Yellowstone RVing in Mid May - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-29-2013, 02:47 PM   #1
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Yellowstone RVing in Mid May

We will be staying in Yellowstone starting around May 22 for 3 days with a fully equipped 13 foot Scamp. I have been there before but not this early in the year.


We plan to drive in the North or West entrance and stay at one of these sites: Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris, Madison, Tower Fall or (last resort) Fishing Village.


We don't have a generator so running down the trailer battery is concerning. We plan to use the furnace sparingly in the evening or morning, assuming it is not freezing cold there in May. We might buy a generator for future trips.

I really don't want to stay in Fishing Village and thought about staying in West Yellowstone at the Hideaway RV Park as an alternative. The rate is low at $32. We mainly need a quiet place to sleep and having electric would be nice.

What is the weather like in mid May at this altitude?

Any suggestions?

PS: I posted a question about portable propane heaters on another forum and found out they don't work well in high altitudes.
Thanks.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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We went in June, twice. Both times it snowed. On the first trip, in early June we had to stay near Riverton because Togwotee pass was closed. When we did go through there was about 2"-3" of slop at the top. I'm used to driving in snow but not with a trailer . Stayed at Colter Bay. Got down to 24* one night. Wear your woolies and keep up with conditions. Raz
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:17 PM   #3
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I have seen snow still there in July. Closed the Tetons and we got snowed on during the 4th of July fireworks in Cody. Not to mention we were in a leaky tent and had to go buy one of those blue Montana rain flys.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rod P View Post
We don't have a generator so running down the trailer battery is concerning. We plan to use the furnace sparingly in the evening or morning, assuming it is not freezing cold there in May.
Thanks.
Hummm, I think you should plan on using it a little more than you might think in early May, assuming its not an unseasonable warm year. Check out the openings for the park - as you can see in early May they actually only have one campground open in the park, I cant say for sure but I suspect that due to weather/snow. Keep in mind that the average elevation of the park is 8000' and a lot of it is way higher than that.

You may want to read another current thread on the topic of Yellowstone for ideas called Tips on a trip to Yellowstone
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:09 PM   #5
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We stayed in Yellowstone for the first time in September of 2011 when we drove our new 13' Scamp back from Minnesota to our home in California. We boondocked in Fishing Village and found it to be just fine. The camp is sectioned into smaller "villages" so as to minimize a crowded feeling. Although the sites are fairly close to one another, we never felt too crowded. During mid-week it was not very populated. After all we were traveling during the day seeing the fabulous sites and only returned to our campsite for dinner and sleep!

One thing I might say is that there are VERY STRICT REGULATIONS to keep your camp clean so as to discourage visits from bears. We are used to camping in bear country in California (Yosemite, in particular) but we had never seen such strict regulations as in Yellowstone. You may not keep anything outdoors that may smell of food; no stove, no chairs, no toiletry kit, "no nuth'in". Follow the regulations or be prepared to get a warning or a citation. Oh, we never saw a bear on our hikes or in the campsite. We did see ONE at a LONNNNGGG distance from us through binoculars. Note: The bison can be pesky because they are so abundant and go wherever they well please. We never saw one in our campground but commonly saw them on the road, on the hiking trail (keep your distance, turn around and return, do not attempt to pass these critters) and in the fields. Be sure to keep your distance because they are wild animals, after all, and you will have a fantastic and safe experience.

It might be a bit colder in May than in September. The built-in furnace in the Scamp along with loads of blankets kept us cozy through the nights. I would think twice about traveling on icy/snowy roads with a trailer, though.

Good luck with your travel plans and
Happy Camping!
Gilda
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:01 PM   #6
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We don't have a generator so running down the trailer battery is concerning. We plan to use the furnace sparingly in the evening or morning, assuming it is not freezing cold there in May. We might buy a generator for future trips.

You could bring along jumper cables to hook up to the tow vehicle so you would have two batterier or to quickly recharge the trailer battery every morning.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:40 PM   #7
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Having lived in both CO and MT at high altitudes I can tell you, you never know what kind of weather your in for in the spring. It's completely possible to have a blizzzzzzzard that time of year there. Most likely not, but it could snow and could very well be down right cold actually wicked cold. I would most likely stay where I had services, just so your comfortable. Nothing worse than being cold all night long. 3 or 4 weeks later I would say go for it, boondock anywhere you want. I guess you could watch the weather in the weeks before your visit and kinda get a idea. It's not overly busy there that time of year, so you might be ok making reservations last minute. It's a crap shoot as to what the weather will be doing. Good Luck and enjoy it there. Such a beautiful place.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:44 AM   #8
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We were there in July 3 or 4 years ago and there was still snow in the shadows in most places but very warm out in the open. We were south/central in bear country and there was an old sow with 2 cubs hanging around. They draw quite a bit of attention from the rangers as well as the tourists so not likely to sneak up on you during the day. We were told to never leave a dog tied up outside at any time and never leave a dog unattended "in the camper" while gone. Bears hate dogs and will kill them if given a chance.

PS my favorite time in Yellowstone is late August when the elk are showing off. Very primal!
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:45 AM   #9
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One thing I might say is that there are VERY STRICT REGULATIONS to keep your camp clean so as to discourage visits from bears. We are used to camping in bear country in California (Yosemite, in particular) but we had never seen such strict regulations as in Yellowstone.
The reason for that is there a two *very* different types of bears in Yosemite and Yellowstone. One is far more deadly than the other. The major bear population in Yosemite are black bears - more of a nuisance bear than a deadly bear. But you still should do everything you can to avoid encouraging them to come into the campground to raid your cooler or what ever else you have left out.

Yellowstone has the largest population of Grizzly/brown bears south of Canada. They are deadly! Everything that can be done to avoid any close human encounters is done. The last time I visited Yellowstone the day prior to my arrival one lady had lost her life and her husband seriously injured. They saw a bear & cub and the bear on seeing them had turned and started to take her cub away. The couple thought it a good idea to follow the bear and try and take turns taking a photo of each other with her in the background - *bad* idea! That didnt happen out in the back country it happened very close to one of the main parking lots. Thankfully the park rangers did not shoot the bear as it was clearly the humans that caused the problem and the bear was only behaving in a very predictable fashion.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone. I am leaning towards just staying in West Yellowstone. Being from MN we are accustomed to snow and have a 4x4 truck but don't pull a Scamp trailer in it either. Not worth the risk to me. Having electric is also very attractive too, especially if we get stranded in snow storm.

Thanks everyone.

Here is a summary of our trip plans. We have stayed at the asterisk marked locations before.

-T. Roosevelt NP
-Yellowstone NP*
-LoLo National Forest*
-Coulee Dam or Potholes S.P.
-Seattle Area - to visit family*
-Pt Angeles - Salt Creek Recreation Area
-Portland
-Coos Bay - Oregon (stayed here in 1973 on honeymoon!)
-Blue Lake - Ca
-Sacramento - Ca - visit family
-Monterey Aquarium
-Flaming Gorge NRA
-Dinosaur NM
-Devils Tower NM*
-Mt. Rushmore*
-Wind Cave NP*

We planned to hit Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon but trip was getting to long. It will be a miracle if we are still talking to each other!
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:29 AM   #11
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Hi Rod

Been into Yellowstone many times, while canoeing; the last of July, the hail got to be a little heavy, so we went to shore and hiked to a geyser basin. In June we have entered the park coming up from the Tetons, with snow at the side of the road, above the car top. Go down into the Tetons, on a short trip for spectacular views.

Later Kenny
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rod P View Post
Thanks everyone. I am leaning towards just staying in West Yellowstone. Being from MN we are accustomed to snow and have a 4x4 truck but don't pull a Scamp trailer in it either. Not worth the risk to me. Having electric is also very attractive too, especially if we get stranded in snow storm.

Thanks everyone.

Here is a summary of our trip plans. We have stayed at the asterisk marked locations before.

-T. Roosevelt NP
-Yellowstone NP*
-LoLo National Forest*
-Coulee Dam or Potholes S.P.
-Seattle Area - to visit family*
-Pt Angeles - Salt Creek Recreation Area
-Portland
-Coos Bay - Oregon (stayed here in 1973 on honeymoon!)
-Blue Lake - Ca
-Sacramento - Ca - visit family
-Monterey Aquarium
-Flaming Gorge NRA
-Dinosaur NM
-Devils Tower NM*
-Mt. Rushmore*
-Wind Cave NP*

We planned to hit Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon but trip was getting to long. It will be a miracle if we are still talking to each other!
Nice trip. We've not gone further north west than Yellowstone. Soon I hope.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:35 PM   #13
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Nice trip. We've not gone further north west than Yellowstone. Soon I hope.
Two of our boys now live in Washingston state and love it. The third boy lives in Georgia. My wife has relatives in California and Oregon. So with the family scattered all over the country we are seeing a lot of the country.

I may have to buy a new truck if this keeps up or get everyone to move to the same state!

Regards.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:58 PM   #14
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Rod, In early Aug. 2009, we entered via the North Entrance outside of Gardiner, MT, which is south of Livingston. We came from Minot, ND & spend an overnight at the south unit of T. Roosevelt NP. We stayed a few nights at Mammoth Campground. No reservations needed. Somewhat warmer & dryer area than most of the Park, maybe not as high in elevation (?). http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...3.cfm#25401173

We have a Propane Cat-Heater (smaller one) & it has worked well in high elevations. At least at 9,000' plus. We also have a small Honda 2000i generator & it works well at the same elevations. Use it with a electric cube heater (cheap one from Wal-Mart). But at times we use the Cat-Heater.

We have an old Coleman Cat-Heat (Coleman Fuel) which shouldn't have any problem at higher elevations. Some smell from it at times...mainly when cutting it off.

Never been in May, but have been in early June (first trip back in '86) ice was still rimming Luis Lake. Last time was in 2010, in later June.

Many folks stay in West Yellowstone, never wanted to do so. Always enjoy being more in the park.

T. Roosevelt was a neat place, enjoyed out few stays there.

We have stayed at Birch Bay State Park near Blaine, Washington twice over the years, used it as a base for going to Victoria & Victoria Island in Canada. Once on the way out of Canada, once before going into it. It is a 194-acre camping park with 8,255 feet of saltwater shoreline on Birch Bay and 14,923 feet of freshwater shoreline on Terrell Creek. The park is rich in archeological significance and offers panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains and Canadian Gulf Islands. Very nice park, neat views, neat seafood in the area. Not too far from Port Angles.

We enjoyed a short stay at Sequim Bay State Park, a year-round, 92-acre marine camping park with 4,909 feet of saltwater coast in the Sequim "rainshadow," just inside Puget Sound on the Olympic Peninsula. The bay is calm, the air is dry and interpretive opportunities await visitors.

To get to Sequim from Birch Bay, we did take a ferry to Port Townsend. Can't remember route at this time. We also took a ferry from an island, which we drove to from Sequim, to Seattle. Bough some fresh pawns at a small country stop & shop and some smoked salmon from some guys selling it from their van along the way. Go some crab boil at a Super Market in Sequim. Oh, was it a feast! We went to the Aquarium in Seattle and rode a tram to close to the Space Needle.

After staying a few days at Sequim Bay, we spent a night at the Olympic National Park Campgroud at a Temperate Rain Forest site, can not remember the name, etc. instead of finding one along the coast. It seems the Rain Forest area was on the Pacific side of the Park.

We stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory Visitor Center and enjoyed seeing them making cheese.

But before leaving Washington, we stopped at Cape Disappointment State Park (formerly Fort Canby State Park) is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean. The park offers 27 miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses, an interpretive center and hiking trails. Visitors enjoy beachcombing and exploring the area's rich natural and cultural history. The nearby coastal towns of Ilwaco and Long Beach feature special events and festivals spring through fall. It was very nice. Some sites are on the beach or very near it.

Like the Washington state parks, there are Oregon State Parks all along the coast. They are all good for both a short stay or longer. Good spots for a one-nighter while covering the miles and Good places to stay for several days and deeply relax in a quiet, beautiful, interesting spot. We stayed a 2 I believe. One was Beverly Beach State Park, very nice, near New Port.
Bullards Beach State Park might be the other one, or one close to it might be it. We may have walk to this one along the beach from where we were.

Fort Clatsop a Lewis and Clark National Historical Park was neat to see, our young kids loved it. It is near Astoria. No camping there.

The bridge over the Columbia River is neat to cross at Astoria as well. We stayed a couple of nights at a state park located just outside Ilwaco at the very southwesternmost corner of Washington. Camping facilities include 190 standard campsites, 60 RV sites and 4 primitive campsites. It was called Fort Canby State Park when we were there, but is now: Cape Disappointment State Park (formerly Fort Canby State Park) is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean. The park offers 27 miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses, an interpretive center and hiking trails. Visitors enjoy beachcombing and exploring the area's rich natural and cultural history. The nearby coastal towns of Ilwaco and Long Beach feature special events and festivals spring through fall.

The campground was Walking distance to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse which began operating in 1856, and is now the oldest lighthouse still in use on the West Coast.

On our second trip we drove over to Portland from the New Port, OR area so we could go by Mount St. Helens Area and stayed at a Forest Service campgournd not too far off the interstate.

In 2010, we spent a few days in the Seattle area when flying back from Alaska:
Just Back Home from a 3 Weeks Trip - Without the Egg.

Made it over to Port Towsend & Port Gambel on a day car trip. Neat places to see.

Monterey Aquarium is an excellent place, very neat one. North of Monterey at Moss Landing is a great sea food place over by the docks, called Phil's Fish Market & Eatery. http://www.philsfishmarket.com/

South of Monterey after crossing the Big Sur Area, "Hearst Castle", "Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument" is a must see. http://www.hearstcastle.org/tours/

San Simeon State Park is just south of the Monument. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=590

Enjoy your trip! Should be a Great One.

PS: IMHO, a 3 day stay at say Mammoth CG wouldn't be too hard to handle. When we started RVing with a TT, we didn't have a generator.

To keep the battery from getting run down, I would often just run the tow vehicle in the mornings when we would shower (pump tends to drain the battery with showering, my wife & I and two small kids). Ditto for using the furnace. We often used a Coleman Lantern (Coleman fuel) to warm the TT as well, works really well.

The furnace drawing power should be able to be off set by just hooking up the Scamp to the tow vehicle when using it in the morning & at bed time.
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