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Old 12-03-2018, 03:12 PM   #1
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National Park Reservations

My wife and I are planning a 5 week trip, September-October, in 2020. Leaving NYS September 4, hitting; Mt. Rushmore-Custer State Park 2 nights, Glacier 3 nights, Yellowstone 5 nights, Arches/Canyonland 3 nights, Bryce/Zion 3 nights, Grand Canyon 3 nights. My question is how early should/can I make my reservation in the parks. For the nights in Arches/Canyonland and Bryce/Zion we're thinking of staying outside the parks. Any suggestions for the trip will be appreciated.
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:53 PM   #2
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My wife and I are planning a 5 week trip, September-October, in 2020. Leaving NYS September 4, hitting; Mt. Rushmore-Custer State Park 2 nights, Glacier 3 nights, Yellowstone 5 nights, Arches/Canyonland 3 nights, Bryce/Zion 3 nights, Grand Canyon 3 nights. My question is how early should/can I make my reservation in the parks. For the nights in Arches/Canyonland and Bryce/Zion we're thinking of staying outside the parks. Any suggestions for the trip will be appreciated.
I would suggest you contact the individual parks in advance and ask them, based on your itinerary. They know better how full or empty they'll be in advance, based on booking/no booking experience in their own park.
We walked into Bryce Canyon NP last October and had no problem, but got shut out of Grand Canyon North Rim without a reservation. They were unusually busy.
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:24 PM   #3
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My wife and I are planning a 5 week trip, September-October, in 2020. Leaving NYS September 4, hitting; Mt. Rushmore-Custer State Park 2 nights, Glacier 3 nights, Yellowstone 5 nights, Arches/Canyonland 3 nights, Bryce/Zion 3 nights, Grand Canyon 3 nights. My question is how early should/can I make my reservation in the parks. For the nights in Arches/Canyonland and Bryce/Zion we're thinking of staying outside the parks. Any suggestions for the trip will be appreciated.


I spent the month of September this year in Utah with a dip down to Grand Canyon North Rim. All areas were very busy and many private RV parks were full as were the NP and State Park CGs. I had to play ďgamesĒ to get reservations into Dead Horse Point SP as well as DeMotte NF campground (18 miles north of North Rim) which I made as far in advance as was allowed. I was surprised at how crowded it was although I had made my reservations about 8 months in advance.
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:29 PM   #4
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My wife and I are planning a 5 week trip, September-October, in 2020. Leaving NYS September 4, hitting; Mt. Rushmore-Custer State Park 2 nights, Glacier 3 nights, Yellowstone 5 nights, Arches/Canyonland 3 nights, Bryce/Zion 3 nights, Grand Canyon 3 nights. My question is how early should/can I make my reservation in the parks. For the nights in Arches/Canyonland and Bryce/Zion we're thinking of staying outside the parks. Any suggestions for the trip will be appreciated.


Also, in my opinion you are trying to cram too much stuff in. I spent a week at almost all of the places you mention (didnít do Yellowstone or Glacier this trip) and didnít see everything. Unless you just like to drive through and wave you will be missing so much.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:18 PM   #5
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I believe that as the Baby Boomers continue to retire, these months will be really tough to find RV spaces. hen we were much younger, this was not an issue. Many do not take reservations, so you pretty much fly by the seat of your pants. Try to find a spot in Arizona for January or February at this time of year- no longer really possible.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:19 PM   #6
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BTW- Yellowstone and Grand Tetons are fantastic!!!
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:16 PM   #7
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My wife and I are planning a 5 week trip, September-October, in 2020. Leaving NYS September 4, hitting; Mt. Rushmore-Custer State Park 2 nights, Glacier 3 nights, Yellowstone 5 nights, Arches/Canyonland 3 nights, Bryce/Zion 3 nights, Grand Canyon 3 nights. My question is how early should/can I make my reservation in the parks. For the nights in Arches/Canyonland and Bryce/Zion we're thinking of staying outside the parks. Any suggestions for the trip will be appreciated.
--------------------------------------


I just made reservations for a 6 day 2019 September stay in Yellowstone. So, I know they will take them 10 months out. When I climbed Mt. Whitney, I made reservations about 11 months before I went. I don't know if all NP's are the same but I would call ASAP and find out.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:33 AM   #8
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My wife and I are planning a 5 week trip,
Been to all those places, some many times. Over sixty years starting with my Grandparents. Took the granddaughter to Zion last spring.

I would agree with the earlier comment that that it may be too much. I would worry about snow at Glacier and Yellowstone.

One of the things I have noticed since retiring is the number of foreign tourist renting MH and going to places like Zion. The national park is booked well in advance but often there are cancellations for the next day.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:31 AM   #9
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I believe that as the Baby Boomers continue to retire, these months will be really tough to find RV spaces. hen we were much younger, this was not an issue. Many do not take reservations, so you pretty much fly by the seat of your pants. Try to find a spot in Arizona for January or February at this time of year- no longer really possible.
Boy you hit the nail on the head!!!! We retired early at 59. Looking back a good decision as it was prior to the boomer camper explosion. Why we even stayed at every State Park in the Florida Keys, in the winter!!!
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:05 AM   #10
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Since you are planning to camp outside Zion/Bryce and Arches/Canyonland, I recommend Zion River RV for Zion and Portal RV park in Moab for Arches/Canyonland . It appears that you are thinking of staying in one place to visit both Zion and Bryce. It's going to be a 3+ hour drive between the two, I suggest you stay at Zion River then move camp to Rubies outside of Bryce instead of trying to do a day trip.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:27 AM   #11
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Portal is a great place to stay for Arches and Canyon Land in Moab. Bauer's Canyon Ranch in Glendale is between Zion,and Bryce.It's closer to Zion,but not that far a drive by car to Bryce.Bauer's is what I call a simple no frills camp ground,but go location.
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:31 PM   #12
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Also, in my opinion you are trying to cram too much stuff in. I spent a week at almost all of the places you mention (didnít do Yellowstone or Glacier this trip) and didnít see everything. Unless you just like to drive through and wave you will be missing so much.
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I would agree with the earlier comment that that it may be too much. I would worry about snow at Glacier and Yellowstone.
Sometimes a person doesn't have all the time in the world to see a place and so they spend a few days there and get a taste for it and then when they do come back they have a better idea of what to expect. You could spend a lifetime at any one place and still not see everything. Why would missing another place make up for the fact that they are not going to see everything? Shouldn't they at least get to see it?

To the OP, I would do what you feel comfortable with and get the chance to experience some incredibly scenic areas! I'm following your thread because next year I am hoping to do a 6 week trek to the Pacific NW while we visit some farmers markets and I know we want to visit some national parks as well.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:13 PM   #13
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Sometimes a person doesn't have all the time in the world to see a place and so they spend a few days there and get a taste for it and then when they do come back they have a better idea of what to expect. You could spend a lifetime at any one place and still not see everything. Why would missing another place make up for the fact that they are not going to see everything? Shouldn't they at least get to see it?

To the OP, I would do what you feel comfortable with and get the chance to experience some incredibly scenic areas! I'm following your thread because next year I am hoping to do a 6 week trek to the Pacific NW while we visit some farmers markets and I know we want to visit some national parks as well.
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:24 PM   #14
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Sometimes a person doesn't have all the time in the world to see a place and so they spend a few days there and get a taste for it and then when they do come back they have a better idea of what to expect. You could spend a lifetime at any one place and still not see everything. Why would missing another place make up for the fact that they are not going to see everything? Shouldn't they at least get to see it?

To the OP, I would do what you feel comfortable with and get the chance to experience some incredibly scenic areas! I'm following your thread because next year I am hoping to do a 6 week trek to the Pacific NW while we visit some farmers markets and I know we want to visit some national parks as well.
Thanks to everyone for suggestions and concerns. I'm planning this knowing I won't see everything. I've always felt the best thing about doing a trip like this is the planning-it's all about the chase. And I know no plan is perfect, you control what you can and go from there.
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