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Old 06-01-2016, 09:14 PM   #15
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Be aware. All rv parking with a 35ft or greater rig within the park (or even in Grand Tetons NP) is not available until September. Believe me, I tried. I had to settle for a CG just south of GTNP. We plan to drive our tow into both parks from there. Next time I'll plan our trip much further in advance as apparently a lot of others have. Talked to a couple that were there last week, and they said don't expect to get a spot without a reservation.
I'm guessing you stayed at Gros Ventre campground in GTNP. It's a typical NP campground, no hook ups, but it's always got sites open. I used to fly into Jackson Hole and head there for a night or two of camping (tent) before my grad class would start. Just over Togwotee Pass on U.S. 26/287 is Brooks Falls and Brooks Lake, both USFS campgrounds. Again, no hook ups but beautiful spots for inexpensive camp spots near GTNP and YNP.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:27 PM   #16
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The KOA in West Yellowstone is one of the best facilities that we have stayed at. No problem for larger RVs. It is on the expensive side, but we felt it was worth it. It is fairly central to most of the park.




And, yes you can get a bit of snow in June.

The Tetons are not to be missed...



A few other shots:





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Old 06-01-2016, 10:14 PM   #17
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Be aware. All rv parking with a 35ft or greater rig within the park (or even in Grand Tetons NP) is not available until September. Believe me, I tried. I had to settle for a CG just south of GTNP. We plan to drive our tow into both parks from there. Next time I'll plan our trip much further in advance as apparently a lot of others have. Talked to a couple that were there last week, and they said don't expect to get a spot without a reservation.
You can definitely get a site without reservations for 35'+ during the summer. We never made reservations with our 40' motorhome with years of visiting. Of course, you will not get hookups but that's fine with us. Some of the campgrounds in both parks don't even accept reservations. Mammoth in Yellowstone is one.

In Grand Teton Nat'l Park we always stay at Gros Ventre campground in the park. Our second choice is Colter Bay campground (not the RV park next door). Both of these don't accept reservations and each has 300 sites that rarely fill.

I'd gladly take one of the campgrounds even if they didn't have hookups over staying in Jackson or south of there and trying to cover both parks from there. You'll be doing a LOT of SLOW driving day after day. I'd change if I were you.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:01 AM   #18
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So which campgrounds inside the park don't do reservations? We're on our way to Alaska now and hope to stop in Yellowstone Sept 10 or 15th on our return. It would be hard to make reservation while still in AK. Basically want to do like 2-3 days just as a exploratory trip and return in May of 17' for like 2 weeks.
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Old 06-02-2016, 08:27 AM   #19
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The NPS website for Yellowstone has all of the info you want/need about reservations etc. including which campgrounds are open and which are closed. I'd check that out.

For us, we prefer hook-ups when we can have them. We stayed at Yellowstone Grizzly in West Yellowstone. Nice place to stay, 5 minutes from the west entrance of the park.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:28 AM   #20
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Fishing Bridge is the only full hook up campground. 5 of the 12 campgrounds take reservations, the other 7 are open sites. If you arrive at a campground early, as someone leaves you can get their site. I've never had trouble finding a spot. The same is true for cabins and hotel rooms, people reserve way in advance then their plans change and spaces come available.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:01 PM   #21
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Hosted at Bridge Bay two summers ago. Give up the full hookups and try for the CG's that are "dry" but much prettier. We worked 2 days, off 6 for three months and still didn't see all that we wanted to see. Hike back to the geysers where only 10 people watch instead of thousands! It is so crowded in the summer that it was faster to drive to Cody to shop for food (90 miles from Bridge Bay) than W Yellowstone fighting traffic and animal jams all the way through the park. You won't get anywhere quickly, traffic snarls because of the wildlife and watchers. At Coulter Bay you'll visually "see" the Tetons but in Yellowstone you can experience so much. Take your time.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:43 PM   #22
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So which campgrounds inside the park don't do reservations? We're on our way to Alaska now and hope to stop in Yellowstone Sept 10 or 15th on our return. It would be hard to make reservation while still in AK. Basically want to do like 2-3 days just as a exploratory trip and return in May of 17' for like 2 weeks.
You'll find open spots in Sep., schools are back in session. That greatly reduces the visitors in all NP's.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:57 PM   #23
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If you see some crazy guy leading a bunch of kayakers packed like they'll be gone for a week on Yellowstone Lake, that would be my son.

We'll be in Yellowstone in early July for the 8th or 9th time and still haven't seen it all. Last summer we backpacked through the Lamar Valley for a week and saw absolutely no one!
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:08 AM   #24
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I'm guessing you stayed at Gros Ventre campground in GTNP. It's a typical NP campground, no hook ups, but it's always got sites open. I used to fly into Jackson Hole and head there for a night or two of camping (tent) before my grad class would start. Just over Togwotee Pass on U.S. 26/287 is Brooks Falls and Brooks Lake, both USFS campgrounds. Again, no hook ups but beautiful spots for inexpensive camp spots near GTNP and YNP.
Gros Ventre doesn't take reservations, but it does have partial hookups. One loop is electrified.
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Old 06-03-2016, 01:31 PM   #25
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We've never stayed in the electric sites at Gros Ventre. When they were put in they were meant for handicapped and if they didn't fill at a certain time of day they would open them to the general public. There are not a lot of them.

How are they handled now? Can you get one any time of day just by asking?
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:26 PM   #26
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We've never stayed in the electric sites at Gros Ventre. When they were put in they were meant for handicapped and if they didn't fill at a certain time of day they would open them to the general public. There are not a lot of them.

How are they handled now? Can you get one any time of day just by asking?
Not sure if a few are reserved for handicapped, but an entire loop is electrified and available first come first serve.
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:13 PM   #27
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We are headed back for our 9th visit this summer..... It's our favorite NP to visit (we include The Tetons as well)... We are staying at Gros Ventre CG, Colter Bay RV Park, Colter Bay CG and Flagg Ranch CG.... We will be there for almost three weeks....

Don't miss Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley, Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone, Upper and Lower Falls, Fire Hole River and of course Old Faithful.... We also love to fish throughout the park - Fire Hole and Madison Rivers and Yellowstone Lake itself....,,
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:59 PM   #28
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Some general information about YNP

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 June to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until shortly before 10 PM.

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 1/2 mile of you with the same colors. It can save 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 20 or more feet long. 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 for 51 years, 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 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 contest twice". 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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