Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Glacier / Yellowstone / Tetons 2019 - where to book first?
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 > Glacier / Yellowstone / Tetons 2019 - where to book first?

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TriumphGuy

Simpsonville, SC, USA

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Posted: 07/02/18 07:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all,
Feeling a little behind vs. the last time we booked a large trip. A year ahead I had a basic idea of where we'd go so I could reserve the hot spots (e.g. GC, Zion).
We are planning a month next summer where we're thinking about 5 nights each in Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons (traveling from SC). July timeframe, and my first thought is that Yellowstone is where I need to book the most advance notice. So that would be approximately mid-July 2019.

So first question is how soon do I need to reserve? I see that Fishing Bridge is closed next year, but there are other campgrounds which are already available to reserve. My first thought is to choose two spots to split our visit. (Dry camping OK).

Am I wrong to think that I can wait a bit longer for Glacier and Grand Tetons area?

Thanks!


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GeoBoy

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Posted: 07/02/18 08:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would book Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, Coulter Bay in the Tetons and West Glacier KOA in Glacier NP.

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 07/02/18 08:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Madison at Yellowstone would be the frist to make reservations.
Gros Ventre at Teton may not need reservations as it is pretty large.
Apgar at Glacier opens later and should not be hard to get into. Reservations maybe after leaving or about to leave Yellowstone.
All national park campgrounds.


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Jayco-noslide

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Posted: 07/02/18 08:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wondering if you are thinking of private or public(government) campgrounds. You can do some camping without reservations within both Teton and Yellowstone because they both have some 1st come 1st serve campgrounds; really big ones. We have stayed at Gros Ventres, Coulter Bay and Mammoth by arriving mid to late morning. Mostly no hook-ups. If you are reserving I would do it as soon as allowed, 12 months in some cases, 6 months with reservation.gov.(only cost $10 to cancel).


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4runnerguy

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Posted: 07/02/18 10:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Be aware that your size will greatly restrict the availability of campsites in any of these parks, as they were built before big rigs were around. You night look at finding a place near the CG's to park your toad where you can walk back to your campsite.

Also, you might look at Campsite Photos for the CG's you are interested in. You can see where others have parked big rigs in the photographs.

Start with Yellowstone as they allow you to book furthest in advance. We like Madison best for its central location. We are heading to Grant CG at YNP next week - we didn't reserve early enough! For your size unit, you might have to call Xanterra directly and speak to someone about the size of your rig and toad and see what they can do for you. Otherwise, you'll be outside the park in West Yellowstone. Not ideal because of the traffic backups at the entrance in the a.m.

Next book Glacier. You can reserve six months out there, so if you're looking at July, you can reserve starting in January. Again, rig size will be an issue. There are first come, first served sites at Many Glacier, but I've heard of people getting in line before 6 a.m. and still not getting a site! Apgar on the west side is entirely FCFS. If you want to see how early to arrive at a FCFS CG, check out the NPS Campground Status Page. Click on a campground and it will take you to a page where you can see the historical fill times on a day-by-day basis. Very handy.

In Tetons, there are a lot of FCFS spots. Unless you're there at the busiest times, I've found one can usually find a FCFS spot.


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suprz

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Posted: 07/02/18 10:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GeoBoy wrote:

I would book Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, Coulter Bay in the Tetons and West Glacier KOA in Glacier NP.


Thats what I did for this year's trip BUT. Coulter bay is already booked up past sept! We are going from north to south, starting at west glacier KOA, then Grizzly in west yellowstone, then taking the rockefeller highway in yellowstone south to Grand Tetons, then Bryce Canyon, and finally Lower Antelope Canyon in Page NV


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Isaac-1

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Posted: 07/02/18 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My advice is to consider Yellowstone and Grand Tetons as one giant park, though with differing scenery, and due to its size split your camping into 3-4 nights each at 3 campgrounds if possible as it is a long drive just to get from the north end of Yellowstone to the south end and back.

Lexx

California

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Posted: 07/02/18 01:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Try to book Grizzly RV park. Avoid West Yellowstone KOA of possible. KOA really packs the trailers tightly together and the access lanes are super narrow.


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UMAlum

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Posted: 07/02/18 07:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Agree...West Glacier KOA and Grizzly RV Park. Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone was nice location to see both Yellowstone and Grand Tetons (however, sites not large and limited length. If I recall 35' limit (and that was it for the site we were on).

LibertyMan

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Posted: 07/02/18 08:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just finished up a three week trip and did all three parks that you mentioned. Here is what I did. Started in Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, Battle of Little Big Horn, Custer SP in South Dakota, and then back home. I had a 33 foot trailer so I was limited on campsites.
Tetons: Gros Ventre. Stayed there 3 days. It was first come first serve and on June 4th, the place was very open with lots of sites to choose from.
Yellowstone: I had reservations at Fishing Bridge made 7 months or so in advance. Stayed there for 4 days and would not stay there again. Roads were terrible and either extremely dusty or muddy. If you stayed outside your camper for more than 5 minutes you looked like a powdered doughnut from all of the dust from the high traffic moving in and out of the campground. When I left there, my truck and camper were absolutely filthy. They did have one paved loop so it may have been better. If done differently, I would have stayed in Mammoth Campground. We love the north side of the park more. More wildlife viewing and hiking trails. That is strictly my opinion.
Glacier: After an overnight stay in Helena, we hit Glacier right at 11am for the first come first serve at Many Glacier Campground. That was a bust, it was nearly full and the several spots that I thought my camper could fit in, it would not have worked. So we ended up staying at St. Mary KOA on the East side. They were not full and had plenty of spots. Apgar would have been a close second, but we prefer the hiking much more on the East side of the park than the West side. Going to the Sun Road was still closed, so this would have been a pain in the butt driving around the park to hike the East side each day. In July, is should be open so that will cut down on driving time traversing the park.

So to answer your questions, July will be a lot busier in each park than June. June was busy but was not terrible at all. All of the campground host in each park stated that things really picked up in July/August. Gros Ventre in the Tetons being the exception. Campground host said they hardly ever fill, but the spots for the 30 plus foot campers will usually go first. When I was looking at Yellowstone, for the month of June, Grizzly in the West plus a few others still had openings when I was looking 7-8 months out. For July, you may want to start a little earlier. However, if you don't mind dry camping, hands down I would stay in the park to cut down on driving time. Hope this helps


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