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Old 02-11-2019, 08:09 AM   #1
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Black Hills SD and Yellowstone

Hi All, we have never traveled out west, we are looking at going to the Black Hills and Yellowstone, Mid May to Mid June. Do we need reservations? Not looking to stay in resorts just clean and quiet campgrounds.
Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Thanks,
Larry G 17
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:25 AM   #2
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You will almost certainly need reservations for Yellowstone, but theBlack Hills are fine except for the last week of July through the second week of August
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:33 AM   #3
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It depends on how flexible your plans are. If you insist on camping on site 17 in campground X, then you may need reservations. Most CG's will have spots and/or cancellations. If you are concerned, then call the CG and see what they advise. Some CG's will hold a reservation w/o any prepayment.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:46 AM   #4
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You might find a useful link or two in my trip report on my 2017 Black Hills trip.

Black Hills, Badlands and Solar Eclipse Trip of August 2017

There are many good campgrounds in the Black Hills area. I chose Spearfish City Campground due to its close proximity to Enterprise Rental Car and the fact that it has full hookups, which was nice for a four day stay.

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Old 02-11-2019, 10:50 AM   #5
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Mid May is pretty early for Yellowstone. I'd watch the weather. You can get pretty good snows in May, and not all campgrounds & roads will be open.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:45 AM   #6
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X2 with Ramets..... mid-May u will still run into snow in higher elevations getting into Yellowstone..... having been to the park 10 times, some sage advice: really tough to find camp sites for a 40 coach without reservations..... (my rig is also 40). Only a few CGs in Park can accommodate your rig so you might want to look outside the park for a suitable one - Cody to the East; city of West Yellowstone to the West; Jackson to the South; Bozeman or Billings to the North......

You can then leave coach at CG and drive toad into park...

Dont know ur age but if you qualify for the lifetime senior pass, get one.... will save you the $35 Park entry fee. Plus its a major cost saver for numerous other CGs (BLM, NFS, COE, etc - 50% discount)

In 6 weeks we will be staying at a COE Park with 50 amp and water for only $8.00 a night....
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larryg17 View Post

Hi All, we have never traveled out west, we are looking at going to the Black Hills and Yellowstone, Mid May to Mid June.

Do we need reservations?

Not looking to stay in resorts just clean and quiet campgrounds.

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated

Thanks,
Larry G 17
Get yourself into the Boondocking Mode and you will never have a problem especially that early. Out west many of the Schools get out on Memorial Day so that is the start of the SEASON. BUT - a couple years ago we flew the Grands out to Join their Cousins and do Trail Ridge in RMNP for Memorial Day weekend, but it still had 17' FEET of SNOW at the Top, so we looked around and took another hike on Peak to Peak Highway - In the Snow - to a Lake - they all LOVED IT - so moral of the story is they just want to go on the trip - have fun - we had a Blast because they Had FUN.

Yellowstone is more popular than the Black Hills - and will require more care - Fishing Bridge is under construction this year and will be CLosed - that may cause some concerns - Look to sites like this - https://boonieriders.org/yellowstone-national-park/

Our best trips to Yellowstone were spur of the Moment - Couple in the Summer and a Couple in the Fall - Never Ever a bad day in YNP or GTNP

Black Hills should be a breeze - I'd do them First then after getting to Cody to do YNP and all the side trips - head down to GTNP before heading out through Jackson. Possibly heading out to Flaming Gorge NRA and Dino NM before catching a little of Colorado.

Keep in Mind all the special spots just outside the NP's - State Parks are great - Reservoirs are Great - Wal*Marts will work in a pinch....................

I have never driven down a road in Wyoming - Utah or Colorado that I did not enjoy - often they will lead you to a great spot to Boondock.

JMHO,

Once school is out the weekends start to get a little more crowded but we have always found a place to stay - most of the time without Reservations.

Best of Luck,
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:57 PM   #8
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We stayed in Grand Tetons and Yellowstone starting May 22,2017 for 10 days, our first trip out west from the east coast. We made reservations only two weeks before. We stayed at three different campgrounds in that time period. The weather was very cool in the morning (6a.m.) and warmed up to high 60s during the day. I think a couple of days reached 70. Only one road was closed, but it did open up at the end of our stay. There was snow on the sides of the road at higher elevations but roads were bare pavement. Of course, every year is different. In the Black Hills, we stayed at Big Pine CG in Custer. It is not a resort but a clean, quiet, well run campground. Good luck.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:17 PM   #9
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Black hills and yellowstone

Thanks for all the info. Greatly appreciated
Larryg17
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:01 PM   #10
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We went the week before memorial day last year. We made reservations and we ran into a blizzard mid week. We stayed a week and still didn't see it all. Have FUN!
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:08 PM   #11
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We did our first trip West last year. We left on July 2nd and got home September 27th.

We only made reservations one campground ahead of where we were staying. That way we could decide how many days we wanted to stay in each area.

It worked fine for us. We stayed in 38 Campgrounds for 87 nights.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:12 AM   #12
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We stayed a few days in Dubois, Wyoming which is south of Yellowstone. There are some nice campgrounds there and LOTS of dispersed camping along Wild Horse road. The Park Rangers office is in Dubois and they are great about letting you know where camping areas are that fit the size of your rig. We were in a 35 foot fifth wheel and had no problems.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:27 AM   #13
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A lot of things will depend on the route you take to get there. Black Hills first and from what direction. Lots to see and this is a big area. Custer SP is huge, and much to see and do there. Not the best place to use as a base camp however. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Hill City, Wind Cave, Iron Mountain Road and then all the commercial activities.

If you head to Yellowstone then, give consideration to which entrance you are going into the park on. From Buffalo Wy over the Big Horns might have snow that early in the year. Beautiful drive over the mountains however. Then into Cody and then into YS from there. Again, sort of steep and may be snow as you go over the pass into the park.
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Old 02-16-2019, 01:48 PM   #14
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You don't need reservations for Yellowstone. Some campgrounds don't even accept reservations. For those you need to stay somewhere nearby and drive into those campgrounds early morning. In May/June you'll find sites. We did, even in summer, with our 40' motorhome. It's a great feeling to be flexible and not have reservations if you have the time.


If you're on a two-week vacation then, yes, reservations are necessary but if you have lots of time it's more relaxing not having a deadline to be at a place.
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