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Old 03-24-2012, 06:04 PM   #1
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Default Yellowstone 2012

This is the year we want to travel from our Michigan home to Yellowstone.
We're thinking early September, to hopefully beat the peak summer crowds. But what about the last two weeks of August?
We'd like to go out through the Badlands and return a different route.Does anyone have any suggestions?
Since we'll be in a Roadtrek, we'll need that to drive around the park. Would love some campground suggestions, as well.
As I start to plan, thought I'd tap the collective wisdom here.
We have two weeks... possible three, but we'd like to keep it to two.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Yellowstone 2012

As far as campgrounds in the area of Yellowstone, we always stay at Colter Bay camprgrounds which is out the southeast entrance of Yellowstone and into the Grand Tetons. Its a very short and scenic drive to see all of Yellowstone and do the "figure eight" tour of the park. I have been doing it for 60 years and we still enjoy it. You do need to make reservations well ahead of time and try to get there in the first week or two of August.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Yellowstone 2012

Made reservations today... Here's my post on the details of where and why I choose: http://roadtreking.com/trips/planning-our-trips
Looking for suggestions on where to stay heading out from Michigan and returning.
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Yellowstone 2012

I hate to say this but Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone was probably the worst campground we've ever stayed in a national park for experience, aesthetics and enjoyability. There are no campfires because it is nothing but a parking lot for RVs packed in together as tight as they can put them. On top of that most are big Class As, 5th wheelers and trailers so you can find yourself in a cavernous like situation. Despite the full hookups there were still idiots running their generators and the air-conditioners echo loudly off those taller RV walls. It is good for a one night stay in my opinion to freshen up, charge your batteries and do your laundry. You'll find the national parks have similar campgrounds in Big Bend, Grand Canyon, etc. that have similar big rig full hookup campgrounds to be avoided with a B. That's my veteran opinion after 6 years and 80,000 miles on the road in a B.

When you travel out west you'll find large expanses of non-cellular service or 2G at best anywhere off the interstates. The most reliable place for wifi is to stop at a McDonalds. That's why we travel with iPads now. The iPad apps such as USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, Minneapolis Star Tribune, etc. can capture the articles and news updates that can then be read offline. It takes not much longer than having a cup of coffee to capture a day's worth of reading and catching up your e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. Our internet use goes way down when we travel mainly because we only use it for utilitarian purposes and it is distracting and too time consuming for what you want to do otherwise.

Yellowstone is tricky weather. I was there the Thursday through Sunday after Labor Day in 1993 and the temperatures dropped to 18F overnight and it snowed at Old Faithful. The last week before Labor Day is good as is Labor Day week generally. Labor Day weekend itself gets booked but during the week most families have kids back in school and the national parks then start getting taken over by foreign travelers in rental Class Cs.
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Yellowstone 2012

What Yellowstone campground would you suggest, David???
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Yellowstone 2012

Which is the best? The ones closest to the areas you want to visit. The park is huge as you know. Most all are good. The point I was trying to make is Fishing Bridge was put there for the big RV and is packed like a sardine parking lot. That's because the big RV people need full hookups more, have ample room to live comfortably inside and usually have a vehicle to run around with during the day. In effect they don't seem to mind their campground conditions. They're just parking their RVs. The Big Bend NP equivalent area is even worse. It IS a parking lot with painted stripe line dividers. When you read about all the amenities of Fishing Bridge it sounds great. However, if you feel a need for full hookups near Yellowstone you are better off finding a private campground outside the park. For a B, an electrical hookup is the most desired amenity along with a flush toilet/shower facility. We usually need water and a dump station about every 5 days give or take and generally always more than 3 days between need. Most non-hookup campgrounds have available water to fill your tanks and a dump station. In late August/September you will most likely not need air-conditioning. Yellowstone will require a lot of driving around every day so you will keep your batteries charged.

Our preference for camping when we want electrical hookups and showers are state parks. Most states have pretty good campground facilities in their parks usually with good privacy setting locations. They are usually less expensive than private campgrounds. If you choose a private campground look for one that has a variety of sites including tent sites because those campgrounds usually have better public facilities such as toilets and showers. Campgrounds that cater mostly to just the big RVs with full hookups often skimp on the public facilities because the RVs are better self-contained. An example: we stayed at so called five star campgrounds in New Orleans and in Las Vegas with full hookups because we wanted to be close and shuttle to the French Quarter and the Strip respectively. Both campgrounds were super nice and well kept up but had one single bathroom with shower. We were the only B at both and the smallest RV of all. We looked out of place. We were able to hook up to city water and hook up our waste pipe to have unlimited water for showers and not worry about filling our waste tanks.

Full amenity places are good for a day and/or if you plan to be away all day long. Don't think of them as places you would care to hang around at campsite.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Yellowstone 2012

OK, Dave.
I sure appreciate and respect your advice.
I just am in a quandary about where to reserve out there.
Are there any that you would recommend near Yellowstone that I can check out? Want to make sure I have a reservation.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Yellowstone 2012

We went in July about 4 years ago with our 33 foot fig and made no reservations.We were able to find spots. With a class -b I would expect to even have less trouble finding campsites.Make sure you see Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Crazy Horse etc....
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Yellowstone 2012

Lewis Lake towards the south was nice, smallish, quiet, and not too crowded, but that was
October last year. Great sleeping weather, after touring the park all day. Electric hookups to run
AC not required (by us) and only $12/night.
We generally only worry about toilets/showers facilities, and it was a primitive campground, iirc.
Where we stay has less to do with what we expect in the way of amenities, but more of where
we happen to be when we're tired, and need to stop for the night. I guess I'd say we plan our trips
more towards where we want to go, and enjoying the touring and scenery by day, than the stopping
and sleeping by night.
So, we haven't reserved a campsite in 4 years, and mostly just take pot luck on the stopping part.
It's just our preference, and so far it's been fine. No schedules.

Sounds like you may be heading out closer to prime time? If it were me, I'd wait until after Labor Day.
The waiting to get going drives you crazy, but it's worth the wait to avoid the larger crowds.
We've only ever headed to the Maritimes in July-August. Nice, and not too crowded, except the touristy
areas.
We went out west to YNP twice via the Michigan UP and then headed west on the interstates. Side trips were pretty much ad hoc along the way. We did 3 weeks total, both times, out and back, and we saw a lot along the mostly meandering route last year in 2011, west to Alberta Canada for a quick browse, then south towards Phoenix, via the National Parks along the east side of the Rockies. Then returned via SR 95, I-40, I-25, I-80.
In September 2010 we stopped at T Roosevelt NP, the Badlands, Devil's Tower, and Mt. Rushmore along the way. Then west, and into YNP from the Cody, WY entrance. All were worth the time and effort. Mt. Rushmore was crowded and busy in early October.
Also stopped in Sturgis, home of the big Harley Rally. It was 09/11/2010, and not much was happening.
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