few years ago on a motorcycle.  I was sure hoping that the cars ahead would keep moving, but they didn't.  It was a humbling experience.

You didn't get peed or pooped on did you.  Sure can't hide inside a MC.  I had 2 different issues with black bears when riding my little Honda 250. They were almost poop level experiences and I was the one trying to maintain.

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11 minutes ago, bigjim said:

I know its  rare but it only takes once.  Looks like an easy head entry for the head of a TATANKA or Elk or even a mad squirel.  Not that it would be common. Actually my first thought was rain, sleet, and hail. Still looks fun.

Side note.  I think I have read somewhere that there are some parks that won't allow anything but a hard sided camper.  Not even pop-up tent campers.  Anyone know this for sure.

I have seen this at the campgrounds in the Canadian Rockies, they have separate campgrounds with electric fences for tents and soft-sided trailers.  

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

 Since the efforts to separate people and bears began to be effective more than 30 years ago, it has become rare for anyone to see a grizzly and the black bears are usually at some distance. People regularly travel through the park on motorcycles and do not encounter any bears of either type. 

Then I guess that black bear walking in the middle of the road as we were driving around Yellowstone Lake was a mirage.  We didn't have the diesel truck at the time, just a half-ton gas RAM.  As we rounded a curve there s/he was. S/He growled and started to jog as we fumbled for a camera.  S/He diverted into the woods but not before I snapped a couple of shots of his/her hindquarters.  That was an unusual occurrence. 

If you really want a good chance to see wildlife beyond bison and elk, I suggest you pack food and water and head to Lamar and/or Hayden Valley, pull off the road where allowed and wait for first light or at dusk and have a great pair of binoculars or a good spotting scope with you to see animals not usually seen except in the backcountry.

Edited by Mr. Camper
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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

 Since the efforts to separate people and bears began to be effective more than 30 years ago, it has become rare for anyone to see a grizzly and the black bears are usually at some distance. People regularly travel through the park on motorcycles and do not encounter any bears of either type. 

The closest we've every seen a Griz is maybe 250 yards and that was a sow/cub pair on a hillside off the northern road

 

"Side note.  I think I have read somewhere that there are some parks that won't allow anything but a hard sided camper.  Not even pop-up tent campers.  Anyone know this for sure"

 

That's common in the mountain states.

Edited by agesilaus
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We have literally been stuck in the middle of the road in Custer State park, SURROUNDED by bison. We have seen bear, elk, Bison, deer, and long horn sheep up close and personal. Nature is truly humbling. I'm prepared for most contingencies involving aggressive wildlife. But as most people find out. Nature generally wants to be left alone.  I have found over the years that an open car gives you a much greater appreciation of nature. Yes we have been rained on, caught in SD hail storms and even light snow once. It's all part of natures charm.

 
The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.
They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.
Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.
Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.

The last bit is just to get a laugh.

Now to get back on track, can anyone else recommend a private campground preferably on the east side?

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3 hours ago, agesilaus said:

"Side note.  I think I have read somewhere that there are some parks that won't allow anything but a hard sided camper.  Not even pop-up tent campers.  Anyone know this for sure"

The only one that I know of that bans soft tops & tents is Fishing Bridge campground in Yellowstone.  That area has a lot of grizzlies.  Other campground in Yellowstone allow soft top campers and tents.

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5 hours ago, Kirk W said:

 Since the efforts to separate people and bears began to be effective more than 30 years ago, it has become rare for anyone to see a grizzly and the black bears are usually at some distance. People regularly travel through the park on motorcycles and do not encounter any bears of either type. 

No, it's not rare.  Grizzlies are commonly seen roadside in Yellowstone and we've seen many black bears close up.

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3 hours ago, Mr. Camper said:

Then I guess that black bear walking in the middle of the road as we were driving around Yellowstone Lake was a mirage

I don't know about yellowstone but I think in a lot places it is percentanges and pure dumb luck if you get to see certain wildlife or not. A friend out here lived in the mountains and it was 40 years before he saw a bear (black bear) in the wild but has seen multiple mountain lions and I have yet to see one though I have seen almost unrefutable signs.

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Can we please get back on topic. I don't care if you don't like the dune buggy. I don't care if you think I'll get eaten by a bear. :)

I simply asked for some planning assistance for next summer. It was a really simple request. Now will you please stop arguing with each other and move on to something useful?  I posted this in the "travel" section. The off topic section is farther down the page.

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So.... you're asking about staying on the EAST side of Yellowstone so that would be Cody, WY.  Check these out:

https://www.campgroundreviews.com/regions/wyoming/cody

You'll be doing a lot of driving including Sylvan Pass.  You won't be in your RV but you'll have 5-6% grades and sharp curves down to the Fishing Bridge/Yellowstone Lake area.  Should be fun in the buggy!

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54 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

Solo, you know that all threads go off on a tangent at times.  I assume that you've already looked at AllStays and RV Park Reviews for private parks on the east side?

Yes Maam, I was hoping someone had a favorite Big Rig friendly spot. It's hard to Judge actual usable size from a campground website.  The parks we stayed in this year in the Black hills both had hit or miss reviews, BUT they were both wonderful parks that were recommended by members.

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What more advice do you need? I don't think anyone knows of cg with 80 foot long sites, just disconnect the toad and park in somewhere else in the cg. Otherwise I gave you the list of cg around YNP, start calling them.

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