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 > first time driving motorcoach to yellowstone,and glazier

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Tinyhouse

Tyler, Texas

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Posted: 10/20/20 03:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

in July 2021 we are planing a trip from East Texas to Montana, the Dakatos and Wyoming. The most NW stop will be Polson Mt. from there we would like to see Yellowstone and the Tetons. What is the easiest route from Butte Mt to Yellowstone and Tetons and where would you suggest as a base. we would like one base for both and use tow car to travel the parks. Thanks for the help.

ReneeG

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Posted: 10/20/20 03:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From Butte, the best route, direct, would be I-90 to 287 and down through Ennis and to West Yellowstone. Yellowstone is huge, but Grant Teton not as much, just spread out more. You could home base in West Yellowstone giving you a direct route through YNP to GTNP and back. Then use your other days to travel the other parts of YNP. You could do all your exploring of YNP from West Yellowstone, then move to Colter Bay RV park or CG and explore GTNP from there. I wouldn't recommend Gros Ventre CG. It was recently expanded and sites are practically on top of one another. We saw huge Class A's in there but how they got in there is a quandary. When we go, we either stay in West Yellowstone at Baker's Hole FS CG (has electricity at most sites), Grizzly RV, or the KOA, or we stay off the Togwotee Pass in WY at Falls CG. We have stayed at Henry's Lake and Red Rock RV park on the Idaho side and have driven in as well. There are a lot of options so be open for another busy year of RV'ing with this Covid19.


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Islandman

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Posted: 10/20/20 04:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Since you're planning on going as far as Polson, MT you should drive a little further and add Glacier NP to your trip. Drive north to Kalispell/Whitefish area and you'll be in fine shape to tour the park, more beauty than Yellowstone and not as crowded. Camp in the Whitefish/Columbia Falls locale and ride the tour bus if you don't want to drive Going to the Sun Highway. Yellowstone is a great park but in the summer it's just too crowded to enjoy the sights anymore compared to my first summer there over sixty years ago. Yellowstone is better in late September when the crowds thin out and the bison and elk are more accommodating.

lane hog

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Posted: 10/29/20 03:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'd recommend *not* trying to do YNP and GTNP from a single base. It's 90 miles from West Yellowstone to Colter Bay, with speed limits between 35-45 which make it over a two hour trip each way.

We will usually base camp inside Yellowstone (one of the internal campgrounds if they're still open, West Yellowstone if they're not) and spend at least three days in Yellowstone. You'll never run out of things to see.

Tetons for us is no more than a solid day visit. Unless you're doing some horseback riding or hiking, you might want to keep that short and over-do your time in Yellowstone. Colter Bay has an unreserved section with hookups that worked well for us. Gros Ventre isn't so bad if you're only using it to sleep as opposed to a couple lazy days at a campsite.

* This post was edited 10/29/20 03:32am by lane hog *



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ReneeG

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Posted: 10/29/20 08:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

lane hog wrote:

I'd recommend *not* trying to do YNP and GTNP from a single base. It's 90 miles from West Yellowstone to Colter Bay, with speed limits between 35-45 which make it over a two hour trip each way.

We will usually base camp inside Yellowstone (one of the internal campgrounds if they're still open, West Yellowstone if they're not) and spend at least three days in Yellowstone. You'll never run out of things to see.

Tetons for us is no more than a solid day visit. Unless you're doing some horseback riding or hiking, you might want to keep that short and over-do your time in Yellowstone. Colter Bay has an unreserved section with hookups that worked well for us. Gros Ventre isn't so bad if you're only using it to sleep as opposed to a couple lazy days at a campsite.


We drove through the "unreserved" section of Colter Bay in September when we were there. Never in all the years traveling there at that time of year have I seen it packed like it was .and. there was a line to get in. We bypassed it to drive through and check out the sites. I'm hoping that in a couple of years it will return to normal.

richardcoxid

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Posted: 11/01/20 09:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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

YNP is BIG!, about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The “figure 8 grand 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 stop all traffic 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 9:00- 9:15 PM then there is a long and bright twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise 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 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 at the lower Geyser Basin (2 R/Rs) 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 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 Inn dinning room are “A 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 4.02 million visitors in 2019 (Smallest number since 2016) 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!

Now, for the early spring/late fall visitors, YSNP is closed to ALL wheeled traffic from mid November to mid March (Snow Machines, Snow Coach’s, Snowshoes, X-country Skiing etc only as of mid Dec to mid March) the first road to be plowed open in mid April is from West Y’stone, MT to Old Faithful. The last roads to be plowed is Norris to Canyon to Fishing Bridge, West Thumb south to GTNP. Other tourist venues are open AS the shelves are stocked, beds are made, winter debris cleaned up etc. All tourist venues are open by Memorial Day weekend the official opening. Obviously this is somewhat dependent on the weather, depth of snow etc.

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 be doing a LOT of slow driving. From 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 (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 “ (FS CG) has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations. Both have about 300 sites and are basically across the road from each other.

The Gros Ventre FS CG in GTNP (about 5 miles north of Jackson and about 4 miles n/e toward the town of Kelly, on the right side of the road) is about 300 sites (including about 30 sites that are electric only) has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations.

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 9 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 on your trip! Check out their website.

http://www.barjchuckwagon.com

Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and 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.


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Busskipper

Grasonville,Md/Superior, CO

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Posted: 11/09/20 07:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tinyhouse wrote:

in July 2021 we are planning a trip from East Texas to Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming.

The most NW stop will be Polson Mt. from there we would like to see Yellowstone and the Tetons.

What is the easiest route from Butte Mt to Yellowstone and Tetons and where would you suggest as a base.

we would like one base for both and use tow car to travel the parks. Thanks for the help.


Just a note about July - it is the most Popular Month for Yellowstone and the Tetons! You do also Know that Going to the Sun Road often does not open in "Glacier NP" until after July 4th.

Being this is your first time and one of the Main roads in Yellowstone is closed, you need to do a lot of Research as to what you might enjoy in the Park, as you will have a Lot of Road Time, as nothing is Close.

We have been many times and in 2020 we went with our two sons and 5 Granddaughters - Our last trip was in late Fall, Indian Summer, Perfect weather - No People - Easy to get where we wanted to be - Pretty Much Perfect - what became apparent was How BIG the Park is - it requires a lot of planning as many places are more popular than they have parking spaces in July and August! - add to that that the stops are not close and the traffic will likely be heavy, really Heavy! - you really need to spend a considerable amount of time planning the exact way you wish to Attack this challenge, otherwise you will become frustrated and the experience will not be as rewarding as it should be.

We also made no reservations and were only able to get into the park buy getting to the sites Early - so as a result, it was not easy - we had three separate RV's - so nothing was easy. We enjoyed Island Park and Victor in Idaho, negative on this was the fact that the Hour drive every morning got Old, in a Hurry, While we spent a week in both YNP and the Tetons the Girls enjoyed the Side trips to the Lakes and Streams as much, if not more, as they enjoyed the Parks - they love the water.

On a side note - our Group enjoyed the Tetons and Idaho almost as much as YNP - some great areas - Cody and the Wind River area are both Awesome - Jackson is IMHO a ZOO - One of the lesser known areas that was a Highlight of our trip was Flaming Gorge - We were able to drive right on the Beach to swim for the day - Girls Loved it, and I suggest you make an effort to visit.

If you are on the Cody side there are many Lakes and Reservoirs to enjoy - Chief Joseph Highway and the Beartooth are there to enjoy in the Toad - the Drive in to the Tetons from DuBois on RT 26 is special, when cresting the Continental divide and see the Tetons is Just Special so if possible you might want to try to work that in. The point I'm trying to Make is that while the National Parks are the target, the area is Target Rich so you too may find that the outside of the park is Pretty Amazing Also. JMHO

The Idea of One Base is not likely wise - JMHO - as the driving time will will be a waste. Read up as much as possible about the two Parks - figure out what YOU will enjoy and Go for it - in July it is going to be Crowded really Crowded - traffic is a pain - Only way to beat it is to Get there Early - No Really Early and avoid the crowds - Get off the main Roads and Hike - Try to Pick One or Two spots each day and then get out of the crowds and enjoy the many options outside the parks.

As for the drive - just Google it or Use Waze - generally all the routes work - and I'm sure many have already given the answer to that.

Plan - Plan - Plan - Read - Read - Read - It is Big - Big - Big so you need to be really smart in your attack.

Best of Luck.


Busskipper
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Mayor30

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Posted: 11/09/20 01:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you can go in May or September, that would eliminate the crowds. We stayed at Madison Campground in mid May 2016. They don't have hookups but allow generators. Madison is centrally located. While not everything is open in May,most of it is.The daytime temps were in the 50's and 60's. Night time it dropped to the high 30's. I would suggest getting reservations for the Inn at Old faithful. The lobby is beautiful. I read that it is the largest log structure in the world.The food was good and the prices reasonable. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is like "wow". We saw a grizzly with 3 cubs on the road from Norris to canyon. They walked right by our van.We took our video to the visitor center at Canyon to show the ranger. A couple was there and the woman said this was their 4th trip to Yellowstone and they never saw a grizzly.I guess we were lucky. If you don't stay in the park, you will spend a lot of time driving back and forth. Yellowstone is about the size of Rhode Island.

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