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Old 07-11-2008, 06:27 AM   #1
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Question Is there a size limit in National Parks?

We are currently selecting an Airstream size to meet our needs. It is between 25-28 Feet. I have heard that there are size limits in the National Parks. If so, we don't want to select a 27 or 28 and find it was a major mistake.

Does anyone know from personal experience if there is a maximum? We heard 25 and others say up to 30.

We want to do this right.


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Old 07-11-2008, 07:03 AM   #2
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It varies.

Rocky Mountain - 30' max
Great Smokies - some 12' max, others 40' max.
Olympic - mostly 21'

I have heard that the best choice for the most campsites is 24'.

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Old 07-11-2008, 08:10 AM   #3
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With our shorties...I find that we often can get last-minute reservations when others can't - both in National/State Parks & private campgrounds. More options ~

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Old 07-11-2008, 08:13 AM   #4
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Darn tootin there is!

Most State and Fed parks have very cramped spaces.

If the park says 30 feet, they ain't kidding.
Push it, and risk $$$$$$ in damage to your trailer

I'm here in Glacier NP which has a few big rig pull-thru's and it's still tight for my set-up. I just left a KOA (West Glacier KOA) and there pull-thru's were even tighter, I had to back out of my pull-thru site because I could not clear the TV to my left.

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Old 07-11-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
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I've found that the size limit varies by park and campground within a park. Check the reservation sites for the parks you're interested in.
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:03 AM   #6
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Not only is there a limit, the limit is written differently from park to park. A park we stayed at had a 35' limit, which should have been no problem. When we got there, the limit for for total rig length, not trailer only...
Generally, you can find a spot for a 25' trailer, 28 may be pushing it, over that and you should call to verify before reserving or entering.
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:02 PM   #7
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Who says "bigger" is always better!

We've been able to get in everywhere we've visited...but had it not been for our shorty, there would not have been room in the inn at a couple of places.

Site length restrictions will vary widely depending on the age and style of the park/campground you select....and there will be variations within most parks. It's probably best to get the AS that is large enough for your family and needs (without getting carried away)...and worry about campground restrictions later. You can also check some of the campgrounds you intend to visit on line before you purchase.

Good luck!
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:50 PM   #8
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Lightbulb Here's a tip...

...if you are pretty confident in your ability to squeeze into tight spaces.

Most RV manufacturers measure their trailer's body. Airstream on the other hand measures from tongue to bumper. When making reservations, it may be beneficial to have your Airstream's actual "body" measurement handy (w/o the tongue & bumper) This usually makes about a three foot difference. However, a 26'-11" trailer is sometimes called a 26-foot and sometimes a it is best to get your rig's actual measurements.

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Old 07-11-2008, 10:07 PM   #9
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Great advice so far... it does vary a lot from park to park! I have seen Class C motorhomes in Yellowstone... and big type rigs in Yosemite... but cramped doesn't even begin to describe it! In addition to National Parks, many BLM campgrounds or Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds also designed their spaces for "smaller" rigs. Kind of a common sense thing. Back when these parks were carving out campgrounds most folks were in tents or small trailers. Many National Parks have limited hookups.

There are always parks to cater to folks with bigger rigs near National Parks (most, anyway... Yosemite is a problem in this regard...) and you can set up and drive in with your tow vehicle. Be sure you find the Airstream you really want and will serve your needs, not just the National Parks... I will agree to those above, those with smaller rigs can get more last minute spots!

Good luck!
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:38 PM   #10
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We've been staying at several National Forest campgrounds in Montana, Idaho, & Washington. The pick of spaces was ours as most sites were empty. I travel in a 34.5 foot long motorhome. It's nice not needing a pullthrough site. The MH has a 9 foot overhang past the centerline of the rear axle. As long as there's no trees or other damaging obstructions, I can back in further than the stoned parking space given. If possible you should drive the whole loop to see if you can find a large & level site. I've even found some great ones left empty because the picnic table & fire pit were on the wrong side of parking space. I'll just pull in forward so my door is on the same side. After years of backing a semi with a 53' trailer, I haven't found a site where my MH can't go.
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Old 07-12-2008, 04:54 AM   #11
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We put on close to 15,000 miles touring Alberta and British Columbia and all the western states last summer. We visited anything that had the word National in it. National Parks and Monuments were our primary interest. We traveled without reservations and had no problems with our 31' anywhere except in a National forest campground near the entrance to Mt. Ranier in Washington. In that campground I think most any rig of any length would have had problems due to the big trees and tight radiuses that were required to back into spots. This was no problem as there was a private campground only 3 miles down the road. I would buy the trailer size I liked best and wanted without worrying about this issue.
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:52 AM   #12
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We have had no problems finding a site to fit our 27' in national, state, and provincial parks across the eastern US and Canada. We hardly stay at private campgrounds due to the cheek-by-jowel site sizes.

Take a look at Campgrounds and Camping Reservations - ReserveAmerica which is the reservation service for many state campgrounds. It lets you select sites by trailer size. This will give you an idea if the locations you want will fit the trailer you are considering.
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:11 PM   #13
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We just finished a 3 month trip to the NW and back down to Bozeman and never had any difficulty with our AS regarding parking sites. Just about every place we stayed we were asked the length of our unit. Sometimes I think the length restriction was lifted in an effort to accodomate someone. Several times during the trip we did see very large motorcoaches crammed into some very tight parking spaces.

I have forgotted the exact location but we had stopped at an overlook somewhere in Oregon To get there you had to exit the highway and drive down to the overlook parking lot. The lot was full with vehicles and some of which were pulling RV's. Two large Prevost coached, each pulling a TV, entered the over look looking for a parking site. Needless to say, they plugged up everything for at least 15 minutes. This was very small over look parking lot would have had some difficulty handling something the size of the Prevost.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, its nice to tow a small package. I have found that we have more opportunities to stop and smell the roses along our routes.
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:31 PM   #14
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I believe everything already said is correct.

When they tell you the maximum length, I am unclear whether they mean "trailer" or "trailer and TV" in many cases. Reserve America states the length of the site rather than telling you the maximum RV length; that makes more sense. Other public campgrounds seem to be vague on this.

One of the factors we considered was length for public campgrounds when we were choosing a trailer, but it was a small factor.


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