RV camping at Yeoowstone

Jan 10th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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RV camping at Yeoowstone

We would like to rent an RV and camp in and around Yellowstone this coming June. Have never done this before and would like any tips. Is it difficult to find sites? How about driving around and viewing scenery? Once parked at a sight, is it easy to access hiking trails? We are experienced tent campers but never in an RV. Thanks!
jackg is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 07:45 AM
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Are you going to want full hook ups? What size RV?

If you want full hook ups then you will need to make a reservation at the one and only full hook up campground IN Yellowstone. Fishing Bridge RV. I've never stayed in this campground but from the looks of it, it's more like a parking lot than a campground. If you decided to stay outside the park, then I would recommend West Yellowstone Montana for location, location, location. Again, we have never camped at any of the RV parks here but it's the best location for getting to the geyser areas.

If you don't need full hook ups then you have a lot more choices for inside the park. When we had the travel trailer we limited the amount of campground changes, but in the motorhome we like to move around campsites instead of doing a lot of driving. The size of your RV can limit which campgrounds you can stay in.

For location to the geyser area we like Madison Campground. We then like to move to the east end of the park like at Bay Bridge. There are others like Canyon, Grant Village and Grant Village that take reservations. We have also stayed at Mammoth to see the hot springs. So far we haven't had to make advance reservations, but if you know the dates, then I would suggest them.

We've never stayed at the first come first serve campgrounds in Yellowstone because we always worried that we would get there and their wouldn't be any sites left and then we would have to do a lot of driving to get to one of the bigger campgrounds.

We have a class A motorhome and I love driving around in it to see the scenery.

You are still going to have to drive to get to the geyser areas and any other hikes. We were there in early June a few years back and the crowds had not happened yet, so the earlier in June, the better for traffic & driving.

For some reasong the National Park website is down this morning.


utahtea is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Thanks utahtea- We're not sure what to rent! Don't know anything about hookups! My husband and son want to rent the class A, it sems so big for driving from place to place. What I had envisioned was driving around Yellowstone, parking/camping/hiking around for a couple of days- then moving on to another area and doing the same. We are coming from Boston, would like to fly direct to Salt Lake, then drive the RV to Yellowstone. From the sound of the RV park in Yellowstone-well in a word-YUK!!! thanks again.
jackg is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 10:06 AM
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My friend has rented from El Monte RV several times and was very happy. It looks like the only Class A they have is 32 feet. That's pretty big! If there are just the 3 of you, you could get along with the 25 ft. class C and the 28 ft. class C would give you plenty of privacy.


We rented from Cruise America once and was very happy. It doesn't look like they rent class A's.


Hook ups are where you can get electrical power, water connection and sewer hookup. The good part is you don't have to run your generator for electrical things like hair dryers, air conditioning, microwave. You won't have to make trips to dump stations when the gray tanks need dumping or to get fresh water when you run out. The down side is you have to connect and disconnect every time you want to leave the campsite. Since we drive the RV everywhere it's not a big deal to fill up with water & dump as you either enter or exit the campground. Sometimes the dump stations can get a line of RV's so we try to avoid the early morning when everyone is leaving.

I don't know if you have been to Yellowstone before, but even at the regular campgrounds the campsites are close together, but at least they are in natural looking settings. A 32 ft RV won't fit at a few of the smaller campgrounds in the park but you should fit at most of the larger campgrounds.

I do prefer the Class A for scenic viewing, because the overhang on the class C does cut some of the windshield.

You might want to go test drive both kinds of RV's at a dealer to see how you like driving in them.


utahtea is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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You might also want to look around the RV.NET forums for more info.

utahtea is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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I know utahtea is an experienced and well-traveled RV owner - but here I think "owner" is the key.

There are obviously 2 issues here - price and lifestyle. When you price it out, you may find that it is not actually cheaper to rent an RV than it is to stay in hotels. Since it seems that you would be parking the RV outside the Park, compare it to hotels outside the Park.

We found incredibly nice and inexpensive hotels (compared to Boston) on our Yellowstone trip last summer - in West Yellowstone and Gardiner. West Yellowstone hotel had refrig, m/w and breakfast included. Gardiner had full kitchen, balconey, etc. Do not remember exact cost, but under $100/night for what they called "one-room suite" which was huge for family with 2 adults and 2 teens. Even with a rental car, I think if you compare costs of renting an RV, including all gas, mileage charges, insurance, etc - you will not find it less expensive.

The lifestyle issue is better addressed by others. Personally, watching people try to park RVs in lots with limited parking at Yellowstone and those with obvious rentals trying to navigate sometimes narrow roads with terrifying drops off to one side, I was very happy to be in my rented SUV.

There is very little in Yellowstone within walking distance of anything - so remember you have to drive it around all the time.

(That said, my travel fantasy is to buy a small self-contained RV in about 10 years when I am done paying for my kids college and disappear in it - so I am not one of these militant anti-RV types)
gail is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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I'll be at Yellowstone next summer, pursuing gail's very fantasy. A friend who has been a summer "workcamper" there told hair-raising tales about inexperienced RV drivers and laughed about the many rear-view mirrors that litter the roadsides like road kill.
Anonymous is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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Great tips! We still haven't decided on how to do the trip. A friend went to Yellowstone last summer and said the logistics of flying all the way into Yellowstone, from Boston was a bummer! Lots of layovers and expensive shorter flights into the small airports. The idea of a direct flight to Salt Lake then driving in a car (with 2 young kids) yikes! Thats why we thought a camper would be better for all the driving. I see the point of the inexperienced drivers, although I'm sure my husband would shrug that off.

I also am laughing about the "roadkill" of mirrors, and have never even seen it!

The camping part still seems so much more attractive than staying in some average, non-descipt roadside motel.
jackg is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Yes, renting an RV is NOT CHEAP by any means! But then again renting can be a lot cheaper than buying one if you only need it a couple weeks a year and it's the lifestyle you want.


utahtea is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 06:27 PM
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Please! Once again I will be in Yellowstone this comming summer. No one wants to see someone that cannot drive a large class A RV wondering around the highways, you somehow seem to take the safety aspect of this venture a little on the lite side, you stated your DH would just shrug off the RV's size and the mirrows.... Do as someone suggested and get something smaller if you want to RV and enjoy your travels. Overall you would most likely have much more fun if you would go with what "brung ya", tent camp, you did state you were experienced tent campers. Nothing like a campfire and the wolves howling in the Lamar Valley. There are more good tent camping areas than RV sites in Yellowstone. Tent a day or so and do the motel bit for a day or two in West Yellowstone, Gardiner or Cooke City. All offer good bargans when you consider the location. All you will be looking forward to is a shower, hot food and a bed.
RedRock is offline  
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