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Old 02-18-2020, 07:33 PM   #1
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Rental car or not

The wife and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone for this July. I don't use a toad, generally just rent a vehicle wherever we go. Traveling in a FR 352DS. Plan on staying in West Yellowstone about a mile from the park entrance. The big question is, "Do I need a car rental or just roam the park on a daily basis with the RV?" Don't mind spending the $450 for a car if it is really a necessity, but since I've never been there, I don't know. Any input would be appreciated.
Also spending a few days at Pictured Rocks and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, hopefully without a support vehicle. Thoughts??? Thanks
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:50 PM   #2
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I’d seriously consider the rental. Folks can and do view the park with their rv so it can be done. Having been there many times the hassle factor of getting around and finding parking would lean me to the rental.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:25 PM   #3
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I think that Westgate KOA has a tour bus that might be the easiest way to see the park. Probably other campgrounds have similar tour buses. We were there a couple of years ago and parking was not easy in our Tundra. Of course, it all depends on the time of year.

I'd rent a car for Yellowstone if you want to see it on your own.

Camping at the Theodore Roosevelt (north unit) was nice and the south unit has the museum. You should be able to do those without renting a car. Not sure about the Pictured Rocks.

Have fun.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:47 AM   #4
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If you plan to tour yourself rent the car. Worth the money in my opnion.

I hate trying to find parking and get frustrated quickly. You can view from your RV but many of the more busy attractions will be difficult if not impossible to find parking for them in an RV in any time of the season.

You could also pay for a private tour Vs the rental car for some of the major attractions for the initial day and then RV the lower volume places or rent the car later.

We did the private tour the second time around in Yellowstone. They arrange according to your schedule and requested sites know where and when to find animals. They will meet you at the larger visitor centers with lots of parking. You will see more and they time things well traffic wise when we have done this allowing you to see more. Costs for the private tour are not much different per person than the group tours you see at yellowstone especially if you have a group of 6. With only 2 you may want to try a semi-private tour where they book you with other smaller groups to make it cost effective.

We signed up for a semi-private tour at one destination but ended up with a private tour for a lower price than the full group tour.

Best of luck.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:19 PM   #5
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x2 on what Igave says.

I've toured the park twice. Both times by car and very happy I wasn't in my 31L5.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:31 PM   #6
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Nothing like trundling around a national park in a 37-foot motorhome...

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Old 02-19-2020, 01:39 PM   #7
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I went to Yellowstone in August of 2016, stayed at Henry's Lake State Park, Idaho which is 14 miles west of West Yellowstone, Mt. I toured the park in my tow vehicle, Chevy pickup. If you want to see the most popular sites, such as Old Faithful, I suggest you get there early in the morning if you do not like searching for a parking spot. I first went to Old Faithful at 11:00 AM, could not find a parking space and they must have had 2000 of them. Next morning at 0730 I arrived at Old Faithful, had my choice of parking, myself, a honeymoon couple and another couple with two small children from France had the pleasure of viewing Old Faithful as she erupted without the crowds. Take a jacket, it was mid August and 37 degrees. My wife and I are making a return trip this June.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:39 PM   #8
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If you want to see most of the park at something better than a drive-by get the rental car. The problem isn't driving so much as parking. I like Yellowstone in July (like everybody else) and get out early, leave before dawn, and have no problem parking at my first destination, often hardly anyone is there(I'm an amateur photographer, gotta get that early light). By mid-morning or lunch time its time to go to a new spot. By that time it can be a real pain for anything bigger than a motor scooter, for a big RV, fuuuhhhgggeettttabout it.

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Old 02-19-2020, 01:55 PM   #9
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FYI- it is 176 miles to do both loops thru Yellowstone. Depending when you go, parking at peak times can be tough. We were in a 8" bed F-350. We were there for 10 days in Sept. Also consider the Gypsy App. It works on the Bluetooth ap. off your phone, telling you a history of the area and also suggestions for best stops. We now use at parks we are at for several days, suggests how to avoid some of the high traffic areas. We used it for Yellowstone and Grand Teton. It was $10 for both or $6.99 for 1. Also suggest taking a day trip to Grand Teton. Tuned out to be our favorite, and would return there. Grand Teton is on the South end of Yellowstone.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:11 PM   #10
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The rental option would be the best as far as flexibility. Tours would be OK if you prefer not to drive (and operators should have a lot of knowledge you may not get otherwise).

A lot of the 'smaller' attractions won't have motorhome parking available at any time, much less during peak hours.

Definiately go in early (sunrise or before). You can see a lot before crowds slow you down.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:35 PM   #11
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Rental car. There are places you want to stop and see and a motorhome will not be able to park and in some places they are not allowed. We rented our car from Avis at the airport. It's a short drive just outside of town, plenty of parking to accommodate a motorhome. Reserve early. We had a rental for 4 days and drove everywhere, well worth it. I can't imagine driving a motorhome through the park trying to see everything.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:54 PM   #12
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Definitely rental car. We were there on September which should be less busy than July and we couldn't find parking places for our suv a lot of times and had to come back to those areas. MH would be extremely frustrating. Good luck!

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Old 02-19-2020, 03:12 PM   #13
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Pictured Rocks & Teddy Roosevelt

Since everyone seems to have addressed Yellowstone, I will give you our experiences at Pictured Rocks. We had made reservations at Pictured Rocks RV campground months in advance. We spoke with the owner, and he said it was just being built, but took our reservation. When we arrived, we followed the GPS to the address we were given. Nothing there, on a narrow dirt road. A jogger happened by and told us the site had been denied and the campground was moved. We managed to get turned around, and went to the new site. There were workers who told us the campground was not open yet! The owner had our reservation and phone number, and did not bother to let us know! We ended up driving out to Wagon Wheel, which is now a KOA . The staff was very friendly and helpful. It was a fair distance out of town, but we have a 5th wheel, so we just took the truck to tour. There are several waterfalls to visit, and the boat tour. Parking a motorhome could be a problem. Do go to Muldoons for their pasties. They are the best.

Theodore Roosevelt should not be a problem. There is a loop road to tour and a visitors center.
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Old 02-19-2020, 04:01 PM   #14
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The south loop in Teddy Roosevelt remains closed past mile 24 so you must turn the bus around at one of the turnouts before that and return the way you came. Still a nice drive Doable without a car.
North Loop is not as scenic but has the animals.. we did it in our 30 footer and there is no need for a car
I would definitely ride a tour bus or rent a car in Yellowstone.. and take a drive down to Grand Tetons and Jackson while you have it
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:56 PM   #15
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I stayed in Jackson Hole at the Fireside Resort in July 2018. They rent Jeeps at the resort. I was in a 25’ rv. The traffic and parking was bad. I gave up trying to park at Jenny Lake after circling repeatedly. I managed to find parking elsewhere but had to walk a considerable distance. I ended up renting a Jeep at the resort. At this point it was just prior to hip replacement surgery, I was in alot of pain then and decided to skip Yellowstone as I couldn’t walk far and knew I’d have trouble finding close up parking. Jackson Hole security made me move & was not allowed to use their handicap parking in a 25’ rv.
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:35 PM   #16
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Go with the rental. Most everyplace we have camped, a class c or A will be at the river, beach etc, and they had to break permanent camp because they had no toad. Then at end of day back to campsite. In Yellowstone a car would be the best bet for day trips to the sightseeing areas. Some RV's might have trouble on the Road to the Sun for example. I tow TT and always have a sightseeing vehicle that can go anywhere (almost). Good Luck and enjoy your trip.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:54 PM   #17
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If youíre a Costco member you can get rentals pretty cheap. Check prices often they change daily.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:14 PM   #18
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A big thank you to all that replied. We did reserve a car at the airport. Will just have to take our chances , and hike a bit, at Pictured Rocks and TRNP. Looking forward to the trip. Will try to hit the big spots early as you mentioned, and hopefully my wife's handicap placard will help. Will report back after the trek.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:02 PM   #19
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We did Yellowstone in 2016 with a 26 foot motorhome. Driving was not an issue, but parking was a major headache. There are few RV parking spots at any stop and most are filled with cars. Theodore Roosevelt and Pictured Rock will both be OK. Make sure to stop at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park as you drive through Michigan's UP.
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