Michigan UP to north Yellowstone? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-05-2017, 09:54 PM   #1
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Michigan UP to north Yellowstone?

My husband and I are new to RVing. We are picking up a Scamp in June. We will be doing some short trips in the summer to get used to our trailer. Then we are planning on going on a trip to Yellowstone. We will be driving from northern Michigan to the upper peninsula and then through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana ending up at the north entrance to Yellowstone. We want to avoid the freeways and treacherous terrain. Does anyone have suggestions on a good route to take and any interesting places to camp along the way? I don't want to be on the road more than 6 or 7 hours a day and don't mind taking longer to get to Yellowstone.
Thanks for any help.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:49 PM   #2
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Coming across US 2 to Glacier NP then dropping down through Montana would be a great route. It's scenic and almost no freeway. We have always used the West Yellowstone entrance so I can't comment on the north entrance.

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Old 01-06-2017, 04:27 AM   #3
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Lots of options, all good. Two years ago we went from the U.P. through South Dakota via route 212. Lots of state parks and many of the small towns have parks with camping sites. An app like Allstays is good for finding them. In western S.D. you will find the Badlands and the Black Hills. Just into Wyoming is Devils Tower. Then over the the Bighorn mountains via rts 14 or 16. From there you can head to Cody and then enter the east entrance to Yellowstone or take the Chief Joseph highway (rt 296) and enter the northeast entrance. Lots of great scenery and with it steep grades, switchbacks, and mountain passes. Make sure your trailer brakes are adjusted properly and are in good working order. Also snow is a distinct possibility. Wyoming maintains a road cam system to check conditions and a weather radio is good to have as well. Outside the park NFS campgrounds are plentiful. From the middle of June on Yellowstone is busy and the campgrounds in the park fill early. Reservations are your best bet but not all campgrounds will accept them. We took our chances and ended up staying in Grand Teton which was not so busy. No matter which way you go you will make lots of memories. Safe travels. Raz
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:00 AM   #4
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If you stay at state parks in Minnesota on your trip out, all sites are reservable. They don't hold anything back for walk ins. That might be an issue in June. But they don't have an added reservation fee for same day reservations.
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lisa in Michigan View Post
If you stay at state parks in Minnesota on your trip out, all sites are reservable. They don't hold anything back for walk ins. That might be an issue in June. But they don't have an added reservation fee for same day reservations.
Unfortunately both North and South Dakota have adopted the same model.
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:45 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We plan to go on our trip in September so hoping park won't be too crowded. We had thought to go to Yellowstone and then Grand Tetons, but maybe going to Glacier and Yellowstone and skipping Grand Tetons would be a better choice. I don't want to navigate mountains or switchbacks if I can avoid it!
Two years ago we went through South Dakota staying in motels and saw all the sites, so we thought going across further north would be a new adventure but maybe we could go back that route.
I haven't spent too much time looking for campgrounds, but I had noticed that the Army Corp of Engineers has some locations that sound interesting and also federal land for boondocking. Plus, there is always WalMart!
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:49 AM   #7
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Get your senior pass for the Government campsites, it will save you $$ in fees.
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:51 AM   #8
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Hubby and I both one already. Saved a lot of money on a trip a year ago out west.
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:44 AM   #9
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We made a trip to Banff and then down to Glacier NP last September. We had no problem finding campsites on the way out or back but did have some problems in Banff and at Glacier NP.
A lot of seniors try to travel in the "Off Season " , so many places are now busy in the Spring , Fall , & Summer.
Hwy 2 is a nice drive if your not in a big hurry . We like staying off the interstates , if possible and taking our time , but we have the advantage of being retired.

Have Fun !!
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:45 AM   #10
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Both sections of Theodore Roosevelt in ND are worth a visit. I understand the oil frenzy has made some of ND pretty unpleasant so get reservations, don't leave anything to chance passing through. Devil's Tower in WY proved to be more interesting than we expected. Good chance of snow in Glacier and Yellowstone in Sept. Don't skip Grand Tetons. The roads are flat, in the river valley. Should be a lovely trip!
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:57 AM   #11
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Rt. 2 (The High Line) is a great road. I traveled a lot of it when bicycling across the country. It is a major part (600 miles) of the Notheren Tier cycling route. Please be considerate of cyclists and especially remember to fold your steps up.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:04 AM   #12
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For a very cheap night, try the tiny town of Bruce Crossing in the UP (east of Ironwood). They have a campground, about a block north of the four corners. Electric, water, dump station, restrooms, showers. All for $10/night - honor system. No reservations accepted. Nothing special, but a nice place to call it a night. If I recall correctly, they have about 15 or 20 sites.

Edit: Just wanted to add. Buffalo River State Park on the western edge of MN (just outside of Fargo, ND) was a very pleasant park. Quiet, away from the hustle and bustle, nice facilities. The section I was in had Electric Only, not sure if there was a section with full hook-ups or not. There is a dump station. Plenty of open sites in mid Sept, especially during the week.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Raz View Post
Unfortunately both North and South Dakota have adopted the same model.
Leaving sites open for drive ins is a wonderful idea on paper but in practice it has inherent problems , the same as all reservable.
If people did not play games and used the drive in sites as intended , we wouldn't be in this situation .
The few often screw it up for the many !
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:48 AM   #14
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The 'oil frenzy' died out when the oil & gas prices dropped, more than a year ago. Jobs dried up. People moved away in droves and homes stand vacant. My wife's cousin and her family left Williston and went back to Michigan. Even if prices rebound, it will take 18 months or so for the oil business to get back into full swing. So don't fret much about oil boom traffic.

Be sure to pack the parkas and long johns, because it can get cold in the mountains and you could even see snow. My wife and I got snowed on in Teton NP in mid-June one year.

Sept. should be a great time to visit the parks, though. Kids are back to school and crowds are diminished. Leaves are turning. Glacier NP seems to be mostly very uneven terrain, so hiking involves some uphill/downhill effort and the Going to the Sun Road often threads its way along the side of a mountain with large drops on one side. Teton NP has you on a fairly flat plain with a view of a sudden upthrust of mountains, and plenty of reasonably flat roads and hiking trails. They are very different and both are worthwhile. More wildlife can be seen in Glacier IMO, but plenty in both parks. If you have time and are going to Yellowstone already, it just makes sense to visit the Tetons because it's so close by.

In Glacier, the hike to Avalanche Lake is moderately strenuous (easy going back downhill, though) and the payoff view is worthwhile.

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In Teton NP, you only have to get out of your car to enjoy views like this.

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In MT on US-2, I stayed a night at a little municipal park in Malta. It's just a block or two north of the highway, an open area with undesignated camping anyplace in the park, and was something like $4 per night on the honor system.

Between MT and Yellowstone, there's great scenery along Hwy 35 and US 93 south. Then I-90 to Butte, Hwy 41 to Hwy 287 E to US-287 south will get you to the Yellowstone NP west entrance; it was all good road when I traveled it (going N) in 2011. Stop at the Quake Lake visitor center and learn about the big earthquake and avalanche that buried a campground and created the lake. Then maybe 15-20 miles east of there, along the shore of Hebgen Lake, watch for the Happy Hour Bar; they served up the best mushroom-swiss burger I've ever tasted, dripping with juice and so big I couldn't finish it all. Be sure to tell them it's your first time at the place and they will invite you out onto the deck for a view of the lake and a little something extra.

If you head back east along I-80, you should stop in the Mt. Rushmore area, drop the trailer and take the drive through Custer SP (tunnels and all). That whole area, including Deadwood and the national forest, is worth a drive-through.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:07 AM   #15
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Good to hear ND back to normal. We avoided it last time we were up that way. +100 for Custer SP and surrounding area.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:56 AM   #16
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If going to GNP or YNP, go early or late in the camping season. Do not go in the middle of summer, like we did. Last Season we got started late, leaving TN July 5. Went to MI, crossed the bridge (no problem), weaved through the UP (black flies were incredibly thick and voracious) to Duluth. Eventually took US 2 west. Stayed near Norwich, ND at rest stop, which was very nice. Met another Casita, owner, Brad Williams at Webster, ND. Nice fellow. Got to Williston, ND in early August, lots of construction, crowded, went to Watford, ND stayed at White Buffalo RV park (only site available, very strange, don't stay there, had to shower at city park), Theodore Roosevelt NP (TRNP) is 20 miles to the south), restaurant food was 2 on scale of 10. Went South to TRNP, which is very nice. Gens not allowed at night. Was Hot.

Continued on US 2 to Glacier NP. Stayed in Glacier Meadow RV park great park, $79.00 for 2 nights. Unhitched then took the Going to the Sun road through the park, which was so congested we could not even find a parking place to walk a single trail. Pay the price and take a Red Bus tour. Repeat very crowded at all NP's, all summer long.

We continued west to Montana, Idaho and Montana. Since you do not seem to be going that far west I will stop my narrative and pick up going to Yellowstone NP.

After we got to the West coast, we went back to Yellowstone for a few days. Stayed in West Yellowstone, Rustic Wagon RV Park, another great place, family owned. Fires and smoke everywhere, from Burns, OR to Yellowstone NP. Saw flames over the tops of the mountains in Yellowstone. We were relieved to leave and go back to the clean air of the West coast. YNP was also very crowded, but people started to leave due to the smoke.

Hope this helps
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:22 PM   #17
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I second the comment about the Allstays app. Have it on the cell phone but also on my iPad without cellular service. Works ok without cellular. Gives me campgrounds and telephone numbers
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