Yellowstone Camping

Old Jul 6th, 2002, 09:43 AM
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Yellowstone Camping

We will be in Yellowstone for our first time the beginning of August for 4-5 days. In need of some recommendations on campgrounds in the Park. We have a tent trailer and would like a campground offering some privacy instead of a wide open space. Also, are reservations necessary for the campgrounds that take them or is it risky to assume you'd get a spot at the first come first serve campgrounds that don't take reservations? Any activities for our 3 year old would also be appreciated! Thanks!
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 04:35 PM
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I would get reservations. Grant and Canyon take reservations, have showers, laundromat, stores, etc.

You won't find any privacy in Yellowstone. The sites are pretty close together. The pay off is you are in the park. You spend a lot of time driving into and out of the park every day if you stay outside.
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 04:36 PM
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The official web site for national parks is

Old Jul 6th, 2002, 06:59 PM
Paul Rabe
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For camping info, check out
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 10:37 PM
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If you know what days you will be in Yellowstone you are better off making reservations. Better safe than sorry. As someone has mentioned the camp sites are pretty close together.

We've camped at Madison, Bridge Bay and Mammoth. The smaller first come first serve campgrounds fill up VERY early in the day.

We like Madison because it's close to the geyser areas and to the city of West Yellowstone. Bridge Bay is nice to and there are pay showers in the area. You might consider spending a couple of night at each if you don't mind moving your tent trailer.

Take the stroller for your 3 year old. Most of the board walks are stroller friendly.

Mammoth campground is nice too but you have to do a lot of driving to get to the geyser areas.


Old Jul 7th, 2002, 10:28 AM
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Madison doesn't have showers and is a long way from a place that does.

I wrote this earlier for a person seeking YS info. They said it helped them. I saved it and here it is again.

There's more to Yellowstone than Geysers.

Head east from Old Faithful and take in Lake Yellowstone. It is both large and beautiful. You can rent boats.

As you head north on the loop from the lake, in the Canyon area is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The Yellowstone River (which came out of Yellowstone Lake) flows over two spectacular waterfalls--Upper and Lower Falls. Go across the river and park. You can take very easy trails to several viewing sites. If you are physically able, take the hundreds of steps down Uncle Tom's Trail. This will take you down to the bottom of the canyon and a fabulous view of the Lower Falls.

On the north rim are several great viewing places as well. One lookout is directly beside where the water goes over the falls--such power!

Head north again and you will reach Tower Falls. You can see the falls from above but I recommend you take the trail down to the bottom of the falls. The river from the falls runs into the Yellowstone River as it flows by here. Quite a pretty spot.

Just up the road is Roosevelt Lodge. If you like this sort of thing, they have horseback and stage coach rides and a cowboy cook out where you ride out and they do a chuckwagon meal. Kids love it.

If you head out east from T.F. you will go through the Lamar Valley. It is not only beautiful, it is a great place to spot wildlife---the best in the park to see the wolves--and the fishing close to the east entrance is great. Not much traffic out this way either.

As a day trip, I strongly recommend you head on out of the park, stop and eat pie in Cooke City and drive up the Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge. This has been called the most scenic highways in the U.S. Back track to Chief Joseph Highway, come down this beautiful drive to Cody (good place to stop and visit) and back in through the east entrance.

If you were to have gone on around the circle to Mammoth, they have a nice museum and video, you always see elk roaming around town, and hopefully Mammoth (the thermal feature) will have water flowing again.

If you drive north from there, you will possibly see bighorn sheep on vertical mountains. A little further and you will see the original entrance with the arch over the road. Gardiner is a good place to get a buffalo burger (just a few blocks north of town--you will see the sign)

Head back south. At Madison take a side road on Firehole Canyon Drive. Beautiful drive through a canyon with a river flowing and even a place you can swim in warm water.

Then you are back to the geysers.

There are lots of hikes of all lengths and difficulties. Get away from the people and cars. It won't take long at all to feel like you are all alone with nature.

Remember that Yellowstone is a LARGE place. Yes, you have to drive a lot but remember it isn't the destination, it's the trip.

Get some shoes or boots with good grip on the bottom-- not slick like regular sneakers. Some of the trails are like talcum powder and slick. I felt so much more secure after I learned this lesson.
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