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PatJ

Eastern WA

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Posted: 12/01/19 11:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

I have a family trip planned to Yellowstone in spring 2020, and would like any tips or advice from those that have recent experience in the park.

About 25 years ago, I visited Yellowstone as a care-free ~20 year old. I drove my old pickup and camper from WA state with a 650 Yamaha strapped to the back. We stayed at the West Yellowstone KOA (coasted in on a summer weekend and easily got an available spot walk-in with no reservations.) We rode the bike and drove the camper around the park for a week or two (don't really remember.) There was never any issue finding a spot to camp, finding a parking spot, traffic, etc. This was August. That is my only experience with the park.

Memorial Day weekend 2020, my wife and I have a spot reserved at the same West Yellowstone KOA for a week. We will be bringing our 2019 "23 foot" (24'10" actual bumper-to-bumper) class C. We are also bringing our 8 year old daughter (the 18 year old is too cool to camp with mom and dad anymore.) We are experienced campers/travelers.

From my reading it seems a lot has changed in 25 years. Based on searches and trip reports it seems it is much much busier. We do not have a toad so we will be driving our class c into the park for daily excursions. We are fine with long days driving with many stops, but based on my reading we may have issues even simply finding a place to pull off with an RV for an hour to eat. Of course we would love to show our daughter Old Faithful, the paint pots, etc. But we will need a place to park...

I am seeking any tips/input from those more experienced with sight-seeing in the park in recent years. My biggest concerns now are traveling in the motorhome. Is there still room to pull off occasionally? Is there space to park at the major attractions in a (slightly) oversize vehicle? I welcome any tips tricks advice or thoughts. Thank you in advance.

* This post was edited 12/02/19 10:59pm by PatJ *


Patrick

suprz

rhode island

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Posted: 12/02/19 03:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We were there in 2018. In Sept and it was still packed! We used a rental car to get around in the park. I did not see a lot of space available for a class B van let alone any size class C in the more popular attractions parking lots. Even with a smaller class C it will be tough. Only if I were first in line to get in, would i consider the class C. Upon our departure, we did take our class C (31ft) thru the park to go south to Grand Teton NP, and it was no problem because we weren't stopping anywhere and just driving thru


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jfkmk

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Posted: 12/02/19 03:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi, we were in Yellowstone in July of this year (entered through the north entrance). While we got to see everything we wanted with one exception, the park was very crowded. Parking is definitely st a premium, and i couldnt imagine trying to get a spot with anything other than a small vehicle. The larger spaces are there, just limited.

The last previous time I had been there was about 30 years ago. It was quite how you described it. We tent camped and got sites with no reservations. Not so much anymore!

Id suggest renting a car so you make sure you can see everything you want.

Old Days

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Posted: 12/02/19 04:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been to yellowstone 3 times,in 2013 we arrived about 3 days before memorial day yellowstone lake was froze over and there was about 6 feet of snow almost everywhere. We just went there on our way back from Glacier National park around Sept 8, 2019 and it did have a lot of people but you could park pretty easy. I think you will be ok with your class c because it's only 24 feet long. My truck camper is about 23 feet long on the truck.

Dick_B

Palos Heights, IL USA

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Posted: 12/02/19 07:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stay at Grizzly and take the tour buses.


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agesilaus

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Posted: 12/02/19 08:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well prepare for sloooww traffic. You will be lucky to make 20 mph on average in the park. There are many traffic stoppages when people stop in the middle of the road whenever they see a chipmunk. As mentioned above you are rolling the dice for weather that early, YNP is at 8000 ft so winter can hang on.

There are lots of people around all the thermal features, geysers and such. And around the Yellowstone canyon. The east side of the park can be somewhat empty in comparison but does not have the spectacular features. But it does have critters, we saw Grizzles over there.

We've been up there 6 or 8 times, last summer briefly while we spent 4 days at Tetons. We spent 8 days twice and still haven't seen the whole park by a long shot.


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ppine

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Posted: 12/02/19 09:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been going since 1955. You will see the babies in the spring and avoid the worst of the crowds. People stop right in the middle of the road not at wildlife jams. The best plan is to camp in the Park so your commute is much shorter, especially driving a motor home.

It would be a great idea to try a shuttle bus.

2oldman

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Posted: 12/02/19 09:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

YS posts

bobsallyh

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Posted: 12/02/19 09:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We stay close to where you are staying. Get into the entrance gate at West before 9 AM and you will go thru very quickly. Too many folks can't seem to get out of the pancake houses' before 9:30 AM, sitting there getting a belly full and sucking up coffee. Get to the most popular places early and it will make it much simpler. There will be some hassles with a Class "C" at pull offs. And don't schedule times to be somewhere in the park as there will be animal back-ups, etc. If you are in a rush, don't even bother going in! This is what we have seen for the last ten summers while staying in the area for about six weeks at a time.

CloudDriver

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Posted: 12/02/19 01:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We were most recently at Yellowstone in June 2016. Between Yellowstone and Grand Teton we were in the area for the entire month plus the first week of July. It definitely got more crowded as the month went on and was crazy in Yellowstone over 4th of July weekend.

Memorial Day weekend comes early in 2020, so you will be there the last week of May. It should be much less crowded then as many families still have kids in school. In past trips we usually see very few families with school age kids until the first week of June and than it's more and more as the month goes on. We also have a 24 ft Class C and always drive it to tour the parks.

Entering the park early is a good suggestion, but I would add that later in the day is very good as well. We have noticed that many people head to the campgrounds or other lodging around dinner time, freeing up parking for our larger vehicle. The end of May is near the Summer solstice so there is a lot of daylight to tour the park. This website shows that sunset is about 9:00PM the last week of May in West Yellowstone. Sunrise is about 5:45AM if you want an early start to the day.

We plan to be there again in 2020.


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