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Old 01-16-2011, 07:03 PM   #1
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Help with a trip to Yellowstone-Glacier NP

Well retirement is upon me and my second long trip in my 32 Ft. class A will be from South Florida to Yellowstone. It seems like a shame to get all that way and not see Glacier NP so we may do that as well. I've seen the blog by RV cruiser and it was great but I realize that this trip needs planning. I have a smaller Class A and may try to fit into a spot at Fishing Bridge camp ground in the second or third week in June. I would also like to boon dock because I hope it still may be cool through July and I won't need the A/C. I do fill up the grey tank in three days so I may need dump stations in the park or should I get one of those spare tanks with wheels. Are there any outside of Fishing Bridge with potable water? How many weeks should I stay there. I know little about Glacier NP. Any advice about that trip would also be helpful. This will be my first trip out west. I will be driving a gasser and towing a chevy equinox 4 down. In July I'll head south to FLA. So far, that is the depth of my plan.

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:41 AM   #2
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Now wouldn't be to soon to have a reservation at Fishing Bridge (which you can't fish from). Wonder if they got their electric working again? Staying in the park is nice - It's a looong way in every day from the exterior rv parks especially at 10-20 mph which it will be at that time of year. Plan a day drive to Jackson (Teton NP)

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Old 01-17-2011, 06:17 AM   #3
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I would try for the second week before school lets out. If you don't have one yet, make sure you get the Golden Age pass, good for free admission and half price camping at lots of NP's, COE's and selected other locations. Water will not be a problem, but not all of the CG's in Yellowstone have dump stations. Some allow grey water to be dumped at the bath house, so a 5 gallon bucket might make more sense. I don't have or care for the tanks on wheels (you would still need a dump station to use them). But check with the CG host before trying to dump your grey, make sure it is ok. Fishing bridge is central so it would only be a short drive to dump anyway. Don't worry about AC, just make sure your furnance is in good shape. You will more likely need heat than AC.

If your coming in from the south, then you might want to plan on a couple of days in Grand Teton NP first. We did the opposite last year, spent 6 nights at Mammoth CG, no hookups or dump station, and then 3 at Bridge Bay. Then we went into Grand Teton. Fishing Bridge takes reservations, so you should make one yesterday. Mammoth and a couple others are strictly first come first served. In the early am you should be able to get a site, there was pretty good turnover when we were there Sept 3 - 8. Then we went to Bridge Bay for 3 nights 9 - 11 and it closed on the 12th for the season. We had snow in the higher elevations several nights while we were there. Water at the dump station on the 12th was frozen. That area is up around 7,800' so you might want to check your genset for an altitude adjustment.

Yellowstone in September was still too crowded for my tastes, July and August are nuts from what I have heard. But if you get there early June figure on a least a week, then you should be able to get an FSFC site to extend if needed. Some of the things you might need to see twice depending on the weather. We put about 1,000 miles on our toad while we were there. Did both loops a couple of times and drove out to the Bear Tooth Pass as well.

Glacier NP, while I would have to rate Yellowstone NP the number 1 in the lower 48 of the NP's we have been too, this is the one I really want to go back to. We loved it up there, we ended up spending 40+ days in MT, 16 of them in the NP. I don't see how you can go back to FL in July from there. But St. Mary's CG also takes reservations, so you should also make that one yesterday as well. It is the best bet for seeing the park. We only could get 4 nights on the reservation system and were unable to add nights there. But we found sites in both Two Medicine and Apgar which are both FCFS parks. St Mary's would be my top pick for seeing the park though.

And then Black Hills, Wind Cave NP, Custer SP, Devils Tower, Wall SD, Badlands NP, etc. I gotta go back just thinking about it. Happy travels,

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:53 PM   #4
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My thoughts and experience applied to your circumstances are this; I would approach Yellowstone NP from the South, which eliminates most mountain driving. This takes you through(well-past) the Grand Tetons and through Jackson, WY even if you do not have time to stay there. I recommend staying at Fishing Bridge (FHU) in Yellowstone for the convenience aspect, your 32' MH will fit easily there.
Glacier has two sides for visitors, the West side is built-up just outside the park and has more CG's. The East side, where we stay, is not built-up much - yet. We stay at St. Mary's KOA and enjoy our time there. The Blackfoot shuttle bus will pick you up at the CG office for a drive over the mountain to the lodge on the West side and return in the evening. Much is said about the red bus's, but we like the Blackfoot shuttle better because it is a small school bus type vehicle, and the driver talks about the park the entire journey. Driving your tow'ed is not recommended because the road is very narrow (each lane is 8' wide) with road construction an ongoing project throughout the warm months. This means the driver does not see much, just the road and traffic.
Remember your camera and batteries and binoculars!
You will have the opportunity to drive your tow'ed around the East side of Glacier NP and view the spectacular scenery. This is one beauty of having a GPS, set where you park your MH as 'home' and drive whereever you wish, you cannot get lost.
Have a wonderful trip!
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:11 PM   #5
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Hi D in Davie,
I'm just a bit North of you. I will also be out there this summer. Leaving in early June and will not return until November. If this is your first time out West, you are not planning enough time. We've been out there several times and there remains much for us to see.

Adding to what has been posted, Glacier is a hiking NP. Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg lake are my favorites. There are many more hikes to choose from. We will be staying at the KOA in St. Mary's, on the East side (my favorite side).
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:33 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I guess I better get busy and firm up the plans and make a reservation. I like to wing it but the DW does not. You know, I don't know why we will only be gone for 2 months and come back to SoFla in July. Maybe I should rethink that.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:50 PM   #7
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WOW you guys make me jealous leaving in June and returning in November. It 747 in Denver and I will work to at least 10pm. Oh well someday. That said we are planning a trip to Moab or Yellowstone and I told my wife lets go to Yellowstone so we don't hae to listen to the air-conditioned. So no you will not need to run the air. Nights are cool.

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Old 01-18-2011, 08:49 AM   #8
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It sounds like you've seen my RVing in Yellowstone article at RVcruzer.com - Driving Routes for Large RVs into Yellowstone National Park so that's good.

As far as Glacier goes, there are two sides you can stay at. The West Side would be West Glacier (we stayed at the KOA when there) while the East Side is St Mary. We stayed at the St Mary KOA when there. In the past we would spend 3 days at each location to best see the park. However, most of the sites are best accessed from the east side so on our last trip we spent 6 days at the St Mary KOA and skipped staying on the west side. You can access the Many Glacier area (which has a lot of things to see and the best access), St Mary, East Glacier Park, Two Medicene Lake, abnd the eastern end of Going To The Sun road easily from St Mary. You can take GTS road to Lake MacDonald, Apgar Village, and West Glacier Park via the toad on day trips. It adds up a bit more driving that way but you never know what you will see on those drives when traversing the park on GTS road so it's not a bad thing. If you do have the time you can split your stay up but favor the east half with more days than the west half. In order to get the RV from one side to the other you'll need to use US-2 which borders the southern edge of the park. GTS has a length restriction of something like 25' so the RV can't go that way. US-2 is a decent drive in it's own right and a stop at Goat Lick (near Essex) is a must to check out the mountain goats climbing on the cliffs.

One big secret I've learned is how to get to St Mary from Browning. US-89 runs through Browning directly thru Kiowa to St Mary. But, that road is full of tight twisty curves and lots of hills that really are a pain to navigate with an RV. Instead, take 464 north from Browning and over past Duck Lake (it's called the Duck Lake Road at that point) to get to US-89. You'll be just north of St Mary at Babb but it's a quick and easy drive down to St Mary and 464 is a nice straight road all the way. You'll make much better time and have less stress on you and the equipment by using 464 instead of 89.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:12 PM   #9
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Thanks again RVCruzer. Your article was very detailed. I'm saving it and this thread so I can refer to it on the road.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:21 PM   #10
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Per the website, no electrical hookups in Fishing Bridge yet.

Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only campground offering water & sewer (no electrical hookups), and it is for hard-sided vehicles only (no tents or tent-trailers are allowed).

You should also call now for summer reservations:

Future reservations can be made by calling: 307-344-7311 or 1-866-GEYSERLAND (439-7375).

We found the easiest drive into the park is Casper to Shoshone to Thermopolis (take a dip in the hot spring pools) to Cody and then to the East entrance.
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:01 PM   #11
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Grizzly RV park in West Yellowstone is a good alternative if you can't get into Fishing Bridge. It's right outside the west gate of the park, and it has full hookups.
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:51 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone. I appreciate your help.
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:03 PM   #13
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All of the suggestions for Yellowstone are good and there is 2 other campgreounds in Yellowstone that have electric but no water or dump however there is a dump station where you can fill up your water tank.

I would like to give you a suggestion for bondocking. When washing dises use a bucket that fits in the sink. When it gets almost fill dump it in the commode as the black water tank doesn't fill up as quick as the grey water tank does. It also puts some soap in the black tank to clean it a little. You will definitely get more than 3 days on your grey tank. When taking a shower turn on the shower and get wet then shut it off. Soap yourself as you would normally then turn on the shower to rinse off.

Both those tricks will delay you from dumping the grey water tank.

BTW some campgrounds out West due to lack of rain will allow you to dump grey water at the site to water trees etc.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:30 PM   #14
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In 02 my family went on a 31 day trip out west and hit all the big NP's, we live in the southern tip of ILL so it was all a culture shock, now we want to move out there, all the CG's are nice and i would rethink how long i was gona be gone, with you beeing soooooooooooo far away i would have to go to of corse the two you already mentoned + Mt Rainer, Olimpic NP, The Redwoods of northern Cal, Yosimite, Sequoia NP, and there alot of smaller ones inbetween these, I can't wait untill i retire


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