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Old 04-10-2018, 10:27 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2014
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Question Yellowstone suggestions

We are heading up to Big Sandy Montana for a race this summer and wanted to see what the recommendations would be for a quick 2-day commando raid into Yellow Stone for the family (wife and 12 and 10 year old). We have a 37 foot Class A. Thoughts on camp grounds and "must see" stuff. As well anything on the way to and from Twin Falls or Pocatello, ID as far as cool stuff to see/do?

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Old 04-10-2018, 10:33 AM   #2
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Definitely check Shoshone Falls in Twin. It's the opening 2 minutes or so of this video:


Also consider a detour to City of Rocks (also in that video later on, after the ski segment at Pomerelle).

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Old 04-10-2018, 10:35 AM   #3
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We are staying in Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park in July - it came heavily recommended on this forum. We are hoping it's as nice as everyone claims it to be !!

Good Luck !!
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:36 AM   #4
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If you are considering a stay in the Grizzly RV park in west Yellowstone you are too late. They are booked solid from the middle of May through the third week in September. I stopped going there as I have in the last 12 years as the parking lots at the major attractions are generally full by 8 AM. Loved the drive to Cooke City then over the Beartooth but way to much humanity for me.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:49 AM   #5
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Shapi, we have been to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone 2 of last 3 years and are going back this year. The views are spectacular, and the unique sights are wonderful. You are out of luck for staying in the more popular CGs if you didn't make reservations a year or so in advance. Colter Bay, near Grand Tetons is a first for us this year. We drove through it last year, and got a spot for 2018. Jackson Lodge at Grand Tetons is a must. Their veranda looking out over the vast meadow and lake and at the Tetons is breath taking----a must in our book. The many herds of Bison in YS are really neat, walking down or across the road 20 feet from your car---and stay in it! I could sit and watch the Bison and Tetons for hours, with a Bloody Mary or Bud Lite in my hand.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:17 AM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions. Also, I checked Grizzly RV and they had space for us. Got a "Premium pull through" space! Thanks for the recommendations...keep'em coming
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:55 PM   #7
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Maybe consider a slightly different route to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument, EBR-1 (Experimental Breeder Reactor) near Arco, ID, the first nuclear powered town, and Idaho Falls is awesome.

Very nice camping at Jefferson County Lake Campground, Rigby, ID., most sites are lake front.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by oakcreekeric View Post
We are staying in Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park in July - it came heavily recommended on this forum. We are hoping it's as nice as everyone claims it to be !!

Good Luck !!

I’m also staying at Grizzly RV in July (9-13).
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:38 PM   #9
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We loved Grizzly RV Park also. West Yellowstone caters to tourist and we enjoyed the restaurants, shopping and meeting new people. The Wolf Rescue place was worth the time and hearing the wolves howling at night while staying at the Grizzly RV Park was kind of cool. The Grandkids love the Bison Herds and we enjoyed rolling the windows down to allow them the pleasure of smelling the aroma coming out of the mud pots. JH
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Shapi View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. Also, I checked Grizzly RV and they had space for us. Got a "Premium pull through" space! Thanks for the recommendations...keep'em coming
I just love it when folks say you're too late.... everything's booked. There are 7 campgrounds in Yellowstone that don't accept reservations - we like Mammoth campground and there's an awesome forest service campground about 5 miles north of West Yellowstone called Baker's Hole. We've stayed there - no reservations.

If you want to tour Grand Teton NP right next door (highly recommended) there are two campgrounds that you would fit - Colter Bay (not the RV park but the campground) and Gros Ventre campgrounds. They don't even accept reservations, have 300 sites each and rarely fill. Gros Ventre is our favorite. It's fairly close to Jackson which has a weekly rodeo.

Traveling south near Pocatello is Massacre Rocks State Park for some interesting history of the Oregon Trail and a pleasant, scenic campground.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:56 PM   #11
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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 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 all stop 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 spotty to 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 (2 rest rooms) at the lower Geyser Basin 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 dinning room are “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!Early in the summer of 2017 a foreign visitor stepped off a boardwalk into just a few inches of hot water. He walked about 100 yards (according to the newspaper) broke thru the crust and parboiled himself. The park service decided not to try to retrieve the body! Between the temperature of the water and the acidity of it the body would just fall apart when retrieving it, as well as being dangerous to the rangers. Of course a few Bison fall in every winter also.

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 NOT come close to a 60- 65 MPH average. From the West Thumb Area, 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 (in 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 located basically across the road from each other.

Also in GTNP be sure to see Jenny Lake, the water is swimming pool clear! You almost feel like you are in space when you are on the boat dock and you can see the rental boat shadows on the bottom of the lake!

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 for your trip! Check out their website.

Bar J Chuckwagon

Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and check out the # of Silver Dollars imbedded 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 04-12-2018, 05:49 AM   #12
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You will love Grizzly. It’s a very easy walk into town for food, shopping or whatever. We heard elk bugling in the mornings and that was cool! Colter Bay RV was great too. We had a great spot among the thick trees and was a great experience. Definitely need to make reservations as early as possible.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:23 AM   #13
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Only two days in Yellowstone, is a crime. Even our 2 week last June wasn't nearly enough.

OK for a two day "peek" into YS:

Day 1, Enter the west entrance and head for the Biscuit Basin parking lot "by 8 am". View that area, then you have to make a decision to then drive to the next parking lot (Old Faithful, or hike the 2 miles to the Old Faithful area. There are a number of springs, and geysers in between. Some not to miss are: Morning Glory pool, Grand Geyser ( erupts every 7-15 hours) , Bee Hive ( every 16 hours), Castle Geyser, Old Faithful (every 94 minutes).

What I did was. Lock my bike up at that parking lot, drove down to the Old faithful parking lot. We hiked from Old faithful to where my bike was parked, I rode my bike back on the bike trail (easy trail) and picked up truck and drove back to pick wife and kid up. The Old Faithful parking lot is huge. It's the only parking lot you "should" be able to find a park spot any time of the day. All the other parking lots in the park good luck between 10am and 5 pm.

Day 2 Enter west entrance, head north to Norris Geyser area by "8 am". Next head east then north to Mud Volcano, do a quick stop there (good sized parking lot). then head to the Canyons area (Yellowstone Falls). There are 6 parking lots there, BUT, last summer 2 of the 6 were closed for construction. Not sure what will be open this summer, or if they finished. You have both the lower and upper falls.

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Old 04-13-2018, 12:07 PM   #14
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Gypsy Guide app for your phone for touring. It’s like a personal guide. I can’t believe no one mentioned it. Enjoy your trip.

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