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Old 05-31-2016, 07:17 AM   #1
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Trip to Yellowstone National Park

What are people's thoughts on the length of time needed to see Yellowstone? Thinking of staying at Fishing bridge RV park 3 days and moving to Colter Bay RV park for 3 days. Is that adequate? We can see Tetons from Colter Bay I believe as well. Thanks


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Old 05-31-2016, 10:22 AM   #2
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We spent a week in Yellowstone 2 years ago and didn't get to do or see everything we wanted to. We will be going back, hopefully this September. The park is huge. I guess it depends on what you want to do and see. Do you hike? Fish? Sightsee? If you are close enough you can always go back, if you are really far away and it's a one shot deal, I'd add more time.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input. We like to hike as well as sightsee, so we will stretch it out, we have the time. What's your opinion on where we are staying?


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Old 05-31-2016, 11:56 AM   #4
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Has anyone driven through the park and stayed on the Northwest corner of the park? Any negative issues with doing that and then on to Colter Bay for 5 days or so? Trying to stay where we have full hookup, newbie at this.


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Old 05-31-2016, 12:33 PM   #5
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Like previously stated, Yellowstone is huge, and the traffic moves slowly. We have stayed in West Yellowstone, Fishing Bridge and Coulter Bay. I would suggest staying at all three. If by the "northwest" part of the park means Gardiner, that is a good location for visiting the northern tier. Hard to pick a bad location, just a matter of time.

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Old 05-31-2016, 01:22 PM   #6
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I've visited YNP for over 30 years, and I've still not had my fill. I taught environmental science to teachers for 18 years in Dubois, Tetons, and YNP and always see new things. Mammoth Hot Springs has a nice campground in very tall sage brush, it's the historical headquarters of the park. Usually an elk herd hangs out on the lawn around Ft. Yellowstone. Gardiner, MT has the Roosevelt Gate and many tourist traps. The North East entrance to Cooke City, passes through the Lamar Valley, sometimes called the 'Serengeti of Yellowstone' is often a place to spot wolves, grizzlies, elk, and much other wildlife.

Fishing Bridge is pretty central to the park, speed limit is 45 mph but BHM sightings can slow that down. (Big Hairy Mammals) You'll want to tour in your toad to see more and for parking. Many RVers swear by West Yellowstone, it has developed RV campgrounds and only second to Jackson as a commercially developed tourist trap with shopping and attractions that have admission charges. Cody, WY on the east side has camping and a pretty extensive Buffalo Bill Center of the West, 5 museums in one building that's worth a visit.

YNP is visited by millions each summer, but a big secret, most visitors never get out of sight of their cars. Even at Old Faithful, which will have crowds of thousands as time approaches an Old Faithful eruption, you can hike some of the boardwalks, see the eruption, and be pretty lonely. Hike up to the OF overlook, I've often been alone up there while the benches and walkways near the geyser are packed. Same at Artist's Point, hike past the main paved walks, a quick turn away from the canyon and then a turn back and you'll find you are at a higher view point of the canyon and often no other people. (and no railings or walls, be careful)

A hike up Mount Washburn, one of the highest points in the park is also worth it, it's an old Model T road so an easy trail. You will experience weather changes, take water and warm clothing. I've been snowed on many times walking up there in July and August. A great view of the Grand Canyon, Hayden Valley, and if fires aren't burning to the west, you can see the Teton Range, too.

If you want to swim, take the side road just south of Madison Junction, Firehole Canyon Drive. Towards the end of the one way road you'll see parking and outhouses, the Firehole River Swimming hole. Sandy bottom and water tempered by geyser/hot spring runoff, it's a great place to play. The park maintains it but keeps it secret, it's not on maps.

The only hot spring you can experience is on the road between Mammoth and Gardiner, right at the 45 N parallel. (half way between Equator and North Pole) Run off from Mammoth Hot Springs meets the Gardiner River. In the 1890's it was an actual built up spa area, it's wild and natural now, but when the river is flowing normal it's open for a soak. If the gates are padlocked, it's closed because of high water. Like the Firehole swimming hole, it's not advertised.

Bunsen Peak is another mountain hike near Mammoth, Fairy Falls, one of the tallest falls in the park is an easy hike, long but very little elevation change. It goes around Grand Prismatic Spring, trailhead is one mile south of Midway Geyser Basin. (Opps, as of May '16 road and trail improvements have it closed. Check at Ranger Station at Old Faithful to see if it's open during your visit)
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Old 05-31-2016, 02:39 PM   #7
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It just depends what kind of time you have. Even one day of driving through is great if that's all the time you have. We've been to both many, many times over the years.

Since you like to hike I'd do a minimum of 3-5 days in each park. Fishing Bridge is a good place to stay for hookups. Some folks criticize the campground but if you want hookups it's really the best place to stay to cover the whole park. The sites are laid out that you park your RV and then your vechicle is parked next to you. Sites go up for 40' RVs.

We really enjoy the trails in Grand Teton Nat'l Park and yes, Colter Bay RV is right inside the park and is an excellent place to stay.

Make sure you explore the wonderful web sites for each park as they're full of helpful information on Things To Do, roads, campgrounds, etc. For hiking there are many books available and also stop at the Visitor Centers for maps and ideas.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

https://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm

Here's some additional information on Fishing Bridge:

http://www.campsitephotos.com/campgr...l-Park?sortby=
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:04 PM   #8
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Don't forget Cody on the east side. It takes two days just to see the Buffalo Bill museum. It is four museums in one. Indian culture, Art, Guns and Raptors. If you like antique guns there are over 2500 in the main display and if thats not enough, just take the elevator downstairs where there are probably that many again.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fred and Bonnie View Post
Like previously stated, Yellowstone is huge, and the traffic moves slowly. We have stayed in West Yellowstone, Fishing Bridge and Coulter Bay. I would suggest staying at all three. If by the "northwest" part of the park means Gardiner, that is a good location for visiting the northern tier. Hard to pick a bad location, just a matter of time.

Fred

Agree. We stayed in West Yelowstone, but moving around abit and exploring the portion of the park near that base of operations would also work. We drove thru Fishing bridge, (to check it out for next time) we thought it was tight, but most folks on this forum think it's fine. This next trip we'll stay in the south in Coulter Bay and see more of the southern side.
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:18 PM   #10
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Thanks for the great info! Would like to stay a few days at Fishing Bridge but keep hearing how tight it is. We are only 35' and towing a Wrangler, I assume this is not an issue.


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Old 05-31-2016, 10:48 PM   #11
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Thanks for the great info! Would like to stay a few days at Fishing Bridge but keep hearing how tight it is. We are only 35' and towing a Wrangler, I assume this is not an issue.


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I parked our 40' 5er at Fishing bridge, tight fit but we were only at the CG to sleep and eat breakfast and supper. Reservations are a must!
Time?? Two weeks is enough time to see all the highlights, if you don't do any hiking. BFlynn offered very good advice and suggestions.
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Old 06-01-2016, 02:35 AM   #12
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Fishing Bridge while tight is doable up to 40' (but make a reservation) and it's very central. I would add some more time though. The park is huge and 45 mph is enforced. The animals, sightseers, and traffic will slow you down even more. Great advice above.


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Old 06-01-2016, 08:19 PM   #13
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YNP and large rigs.

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.
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:44 PM   #14
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We were there for 9-10 days a few years back. For us it wasn't near enough time. Like already said, it depends on what you like to do.i can"t do much hiking due to my health, so we drove around a lot. We did a great deal of birdwatching and photography. We'd often return to the same location at least a couple of times a day just to take advantage of the changing light conditions. It's a fantastic place. Take your time. You'll never see it all in one trip.
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