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Old 06-29-2019, 07:05 PM   #1
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Recommendations for RV park close to Yellowstone when coming from the East.

We will be leaving the Kansas City area the first week in August and traveling to Yellowstone with stops along the way at Mount Rushmore, Crazyhorse, Deadwood, Spearfish, Custer Battlefield, Little Big Horn National Monument, etc. We will be traveling in our 44 foot motorhome and towing a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. We plan to leave our coach at the RV park and use our Jeep for all our traveling to explore Yellowstone. We would appreciate any suggestions for RV Parks near Yellowstone that can accommodate our rig and that make sense with us coming from the East. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 06-29-2019, 07:46 PM   #2
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Buffalo Bill State Park has first come first serve electric sites and sites with water and electric on their reservation page. It is about 40 miles east of the East entrance and 13 miles west of Cody. Lots to see and do in Cody, great places to see! Safe travels!

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Old 06-29-2019, 08:29 PM   #3
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Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone is a very nice CG. It is about one mile to the west entrance. The only issue is that it is a popular place and you will need reservations. If you can get them.
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Old 06-29-2019, 11:14 PM   #4
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Here's an excellent write-up of Buffalo Bill State Park with a big rig..... photos, also.


Yellowstone Valley Inn & RV Park is west of the busy town of Cody in a pretty setting and has big rig sites.

However..... it's still 30 mi. to Yellowstone's entrance and then you'll have a LOT of driving after that. How often would you do this trip because you wouldn't see Yellowstone in a day?

West Yellowstone is a lot better for ease of touring. If coming from the east take Hwy 16 from Buffalo, WY to get to Cody and maybe plan to spend a night or two in Cody - nice museum. Then plan to drive your motorhome through Yellowstone very early morning - like 7am - so you don't get in bottlenecks of tourists. It's doable.
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:11 AM   #5
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We stayed at the Cody KOA this week and will not recommend it. Unlevel sites, prickly office staff and inadequate facilities for a park this size.

There are several better parks in the area. The drive from Cody to Yellowstone is pretty quick.
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:43 AM   #6
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Can you dry camp? There are some nice Forest Service campgrounds just outside Cooke City that I have never seen fill up. I have seen huge fifth wheels camped there, though I haven’t stayed in them myself. We did drive through though, and decided we would stay there on our next trip coming from the east. There are bears in the area, and no tents, pop ups, or hybrids allowed. You must also keep things put away, but that is true of pretty much all the Yellowstone area. The sites are actually quite convenient to the wildlife viewing in the north part of the park.
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Old 06-30-2019, 08:48 AM   #7
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Yellowstone is a great place to visit but it has become very popular. We got reservations in the park for a three week stay but had to call several times and piece it together. If you are set at staying outside the park look at the app called Campendium. Best app I found for looking at all camping options in any given area. Good luck

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Old 06-30-2019, 09:15 AM   #8
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My advice will be slightly different. You are heading there at the height of the season. I would stay on the east side of the park and drive to the eastside parts of the park from there. In other words, don't try to get to Old Faithful and all the geysers from an east side RV location. You have some good suggestions for places on the east side. The State Park and Yellowstone Valley are both excellent. Have stayed at both.

After you have seen everything on the east side of the park, take your motorhome and car through the park. Easy to do - except for the crowds. Be ready for a long drive what with all of the crowds. But the view from the motorhome is worth the price of admission!!

There are lots of choices on the west side, and you will probably have a hard time getting reservations anywhere at this late date. But be flexible, maybe have to move after a few days to another site or park.

Staying on the west side allows you to get to all of the attraction MUCH faster than if you tried to stay on the east side for your whole visit. Have never been there during the summer, always in the spring and it was really crowded then, Good luck
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Old 06-30-2019, 03:58 PM   #9
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We appreciate your responses.

Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. We have decided to stay on I-90 past Bozeman and then go south to West Yellowstone. This way we will be able to explore the park from the west entrance. We have allowed six days for Yellowstone ParkI tried to get into Grizzly RV Park but all their sites that were big enough for our rig were already booked. We were fortunate and able to get reservations at the Yellowstone KOA. Thanks again, you all shared lots of good info and ideas. Safe travels to all.

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Old 06-30-2019, 04:16 PM   #10
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Some general information about YNP (some general items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is BIG!, about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The “figure 8 grand 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 as you planned on in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or stop all traffic for 1/4 mile or more blocking both directions of travel, 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! (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line to check it out)

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 and there are passes on the grand loop road that are close to 8000 ft or so! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking.

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 about 9:30- 9:45 PM then there is a long twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise non-existent!

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 shiny 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 YNP yes, drink lots of water! HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms 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 only have pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line at the lower Geyser Basin (2 R/Rs) 25 or more feet long (bless the tour buses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area! I.e. “Never pass up a flush toilet!”

Sun- At YSNP altitude the Sun is intense (uv)have and apply sunscreen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear Sunglasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have up to a hour and 10 to 15 minutes wait for the next one. Tour the O/F Geyser basin while waiting. O/F INN is a must see, reportedly the largest LOG building in the U.S. (Meals in the O/F Inn dinning room are “A OK” also.

We have lived about 110 miles from West Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go to YSNP 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all yet! So don’t be discouraged that you didn’t have the time to see all of it. Just plan on coming back another time!

I honestly don’t mean to scare or discourage you but to give you a heads up as to what to expect! After all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015! As far as I know we didn’t lose one of them. Except those who by their own stupidity step off the board walks into BOILING HOT water and ignoring the warnings about the WILD ANIMALS! That is called purifying the gene pool!

Note I have seen on this blog and others about folks “day tripping” from YSNP to GTNP, it is done all the time (myself included) however remember this is BIG country and with the speed limits, animals and thermal attractions you will be doing a LOT of driving. From Grant Village Visitor Center (extreme S/E corner of the lower loop road) to Jackson, WY is about 80 miles with Coulter Bay being about 1/2 way then from Grant Village you have to add the distance to your CG it will be a Long days trip!

A point of Coulter Bay (GTNP) clarification- thyere are two (2) CG’s at Coulter Bay, One the “Coulter Bay RV Park” a full service “RV Park” with FHU’S that takes reservations. The other is the “Coulter Bay Campground “ has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations. Both have about 300 sites and are basically across the road from each other.

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/ TABLE SEATING 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 seats/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pads to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer just 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 on your trip! Check out their website.


Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and the # of Silver Dollars in the bar. The Wort Hotel Bar (just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar) also has Silver Dollars imbedded in the Bar
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Old 06-30-2019, 04:38 PM   #11
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Good decision to stay in W. Yellowstone, MT, to see YNP, even though it is 14 miles from Madison junction on the lower loop road. It is 53 miles from Cody to The East entrance and another 27 miles from there to Fishing Bridge on the Lower Loop Road, a total of 80 miles! Even though you could easily spend 5-6 days in Cody. Named after Buffalo Bill Cody if you go through there be sure to see the Irma Hotel named after his daughter Irma! (A gun fight guaranteed every night)

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