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Planning Trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks Next July

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  • Planning Trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks Next July

    We had just purchased our first travel trailer (XLS 22MLE) right before everything closed! We have not even had a chance to learn how to USE our new camper yet! So far we've spent 1 night on our basketball court where we keep it parked. So unfortunately we had to cancel this trip scheduled for this year, and are now scheduling for next July. Do any of you have recommendations on campgrounds that are the closest to each park and take reservations in either of these parks. I see that most of the campgrounds that are in these parks are first come, first serve. Since our trip to these parks will be our first time there, we would like to have reservations instead of wasting all of our time driving around trying to find a campsite. Once we are there we may still try to find a site at one of those first come, first sights that are within the parks - but would like to at least start out at one with reservations. We are planning on spending 5 nights at each park. I did go ahead and purchase a KOA card and know these sights are pricey but do have full hookups. I am a person who studies reviews on multiple sites before making a decision, and some of these KOA sites did not have good reviews. We had originally booked our stay at Yellowstone at Henry's Lake State Park near the West Entrance to Yellowstone. This park had great reviews, but since it is at the West entrance it can be quite a distance to many of the sites within Yellowstone. I will probably book here now as reservations can be canceled for a minimal fee and continue to look for other sites. We are so anxious for this trip and really want to make the most of our time there. So any recommendations from you seasoned travelers out there would be appreciated.

    Also, I know that July is super busy and crowded there, but if we wait until the end of August or first of September when kids head back to school, I'm concerned about the weather. So if any of you have any experiences with that time of year I'l love to hear them.

  • #2
    Originally posted by CampCinci View Post
    We had just purchased our first travel trailer (XLS 22MLE) right before everything closed! We have not even had a chance to learn how to USE our new camper yet! So far we've spent 1 night on our basketball court where we keep it parked. So unfortunately we had to cancel this trip scheduled for this year, and are now scheduling for next July. Do any of you have recommendations on campgrounds that are the closest to each park and take reservations in either of these parks. I see that most of the campgrounds that are in these parks are first come, first serve. Since our trip to these parks will be our first time there, we would like to have reservations instead of wasting all of our time driving around trying to find a campsite. Once we are there we may still try to find a site at one of those first come, first sights that are within the parks - but would like to at least start out at one with reservations. We are planning on spending 5 nights at each park. I did go ahead and purchase a KOA card and know these sights are pricey but do have full hookups. I am a person who studies reviews on multiple sites before making a decision, and some of these KOA sites did not have good reviews. We had originally booked our stay at Yellowstone at Henry's Lake State Park near the West Entrance to Yellowstone. This park had great reviews, but since it is at the West entrance it can be quite a distance to many of the sites within Yellowstone. I will probably book here now as reservations can be canceled for a minimal fee and continue to look for other sites. We are so anxious for this trip and really want to make the most of our time there. So any recommendations from you seasoned travelers out there would be appreciated.

    Also, I know that July is super busy and crowded there, but if we wait until the end of August or first of September when kids head back to school, I'm concerned about the weather. So if any of you have any experiences with that time of year I'l love to hear them.
    I haven't watched this Changing Lanes video (yet), but given the title, Yellowstone National Park [Where to NOT Stay], it may be pertinent to you:

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    Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CampCinci View Post
      We had just purchased our first travel trailer (XLS 22MLE) right before everything closed! We have not even had a chance to learn how to USE our new camper yet! So far we've spent 1 night on our basketball court where we keep it parked. So unfortunately we had to cancel this trip scheduled for this year, and are now scheduling for next July. Do any of you have recommendations on campgrounds that are the closest to each park and take reservations in either of these parks. I see that most of the campgrounds that are in these parks are first come, first serve. Since our trip to these parks will be our first time there, we would like to have reservations instead of wasting all of our time driving around trying to find a campsite. Once we are there we may still try to find a site at one of those first come, first sights that are within the parks - but would like to at least start out at one with reservations. We are planning on spending 5 nights at each park. I did go ahead and purchase a KOA card and know these sights are pricey but do have full hookups. I am a person who studies reviews on multiple sites before making a decision, and some of these KOA sites did not have good reviews. We had originally booked our stay at Yellowstone at Henry's Lake State Park near the West Entrance to Yellowstone. This park had great reviews, but since it is at the West entrance it can be quite a distance to many of the sites within Yellowstone. I will probably book here now as reservations can be canceled for a minimal fee and continue to look for other sites. We are so anxious for this trip and really want to make the most of our time there. So any recommendations from you seasoned travelers out there would be appreciated.

      Also, I know that July is super busy and crowded there, but if we wait until the end of August or first of September when kids head back to school, I'm concerned about the weather. So if any of you have any experiences with that time of year I'l love to hear them.
      We are scheduled to go to YS and GTT during the same time period. Seems that the Changing Lanes folks worst experience was staying in the Cabin and we have no need to stay in a cabin. We are taking their other negative experiences with a grain of salt and will proceed with caution as the other MILLIONS of visitors more positive experiences over the years kind of balance things out, at least for us. My best advice is to watch the video all the way through before making your decision.
      Last edited by Schiefswret; 05-02-2020, 06:47 AM.
      Dave and Sue
      2020 GD 2250RK
      2019 F-150 XLT, 5.0
      Curt 17500 WDH
      GY Endurance, Dexter EZ Flex
      Tampa Bay

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      • #4
        Be prepared for enormous crowds, even this year. By that I mean have patience and enjoy where you happen to be at the moment.

        We were there last summer. I agree with trying to stay I the parks at least a bit, to have more hours of fun and less of driving. Stars and evening animals just aren't the same any other way.

        Rick,

        2019 Grand Design Reflection 150 273MK
        2015 Ford F350 CC SB Lariat Powerstroke
        PullRite Superglide

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        • #5
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          I love that area. I took the family camping there a while back. We use tents back then. I would like to do it agin but in a nice camper.
          Don & Kim
          2018 Ram Rebel 1500
          2021 Grand Design 22MLE (on order)
          2013 Lance (slightly used in 2016)
          1990 Multiple Tents

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          • #6
            We have visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone many times. Since your trip this year is postponed, I suggest you gain some experience camping without full hookups. There are a number of beautiful rv sites in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone but very limited full hookup sites (only one in Yellowstone is Fishing Bridge which is closed in 2020 for renovation). Keep in mind that most of the campgrounds have water available and dumps at least for grey water. A generator for recharging batteries is a great investment. IF you decide you can live without full hookups, several of the campgrounds within the parks have limited sites that are reservable. In Yellowstone, Madison is probably the most centrally located to most of the attractions. IF you cannot live without full hookups, Flagg Ranch is most accessible to both parks however, it is very expensive and when we made the mistake of staying there several years ago (only because we had family members joining us which required a full hook-up site). we were not impressed with anything in the park. It was very outdated and even though it offered full hookups, everything was antiquated. As another respondent mentioned, July is probably the worst month for visiting the parks. Not only are the crowds (and subsequent vehicle traffic) at the highest, wildlife have headed to the high ground to get away from the tourists, so wildlife viewing opportunities are much more limited (and the wildlife are harassed by the idiots that park in the middle of the road, leave their vehicles and chase the wildlife. Our favorite months for visiting the parks are mid-May and Mid-September. The wildlife are still close to roads, lots of cute babies to observe in May, and bugling bull Elk to listen to in mid-September. Not to beat a dead horse on the idea of dry camping but when we started rv'ing over 40-years ago, we didn't know there was any alternatives to full hookups. Now, we carry a small generator, a 5-gallon water can, a 5-gallon "dump bucket," take GI showers, and other measures to minimize water/holding tank usage. We can easily camp without hookups for more than a week, even longer if water and dump facilities are available. Good luck!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sissysfolks View Post
              We have visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone many times. Since your trip this year is postponed, I suggest you gain some experience camping without full hookups. There are a number of beautiful rv sites in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone but very limited full hookup sites (only one in Yellowstone is Fishing Bridge which is closed in 2020 for renovation). Keep in mind that most of the campgrounds have water available and dumps at least for grey water. A generator for recharging batteries is a great investment. IF you decide you can live without full hookups, several of the campgrounds within the parks have limited sites that are reservable. In Yellowstone, Madison is probably the most centrally located to most of the attractions. IF you cannot live without full hookups, Flagg Ranch is most accessible to both parks however, it is very expensive and when we made the mistake of staying there several years ago (only because we had family members joining us which required a full hook-up site). we were not impressed with anything in the park. It was very outdated and even though it offered full hookups, everything was antiquated. As another respondent mentioned, July is probably the worst month for visiting the parks. Not only are the crowds (and subsequent vehicle traffic) at the highest, wildlife have headed to the high ground to get away from the tourists, so wildlife viewing opportunities are much more limited (and the wildlife are harassed by the idiots that park in the middle of the road, leave their vehicles and chase the wildlife. Our favorite months for visiting the parks are mid-May and Mid-September. The wildlife are still close to roads, lots of cute babies to observe in May, and bugling bull Elk to listen to in mid-September. Not to beat a dead horse on the idea of dry camping but when we started rv'ing over 40-years ago, we didn't know there was any alternatives to full hookups. Now, we carry a small generator, a 5-gallon water can, a 5-gallon "dump bucket," take GI showers, and other measures to minimize water/holding tank usage. We can easily camp without hookups for more than a week, even longer if water and dump facilities are available. Good luck!
              Thank you for this great information. We finally used our camper for the 1st time, and loved every minute!! I am definitely open to dry camping. So is Madison your preference? What about a preference in Grand Tetons? In checking reviews I've seen Colter Bay listed as a top site. Do you recommend any others? My only concern with May or September would be road closures or not having full access to both parks. Was that ever a problem during those Months? We are planning our first few trips close to home, and then want to head out of state if things are opened up by July. Thanks again!!

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              • #8
                Sorry for the delay--building an rv garage for our new Imagine. Madison and Grant Village are more centrally located to the major attractions. Our preference is Mammoth as we spend most of our time watching wildlife in the Lamar Valley. We live only 50-miles from Grand Teton so only make day trips there. All the campgrounds there are nice. Weather can be an issue in early May. September generally has no weather problems however, as I say that, we had snow here last week. Last year we had snow in late August but nothing sticks on the ground. Good luck. Oh, in your dry camping "kit" include a funnel for pouring water into your tank, and a "Hose Thief" which is a device that slips over a "smooth hose bib which is common in many Forest Service campgrounds.

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                • #9
                  We just got back and we Stayed at Headwaters at Flag ranch, it is between both parks closer to the south entrance of Yellowstone but we loved it. Has a store,sell propane and paths down to the Snake River.and full hookups . This is a view from the campground when you walk to the end.
                  Mike Foster
                  2020 Transcend Xplor 221RB

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                  • #10
                    Inside Yellowstone Nat’l Park, Fishing Bridge campground is the only one with full hookups AND you can make reservations there. Fishing Bridge the bridge is bridge over the outlet of Yellowstone Lake, which is the start of Yellowstone River. The campground is is reasonably central for day trips to the various parts of the park. We were there in Early June 2016 for 2 weeks. Some hot days and some cold nights. Main building has laundry and hot showers available. We understand they may not be open this year due to problems of getting needed Covid supplies so they could do some remodeling or something. We had made our reservation about a year in advance. So check now for 2021. Enjoy all parts of the park.
                    Doug & Barb
                    2020 Solitude 377MBS-R
                    2013 F-150 Lariat SuperCrew SB, 2WD, 3.5 EB, Stock Suspension & Michelin Tires
                    No, we don’t pull the Solitude, it’s permanently parked on our campsite in SW Fla.
                    Previous: Keystone Premier 31BHPR w/Equalizer 1200 WD Hitch

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