The Beauty of RVing Through Yellowstone National Park

Last Updated: 24.07.19

If you’ve always dreamed of going to Yellowstone but you’ve never had the opportunity and you’re thinking of going through this adventure with a recreational vehicle, you’re in the right place. We made a list of tips and tricks that will help you if you want to avoid mountain roads, store your food away from the bears, and know where you need to ‘go to the bathroom’.

Why does the RV size matter?

If you want to go to Yellowstone with your motorhome or recreational vehicle, you have to be aware of the combined length of your RV and any other towed vehicles. Know the length of your truck in addition to that of the trailer when it is fully open. Some sites accommodate a maximum combined length of 40 feet, but others are usually more limited. Most campsites in Yellowstone do not accommodate oversized units.

If you get to Yellowstone with any equipment that’s different from the specs from your reservation, the campground staff will not be able to help and accommodate you.

Consider avoiding these RV routes

Driving an RV can be challenging, without a doubt, so it is crucial to research your route to and from Yellowstone National Park before going on the trip. This can help you avoid driving steep grades and harrowing various hairpin turns. Avoid the Bighorn Mountains east of Cody, Wyoming (East Entrance) and the Beartooth Highway which links Red Lodge, Montana, to the Northern Entrance. There are plenty of other safer roads that can get you wherever you need to go.

Know your RV camping grounds

What’s great about Yellowstone is that recreational vehicles are allowed on all campgrounds here. Size restrictions could apply, though, and five of the campgrounds in the park require reservations. These are Madison, Grant, Fishing Ridge RV, Canyon, as well as Bridge Bay. At Fishing Bridge, there aren’t any tents allowed and all sites are double vehicle width wide. You are not allowed to use picnic tables or fire grates. Also, RVs that are up 40 feet or less and towed or towing vehicles of 25 feet or less are allowed here.

At Bridge Bay, RVs and vehicles up to 40 feet or less are allowed, but no hookups. One tent is allowed here.

At Canyon, the same rules from Bridge Bay apply, and they do at Madison and Grant, too.

Yellowstone entrances

The best entrances to park your RV are the West and North Entrances as they give you the fastest access to the park’s iconic attractions such as Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. You have the least amount of hill climbing and driving if you choose these entrances, and you will be able to spend a little more time outdoors and enjoy the park’s amazing sights.

Both Gardiner, Montana, at the North Entrance, and West Yellowstone, Montana, at the West Entrance are home to an array of full-service, privately owned recreational vehicle parks. You also have the possibility to drive to miles to Headwaters Campground from the South entrance. This campground has hook-ups, a dump station, as well as pull-through sites. It is located in the proximity of the Grand Teton National Park.

You also have the Soda Butte Campground near the Northeast Entrance available, and keep in mind that it is just 1 mile from Cooke City along US-212. It has 20 RV spaces, but no hookups are allowed. If you’d like to take the East Entrance, we recommend that you drive for 29 miles to Green Creek Inn and RV Park, located about halfway from Yellowstone to Cody, Wyoming. Back-in sites and pull-through sites are allowed here, and you also have access to electricity, water, and sewer.

Storing food and other smelly things in Yellowstone

Everyone knows that bears have big appetites, and they love the calorie-dense food that humans take with them on their trips. Sharing your dinner with a bear is a bad idea both because, let’s face it, bears aren’t genetically engineered to eat human food, and because that will mean that the bear will get accustomed to ‘begging’ for food from other Yellowstone visitors. Bears can become aggressive toward people for one reason or the other and they will have to be put down, as a result.

It is recommended that you do not leave food in the open back of a pickup truck. If you can, avoid storing food in your vehicle in the evening and make sure that you clear the inside of wrappers and garbage, too. You can store food in your automobile if it is out of sight and the car is locked and all of the windows are up.

Avoid packing foods that are very fragrant as they are likely to pique bears’ and other critters’ interest. If you even have the suspicion that the campsite you’re looking to set up your tent at was recently visited by a bear, just choose another place. When you get there, make sure that you check that there are no wrappers or garbage left by other campers. Keep your camp as clean as possible and make sure that you set up a so-called kitchen area where all things with a smell will remain. Set up your tent at a distance of at least 100 yards from that.

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