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Old 11-26-2016, 09:56 AM   #1
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TV and TT length at National Parks

Hi everyone... I in search of a handy guide of sorts (maybe a list/spreadsheet) that provides data on what length of trailer is permitted at any particular national park. From my research, it appears that stated lengths are for combined vehicles (TT plus TV), and when I consider I am pulling a 27ft Airstream with a 2500HD rig, the total length is easily over 40ft. This 40ft removes some 97% of all national parks that I could ever enter with my TT/TV and spend nights. Makes me wonder why I should buy a TT..... Thoughts and input from the community are most appreciated.

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Old 11-26-2016, 10:21 AM   #2
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Hi everyone... I in search of a handy guide of sorts (maybe a list/spreadsheet) that provides data on what length of trailer is permitted at any particular national park. From my research, it appears that stated lengths are for combined vehicles (TT plus TV), and when I consider I am pulling a 27ft Airstream with a 2500HD rig, the total length is easily over 40ft. This 40ft removes some 97% of all national parks that I could ever enter with my TT/TV and spend nights. Makes me wonder why I should buy a TT..... Thoughts and input from the community are most appreciated.

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Easy solution -- unhitch; and go park the tow vehicle in overflow.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:23 AM   #3
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I've only been to Joshua Tree and Yosemite in California , saw lots of big rigs, 5th wheels and trailers your size .... but I'd love to see a list like that too!
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:35 AM   #4
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At Yellowstone you would find accessible sites at all but three of the campgrounds. We tow a 31' Sovereign with a Nissan Titan so roughly the same length. In ten years and 70000 miles of towing, we have had exactly one situation where we simply couldn't fit in a Federal campground.

Five of seven campgrounds in Grand Teton would have sites for you as would seven of nine Forest Service campgrounds located between YNP and Cody, WY.

At Everglades, 70 foot pull throughs are the rule, not the exception.

Just examples. I think you are overthinking it. "Allstays" app is your friend as is "RV Park Reviews".
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:46 AM   #5
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We journeyed to Glacier National Park last August. It was the first year they opened up reservations to part of the Many Glacier Campground. The site we chose was 110.
http://www.recreation.gov/camping/Ma...&parkId=136190

You'll notice it says maximum vehicle length is 20ft but the total driveway length is 55ft. Even though its a pull through site I backed in, disconnected then parked the truck behind the trailer. I've attached two photos. A 27 should fit since its only 2 ft longer than our 25fb (28ft vs 26ft).

I used the photos in recreation.gov above and Google Maps satellite view to determine if the site would work.

In June 2015 I traveled to Zion and stayed at Watchman campground in site B19. In this case the description only states maximum length, 40ft. I unhitched and was able to park off to the side as the site was plenty wide.
http://www.recreation.gov/camping/Wa...O&parkId=70923

Often the sites can be wide enough to park next or you can park across the width of the campsite entrance.

The campground in Glacier that has the most large sites is Apgar. Fish Creek can be iffy unless you do your research.

This site is handy if your desired campground is in their list. If the site shows an RV in it then its a good candidate for your rig.
https://www.campsitephotos.com/campg...ontana?sortby=

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Old 11-26-2016, 10:48 AM   #6
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To the actual OP's request though, let's take this on as a small project. Here is what I found re a list of national parks by state:

http://www.trailerlife.com/trailer-c...ational-parks/

In order to not fluff up the thread with meaningless bureaucracy, if you're interested in helping out in a review/information gathering, message me privately and I'll assign out parks for you to work through. I'll work through as well.

I'll post the final tally either here, or if the list is complete enough, perhaps we might start a new thread which could be linked to a forum FAQ or sticky.

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Old 11-26-2016, 12:01 PM   #7
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Sometimes it's not necessarily the length of the site but it's the layout of the roads. We live near Indian Boundary near Vonore, Tennessee. There are sites there that will hold a long rig but the roads are so twisted and tight around the trees that it's very easy to get stuck. And even if you can get into the camping loops you will have a hard time backing on a turn to park your trailer.
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Old 11-26-2016, 01:38 PM   #8
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I can't submit private messages yet, Ian, as I'm new to this site/community. Identify the work you'd like me to do on this thread, and I'll start the project.
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Old 11-26-2016, 02:10 PM   #9
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Crater Lake National Park has 100' sites. The only problem is a tree on each corner of the site entry. You can back in, but pull through is impasible. Park service campground designers are not rocket scientists.
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Old 11-26-2016, 02:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelczar View Post
Hi everyone... I in search of a handy guide of sorts (maybe a list/spreadsheet) that provides data on what length of trailer is permitted at any particular national park. From my research, it appears that stated lengths are for combined vehicles (TT plus TV), and when I consider I am pulling a 27ft Airstream with a 2500HD rig, the total length is easily over 40ft. This 40ft removes some 97% of all national parks that I could ever enter with my TT/TV and spend nights. Makes me wonder why I should buy a TT..... Thoughts and input from the community are most appreciated.

C&N
GMC 2500HD

In most cases it is advisable to book ahead on line. In my experience the park layout is always shown with the sizes of the lots and services available. We are pulling a 30' and in four years of State and National Parks never had an issue with length. The most popular Parks have multiple campgrounds with varying sizes and services.
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:10 PM   #11
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National Park Lengths.

Here is a link to a review of campsite limits by Jim Harmer. He also has a YT video.
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Old 11-26-2016, 04:08 PM   #12
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In the 1970s we easily parked our 23' SOB and Ford E300 Van in Rising Sun Campground. Some of the turns on the loops were tight but we handled them. The spots are lovely. Our last trip to Glacier in 2010 we had our 29' AS pulled by a 1999 GMC 2500 4wd Suburban. Whether we could get into the spots was a moot point as we knew we couldn't make the turns on the loops with huge rocks and trees ready to eat our Excella. We drove it unhooked just to be absolutely positive and it would have been a trap. Whether you could do it with a 27' or not, I doubt it seriously.
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Old 11-26-2016, 04:21 PM   #13
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With our F350 SuperCrew lwb and our 28ft Airstream we have yet to have any problems in any national park.our combined length is 52ft.


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Old 11-26-2016, 05:21 PM   #14
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It's no too unusual in some parks to find back-in sites wide enough to accommodate side by side parking of the TT & TV.
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:54 PM   #15
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TV and TT length at National Parks

Quote:
Originally Posted by kfrere View Post
Sometimes it's not necessarily the length of the site but it's the layout of the roads. We live near Indian Boundary near Vonore, Tennessee. There are sites there that will hold a long rig but the roads are so twisted and tight around the trees that it's very easy to get stuck. And even if you can get into the camping loops you will have a hard time backing on a turn to park your trailer.

The tight turns limitation absolutely applies in the Olympic National Park at the Sol Duc campground. We drove thru there without our trailer (thank goodness!) just to get a look at sites that were allegedly long enough for our trailer. Would not *ever* want to tow our 27FB trailer into that campground, because we'd never get past the trees on the tight turns to get out again.



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Old 11-26-2016, 07:40 PM   #16
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I have 2 comments to add.

One is that the actual website used to make reservations at Yellowstone, for example, is very confusing as to the information is asks and selectable options for length and type of rig. I recommend making the reservation and then calling on the phone to clarify that the one made is correct. Or calling to make the reservation if you have time to do so. That way the phone agent can understand that you have (in our case) a 19 foot pickup truck and a 22 foot long trailer. So they know that the total length is technically over that "40 foot" site length, but that you aren't driving a Provost motor home.

In our case, we were able to get a site with room for our daughters' tent, and overflow parking for their vehicle.

Second comment is that some older national park sites are not designed for longer rigs. Due exactly to what others have said about tight turns, trees and overhead branches in the way to back up, and what we ran across in the Tetons--lining the edge of the road way with tree stumps that were about 15 inches high. Impossible to see when driving, and in the way when backing in.

And to back in you are blocking the entire road for anyone else who needs to get by. We had to circle around 5 times so that others could get out of the campground while we kept attempting to back in. After the 5th attempt somehow we got the 22 foot bambi backed in and had no opportunity to level side to side, as we had to unhitch (since the truck was still blocking the road for others), and circle around again and park the truck next to the trailer. It was lovely, but what a terrible hassle.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:29 PM   #17
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I've been working on a similar project myself - looking up all the National Parks I think we'd want to visit, and evaluating their campgrounds for the suitability of various sizes of trailers. I've heard that many of the oldest & most popular parks have the most restrictions, so I've started with those parks - Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sequoia, Glacier, Zion, Bryce, the Grand Canyon, etc.


One caveat - I'm going by published trailer lengths, as seen on the nps or recreation.gov websites, as I would prefer to reserve a site in advance. Many people have written about how Airstream measures their trailers differently than other brands, but I've found that the web sites are getting more and more specific about exactly what fits in each site (i.e. "35' motorhome or 27' trailer and no larger due to trees and rocks on the left side of the site"). So, if they've gathered that much specific info, I tend to trust it.

In general, about 50% of campsites in any campground are basically "tent only" and have room for nothing larger than a car or possibly a Sprinter-type RV.

Among the other half, most sites restrict trailers to 24' or less.

By the time you get to a 25' trailer, you'll fit into about 8-10% of the sites (on average). If you get to a 30' trailer, it's about 5-7%.


So, although it seems like a lot of people fret over the difference between a 25' vs. a 28' or a 28' vs. a 30', between 25 feet and 30 feet you're really only losing out on 3-5 campsites out of 100. If you really want to stay in a particular park, your best bet is to reserve early rather than getting a smaller trailer. For example, Yosemite often books solid the morning new dates are opened up, so your access to many Yosemite sites will depend on having fast fingers and the luck of the draw more than your trailer size.

In other words, if a popular campground has 200 sites, it may only have 10-20 that fit a larger Airstream. In my opinion, I'd rather put more work into getting a reservation for one of those limited, popular sites than getting a trailer we don't like quite as much & hope our odds go up.

Another key is generator use. Many campgrounds now have generator-free loops, and larger sites seem randomly scattered around those loops in equal proportion to loops where generators are allowed. I think a 28' trailer with solar & no generator can probably get into as many sites as a 25' trailer with a generator.

The one exception I've found so far is for Mount Rainier National Park. Tight turns in both the Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds require them to list a 27' limit on all trailers. However, I know of at least one Airstreamer with a 30' trailer who managed to fit into one of the more easily accessed non-reservable loops.

As others have mentioned, there are of course other parks with greater restrictions. I'd recommend visiting recreation.gov for any parks on your "must see" list. Most parks allow you to pull up a list of every site & its restrictions. A quick scan of the list will tell you how many sites will fit the RV you have in mind.

I've looked into about a dozen parks as of now, and plan on looking at a few dozen more, but as of now I'm comfortable in saying that we're personally going to choice the best trailer for us within the 25-30' range, knowing that we'll fit into 90% of the parks we want to visit. Of course, your "must see" list will vary, so I strongly recommend looking into your own favorite parks rather than relying on anyone else's broad generalizations.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:59 AM   #18
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Awesome idea 💡
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Old 11-27-2016, 06:42 AM   #19
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I've been working on a similar project myself - looking up all the National Parks I think we'd want to visit, and evaluating their campgrounds for the suitability of various sizes of trailers. ...
As I mentioned in post #11 you can look at this link on "camperreview.com" for a comprehensive review of National Park campsite limits by Jim Harmer. Here is his summary. The website has campsite specifics too.

"RVs up to 12′ in length fit in every national park campground in the United States, although there are a few campgrounds that don’t allow RVs at all and are tent only.

RVs up to 19′ in length fit in 98% of all national park service campgrounds.
RVs up to 25′ in length fit in 93% of all national park campgrounds
RVs up to 29′ in length fit in 84% of all national park campgrounds
RVs up to 32′ in length fit in 81% of all national park campgrounds
RVs up to 35′ in length fit in 73% of all national park campgrounds
RVs up to 37′ in length fit in 60% of all national park campgrounds
RVs up to 40′ in length fit in 53% of all national park campgrounds (Remember that many of the parks will only have a few sites this size, however. Book long in advance if reservations are available–otherwise you run the risk of not having a spot)

RVs up to 41′ in length fit in 7% of all national park campgrounds (Remember that many of the parks will only have a few sites this size, however. Book long in advance if reservations are available–otherwise you run the risk of not having a spot)"

He also has a YT video.
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:47 AM   #20
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As I mentioned in post #11 you can look at this link on "camperreview.com" for a comprehensive review of National Park campsite limits by Jim Harmer. Here is his summary. The website has campsite specifics too.
Hmmm, I'll have to look around his site more, I have not found any specific campsite info there.

One thing I like about recreation.gov, aside from the campsite specifics I already mentioned, is that they have photos of most sites. So, you can quickly tell how level the site is, how much privacy you'll have, etc.

Some people are fine with any campground or site, as long as they can get in. After all, you're not going to be spending a lot of time at the campsite, right? Personally, we're not planning on traveling that way (for a variety of reasons), and would like to spend some time at the site each day, so getting a good one is important to us. Therefore, I've put more into researching specific sites than most people would be interested in doing.

From my experience, campgrounds can have a wide variety of "quality" sites. For example, I was just reading about a campground that is sandwiched between a road and a river. The sites along the river are quiet and beautiful, the sites closer to the road were noisy and uninteresting. It would be nice to know whether the sites near the river can accommodate trailers.

Another example would be the Grand Canyon. I've never been to the North Rim, and in checking out that campground it appears that five of the sites are considered "premium" (with an upcharge) as they are right on the rim of a canyon (Transept Canyon, which empties into the Grand Canyon). Although the North Rim Campground allows RVs up to 40 feet long, those five "premium" sites are more limited - only one allows a 40' RV, and the other 4 only allow a 27' RV. So, assuming that reservations go quickly, going a bit shorter gives you a slightly better chance at the limited number of "premium" spots.


Again, some people won't care about that kind of stuff- they might care about which campgrounds have hookups, which ones fill their non-reservable sites faster, etc. Which is why, going back to my original point, the ideal site for national parks varies greatly depending on what kind of campground/site one is looking for, which parks one wants to visit, and when you want to go.
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