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 > Next summer SC to Yellowstone?

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terrytrailertrash

Columbia, South Cackallacky

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Posted: 06/12/18 04:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We hope to do this next summer with our 2 teenagers. We will be able to take 21 days. Is this reasonably doable? Would love your suggestions on routes and itineraries and even cg recommendations. We aren’t really picky about cg’s. We realize camping in the NPs will most likely be dry which is ok for a few days. We are pulling a 38 ft 5 th wheel. I really don’t know where to begin. Thanks in advance.


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jkwilson

Indiana

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Posted: 06/12/18 05:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't want to sound negative, especially since I love Yellowstone and the Tetons and would roll out to visit them in a heartbeat. But there are a couple of issues with what you want to do.

First, you you need to make reservations very early in the parks, both because of time and the size of your rig. But if you are persistent you may find some. Many of the campgrounds are first come, first served.

Second, half of your 21 days is going to be spent driving with 7 hours a day on the road. Even driving 10 hour days you'll spend probably 8 days on the road. That will be a bit rough IMO.

My recommendation would be to fly at least part of the way and drive a car/SUV to get extra time in the parks. If you like the outdoors, two weeks in Yellowstone will go by in no time. With the time you save getting there, you could see the incredible parks in Utah like Zion and Bryce Canyon.

I flown into SLC or Vegas when doing the Utah parks and Yellowstone, and SLC and Denver when just doing Yellowstone.

Take it for what it's worth. Just my preference.


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Kavoom

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Posted: 06/12/18 06:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having grown up back east, that's why I moved to Montana. I can now do in a weekend what used to take a year of planning and days just to get there...but...21 days is enough time. To be honest, do it as early as you can as in late May early June. Starting this upcoming weekend, all the kids are out of school and things will be crazy until after they go back. Definitely find out how early you can make reservations and do so like In January of next year or whenever the window opens. Don't wait.

First, find a couple of things you would like to do along the way. Even little things like Scotts Bluff in Nebraska. Try to make a short day and then check it out. Then maybe hammer it for a few days. You will know you are west when you see Scotts Bluff. From there, I'd hit the Black Hills for a couple of days and do the roads (Iron mountain/Needles highway). I wouldn't go to the sights themselves, you will see them but then again, been there done that you haven't.

So, from Scotts Bluff, its one day to the Black Hills, then two or three days there. One day to Yellowstone. There are numerous ways in. The route through Cody is nice. Plan on at least four days for Yellowstone. Good luck getting a campsite during the summer even if you hit Reserve America on day one.

Going from the Cody area would allow for a day trip to Red Lodge and the Beartooth highway. There are some campgrounds/full service in that area north of Cody toward Cooke City and it is a good base camp for the northern part of the park. The Mexican restaurant in Red Lodge is fun, great margaritas.

A sort of back way into Yellowstone would be to actually head south from Buffalo to Riverton. I take you this way because you can come in from 26 through Dubois (Decent KOA) and head to the area between the Tetons and Yellowstone. Why? Flagg Ranch is located in the area between the two parks. It is a very decent campground (as it is NOT a parking lot and has trees) with full service and is a great base camp for both parks. But it is not inexpensive. You will gulp at the price, but you will be well situated for the whole area. There is a dirt road that heads toward the tetons that is worth the drive right out of the store area. A couple of miles down that road is a small hike to a natural hot springs. Neat. Definitely go to Cooke City. Gardiner and West Yellowstone aren't that great except for the Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. Bears, wolves etc. West Yellowstone has a very nice parking lot type of campground with concrete pads and full service if that is your cup of tea. Gardiner has one or two places. IF you were really adventurous and wanted to go to Glacier come in from the south through Helena and up by Seeley Lake to West Blacier. Great campgrounds south of W. Glacier. Mountain Meadow is best. But you would be pushing it. IF, you did this, do the Going to the Sun and Many Glacier, don't worry about the rest. Two days. Eat at the Izaak Walton trout.

Things to do. Custer State Park Black Hills wildlife loop, half day. Campgrounds Custer, Big Pines nice multiple others. Devils tower (short day trip)from Black Hills. Do it and then Wildlife Loop in pm and dinner maybe at Bluebell lodge, trout.

Cody area do road 14A without the trailer and hit the Medicine Wheel at top of Bighorns.

This will NOT be an inexpensive trip but one you will remember.

* This post was edited 06/12/18 07:01am by Kavoom *

tragusa3

upstate south carolina

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Posted: 06/12/18 06:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We're in Greenville, SC and have made that trip along with several others out west.

1. Yes, make your reservations a year ahead.

2. Doing it in 21 days is "okay" and I would take it if that's all I could get. However, there are several other parks in the area (Tetons, RMNP and Black Hills). If I were driving I would want to see everything in the region for my 8'ish days of driving.

3. Fishing Bridge is the only campground in the park that you will have utilities, but if we were going again, we'd stay in the Canyons area. You give up utilities, but the weather is not like SC, you can get by without A/C most of the time. You gain a great location for the parts of the park that interested us the most.

See my link below and look at the playlist for Season 2 to get a better idea of my thoughts on SC to Yellowstone!


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Kavoom

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Posted: 06/12/18 07:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

tragusa3 wrote:

We're in Greenville, SC and have made that trip along with several others out west.

1. Yes, make your reservations a year ahead.

2. Doing it in 21 days is "okay" and I would take it if that's all I could get. However, there are several other parks in the area (Tetons, RMNP and Black Hills). If I were driving I would want to see everything in the region for my 8'ish days of driving.

3. Fishing Bridge is the only campground in the park that you will have utilities, but if we were going again, we'd stay in the Canyons area. You give up utilities, but the weather is not like SC, you can get by without A/C most of the time. You gain a great location for the parts of the park that interested us the most.

See my link below and look at the playlist for Season 2 to get a better idea of my thoughts on SC to Yellowstone!


Good post. Rocky Mountain might be another avenue. But we have quit going after 30 years due to crowds. It is so close to Denver/Boulder/Fort Collins megalopolis it is being overwhelmed imho. But very likely the most beautiful park in the world.

Dick_B

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Posted: 06/12/18 07:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you discussed with the teens the idea of spending so much time looking out the window of the vehicle? I'd get the Yellowstone video and head, instead, for Cedar Point, Ohio, the roller coaster capital of the world.


Dick_B
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pinesman

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Posted: 06/12/18 08:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We did a very similar trip two years ago: 21 days, 38' fifth wheel, one teenager, and from Virginia. We took the Northern route out and stayed in Hill City, South Dakota 3 nights, Colter Bay in the Tetons a few nights, and Fishing Bridge a few nights. Taking the Southern route home, we hit Paige, Arizona for a few days. The total trip was around 7500 miles-5000 pulling and 2500 sightseeing. There were a couple nights in truck stops and a few in random campgrounds along the way but our planned stays were reserved almost a year ahead of time because we wanted full hookup and 38' doesn't fit just anywhere.

Isaac-1

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Posted: 06/12/18 08:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can it be done, sure, should it be done, maybe not. The issue as I see it is your 5th wheel, and also the allowed time. We did Yellowstone and the big solar eclipse last summer in our 28 ft class A, and due to our timing and being relatively late making reservations (5 months out), we ended up staying in 3 different campgrounds in Yellowstone (Canyon, Grant, and Fishing Bridge). These campgrounds may be huge, but the individual sites are tight, built for smaller non-slide RV of an earlier era with most sites 30 ft in length, and very few over 35 ft long. Also the individual camping loop roads are very tight, this combined with people shoe horning RV's into pull off spaces would make access with your 5th wheel nearly impossible. I remember one point driving around one camping loop where I almost had my wife get out and guide me past a narrow point between a tree and the corner of a trailer, instead I inched by at about 3 mph with the mirrors clearing on each side by inches. (I store my coach in a shed with 11 inches of clearance through the doorway, and this felt tighter than that).

So unless you could score one of the handful of 40 ft sites at Fishing Bridge you will likely find yourself at one of the RV parks or campgrounds outside of Yellowstone, on the east side that would probably mean 50 miles away in Cody WY, or perhaps in Grand Tetons national park to the south. Either way would put you hours away from many of the attractions in Yellowstone.

Now as to the time, you really need at least a week to properly see Yellowstone, we did it in 4.5 days last summer, and only saw about half of the main attractions, the problem is the place is so overwhelming, if you rush through it you find yourself going blah at the 3rd amazing waterfall of the day. Columbia, SC to Cody, WY is a 2,000 mile drive, personally when traveling in my motorhome I like to limit my driving to under 300 miles per day, though when traveling across the expansive distances out west will push that to 400, and occasionally 500. Though when I do 500 I always look back saying I should have stopped 100 miles ago, in a 5th wheel with kids, you will probably have more set up and tare down time than I do each day. So best case, you are looking at 4 solid 12 hour days on the road just to get to the entrance to Yellowstone, stopping only for fuel and food. Adding a couple of tourist stops along the way, and it is easy to push this to 7 days of travel each way out of your 21 day schedule, even this keeps that grueling driving pace, just with some breaks to see a couple of things along the way.

Ivylog

Blairsville, GA and WPB, FL.

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Posted: 06/12/18 08:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having done a Forced, Family, Fun trip with our 3 teenagers (6 weeks, 8,000 miles and 18 states) going to OH is one of the worst suggestions I've heard. Yes, some of the trip got better with time and I still get a hard time about going to Crater Lake from them.

It's only 2000 miles to Cody WY (worth a full day) by way of Nashville, St Louis, Kansas City, Lincoln NB, and Rawlins WY with very little worth seeing other than the Lewsis & Clark center on the Missouri River before Lincoln NB. Assuming you could leave Friday afternoon you can be in Cody Monday afternoon...yes that's 600 miles each day. I would join Passport America and use them for the AC you'll need until you get some elevation in WY. PA's trip routing is actually pretty good showing CGs along the way.

We do 3 months out West without reservations BUT we are fully self contained and once there dry camp most of the time. Over the next year you need to learn how to dry camp and convert everything you can in the trailer to LED...a 17 may already be LED. Our favorite CGs are USFS that do NOT take reservations...DO NOT show up Friday hoping to get a site, but no problem on Sunday evening or Monday and you do not need AC at elevation out West.

The hardest decision is to go to Glacier or not. I would probably not and instead after the Tetons I would head to Flaming Gorge, Dinosaur, and then east to Grand Lake and day trip into RMNP from there. Depending on time you could go south from there before heading home.

PS: I still do the 1500 miles to Denver in 2 days.


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.

08 HR Navigator 45'
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kedanie

Albuquerque, NM

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Posted: 06/12/18 09:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For anyone contemplating staying at Fishing Bridge in 2019, forget about it! The campground is going to be closed for the whole camping season to complete a bunch of long needed improvements.

Keith


Keith and Gloria
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