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Old 08-06-2016, 03:05 AM   #1
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Yellowstone "Mid September" ?

We will have spent the summer in Alaska. Was thinking about stopping in Yellowstone NP. for a few days around 12-15 of September. Im using this as a "exploratory" trip for a future trip. I'm going to assume it will be much cooler this time of year. Is this too late? Do the campgrounds close down? Snow?

While in Alaska this summer, we have stayed at mostly dry campsites. But with colder weather and only a hybrid RV trailer, a campground with electric might be better. Any ideas? Looking to spend no more than 3 nights. We will be entering the U.S. Most likely thru Sweetgrass MT. Then to Bozeman MT. On the trip to Alaska in late May we did spend a night at a campground just east of Bozeman. It that too far to drive in for just a days visit?
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Old 08-06-2016, 04:24 AM   #2
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I'm looking at going to Yellowstone later this month to early September. 5 CGs including the FHU hard-RV-only 'Fishing Bridge' are operated by Xanterra and are reservable, but are mostly full. For a couple days you might be able to find an availability. The other 7 are operated by the NPS and are first come first serve only, see here: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm but they all fill up well before noon (for the last ~week I've been looking each day). Also, the campgrounds start closing for the winter in early September, keep that in mind, but Mammoth says it's open all year for <30ft combos.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:39 AM   #3
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We go almost every year at that time; we will be there then. We always stay at Grizzly in W. Yellowstone. Many nights will have a hard freeze (down to 14-15). The days will get over 70. It's a nice time to go.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:43 AM   #4
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We were there last year the first week of October, great weather and less crowded. They started to close campgrounds then. I would not drive from Bozeman to see the park, you can but it will make for a very long day. The park is huge and you can't drive 55 in it. There are some campgrounds at west Yellowstone that you might want to check out.
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Old 08-06-2016, 09:38 AM   #5
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The weather of course can vary year by year. Last year we stayed in Madison Campground the last week of September without issue. It's a good central campground to scout out the park. And some great sunrises over the Madison River, with a few frost covered buffalo, and elk sitting in the meadow.

Enjoy the park,
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Old 08-06-2016, 01:03 PM   #6
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Fishing Bridge RV - full hookups - in the park itself is open until Sept 18 (see the above link).

There's a national forest campground a couple miles north of W. Yellowstone called Baker's Hole. It has some electric sites. If we can't get into a campground in Yellowstone, this is our 'go to' campground. It's very nice and if you're 62+ and have the Senior Pass it's 1/2 price. It's open until Sept 15. If you don't need electric Mammoth campground in Yellowstone is a favorite of ours. It's open year-round. Madison campground (dry camping) in the park closes in October. All are 1/2 price with the Senior Pass.

Bakers Hole Campground

We've been to Yellowstone during Sept. and always had good weather - cool at night but warms up nicely during the day. It's a nice time to be there.

Yellowstone involves a LOT of driving and staying in Bozeman will add a lot more. There are plenty of places to stay closer.

As long as you're stopping for Yellowstone, definitely drive through Grand Teton Nat'l Park at the south edge of Yellowstone. They are completely different in looks and things to do. Dry camping in Gros Ventre campground (our favorite) or Colter Bay campground. Full hookups in Colter Bay RV Park - not sure when they close. You'll definitely get a site in the dry campgrounds in September. Each has 300 non-reservable sites.
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Fishing Bridge RV - full hookups - in the park itself is open until Sept 18 (see the above link).

There's a national forest campground a couple miles north of W. Yellowstone called Baker's Hole. It has some electric sites. If we can't get into a campground in Yellowstone, this is our 'go to' campground. It's very nice and if you're 62+ and have the Senior Pass it's 1/2 price. It's open until Sept 15. If you don't need electric Mammoth campground in Yellowstone is a favorite of ours. It's open year-round. Madison campground (dry camping) in the park closes in October. All are 1/2 price with the Senior Pass.

Bakers Hole Campground

We've been to Yellowstone during Sept. and always had good weather - cool at night but warms up nicely during the day. It's a nice time to be there.

Yellowstone involves a LOT of driving and staying in Bozeman will add a lot more. There are plenty of places to stay closer.

As long as you're stopping for Yellowstone, definitely drive through Grand Teton Nat'l Park at the south edge of Yellowstone. They are completely different in looks and things to do. Dry camping in Gros Ventre campground (our favorite) or Colter Bay campground. Full hookups in Colter Bay RV Park - not sure when they close. You'll definitely get a site in the dry campgrounds in September. Each has 300 non-reservable sites.

Between here, and say IRV2, I always appreciate the sharing of the 2gypsies experiences.

Please excuse my 'wanting it both way's' here comment:

Having it my way? Thank you for sharing the info on Baker's...

Not having it my way? Please let's not spread too much more info on the internet about Gros Ventre. That should never be posted to the internet. And I'm working with the Russian's to block the reference to it on the National Parks website....

++++++

And to the OP. If you are looking for a full RV Park environment, without to much extra repetitive driving into the park, West Grizzly is a very nice park - and does give you that in town experience. And the drive down from the North, is truly a Scenic Byway.

We also like Coulter Bay, unique in itself.

But for your stated desire to sort of scout out yellowstone, Madison, or Norris (not sure of your size) will save you a good 30 mins at least driving, more so if say the West gate is backed up. And other YS campgrounds may fit you, if you're small enough.

=========

So, now back to let's keep the good tips coming for Smitty, but never, ever mention Gros Ventre in these kinds of threads. (Besides, they have those Moose's that always bring in the 'photo stalker's' which can cause AM problems!

Best to all, and thanks again to 2gypsies for always sharing so freely,
Smitty

(To be clear... Many !, !, :~)! intended in this post.)
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:59 PM   #8
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We were there for a week that time of year. It's the perfect time to go. BUT it does get ridiculously cold over night (in the teens) so a good heater and a warm comfy comforter is important. We went thru an entire tank of propane just to heat the coach overnight. On the "perfect" side, day time temps got into the 70's, traffic throughout the park was light. We were able to see the sights we went to see without fighting crowds. We stayed at Grizzly, we'd stay there again.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:20 PM   #9
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So, now back to let's keep the good tips coming for Smitty, but never, ever mention Gros Ventre in these kinds of threads. (Besides, they have those Moose's that always bring in the 'photo stalker's' which can cause AM problems!
I will certainly try to remember never to mention Gros Ventre campground again but at 75 the memory is fading so no guarantees.
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Old 08-06-2016, 09:33 PM   #10
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I will certainly try to remember never to mention Gros Ventre campground again but at 75 the memory is fading so no guarantees.
Have never camped in cold freezing weather before. Cold in California is 50*

What precautions do you take to keep hoses and things from freezing. Undo water hose and use water from the mh tank. Does the mh inside heating system heat the underneath of the mh enough to keep the water lines from freezing.

Having just bought our mh we are now just starting to plan some trips. Yellowstone is at the top of the list. We also like to travel during non peak times, summer when all the kids are out of school. So September through June will be our main traveling times.

Cold weather precautions are something I need to learn about.


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Old 08-06-2016, 11:04 PM   #11
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Halfprice - Lot's depends on the rig itself!

Some are better equipped to handle colder weather, then others.

Also are you thinking of dry camping, like in Madison, or RV Park camping, like Grizzly RV Park? As that for sure makes a difference too.

If you are RV Park camping, then having generally you can handle the cold inside the RV by adding a portable electric heater, or two, if it's big coach!

Reading the manual on your rig, can tell you if you have heated tanks and bay's. If so, then that usually makes you better equipped for colder weather. Dual pane windows are a plus too. At night, closing up the shades helps. Closing off the sleeping quarters, if only the two of you, is also a plus. You can also search about more specific tips, like adding bubble or reflective inside window protection.

I do not have a heat tape water hose, so if I know I'll be in for a cold night or two - I'll top off the water tank in the rig. And unhook the water to the coach.

Let us know about your rig, and or, visit your owner's forum on the board, and you can get more specific info related to your unit.

Travel safe, have fun,
Smitty
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:26 PM   #12
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Smitty77 is right, cold weather traveling will depend upon your rig and how it's set up. We knew nothing on our first trip to Yellowstone, it was just our second trip and I walked into the office to check-in and saw the sign that said "hard freeze warning". Being from Southern California, I had no idea what that meant, so I asked the folks inside and they were very helpful. They told us to disconnect and stow the water hose and to use the gas heater at night to keep the tanks and plumbing from freezing. So that's what we did and we were fine, but we did use lots of propane. We did make one mistake, we left the water filter outside and connected to the water source. It froze and cracked open. Oops.
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:38 PM   #13
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Some general information about YNP (some 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.

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 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". 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 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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Old 08-07-2016, 12:06 AM   #14
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Smitty77 is right, cold weather traveling will depend upon your rig and how it's set up. We knew nothing on our first trip to Yellowstone, it was just our second trip and I walked into the office to check-in and saw the sign that said "hard freeze warning". Being from Southern California, I had no idea what that meant, so I asked the folks inside and they were very helpful. They told us to disconnect and stow the water hose and to use the gas heater at night to keep the tanks and plumbing from freezing. So that's what we did and we were fine, but we did use lots of propane. We did make one mistake, we left the water filter outside and connected to the water source. It froze and cracked open. Oops.
Yes we know nothing about winter here in So Cal. I'm not concerned about the dw and I in the mh. We'll stay warm. Clothes, blankets, and yes the gas heater will be going all night.

My concern is for the mh. Buying it in So Cal it is not prepped for winter like east coast rigs are. SO from what was said I guess we'll need to disconnect the hose and keep the heater on to warm the water lines and tanks.

Looking forward to the many experiences in our future with the mh.


Jerry
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