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Old 12-18-2022, 05:48 PM   #1
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Traveling to Yellowstone from Canada.

Hello, G'day and Happy Holidays everyone! It's COLD up here in Calgary Canada today. (-40c with the wind-chill) Which has me dreaming of warmer days ahead. Some of my family members and I are rolling around the idea of a trip to Yellowstone national park during the summer of 2024. A long way out yet but this summer is already filled up with a major trip. But allows for booking sites and getting the kids passports. As well as pose a few questions to my southern neighbors and fellow rv'ers.

Thinking about 9 day timeframe for the round trip (weekend to weekend) is this a sufficient amount of time to explore the park?

My setup is a 25 ft. Apex Nano 208 bunkhouse with a slide. I'm comfortable with either boondocking or full hookups and would like to do a bit of both.

Is there any State Parks or National Forest areas near by that would be worth camping at? Or as a Canadian would this be an issue/are permits required?

How far in advance can I book a reservation within the park?

The tentative plan is to travel to the boarder area on the 1st day. and stay at Writing on Stone PP. Then cross the boarder at Coutts.

From there is it best to enter Yellowstone from the West entrance or from the north Gardiner entrance?

Google Maps say Gardiner is the most direct. In this area are Rocky Mountain RV park and Yellowstone RV park. Any recommendations for either?

I also want to stay at the Canyon Campground inside of Yellowstone National park but have heard of size and space being an issue would this apply to my rig?

Other than the Canyon, Mammoth hot springs and old faith full, what other attractions would people recommend that are kid friendly?

On the return trip Choteau Montana is about the halfway point. Any recommended campgrounds in this area?

We are also pretty avid cyclists. How bike friendly is Yellowstone? I know it's huge but so is Banff, which has some great bicycle routes. I'm not opposed to leaving them at home but a nice day ride out of the truck would be well worth it to me.

Thank you in advance for your advice everyone! Stay warm and Happy camping.
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Old 12-18-2022, 08:13 PM   #2
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9 Days - I am guessing that is 5 days in Yellowstone. For me that is more than enough - too many people to deal with any longer. I would recommend Grand Teton National Park (just south of Yellowstone), for a few days, it is a much better hiking park than Yellowstone.

Biking - It's been a few years... The roads are crowded and cars are parked on the shoulder near any sights. So if you are thinking of any distance (20+ miles) it's a mixed bag. We met two families that were biking from Maine to Washington and camped next to us. They were enjoying seeing Yellowstone by bike. If you do ride any distance, you need to be comfortable riding in traffic, dressed in bright colors and have lights (front and back). If just want to bike 5 miles, the roads around most of the campgrounds are good. https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/bicycling.htm

I believe the camping is reservable 6 months out from the date. Things fill fast.

Where to camp - if it is easy to move, I would stay at several campgrounds in the park, visiting the area around the campground and move to a new location. Sightsee EARLY!

I highly recomend a meal in Old Faithful Lodge and if you go down to Grand Teton eat at Jenny Lake Lodge.

25 foot fits in a decent number of sites. If you reserve early you should be OK in most campgrounds. https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
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Old 12-18-2022, 09:06 PM   #3
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Cycling with the kids

Thank you so much for including the links to the national park bike page! This is exactly what I was hoping for but haven't had the time to dig into! With the kids I'm not keen on road cycling, it's hard enough just getting them to stay in line. But something like the Long Star geyser rout, the natural bridge or this Moring glory pool rides would be perfect.

Thanks Again!
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Old 12-20-2022, 12:45 AM   #4
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Here's a link from RVLife/TripWizard to the Choteau, Mt RV parks.
https://campgrounds.rvlife.com/regions/montana/choteau

Visit the website for reviews and links to the individual campgrounds.
Then, visit the home page for TripWizard and see how that works. You can look up ANY area in the US and Canada and find a selection of parks that are shown on a map that you can zoom in and out. Also has POI, fueling stations, rest areas and more.
They have a free trial. I've used them for 7 years and still spend way more time than I should snooping parks and areas!....even places I'll never go.
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Old 12-20-2022, 05:53 AM   #5
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At a Yellowstone visitor center sign the kids up for the junior ranger badge program. It's been a fun thing to do for our kids.
For full hookup campgrounds:
Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only full hookup campground in Yellowstone and it's close to the East entrance.
Grizzly RV Park is most popular outside the West entrance.
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Old 12-20-2022, 03:05 PM   #6
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Yellowstone is huge with narrow roads, many with very steep drop-offs and no guard rails.

My wife and I were there in early June 2022 and we never gave thought to take our road bikes down. The roads are narrow, with some bad pavement, crowded, and animals.

Essentially you have three sections to Yellowstone, North/East entering from Gardiner, MT, or Cody, WY to the East. South coming into the park (or leaving) into Grand Teton NP also separate park entrance fee, and the West entrance through West Yellowstone. You should be able to see what needs to be seen spending a day in each area. With this being said be prepared to drive probably upwards of 50 miles a day if not more. An example, we stayed at Fishing Bridge CG, the brand-new section with full hookups. One way to Old Faithful was 36 miles. The good thing was the Jenny Lake Lodge as recommended was next to the campground and it is worth the visit. A great comfortable bar next to a huge fireplace for a cocktail after exploring.

Try to get as much park information as possible including maps to assist in your pre-planning. Several times over you'll cross the Continental Divide within the park with elevations over 10K feet! Did I mention no guard rails?

Remember, Yellowstone is sorta like the crater of a volcano. The sights and geological happenings and there are many many to see, are almost like no place else on earth. That is what makes it so special for both adults and kids alike.

If time would permit try to visit Grand Teton's NP and Jackson, WY only 75 from the South entrance of Yellowstone. For biking, Jackson is the best town we ever cycled in. They have true bike lanes with lane dividers, and separate stop and road signs including distances to various areas. You can almost easily ride your bike on paved paths from the center of Jackson into Grand Tetons.
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Old 12-20-2022, 03:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherman12 View Post
An example, we stayed at Fishing Bridge CG, the brand-new section with full hookups. One way to Old Faithful was 36 miles. The good thing was the Jenny Lake Lodge as recommended was next to the campground and it is worth the visit. A great comfortable bar next to a huge fireplace for a cocktail after exploring.
Jenny Lake is in Grand Teton NP when was the lodge moved up to Yellowstone?
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Old 12-20-2022, 08:49 PM   #8
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Thank You All!

Many Thanks again folks. The Junior Ranger program looks like it would be an excellent way to occupy the the kids for a day.

I'll definitely take a look at the RV life / Trip Wizard site as this will be our longest distance trip with the trailer since we had kids. We typically stay within a 5-6 hr. radius from Calgary. Five hrs. on the road with the kids is a long enough of a travel day.

I've been down to Jackson Hole for ski trips in the years before children but never in summer and it was my understating that the north entrance to the park is closed in winter. Butte / Bolder was typically our mid point. All a little to the west of the park and 7 years ago. So being somewhat familiar with the area Yellowstone in summer has been on my bucket list for a long time.

I'm now starting to think that coming in from the north and working down to exit the west entrance would be a better experience than setting in a single location and doing a bunch of day trips. The flipside is breaking camp every couple days. Any comments or experience for either strategy?

Thanks a bunch folks!
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Old 12-21-2022, 12:39 AM   #9
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Depending on how many days you're there, check out the price difference between a week park pass and the annual America the Beautiful Pass. When we visit the Parks, we usually buy the annual one, as it is cheaper for us.
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Old 12-21-2022, 10:30 AM   #10
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Sorry got my NPs mixed up. Yes, I agree with Jenny Lake lodge in Grand Tetons is a place to visit and perhaps eat. I also recommend in Yellowstone NP Lake Lodge on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. Relax in an Adirondack Chair overlooking the lake, or as earlier suggested a cocktail at the inside bar.
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Old 12-21-2022, 01:41 PM   #11
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We did Yellowstone this year and spent 3 days in the park. We were able to see all the sights but maybe not linger as long as we would like.

We have 3 kids, 13-11-9, and not much for hiking so we took some "nature walks" and other than the sights you mentioned I think the Prismatic Pool is definitely worth a look.

We entered the park from the west and to my knowledge the north entrance is still closed from flood damage last summer. But by the time you go they should have it reopened.

There are many turnouts for scenic views so I suggest stopping frequently and looking around. But those areas also become choke points so watch out for traffic. And anytime there's buffalo or elk near the road people do dumb things so be careful. Several times we came to an abrupt stop when people stopped, got out of their vehicle to take pictures. You just need to pack a little extra patience.

It's the most beautiful park we've been to so far and we'll worth the journey. Have a blast!!
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