Camping advice

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luvthenps
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:23 am

Camping advice

Post by luvthenps » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:56 am

Hello people of ynet! I am traveling from Missouri next month on the 24th, and will be staying in gt/ynp until the 4th of june. This is my fourth trip to Yellowstone in the last ten years, always during spring or fall. I have never made reservations (we are tent campers) and have always been able to find a spot somewhere in the park. We usually split our time between gros ventre campground in gt and the mammoth hot springs campground up north. I'm afraid my luck has ran out, as I have always had very optimal travel conditions on the way and in the park. I've never been rained on, snowed on, or found a full campground even when arriving late in the day. Being as we will arrive during memorial day weekend, I'm concerned that everything in the parks will be full. Any suggestions for alternate campgrounds outside of the park would be greatly appreciated. I've been checking the reservations for campgrounds in the parks every day, on the off chance that someone would cancel. Of course camping in the park is better for covering more ground (I am travelling with a yellowstone first timer) but if its all full where should we stay? We plan to arrive in gtnp on friday the 25th, after noon sometime, and camp a couple nights before moving camp up to mammoth campground, and leaving on monday the 4th via the beartooth highway. Our itinerary will include 1 or 2 days for day hikes (bunsen peak, fairy falls, jenny lake, any other suggestions? we are not in great shape but not sedentary either) and one day for doing laundry and lounging at camp. I know it pays to plan these things out, but I prefer spontaneity when traveling, even if it does lead to changing plans. Thank you all!



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Mike
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Location: California

Re: Camping advice

Post by Mike » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:55 am

I am dedicated off season camper and find the same problem all the time,in my case it's campgrounds not open instead of full up,so my two go to campgrounds in the Tetons are to camp at Atherton at Slide Lake,it's just a couple of miles east of the Gros Ventre CG or camp at the end of Pacific Creek Road.If PC is full you might be able to disperse camp anywhere past the park boundary sign .Do stop in at the Bridger Teton NF office on Cache St. in Jackson(just south of Elk Refuge),they were really helpful one year showing me places to camp off season.

AS for Yellowstone I have never had a problem finding a camp spot but others here have suggested in the past to try out toward Cooke City or Jardine(Tom Miner Basin),or west of West Yellowstone,I have seen NF,state,and some private camps not overly far from the park entrance.

Happy Camping



luvthenps
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:23 am

Re: Camping advice

Post by luvthenps » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:03 pm

Thanks Mike!



yellvet
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: Camping advice

Post by yellvet » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:19 pm

It's usually pretty tough finding a site at any campground over Memorial Day, either in or outside the Parks. And, historically, the weather can also be a bit uncooperative over Memorial Day weekend. That being the case, I would highly recommend staying at a large campground for your first couple of nights. That way you can spend some time checking on site availability at the different campgrounds early each morning without having to worry about not having a place to stay at night. In Grand Teton, check out the Gros Ventre Campground. And in Yellowstone, I think that Mammoth, Norris or the Madison Campground might be your best bet. All of them have a substantial number of camp sites and have plenty of attractions and wildlife to keep you busy. Most if not all of the campgrounds east of Cooke City don't open until mid-June or July and some don't allow tents because of the high level of bear activity. So if you're tenting, those options, most likely, won't be available to you. The Beartooth Highway on Hwy 212 usually opens around Memorial Day and there are a number of campgrounds south of Red Lodge: Basin Campground, Wild Bill Campground, Limber Pine, Paradise CG and Cascade CG. But, in most cases, you'll need to make an advance reservation and they're usually booked solid over Memorial Day weekend. If you don't mind driving a bit, you might want to check out the MT state fishing accesses and state campgrounds. They usually have a few camp sites available at the fishing accesses and they're FREE but your stay will be limited.

Here are a few other campgrounds worth considering: The Rock Canyon campground is about 17 miles north of Gardiner, MT. It's a quick drive to Gardiner for food and supplies and the north entrance gate of Yellowstone. Yankee Jim Campground is a few miles north of Gardiner in Yankee Jim Canyon. The Baker's Hole Campground is about 6 miles north of West Yellowstone on Hwy 191. It's right along the Madison River and has over 50 sites (very good separation between the sites, good walking access to the Madison River and it's fairly close to the west entrance of Yellowstone. Further north on Hwy 191 is the Red Cliffs Campground, about 5 miles south of Big Sky. It's a very nice campground and it borders the Gallatin River. You might need to make an advance reservation because it gets a lot of use from Bozeman residents.

In the Absarokee/Fishtail, Nye, MT area (along the north slope of the Beartooth Mtns, just NE of Yellowstone), there are a number of NFS and MT state campgrounds. It's about a 3-1/2 - 4 hour drive to Yellowstone's north entrance in Gardiner. Most of the campgrounds in this area border the Stillwater River: The Woodbine Campground, the Initial Creek Campground (free), the Moraine Fishing Access (free camping), Castle Rock CG, the Buffalo Jump Fishing Access in Nye on Cty Rd. 419 (free sites), the Cliff Swallows Fishing Access & Campground about 10 miles south of Absarokee on Cty Rd. 420 (free sites, and the Grand Isle Campground just outside of Fishtail, MT (free sites). This area of MT is one of Montana's best kept secrets. I camped at Woodbine in Sept. 1978 and have lived in this area ever since. It's the closest thing to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons that you'll ever find...but without the hub bub and people. The State of MT has a listing online of all the state campgrounds and fishing accesses w/campsites. If you want to save money and have a wonderful leisurely camping experience, you'll find MT a super location for your next primitive camping/photography/hiking adventure. Got a question? Make a post or send me a PM.



rzrpirate
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:14 pm

Re: Camping advice

Post by rzrpirate » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:31 pm

Like you, I have camped in Yellowstone quite a few times and have never had reservations except our first trip at Fishing Bridge. We have always just arrived early and always gotten a site. Only once I was tent camping, which gives you the best chance, otherwise I was in a small motorhome Of course reservations are a sure shot but there are a lot of first come first serve. I know with me the more forums I read the more I panic about reservations. I have a month trip planned this fall and have everything reserved for the first trip ever. One place in Cooke City that I am using as a base for the Northern part of the park is Big Moose Resort. They have a few cabins and only a few campsites. The lady is really nice so you might work something out there. I actually had this trip planned in June but had to move to Sept. Now I have to wait even longer. Good luck!



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bridger1215
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Re: Camping advice

Post by bridger1215 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:16 pm

Some spots to camp just north of Gardiner- Carbela's Fishing Access (free on BLM land right next to the Yellowstone River). Jardine Forest Service Campground. Yankee Jim Canyon Forest Service Campground ($7). And closer to Livingston is Mallard's Rest fishing access with camping allowed.

Going up the Beartooth highway (if it's open :D ) a nice campground is Island Lake CG. If this is full go past the entrance and take your first right and camp wherever you like. Beartooth Lake CG is also not bad but not my first choice.

Check this link for live campground fill times.
https://www.nps.gov/maps/embed.html?map ... 0d3ede9650



rzrpirate
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:14 pm

Re: Camping advice

Post by rzrpirate » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:18 pm

I ran into the same problem on the NF campgrounds along the Beartooth as you will. They are not open that early. Great camping but just too early. That's how I ran across Big Moose Resort.



luvthenps
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:23 am

Re: Camping advice

Post by luvthenps » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:37 pm

Wow!!! Thank you for all the information! That's so helpful, I'll definitely check some of these out. I'm glad to have a solid contingency plan going out there.



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