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Old 04-01-2019, 07:09 AM   #1
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Yellowstone in a Class C

I haven’t been to Yellowstone so I’m asking for a friend who wants to know if he rents a 31’ Class C to go to YS can he get around in it or will he definitely need a car. I suggested that he rent a car in the area and they are probably use to that request and either pick it up on the way with an additional driver or have it delivered to the park.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmw188 View Post
I haven’t been to Yellowstone so I’m asking for a friend who wants to know if he rents a 31’ Class C to go to YS can he get around in it or will he definitely need a car. I suggested that he rent a car in the area and they are probably use to that request and either pick it up on the way with an additional driver or have it delivered to the park.
You can BUT - it will not be EASY - Many of the Parking lot's will be full or hard to find a space in - 31' will just be Tough.

Semi solution - get up Early - No Really early and get a jump on everyone.

Do your homework - know the park and the most Popular attractions/Parking Lots. If you get out in front of the Herd you have a Chance - Take Hikes.

Alternate plan is to Do the park then do the Surrounds - Sooooo much to see all around - the Key will be, IMHO, to get a jump on the crowd - whether in the Car or in the "C".

Best of Luck,
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:05 AM   #3
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I would highly recommend getting a rental car. You can pick one up at the airport in West Yellowstone. Make reservations for any RV sites and the rental car. Actually, you may have needed to do the RV site reservations already. Don't be surprised if you get a lot of "we are full" responses.

As has been mentioned, the early, early bird gets the parking spaces.
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:34 AM   #4
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The problem with "the early bird gets the parking space" theory, is that most of the attractions will not occupy you for a full day. You may be the early bird at your first stop of the day, but you won't be at any of the rest of your stops.


In each of the last 3 years, I spent 2 weeks at Yellowstone after Labor Day, when all of the families had gone home. It was less crowded than in mid-summer, burt there were times when I still had to circle round and round a parking lot, waiting for a space to open up.


Trying to see Yellowstone in a class C will not be fun.


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Old 04-01-2019, 02:56 PM   #5
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OK, the early bird gets the parking spot at the first attraction...

I know the entrances back up from 7 or 8 until early afternoon. In West Yellowstone last year it was backed up past Canyon St. many times. The shoulder season is always best.

The crowds get thicker every year.
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:29 PM   #6
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The west entrance backs up terribly, and the east entrance is almost as bad. The northwest and the south entrances get some backups, but not nearly as bad. The northeast entrance is usually not backed up much at all.


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Old 04-01-2019, 04:26 PM   #7
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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 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 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- there 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.

Bar J Chuckwagon

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 04-01-2019, 06:39 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the info I’m fwd this info to my friend we can close the thread unless others want to chime in.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:00 PM   #9
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I heard back from my friend after fwding him this thread and he said no way forget it. Well not exactly those words. I knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought it would be. He was going to rent an RV possibly even a toy hauler to haul his trike and rent a car. He was hoping to wing it I told him I didn’t think I would try that so that’s why I posted so he could hear it from others too. Thanks again.
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:47 PM   #10
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We did Yellowstone in our 28 ft class A in the summer of 2017 just before the big solar eclipse without a car. It can be done, there are certainly enough Cruise America rental RV's there doing it (at one point we counted 8 in a row going the other way on the loop road). The problem is parking in the various road side turn outs, a lot of the RV parking spaces were being hogged by the commercial tour buses, they would coordinate to block spaces for fellow buses and not let general public RV drivers into the limited number "RV" parking spaces. There were a few sites we had to end up skipping due to lack of parking spaces, of course these same sites had people in cars circling repeatedly to find spaces, and many of them making their own parking space along shoulder of the road.


Having said that the loop road is relatively narrow, often with drop offs right next to it, and most worrisome is all of those rental RV drivers going the other direction who don't seem to know where their side of the double yellow line is. I had about 7,000 miles of experience driving my coach when we made it to Yellowstone, and was glad of it, I don't know if I would have wanted to try it in a coach I had just picked up at a rental place the day before.
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