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Old 10-13-2010, 09:24 AM   #1
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Our September 2010 Trip To Yellowstone

We left northeast Florida on September 4th, heading for Mount Rushmore, SD. Five days later after driving about 425 miles a day (8 hrs/day @ 60mph) we arrived. Staying 3 nights at Mt. Rushmore KOA, we toured both Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park. Wildlife was abundant on the Custer State Park wildlife loop road. Leaving Mt. Rushmore we made the day long drive to Cody, WY, staying 3 nights at the Cody KOA. The ride on US-16 through Tenrock Pass in the Big Horn Mountains was our first long pull. It was a 6-7% grade on and off for 18 miles, topping out at 9,600 feet. Our first day in Cody we took the ride up the Chief Joseph Highway and up into the Beartooth Mountains (10,000 ft and snow) at Red Lodge, MT. This a must do side trip. Allow a full day as the loop is approximately 180 miles. Driving or pulling an RV on this road is not recommended. Our second day in Cody was spent at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. This is also a must do stop, particulary if you are a firearms buff as they have a huge gun collection.

With this being a September trip, we didn't make campground reservations, but in checking ahead, we found that many interior Yellowstone campgrounds were filling up by early afternoon, so we started making reservations about 2 days in advance of our anticipated arrival. That always got us a campsite. In actuality, there were many more RV'ers on the road than we expected, and most campgrounds were full by nightfall.

Our next campground stop was 3 nights at Fishing Bridge RV Park inside the east entrance. The sites are quite close together and have water and sewer hookup, but the electricity is temporary turned off while they are upgrading it. Sites are small, so if you have a RV that is over 35 feet, advance reservations are recommended as large sites are limited. The sewer hookup is stubbed up about a foot above the ground which makes them difficult to use. We used the Fishing Bridge campground as a jumping off spot for touring the east side of the Grand Loop Road. The first day we traveled north to Canyon Village, Tower Roosevelt, and Mammoth Village. This section of the Grand Loop Road has some beautiful waterfalls and canyons. Truely a photographers paradise. Many views are on sideroads, so don't miss them. Signage is sometimes not the best, so watch your park map carefully. This is definately a full day trip. The second day we went south and toured the southeast portion of the Grand Loop Road to Grant Village. The road follows the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake with snow capped peaks in the background. At the southern end close to Grant Village you encounter a vast geyser basin.

Our next campground stop was 3 nights in Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, MT. Grizzly is a beautiful, private, full hookup campground resort. After the past few days of dry camping, the full hookup scenerio felt good. We toured the northwest section of the Grand Loop Road from this location. The west (and busiest) entrance to Yellowstone is only a few blocks from Grizzly RV Park. It follows the Madison River to the Grand Loop Road junction at Madison. Turning north on the Grand Loop Road takes you to Norris Geyser Basin and ultimately further north to Mammoth Hot Springs. This northwest section of the loop road consists of many geysers, and in Mammoth Village in the fall, a large herd of elk wanders through town. The Roosevelt Arch is just outside the north entrance to the park and Gardiner, MT.

Our next campground stop was 3 nights in Grant Village campground. (no hookups) From Grant Village we toured the southwest portion of the Grand Loop Road, which is the Old Faithfull Geyser section. Old Faithfull is everything you've heard about and worth the wait and anticipation. We spent one day touring the Old Faithfull Geyser Basin, and the second day we rode back up to Fishing Bridge to do some final Yellowstone National Park souvenier shopping. Every little "village" has a General Store, but the one in Fishing Bridge is larger than all the others and has a much better selection of clothing, etc. With September being the end of the season, many clothing articles were on sale.

From Grant Village we headed south to Grand Teton National Park, spending 3 nights at Colter Bay RV Park, (full hookups) and not to be confused with Colter Bay Campground (no hookups) across the road. The Grand Tetons are spectacular as you are looking up at them from the Jackson Hole Basin. We spent one day gazing at the mountains, and the second day touring Jackson.

On September 26th, we headed back to Florida. Six days and 5,920 miles later we arrived home on October 1st. Of the 5,920 miles traveled, 980 miles were side trips.

A few items worth mentioning......... Make sure you read www.rvcruzer.com/ystonervroutes.php?p It should be considered the RV'ers Yellowstone guide......... I also found the book "Insiders Guide, Scenic Driving Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks" to be very useful. It takes the Grand Loop Road and divides it into small quadrants pointing out viewing locations and making sure that you see all the sights........always make reservations well in advance if traveling in July and August and consider making them after Labor Day........The Forest Service campgrounds inside Yellowstone were built in the 1930's and are small. If you have a large RV consider staying outside the Park (like Grizzly RV Resort) and drive into the Park each day.......... If you have the ability to stay in different campground locations within the park (small, no hookups) that is the way to go as it saves a lot of backtracking........The larger campgrounds and stores in Yellowstone and the Tetons closed for the winter at noon on September 26th and the smaller ones much earlier, so plan accordingly..........If you are eligible for a Golden Age Passport or the like and don't have one, get one. It will save you quite a bit of money on entrance fees and campground fees.........And most of all, enjoy what God has created.

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Old 10-16-2010, 04:10 PM   #2
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Thanks for taking the time to share your adventure with us.

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Old 10-18-2010, 07:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the great report!

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Old 10-18-2010, 05:03 PM   #4
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Great report.
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Old 10-29-2010, 12:12 PM   #5
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We did almost the same trip from Atlanta. Left Sept 3. Stops were Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Cody, then 9 days in Grant Village, then 5 days at Colter Bay, then a couple of days at Dinosaur NM (Kids insisted), then back home Sep 26. 4400 miles for us plus about 1000 in the towed.

We had everything from swimming in Colter Bay (I am amazed at chilren's tolerance for cold when there is water to play in) to 3 inches of snow at the Continental Divide in Yellowstone, to 85 plus degrees at Dinosaur NM.

I am ready to do it again.
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Old 10-29-2010, 12:31 PM   #6
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Sounds like a very nice trip. One of our must do's someday. Would love to see pics of your trip. Thanks for the writeup.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:39 PM   #7
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Good report, sounds like you had a good time. Post some pictures when you get a chance.

Traveling in the west is quite different than the southeast isn't it. We live in Colorado and have been to Florida but spend much of the time traveling in the west. Lots of long climbs, mountain passes, wind, wide open spaces, chilly nighys, but the scenery is beautiful and I really enjoy the low humidity.

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Old 11-13-2010, 09:00 AM   #8
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Thanks for the great informative report, we live in the southern tip of ILL but we love to travel out west, we took a trip in 02, we started at rushmore, cody,yellowstone,tetons,mt.rainier, olimpic mp, 101 all the way to sf, yosimite, sequoia, sd and the zoo, grand canyon, messa verda, and home, the wife cried half way back because it was over, had out two kids 15 and 9, 31 days 11,600 miles, we can't wait to get back out to yellowstone, rainier, yosimite, our three favorite for shure, i love hearing from people that have been there with there insite on the park and it's campgrounds, great info.

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Old 11-14-2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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Thanks for your report Roy:
That is my trip that I am planning for late spring. I will use your advise as a guide. Thanks again.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:49 AM   #10
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thanks for the info
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:27 AM   #11
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Roy, thanks so much for this report. I've added it to my folder where Cruzer's wonderful "guide" is saved.

I've read everything I can find on here about going to Yellowstone, Glacier, etc. and have learned something from each one. Yours helps a lot because we'll be doing our trip from Florida, as well. Although we'll be leaving from Northwest Florida, if my sister and her husband get to go, too, they'll be leaving from the northeastern part of the State.

Love reading the posts about these trips. Makes me want the date for us to leave to hurry up and get here.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:05 PM   #12
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I also want to do this trip from NW Fl. Thanks for the info.
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:17 AM   #13
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thanks roy gd info finding sept to be crowded i will have to adjust plans born

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