Are you planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park with your RV and looking for the best route to take? Look no further! In this article, we’ll guide you through the most scenic and exciting RV route into Yellowstone, so you can make the most of your stay.
Before you set a date, consider the weather and the best time for your activities. We’ve covered whether you love skiing or prefer a warmer season. Plus, we’ll provide insights into what to expect during your visit to Yellowstone.
So, buckle up, and let’s embark on a journey to one of the most beautiful national parks in the world!
Purpose of the blog post
Table Of Contents
This blog post highlights the best way to get to Yellowstone to experience many attractions. Travelling to Yellowstone shouldn’t be like a walk in the park without proper planning.
You should know the surrounding places worth visiting, have your bucket list of things you should do and the time and money you are spending. Be aware of the rules and regulations of each surrounding state to avoid inconveniences.
Planning Your RV Trip to Yellowstone
Choosing the best time to visit
1. Weather considerations
Due to its high elevation, Yellowstone’s weather is unpredictable year-round (Yellowstone.net). Spring and fall temperatures range from 30 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows sometimes approaching 0 degrees. Summer highs range between 70 and 80 degrees. The chances of having frost and freezing temperatures are low.
Due to its mountainous regions, the temperature can fluctuate depending on elevation. Average precipitation is consistent across all seasons. Do not worry about travelling during or avoiding a rainy season.
The worst time to visit Yellowstone is winter unless you love skiing. The highs rarely exceed 20 degrees Fahrenheit. You may be hesitant to plan outdoor-based vacations during the winter, but it can sometimes be the most rewarding. Snow blankets the mountainous landscape, leaving the most popular attractions blissfully crowd-free.
For the adventurous willing to experience the biting cold, Yellowstone is the most overlooked backcountry skiing in the country. For safety, check for road closures in advance, as they can hinder your attempts to visit Yellowstone.
Wildlife can be viewed year-round at Yellowstone, but the seasons will impact what species you see. March and April are the best months to view bears, while winter is best for wolves and bighorn sheep. Elk, moose, bison, and mountain goats can be spotted during summer, the park’s busiest season.
2. Crowds and peak seasons
During summer, there are bigger crowds due to the beautiful weather. Yellowstone National Park can get very crowded during peak season. That is June, July, and August. The best months to visit Yellowstone are April, September, and October since there are more chances to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife and enjoy thinner crowds.
May, June, July, and August draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park, creating more traffic and higher wait times at the larger landmarks. That can be tiresome and boring for impatient travellers.
Bears emerge from hibernation between March and April, migrating birds arrive just before May, and the elk rut begins mid-September. For a trip to the park, local wildlife is active in April. It is also ideal for hiking and camping, but wear warm clothes since the weather changes.
September does not attract much crowd, although wildlife is still viewable. October also allows visitors to experience the geysers, hot springs, and natural vents with smaller crowds. Peak season in Yellowstone starts at the end of April and will run until about mid-September
Planning your route
1. Distance and estimated travel time
Yellowstone’s Grand Loop Road can be an Upper Loop and a Lower Loop. Each loop takes about 2.5 hours to drive without stopping. The total road mileage in the park is 251 miles, the Upper Loop is 70 miles around, the Lower Loop is 96 miles around, and the Grand Loop is 142 miles around. Travel at lower speeds.
2. Scenic routes and must-see stops
There are five entrances to the park. Pick the best gorgeous scenery, abundant wildlife, broad vistas, towering peaks, and blue-ribbon trout waters. Beartooth Highway and the park’s northeast entrance feature beautiful Wyoming landscapes, few people, and fascinating history.
Grand Teton National Park features cold lakes, braided rivers, verdant meadows, and deep forests. It also shows you bears, elk, pronghorn, and other wildlife. If you like fishing, you may like Paradise Valley. West Yellowstone is a popular headquarters for fly fishing and famous blue-ribbon trout streams, including the Madison River.
RV camping options in and around Yellowstone
1. Campground reservations
Consider Bridge Bay Campground, Canyon Campground, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village Campground, Indian Creek Campground, Lewis Lake Campground, Madison Campground, Mammoth Campground, and many more. Make your reservations at any of these for an incredible experience.
2. Alternatives to campground camping
You cannot sleep in your car in Yellowstone. Paid campsites will allow you to sleep in your car if you insist. Yellowstone does not allow overnight parking in attraction parking lots, trailheads, or on the roadside.
Cabins are for a relaxed environment and a roof over your head to enjoy the great outdoors.
Getting to Yellowstone by RV
Entrances to the park
1. North Entrance
The North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park is at Gardiner. It is close to Montana, and that is the only park entrance open all year round. It is the second most popular park entrance to Yellowstone. Roosevelt Arch and Mammoth Hot Springs are the most popular attractions near the North Entrance.
2. West Entrance
The West Entrance is a great jumping-off point for seeing some of the best geysers in the park. It is close to Norris, Old Faithful, and Grand Prismatic. West Entrance brings you to geyser paradise.
3. South Entrance
South Entrance allows you to tackle two national parks in one day. It takes you to Jackson, an incredible mountain town that attracts skiers to its steep slopes in the winter and tourists in the summer. It takes you as far as the Lamar Valley, which stretches to the Montana border and is known for its abundance of large mammals, including wolves, bison, and bears.
Road conditions and accessibility
1. Seasonal closures and road construction
In winter, most roads are only open to snow coach and snowmobile travel. The only road open year-round to automobiles is from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through the park to Cooke City, Montana. Most park roads are closed to regular vehicles from early November to late April and are open to limited over-snow travel. When open, roads are not gated at night and people may enter/exit the park 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Use road maps and GPS.
- Avoid driving stressful steep grades and harrowing hairpin turns.
- Drive slowly and with caution.
RV size restrictions and regulations
1. Length and width limits
Each campground does have size limits, and most sites can fit 30 to 40 feet long trailers, but the Fishing Bridge can hold a 95-foot RV or motorhome. Try to keep it below 4o feet.
2. Generator use and quiet hours
Generators are prohibited from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. No loud audio devices or other noise disturbances are allowed during these times. Generators are only permitted in six Yellowstone campgrounds and the Fishing Bridge RV Park.
Exploring Yellowstone by RV
Popular sites and attractions
1. Old Faithful
Old Faithful is the most beautiful lodging facility in the park. It features newly renovated suites and deluxe rooms that combine old-fashioned and modern characteristics of Yellowstone’s history. It has geysers and waterfalls.
2. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River expresses the park’s geologic history in dramatic colors and shapes. Canyon’s walls feature puffs of steam mark hydrothermal features. Experience the canyon from multiple overlooks, at different times of day, and in different seasons. Experience the beautiful scenery from trails and walkways wind along the rims and down partway into the canyon.
3. Lower and Upper Yellowstone Falls
Yellowstone consists of two waterfalls: the Lower and Upper Falls. The Lower Falls formed because the river flows over the volcanic rock are more resistant to erosion than the downstream rocks, whereas the Upper Falls flows are remnants of a lava flow resistant to erosion.
RV-friendly activities and excursions
1. Fishing Boat Marina
That is one of the best-guided fishing tours you can ever have. Relax and enjoy the stunning scenery while catching a fish. You can still have a Boat cruise whilst fishing. Yellowstone National Park Lodges provides boat rentals and guided boat trips at Bridge Bay Marina on Yellowstone Lake.
2. Fishing Boat Point
Check the time and date since Yellowstone National Park has a fishing season. Outside of the season, fishing is not allowed. The scenery at this point is spectacular. You can also walk out on the Fishing Bridge to take in the beauty and history of the area.
3. Fishing Boat Point Overlook
Rent a boat from Bridge Bay Marina and head out on Yellowstone Lake. Buy a fishing permit so you can fish from the boat. It is near the north shore of Yellowstone Lake. It is a place to boat, fish, and have your little resort.
Safety and etiquette while visiting the park
1. Bear safety
Hike with at least three other people during the day. Keep the bear spray handy enough to quick-draw it. Avoid hiking around dawn and dusk if possible, since this is the bears’ activity peaks.
2. Respect for wildlife and park rules
Keep a minimum distance of 25 yards from bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, coyotes, and nesting birds, and 100 yards from bears and wolves. Do not entice wildlife with food, animal calls, or actions that change their behaviour. The rules protect you, the environment, and animals.
In conclusion, choose any entrances that are favourable to your specifics. Research on weather and open routes before you set your travel dates. Write a list of places you wouldn’t want to miss and things you want to do. Adhere to the park’s rules and regulations for your safety and the animals. Happy tour. For planning your RV trip to Yellowstone check out the National Park Service (Nps.gov) and make your bookings easier by using Booking.com.