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Old 09-29-2016, 12:03 PM   #1
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Plans and trip reports; Trip to Yellowstone

We are planning to do a Yellowstone trip the summer of 2017. Would want RV campgrounds in the eastern part of the park, which I understand is huge, since we are going from western PA. Are there suggestions as to locations and campgrounds to inquire availability. Also is it too late to even consider this. We have never been there so we are dumber than a "bag of beets" concerning this. Hope we get to see this National Treasure. Thanks for all of your suggestions and help.

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Old 09-29-2016, 01:26 PM   #2
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The ONLY RV campground (with hook ups) within YNP is Fishing Bridge. The closest town outside the East Entrance is 52 miles away. Fishing Bridge is 25 miles from the East Entrance. YNP is 3,500 sq. mi., 1/13th the size of Pennsylvania at 46,000 sq. mi. Speed limit is a maximum of 45 mph, so travel, even without traffic and BHM jams (Big Hairy Mammal) to slow you down, travel takes a while. There are RV campgrounds outside each entrance of YNP, many swear by W. Yellowstone because it's closest to the park edge.

On the above map, I've marked two yellow stars to show the only swimming spots in YNP. The one near Madison Junction is on the Firehole Canyon Drive. The swim spot is near the end of the one way road, you'll see a parking area and restrooms. The other spot is less swimming, more soaking in the run off from Mammoth Hot Springs. Called the Boiling River, park in the lot on the east side of the road to Gardiner, right at the sign for the 45 parallel. Walk 800 yards along the river to the spot you can dip in a 'hot spring.' If the gates are locked, the conditions aren't safe to go to the Boiling River.

Be sure to read up on things within the park, I've visited each year for over 25 years and this month I went again and learned some new things!


Lamar Valley Map of Yellowstone National Park ~ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

Fun Facts - 32 Interesting Facts Yellowstone National Park

Fun Facts - 32 Interesting Facts Yellowstone National Park


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Old 09-29-2016, 03:58 PM   #3
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If you look at the posted map above you can see that there really isn't much access to Yellowstone on the far eastern side. Staying at Fishing Bridge would be your best bet. Some stay in Cody outside the park but it's a very long drive into the park for siteseeing the western and northern parts of the park where most of the activities are centered. Also from Cody you will have a steep mountain to go up and down each day you drive into the park.

I'd recommend that you stay at Fishing Bridge if you want hookups. If you can do without hookups you have many excellent choices within the park itself. Madison campground is a nice one.

Here's an excellent explanation of all the roads leading into Yellowstone.

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Old 09-29-2016, 06:28 PM   #4
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We arrived via the East Entrance and stayed at Fishing Bridge in 2013. We reserved four nights over six months in advance to get spaces. In Fishing Bridge the spaces are close together with full hook ups otherwise it is a real nice place also in 2014 they were supposed to put a cell tower on premise so you should have good cellular, elsewhere in the park it is sketchy. We stayed the day before in Cody and found it to be a great stopover (Visited there again this past summer). It has a Rodeo that is great (been there twice) Lots to do and see. Re: Yellowstone - On the recommendation of one of the rangers (the roads are like a figure eight) we did the upper loop one day and the lower loop the next and drove to the Grand Teton's the next (easy day trip drive from Fishing Bridge). We were there in late July and the place is pretty packed. Nonetheless we left early planned for lunch at one of the lodges and were able to see everything we wanted to. Add some time if you are going fishing, hiking or anything other than stopping at the designated pull outs and side roads. We left via the West Entrance stayed at Pocatello, Stopped at Promontory Utah for the Golden Spike, stayed at Salt Lake City and then back to NJ on I-70.
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Old 10-01-2016, 12:02 PM   #5
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Y'Stone info.

Some general information about YNP (some general items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or less for 1/4 mile or more, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 mph radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! I don't mean to scare you but to inform you of reality. (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line.)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking. And again I don't mean to scare you but rather to inform you, after all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015 (record number)

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until shortly before 10 PM then there is a long twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise spotty.

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YSNP yes, drink lots of water!HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas have only pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line at the lower Geyser Basin 25 or more feet long (bless the tour busses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area!

Sun- At YSNPs altitude the sun is intense (uv) have and apply sun screen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear sun glasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have a hour and 10-20 minutes wait for the next one. Tour the O/F geyser basin while waiting for the next eruption. Old Faithful INN is a must see (meals are "OK" also).

We have lived about 110 miles (4739' elevation) from W. Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go there 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all of it yet!

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/SEATING TABLE ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 7 times and the US open fiddle championship twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pad to fold up to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money for your trip! Check out their website.

Bar J Chuckwagon
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