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Old 05-14-2014, 10:08 AM   #1
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Yellowstone without a car?

So I am planning a trip to Yellowstone this summer in my 24 foot Winnebago and do not have the luxury of towing a car. How will not having a car impact what I am able to access? I am bringing my 3 and 9 year old daughters and we are staying at fishing bridge. Is it easy to find parking with a 24 footer at some of the main attractions. Please advise!!!

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Old 05-14-2014, 10:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jasonbutcher View Post
So I am planning a trip to Yellowstone this summer in my 24 foot Winnebago and do not have the luxury of towing a car. How will not having a car impact what I am able to access? I am bringing my 3 and 9 year old daughters and we are staying at fishing bridge. Is it easy to find parking with a 24 footer at some of the main attractions. Please advise!!!
Well Sir,
If you've never stayed at, or visited Yellowstone, doing without portable transportation can for the most part, be a big pain in the a$$. Many of the attractions have either small crowded or, even large crowded parking lots. Traffic in and out, around, and through many of them surely does not lend itself to larger, big radius turning vehicles. That's not to say it cannot be done, you'll just have a much, much harder time, going from exhibit to exhibit and attraction to attraction.

While camping at Fishing Bridge is OK for some, it's a bit too close for our comfort. We like the openness of the places like Grant Village and others. But, those are a no-hookup set of circumstances. It's a preference thing. If you need hookups, then FB will most likely work fine for you.

But, while cost and or logistics and convenience may play a part here, if I were you, I'd look for the cheapest, used, FLAT TOWABLE (no darn dollies, trailers etc.) good condition, Honda CRV or, older VW bug, or, any other flat towable vehicle and get it setup for towing. You'll thank yourself a zillion times over once you get there and see what a pain it would have been to travel Yellowstone in your coach.

And, in all reality, trying to cover the entire park even in short time frame of two days, is really pushing it. There is so much to see and take in, in terms of learning all there is to know and see, you need a few days to really educate the kids and let them grasp all that Yellowstone has to offer. And, there's hikes there too. There's even one small place (really small for parking) that has a beach and pools of water to play in, can't remember what the name of it is, some one will chime in with the name).

We've done Yellowstone several times. We've even done it on a motorcycle which was a ton of fun. In any case, take your time, enjoy your surroundings and sites, and really get the kids into it. It's awesome.

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Old 05-14-2014, 10:38 AM   #3
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I think you would be much happier if you could find a rental car for the time you are there. The parking at "main" attractions is crowded and finding enough open space for 24' to maneuver would be a challenge.
Mel (Melanie) and Harry
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:45 AM   #4
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We have done Yellowstone not less than 15 times. While it is easier in auxiliary vehicle we have done it in a 31 mini winnie and we're able to see and do all of the cool things without issue. The one drawback will be your ability to be in the NE quadrant of the park at dusk and dawn which is when the animal viewing is at its peak. If you have specific questions please pm me.
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:26 AM   #5
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It sounds as though I definitely need a car. I will be traveling as the only adult with my two daughters, thus making it difficult to rent a car. Do you guys know of any place that delivers rental cars to the camp sites? I REALLY appreciate all of the advice and knowledge!
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:51 AM   #6
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Rent a small car and extend your stay if at all possible. You will have a much more enjoyable, less frustrating experience. I have driven our 23' crew cab long bed truck in Yellowstone and other national parks and it's often a tight fit but at least the truck has visibility that a MH doesn't.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:05 PM   #7
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I will be staying 4 nights
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:31 PM   #8
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I've been to Y'stone about 5 times (staying at Fishing Bridge) with my sons and prefer NOT to use our car.

1. We bring the bikes. You can easily ride from the Fishing Bridge campground to the store and to Yellowstone Lake for fishing and ranger shows/campfires.

2. Take the bus. There are 'Ring of Fire' bus tours which pick you up at Fishing Bridge and take most of the day. The driver is very knowledgeable, involves the kids, does ALL the driving, and knows where the best places to stop. Lower loop includes a stop at Old Faithful for lunch and to see the eruption.

3. Private guide with the Yellowstone Association. A little pricey at $525 for the day but they take you exactly where you want to go and pretty much cover the whole park. Guide gets you to view bears, see golden eagle nests, old faithful, Y'stone falls, unknown trails with thermal features, etc.

I'm usually the one who gets tasked with driving and can't see as much. The options above are way better than renting a car in my opinion. Good luck!
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:40 PM   #9
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We always take a guided tour when available wherever we stop. Guides know where to go, show you spots that you can later return to if you want to spend more time, and you have the time to look around instead of trying to watch for signs and traffic.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:58 PM   #10
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Many visitors in rental RVs tour the park without a car. Most sights can handle a 24' RV. Only place to be extra cautious is Tower Falls. That parking lot lends itself to creative parking that can leave vehicles blocked in by other visitors who are obviously more important and just pull in any old place, blocking cars in.
From Fishing Bridge, which is at the 3 o'clock position on the southern loop (96 miles total) you can plan each day's agenda. The northern loop is 70 miles around. Places to enjoy with kids include Hayden Valley, home of big bison herds. Canyon for falls and vistas, the swimming hole along the Firehole Canyon Drive, (S of Madison Junction) the only place you can swim in Yellowstone with tacit ranger approval. All of the visitor centers have interesting exhibits and be sure to get the kids involved in the Junior Ranger Program available. Also, get the kids Park Passports and they can seek out the stamp stations at each place to stamp their passport.
Don't get too upset with the kids' reaction to the geologic features, their noses are more sensitive and they complain about the sulphur smell. (I wouldn't recommend Mud Volcano area for that reason, unless they like it) By the way, more times than not when walking the loop trail there you'll see a bison and/or mule deer.

Sadly, many visitors never get out of sight of their car. TAKE A HIKE. At Old Faithful, hike up to the Old Faithful Geyser Overlook. Thousands will be sitting on the benches around the geyser, maybe 5 people will be un the trail at the overlook. Check out the Old Faithful Inn from the 3rd floor balcony, the main floor will be crowded, few make it above to look down. At Artist's Point, hike the dirt path beyond the blacktop area which is wall-to-wall people. The path takes up away from the canyon on a short zigzag to a viewpoint a couple hundred yards from the masses. Often I find myself alone with the canyon at that point. At Mammoth, take a walk around the old fort and look at the herd of elk that spend time eating the grass lawns.


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Old 05-14-2014, 04:33 PM   #11
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We did Yellowstone in a 27' class a in 1987. Stayed in west Yellowstone as home base and toured the park in the MH. We had very little problem parking at any of the lots but did have difficulty when we would see wildlife and want to pull off the road at some pull outs.
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:57 PM   #12
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When I last stayed at Yellowstone, we used the (rental) RV to get around until it caught on fire (long but funny story). After that, we used the tour bus. We had just as much or more fun doing the bus thing as driving. At least I did, since I was the one driving. My 16 year (at the time) old son really liked the bus, but I think that had more to do with the girl he met than anything else . . .

When I next go, I will take a motorcycle along.
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:41 PM   #13
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I'm going to disagree with most of the replies here. We have done Yellowstone the last several years with our 28' class c and this year with our 34' DP. There are a few spots you might have some issues, like Tower Falls as mentioned, but for the most part, we have never had any issues going to any of the attractions. But there is one thing we do that contributes to the lack of trouble. We start each day early. We do a lot of hiking with our 8 year old daughter and generally leave our campsite by 9am. The parking areas are usually wide open when we get there and full when we leave.

As also previously mentioned, I highly encourage you to get away from the main tourist areas and hit some of the incredible trails throughout the park. Your kids are the perfect age for it. There are several guide books available online that give excellent descriptions on length, difficultly and what to expect. Plus you'll feel like you have the park to yourself (sometimes). If you have time, Grand Tetons has some beautiful sites as well.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:59 PM   #14
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Enterprise Rent-A-Car will pick you up at your location, you drive back to the office to complete registration and pay, then you drive. They are located at West Yellowstone, MT., at Jackson, WY airport, Boseman, MT, and other locations.

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