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.

Roadtrek at Yellowstone I was warned before that the place will get in your blood and you will keep coming back, again and again. We now visit every year.

So if you haven’t been there yet, I pass along the same warning. It will grab hold of you.

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

Hiking at Yellowstone

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. Only one of the campgrounds in Yellowstone offers water, sewer and 30 and 50 amp electrical hook-ups -the Fishing Bridge RV Park with over 325 sites. It's okay, but tends to be very crowded. Several  other campgrounds allow limited generator use and have flush toilets and showers.

The other seven Yellowstone camprounds – Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, Mammoth, Norris, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Tower Fall – are first come, first serve and have few amenities. People tend to line up at 8 AM during the season in hopes of getting a spot. Most are filled by 11 AM.

Our first night there, we found no room at any of the campgrounds. So we went a few miles outside the northeaster 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 with solar power, we had our own power and running water.

We love Pebble Creek (27 sites). Also Slough Creek (23 sites), 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 feet 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 wide and expansive Lamar Valley, a popular wolf and grizzly watching area.

We;ve seen wolves and black bear and several grizzly bears, as well as elk,antelope, mule deer,  coyotes  and  lots of bison. We had bison wandering through the campground all day at Pebble Creek and a curious black bear came very close., as well A lone bull moose also traipsed through the campground one morning.

The folks who camped at at Yellwstone are always interesting. One guy we met at Pebble Creek, Bill, spends from April through August and loves to find and watch grizzlies. Debi Dixon is a professional photographer and a fulltime RVer we also met there. She stores a 22-foot travel trailer in nearby Sheridan, MT and – the year we first met her – was spending the seasn 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 there.

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 watch animals. But we also hike, a lot. Every day we do at least two trails. We sit in meadows and breathe clean air. We take afternoon naps. Gaze at the mountains and use of binoculars to spot the big horn sheep. We explore the thermal areas that are everywhere, like at Old Faithful.

The sad thing is that most of Yellowstone's visitors 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 love every moment of it and keep going back, year after year.

Yellowstone really does get in your blood.





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5 comments

  1. Karsten Askeland

    Thanks for sharing. Yellowstone is definitely on my “bucket list”. Just need to find a time when it isn’t so darn crowded with people. I like the quiet more out of the way places …

  2. Mike Wendland
    Author

    The only crowds are on the road. Get out of your car and get off the road. Yellowstone is the most secluded place you will find ANYWHERE outside of Alaska!

  3. Campskunk

    i was right across the beartooth mountains from you – i looked it up and it’s maybe 15 miles from pebble creek campground to east rosebud lake where i was. of course, those are 15 miles you’d only be able to do by foot or horseback. google maps says it’s a 112 mile, 2 and a half hour car ride. that’s the hthing about the mountains – you can’t get there from here.

    i bet those people spending months in a tent were a bit envious of your E-Trek’s amenities. it must have been a little jarring to them to see you pull in… and just set up shop, fully self-powered and self-contained. now, if we could get you some satellite internet and TV, they’d be more than a bit envious…