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Old 01-02-2014, 01:40 PM   #1
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1972 27' Overlander
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Yellowstone and/or Grand Teton

My brother-in-law (1973 26' Argosy) and I (1972 27' Overlander) are both loading up the families and going GA to Yellowstone and/or GTNP in July 2014. We have come to the conclusion that we will likely camp without hookups as we are not interested in staying in an RV parking lot. We are looking for 1 or 2 (max) locations where we can set up camp and wake up every morning to beautiful scenery and wildlife. Driving a little to see a particular attraction is expected.
Ideally, we would like a perfect combination of wilderness and civilization (as in wake up with a beautiful mountain view but not have to go too far for shower, water refills, etc.). We want to see a little bit of Yellowstone and a little bit of GTNP. I'm looking for advice/suggestions on 1) preferred route cross-country and 2) preferred location for camping. Should we stay in Yellowstone and drive down to GTNP or vice-versa? Should we stay outside the parks?
Boondocking might work as we will likely share a generator, but we will be there for 7 days (not counting the trek across the country) so would likely need to be able to refill water tanks and dump waste.
I've trolled the threads and have seen some great pictures.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:11 PM   #2
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We are looking at being back in the area in June. We have stayed at Bridge Bay in Yellowstone, not super scenic but easy to park since most sites are just a wide spot on the road . Coulter Bay in the Tetons also parks folks parallel to the street but at least there are lots of trees. Both have a short walk to the water.

July in Yellowstone is a mad house, we have no desire to do that again.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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We have been several times and typically spend one night at the Tetons and then head to Grant Village in Yellowstone. We have the same trip planned for September.

We typically stay at Colter Bay Village in the Tetons. We stay at the RV park at Colter Bay because of the full hookups. The campground at Colter Bay is nothing to write home about but the Tetons and the view from Colter Bay is absolutely spectacular. Someone may have a better idea for camping in the Tetons.

Grant Village is a beautiful campground, has a nice clean bath house, places to eat, and buy provisions. It is also more central to the areas we enjoy the most in Yellowstone. Some of the campgrounds in Yellowstone will not handle a 25 foot trailers. Some do not have bath houses. None but Fishing Bridge have hook-ups.

You'll love both the Tetons and Yellowstone.

From north central Tennessee when we travel by interstate we go to St. Louis, then to Kansas City, then to Lincoln NE, then to Rawlins WY, then Hwy 287 to the Tetons. But, we hate driving through St. Louis so much that we have started crossing the Ohio / Mississippi at Cairo IL and then crossing MO on highway 60 and then heading north to Kansas City. Highway 60 is a very well maintain divided four lane with very little traffic. Take to loop around Kansas City on the eastern side (I-435).
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:46 PM   #4
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We stayed at the Madison campground in Yellowstone. Very pretty, natural campground Nice big sites. Limited generator hours. We looked at Fishing Bridge campground when we we there. It's what we call a parking lot campground ( maybe because of full hook-ups) but I honestly don't think I've ever seen a campground with trailers as close as they were at a Fishing Bridge. Not our cup of tea. Madison was our home base and we drove to Grand Teton since it was so close - about an hour or so as I remember but we were there in Oct with limited traffic.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:37 PM   #5
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We always stay at Fishing Bridge CG in YNP, so I wont be any help on an alternative CG. But I am with Bud 100% on avoiding St Louis!! Another route that we use on our trips from FL to home in SW Iowa avoiding St. Louis is to cut off of I 64 40-50 mi. E of there on IL Hwy 127 N and get on I 55 N near Litchfield, IL. Then I 55 to Springfield, IL where we catch I 72 to Hannibal, MO. The traffic near Springfield is so very much less. At Hannibal, I 72 becomes Hwy 36 which is a very nice 4 lane clear across MO to St. Joseph and into KS. Or you can take I 29 N to the Omaha area for I 80 W or go farther north and take Hwy 20 across NE. It's a good 2-lane road and not heavily traveled.
Dan
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:53 PM   #6
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This past late summer we camped for a week in North Grand Tetons NP. We stayed in the Flagg Ranch campground. Was $17 a night and very decent. It was like 5 miles from the Yellowstone entrance and central to everything. Not overly scenic, but we had a very wooded site long enough for our 34' to be backed on easily end still have 20 feet of private drive space in front of the TV. I war really pleased with the whole experience. Will certtainly look to Flagg ranch again!
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:54 PM   #7
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TDYoungblood,
Gross Venture is a very popular NFS campground on the southeastern side of YNP.
There are a lot of such around both parks. We stayed at Bakers Hole NFS campground about 3 miles north of West Yellowstone and really enjoyed it. The first time we went (2007) we stayed at Flagg Ranch, it was over $45 a night then, can't believe it has dropped that much. For that price it is a great location between both parks.
My GD and I are stopping at YNP on our way to AK in May, hope to beat the summer rush.
Here is a great site to find NFS campgrounds Campground Directory and National Forest Campgrounds
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:30 PM   #8
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I think our $17 rate was due to it being end of season, despite there being lots of campers there.
We also stayed at a Forest Service park on west Yellowstone. It was Rainbow point about 10 miles north of west Yellowstone. It was located on the washboard road to hell but with a NPS interagency pass the rate was $7 per night... Dry camping. Super clean, super quiet, super wooded. Not reccomenede if you are in and out of the park every day. We used it as a resting stopover enroute to GNP.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:35 AM   #9
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Thanks, everyone. I would love to stay at one of the First-come/First-served campgrounds, but that seems a bit risky to go 2000 miles with no reservations during the busiest time of the year. How do those campgrounds work? Do you find a spot and just squat on it? Or do you go to a check-in facility and they tell you what is free and you claim it before squatting? Seems a bit like driving around the mall parking lot at Christmas and waiting for a parking spot.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:25 AM   #10
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Ranger in the video suggests sites are available if you arrive in the morning. Yellowstone seems to have a bazillion campsites compared to the NP's I'm familiar with. http://www.nps.gov/av/imr/avElement/yell-camping.wmv (Vid is also available at the YNP's camping webpage)

We hope to do YNP and GTNP with a swing past the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in SD this summer. Then south through Canyonlands and Arches enroute to I-40 for the trip back to TN.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdyoungblood View Post
Thanks, everyone. I would love to stay at one of the First-come/First-served campgrounds, but that seems a bit risky to go 2000 miles with no reservations during the busiest time of the year. How do those campgrounds work? Do you find a spot and just squat on it? Or do you go to a check-in facility and they tell you what is free and you claim it before squatting? Seems a bit like driving around the mall parking lot at Christmas and waiting for a parking spot.
We have always driven in from the south, into Grand Teton, and stayed there first. Gros Venture has never been full and is a good place to explore the park and Jackson. The ranger station at the CG monitors the 'Full Time' for all of the campgrounds and will help you gauge what time you need to arrive if you want a chance at a site. I guess you could do the same in Yellowstone. Call one of the reservable places and get a single night, then launch from there.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skooter View Post
Ranger in the video suggests sites are available if you arrive in the morning. Yellowstone seems to have a bazillion campsites compared to the NP's I'm familiar with. http://www.nps.gov/av/imr/avElement/yell-camping.wmv (Vid is also available at the YNP's camping webpage)

We hope to do YNP and GTNP with a swing past the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in SD this summer. Then south through Canyonlands and Arches enroute to I-40 for the trip back to TN.
Sturgis motorcycle rally is Aug 4 - 10 in 2014. The Badlands and Mt Rushmore are very busy around the time of the rally. We accidentally passed through that area one year at the end of the rally.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:53 AM   #13
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Thanks for those dates. Hoping to travel mid-June to mid-July and somehow avoiding the worst of July 4th crowds in the typical areas. It's a big country, thank goodness!
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:35 AM   #14
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In July, first come-first served campgrounds in the park are a real crap shoot. If you are going to chance it, the trick is to be at the campground entrance at 1000 waiting for the departures to start. Ask whoever is leaving what site they were in and how large it was, when one matches up, in you go. Once you have a site, you can stay 14 days. If a camp host is present, that is who you pay, if not, fill out the envelope at the "iron ranger"

Personally, I would make a reservation at Madison or Canyon for your stay in YNP and at Colter Bay for GTNP and take the worry out of the journey.

On the east entrance road, just outside Yellowstone, there are half a dozen small campgrounds along the North Fork of the Shoshone River in Shoshone National Forest. Some have electric! All are cheaper than YNP.

Enjoy the journey,

Mike
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