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Old 08-02-2015, 07:32 AM   #1
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Trip to Yellowstone

I'm new to RVing. I have a 2013 Monaco Knight 40dft. I have done several local trips around Pennsylvania and New Jersey Shore, however in May my wife and I ( 4 dogs) are going to Yellow Stone National Park and Grand Canyon. Would anyone have a preferred routes and recommended campgrounds? I understand there are many steep grades we will have to contend with in this area. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-02-2015, 08:39 AM   #2
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Just got back from a long trip that included both leaving from North Carolina and back that included the Oregon coast. Relative to route, I would include Bryce and Zion Canyons. Each of the these have a markedly different landscape and would be reasonably along a route from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone. Only RV park in Yellowstone NP (that I know of) is the Fishing Bridge RV Park. Depending on your arrival time - you may or may not get a spot.

You really need to pay attention to your routes in and out of Yellowstone. Check this site for the best advise you will possibly get. Road to Yellowstone

Use that info to plan your trip and the order - it will save you some REAL problems. Even paying attention to the routes it is very easy to be on some 6%-8% slopes, some easier to pull - some not.

Based on our experience Cody Wyoming was great. We stayed at Buffalo Bill State Park. While it is about 15-20 minutes out of Cody, it is a great park; wide open layout, right next to the water. I use the Reserve America site to help me find and make reservations at many state and national parks that you cannot make any other way. Here is a link. Campgrounds and Camping Reservations - ReserveAmerica.

We also stayed at Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone it was well maintained and clean but lots of RVs.

We had 3 grandkids with us and stayed at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park in Williams, AZ. Very nice, clean, well organized.

You are going that way to or from Pa, so I'd include Mount Rushmore/Crazy Horse and even Devils Tower. The KOA at the base of Devils Tower is great.

We have crossed the US a lot but have just recently done it in our RV. I find a great deal of the landscape through the Great Plains a bit wide open. There are some things you can visit but we really don't enjoy much of corn, wheat and flat much anymore. We interstate as fast as possible across these places.

Anyways, this is a wonderful trip so plan it well and enjoy.

US Army Retired - loving it in our Challenger 37TB.

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Old 08-02-2015, 08:44 AM   #3
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I'll let the others give you what routes you should take.

For campgrounds in Yellowstone - as I told someone else - you need to know what type of camper you are. If you want to be in nature and stay in the park - there's Fishing Bridge, which has full hookups. There are others without hookups. If FHU sites are important to you, then FB is the only one in the park. They have a limited number of sites that will fit you-and they are tight, so make your reservations early.

However, what we've realized about us is that we REQUIRE TV and internet, so we find accommodations accordingly. We won't be without them, so staying at FB is not an option for us. We stayed at Grizzly RV in W. Yellowstone MT, which is at the west entrance to the park. We've actually stayed there 2 years in a row.

If you're going to visit Grand Teton N/P while you're there, there's Colter Bay Village RV, which has FHU and is in the park. We had reservations to stay there until we realized we would be unable to have TV or internet. We cancelled and stayed in Jackson.

Have a great trip.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:05 AM   #4
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We just got back from a tour of Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Black Hills and Rocky Mountain.

Trailer Village CG in the Grand Canyon is very nice and well run. There is a shuttle buss that stops at the campground that takes you to all of the stops around the south rim. It's also close to the grocery store and post office. The elk come into the park every evening to graze

Grizzly in West Yellowstone is a great park with all the comforts and amenities. It's right at the west gate and also has the advantage of being in West Yellowstone for shopping and restaurants. Our site backed up to the forest and wife saw a black wolf run behind the site as II was backing in. The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center was one of our favorite things in the area

We had reservations at Colter Bay but wound up cancelling and staying at the USFS campground right across the road. We found we didn't need the hookups and with the Senior pass camping was $ 6 a night I think.

If you visit Zion and Bryce there is a little campground in Glendale (Bauer RAnch) owners. Only has around 12 RV sites but full hook ups and very nice people

We stayed at Beaver Lake CG in Custer, SD to see the Black Hills. We would stay there again.
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Old 08-02-2015, 04:35 PM   #5
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Thank you for all the great input. I will use all of it.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:00 PM   #6
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Definitely purchase a Mountain Directory West - saved our butts two years ago when we traveled from Memphis TN to Seattle, stopping at Badlands (W/E), Custer State Park (FHU), then to Seattle. On the way back we hit Hebgen Lake (FHU and blessedly quiet), Yellowstone (Fishing Bridge FHU and a tight fit at 40 ft), then to Colter Bay (FHU) in Grand Teton, followed by Portal RV Resort (FHU) in Moab UT.

Lessons learned -
1. How to shift to prevent overheating. I'd explain, but I'm the navigator - DH is the driver in the mountains. I'm still learning to drive on flat/mostly straight interstates.
2. Get up before dawn in the Badlands and watch the sun rise. BREATHTAKING and we saw a larger variety of wildlife here than any where else on our trip.
3. If going to Mt. Rushmore, plan for late afternoon. If you are a veteran, you will be invited to come up on stage for evening colors and be recognized.
3. If going to Yellowstone at peak season, reserve a solid year ahead if staying at Fishing Bridge. Other CG may not be as in demand. Also, there is no "fast" way to get around the park. You will frequently have "wildlife jams" - a sighting of a bear, a buffalo walking down the yellow line (AND these are bigger than some of the cars in the park), an elk or 10 pt stag or wolf. We stayed 5 days and barely saw the entire park.
4. We stayed at Yellowstone in September (and were told that sometimes there is still snow in May and June), so bring heavy jackets and gloves and be prepared to disconnect water hoses at night (unless you have a heated hose). We got about 4" of snow the day before we left, causing the slide covers to sag and freeze to the slide. Thankfully it melted about 1 pm the day we left. We were past checkout time, but the third week of September it's not as busy as summertime.
5. Arches / Moab - great offroading and sightseeing. Bring a gallon of water per person per 4 hours you plan to be in your car. Low humidity levels means you don't realize how quickly you can dehydrate. I'd guess Grand Canyon to be similar.

I'm afraid I can't help much with a route, other than I was warned not to come in the Chief Joseph Pass entrance to Yellowstone with my 40ft. This was our first big trip in our RV, and we primarily stayed to interstates and truck routes. Have you searched some of the other forums using keyword Yellowstone or Grand Canyon? Even the older threads contain useful information. Finally, make sure to check out each state's DOT website - you can find construction warnings there with alternate route information.

Welcome to RVing!!!!!!
Andi n Doug (Trauma901) Shadow, Moose, Star (the labs)
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:52 AM   #7
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Also, if you plan on visiting Zion, don't try to enter from the east side. There is a mile long tunnel that only has about 13' clearance in the center of an arched ceiling. They have to shut down the tunnel for one way traffic with an RV so it can ride the center stripe. You also have to purchase a permit to go through the tunnel and no combination of vehicles over 50 feet is allowed. They have a ranger with a tape measure to make sure. The road from the west side through Hurricane is good.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:32 AM   #8
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We did grand canyon,zion,yellowstone and MT Rushmore last summer. AS far as Yellowstone we stayed at fishing bridge rv campground in park, it has full hookups and country store and gas statin are nearby. You will need reservations way in advance for a 40 ft site. There were limited sites available in January when looking for a June reservation. We were on east coast and we took I40 across to grand canyon and then swung up through Zion and into Teton/grand canyon trough south entrance. We exited through east entrance heading to Mt Rushmore. I allowed 12 days between leaving grand canyon and Yellowstone reservation, it worked out great because Utah had so much to see and enjoy and we had time to see and enjoy them. I only had reservations at three sites ,grand canyon Yellowstone and Custer WY for MT Rushmore and I did not really need the one in Custer there were plenty to chose from with availability. Our trip was 5 weeks as we had grand kids that had a return date. We had a great time as I sure you will,the sites are breathtaking along the way.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lt Dan View Post
Also, if you plan on visiting Zion, don't try to enter from the east side. There is a mile long tunnel that only has about 13' clearance in the center of an arched ceiling. They have to shut down the tunnel for one way traffic with an RV so it can ride the center stripe. You also have to purchase a permit to go through the tunnel and no combination of vehicles over 50 feet is allowed. They have a ranger with a tape measure to make sure. The road from the west side through Hurricane is good.
Yes, the pass to go through the tunnel is $15.00. We did it two months ago.
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