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Yellowstone: At the top of every RV Bucket List

Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park, a national treasure and a must visit for every RVer. A place so big it lies in part of two states, Montana and Wyoming.

We just finished our second trip to Yellowstone in less than a year. I was warned before the first that the place will get in your blood and you will keep coming back, again and again.


So if you haven’t been there yet, I pass along the same warning.

It’s that spectacular for those who love the wilderness and getting up close and very personal with it.

We did lots of hiking.

There are 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone. They all fill up nightly. Only five - Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village, and Madison – take reservations. Those are the sites with hookups. They’re okay, but tend to be very crowded. The other seven - Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, Mammoth, Norris, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Tower Fall – are first come, first serve and have fewer amenities. People tend to line up at 8 AM during the season in hopes of getting a spot. Most are filled by 11 a.m.

Our first night there, we found no room at any of the campgrounds. So we went a few miles outside the northeaste gate and found a beautifully secluded spot at the Fox Creek Campground in the Shoshone National Forest. Then we reentered the park early in the morning and got a spot at Pebble Creek, which has no hookups or plugins, vault toilets and no showers.

No problem. In our Roadtrek eTrek with solar power, we had our own power and running water.

We love Pebble Creek. Also Slough Creek, another no frills camping spot few miles down the road. Here’s a hint for those of you on the northeastern part of the park: You can get cell phone coverage at Slough Creek. Take the two-and-a-half-mile washboard road leading to the campground down a few hundred yards to the first pullout and, voila, for some strange reason, the signals make their way around and through the mountains and you can get a great three-bar Verizon signal. I don’t know about AT&T and other providers.

We love this northeast section of the park because it is home to the Lamar Valley, a popular wolf and grizzly watching area.

We saw no wolves this trip but did spot several grizzly females with cubs, as well as elk,antelope, mule deer, coyotes, black bear and of course, lots of bison. We had bison wandering through the campground all day and a curious black bear came very close. A lone bull moose also traipsed through the campground one morning.

The folks who camped at Pebble Creek were also interesting. One guy, Bill, spends from April through August and loves to find and watch grizzlies. Debi Dixon is a professional photographer and a fulltime RVer. She stores a 22-foot travel trailer in nearby Sheridan, MT and is spending the summer at Pebble Creek in a tent. Check out her stunning wildlife photos at flickr.com/photos/seasideshooter. There were two wolf researchers from the University of Washington also tenting at Pebble Creek.

Every morning, at first light, usually around 5 or 5:30, you’d hear this group head out, separately, in search of wildlife. They’d usually not return after dark.

What do we do at Yellowstone?

We also watched animals. But we also hiked, a lot. Every day we did at least two trails. We sat in meadows and breathed clean air. We took afternoon naps. Gazed at the mountains and used a pair of binoculars to spot the big horn sheep. We explored the thermal areas that are everywhere, like at Old Faithful.

The sad thing for most of Yellowstone’s visitors is people rarely get off the loop roads that circle the park. Some don’t even get out of their cars. With three million visitors a year, those roads can get pretty congested, especially with critter jams, the traffic tie-ups that frequently occur when animals are on the road or along its edges. But Yellowstone encompasses 2.2 million acres, and the loop road is just a tiny part of the park. Yellowstone is one of America’s premier wilderness areas. Most of the park is backcountry and managed as wilderness. Over 1,100 miles of trails are available for hiking.

That’s where we like to be.

We loved every moment of it and can’t wait to return.

Yellowstone really does get in your blood.

The above video gives you a idea. Come along with us ....


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Thanks Mike and Jennifer for this and your other recent blogs. My wife and are on our way across Canada in our Pop 190. We will be heading back across northern US by late August early Sept and are taking careful note of your MT/WY blogs so we can follow in your footsteps!!

Thanks for the frequent posts

Graham and Jay

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This is great information and I agree it should be at the top of every bucket list. I would like to offer one correction. I worked at YNP (through Xanterra....www.yellowstonejobs.com) summer of 2012. There is only one campground with hookups which is actually an RV park. That is Fishing Bridge. It is also the only place that has showers and laundry service. However anyone can purchase a ticket for those services even if you are not a camper. I worked at Bridge Bay and if you stay in the upper loops, you will have lots of trees. I believe this to be the most beautiful of all the campgrounds and it is the largest. Grant Village has slightly fewer camp sites but again no hookups. It does offer a gift shop and general store as does Canyon. The others mentioned are also very nice but much smaller.

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