Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: 2 week trip to Yellowstone from Wisconsin all tips needed
Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Roads and Routes

Open Roads Forum  >  Roads and Routes

 > 2 week trip to Yellowstone from Wisconsin all tips needed

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 2  


New Member

Joined: 02/14/2018

View Profile

Posted: 02/14/18 12:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am planning my family's first trip to Yellowstone and can use any tips and pointers on all subjects. What route to take, where to stay, what are must sees and dos...etc. etc.

We will be towing a 30 foot expandable hybrid trailer with one slide out and three tent beds. Tow vehicle is a ford f150. We have two weeks for the entire trip and would like to stop along the way and back. Thinking about stopping at Mt.Rushmore for an overnight stay on the way to Yellowstone and possibly stopping at the badlands on the way back home for another overnight stay.

We are fairly new at RVing only been at it for a few years. This will be by far the furthest we have traveled and the longest time away so I am looking for any tips and advice I can get. Especially best place to stay and route to take and things to see.


Robesonia,Pa 19551

Senior Member

Joined: 11/11/2000

View Profile

Posted: 02/14/18 01:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Get reservations early. We stayed in Madison Campground. No hookups but they allow generators. It is centrally located. We saw a mother grizzly and 3 cubs on the road between Norris and Canyon. They walked right past our van.Make sure you go in and see the Inn at Old Faithful. The lobby is beautiful and if you decide to eat there,the food is good and the prices are reasonable. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is impressive especially the Lower Falls. There's a lot to see at Mammoth Hot Springs. It was an old Army post prior to WWI when the Army patrolled the park.If you need groceries you can get them in West Yellowstone or Gardiner,Wyoming. If you would take I-80 home, there is a really neat Museum in Minden,Nebraska called the Harold Warp Pioneer Museum. If you like old cars,trucks,tractors,snowmobiles and history, this is the place.You can spend a couple of hours there. They have a campground and the price includes one ticket to the museum.

Second Chance


Senior Member

Joined: 07/23/2013

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 02/14/18 02:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Read the forum rules - not supposed to post the same thing in more than one forum.


U.S. Army retired
2016 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS
MOR/ryde independent suspension, disc brakes, LR G tires
PullRite OE 18K, Demco Glide Ride pin box
2012 F350 CC DRW Lariat 6.7
Full-time since 8/2015



Senior Member

Joined: 02/18/2012

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 02/14/18 03:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From Mpls/St. Paul it can be a long day to the Badlands, add in where ever in WI you are, plus the time to the Black Hills, and you will be leaving very early in the morning, and arriving late into the night.
We've found that budgeting an average of 50 mph seems to give realistic travel times, considering pit stops, meals, etc.

2012 F150 Eco, 4x4, SCrew, Max Tow, HD Payload
2017 Grand Design Imagine 2670MK


Idaho Falls, ID

Senior Member

Joined: 07/11/2003

View Profile

Posted: 02/14/18 09:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some general information about YNP (some items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much as you planned on in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or all stop for 1/4 mile or more blocking both directions of travel, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 MPH radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line to check it out)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking and there are passes on the grand loop road that are close to 8000 ft or so! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking.

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until about 9:30- 9:45 PM then there is a long twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise spotty to non-existent!

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is shiny black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YNP yes, drink lots of water! HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas only have pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line (2 rest rooms) at the lower Geyser Basin 25 or more feet long (bless the tour buses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area! I.e. “Never pass up a flush toilet!”

Sun- At YSNP altitude the Sun is intense (uv)have and apply sunscreen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear Sunglasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have up to a hour and 10 to 15 minutes wait for the next one. Tour tour the O/F Geyser basin while waiting. O/F INN is a must see, reportedly the largest LOG building in the U.S. (Meals in the O/F dinning room are “OK” also.

We have lived about 110 miles from West Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go to YSNP 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all yet! So don’t be discouraged that you didn’t have the time to see all of it. Just plan on coming back another time!

I honestly don’t mean to scare or discourage you but to give you a heads up as to what to expect! After all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015! As far as I know we didn’t lose one of them. Except those who by their own stupidity step off the board walks into BOILING HOT water and ignoring the warnings about the WILD ANIMALS! That is called purifying the gene pool!Early in the summer of 2017 a foreign visitor stepped off a boardwalk into just a few inches of hot water. He walked about 100 yards (according to the newspaper) broke thru the crust and parboiled himself. The park service decided not to try to retrieve the body! Between the temperature of the water and the acidity of it the body would just fall apart when retrieving it, as well as being dangerous to the rangers. Of course a few Bison fall in every winter also.

Note I have seen on this blog and others about folks “day tripping” from YSNP to GTNP, it is done all the time (myself included) however remember this is BIG country and with the speed limits, animals and thermal attractions you will NOT come close to a 60- 65 MPH average. From the West Thumb Area, Grant Village Visitor Center (extreme S/E corner of the lower loop road) to Jackson, WY is about 80 miles with Coulter Bay being about 1/2 way then from Grant Village you have to add the distance to your CG it will be a Long days trip!

A point of Coulter Bay (in GTNP) clarification- there are two (2) CG’s at Coulter Bay, One, the “Coulter Bay RV Park” a full service “RV Park” with FHU’S that takes reservations. The other is the “Coulter Bay Campground “ has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations. Both have about 300 sites and are located basically across the road from each other.

Also in GTNP be sure to see Jenny Lake, the water is swimming pool clear! You almost feel like you are in space when you are on the boat dock and you can see the rental boat shadows on the bottom of the lake!

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/ TABLE SEATING ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 7 times and the US open fiddle championship twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench seats/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pads to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer just to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money for your trip! Check out their website.

Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and check out the # of Silver Dollars imbedded in the bar. The Wort Hotel Bar (just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar) also has Silver Dollars imbedded in the Bar

2005 Dodge/Cummins auto, 2wd. PacBrake PRXB Exh Brake, Maxx Brake controller.
1998 Hitchhiker II, mod#31RLBGBW, RBW L'tl Rocker Hitch, Generac NP50 G generator. Dexter EZ lube 7,000# axles with 8,000# capacity brakes.


Southern California

Senior Member

Joined: 11/14/2005

View Profile

Posted: 02/14/18 09:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great post, Richard --thanks for all of that inside info! Your comments are now stored in my Yellowstone folder.

2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
Our trips -- pix and text
About our trailer
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single list."


Enjoying the West!

Senior Member

Joined: 04/02/2003

View Profile

Posted: 02/14/18 10:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For Yellowstone, your best experience will be to stay in the park itself. Madison is a great campground.

You won't be able to stay at Fishing Bridge because hybrids are not allowed - lots of bear activity there.

If you can work in 2-3 nights at Grand Teton Nat'l Park which is connected to Yellowstone to the south, I think you would love it. Excellent hiking for all abilities on beautiful trails and the looks of the park are completely different from Yellowstone - like a mini Alps! You can drive through the south entrance of Yellowstone to enter Grand Teton.

Have a great trip!!

Full-Timed for 16 Years
.... Back in S&B Again
Traveled 8 yr in a 40' 2004 Newmar Dutch Star Motorhome
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

Mortimer Brewster

Northern Illinois

Senior Member

Joined: 12/27/2008

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 02/14/18 10:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Personally, I could easily spend a couple of weeks in the Black Hills. You may want to spend more time there on a future trip. The Devil’s Tower in Wyoming is worth seeing as well. Here is a link for an article which describes the various approaches to YNP.


Camano Island, Wash.

Senior Member

Joined: 11/21/2005

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 02/15/18 01:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

first, i've never seen a 30' hybrid TT. what brand and model hybrid do you have? the biggest 3 bunk hybrid with a slide out, the Roo/Shamrock 233S is only 25'3" long tongue to bumper.

second, as was said, hybrids and popups are not allowed in Fishing Bridge CG. it's the ONLY campground in YNP that has any hookups. all the other major campgrounds allow hybrids and popups.

BUT you could stay in Fishing Bridge IF you don't put the canvas bunk ends out. in hybrid lingo, Turtle. you sleep on the sofa and dinette, like you would in a small TT.

Dan- Firefighter">, Shawn- Musician/Entrepreneur">, Zoe- Faithful Golden Retriever(RIP">), 2014 Ford F150 Ecoboost, 2016 PrimeTime TracerAIR 255 w/Equalizer and Prodigy, and 5 Mtn. bikes and 2 Road bikes




Joined: 01/26/2004

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 02/15/18 05:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When our kids were young, we bought a book at one of the gift shops called Death In Yellowstone. (You can probably find it on Amazon now.)

It was gruesome and fantastic. Every chapter featured a different manner of accidental death, with lots of examples.

My wife would read it to us while we drove around the park, and the kids were spellbound. It was so much more educational than any warnings we could have given them.

That was fifteen years ago and they still talk about it.

2014 RAM 3500 Diesel 4x4 Dually long bed. AISIN trans & 4.10 rear. B&W RVK3600 hitch • 2015 Crossroads Elevation Homestead Toy Hauler ("The Taj Mahauler") • Hooligan #3

  • 18 Can Am Maverick x3
  • 05 Yamaha WR450
  • 07 Honda CRF250X
  • 05 Honda CRF230
  • 06 Honda CRF230

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 2  

Open Roads Forum  >  Roads and Routes

 > 2 week trip to Yellowstone from Wisconsin all tips needed
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Roads and Routes

New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:

© 2019 CWI, Inc. © 2019 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Use | PRIVACY POLICY | YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS