- Sports and Recreation
Yellowstone National Park
We went to Yellowstone National Park this past June. It was the most wonderful trip we have ever taken. We drove from Illinois all the way to Yellowstone. It was a very long trip, about 1500 miles one way. But it was well worth the time it took to get there. The first thing everyone should know is that you really should make reservations at the campgrounds of your choice or the lodges within the park. If you just show up like we did without reservations, this makes it so much harder to find somewhere to stay. We are campers so we started to look at the campgrounds when we arrived. By mid morning most of them are already full. What a shock to us, we fully expected to find just the right camping spot. How wrong we were. There are 12 campgrounds within Yellowstone National Park, 7 of them being first come first serve. You gotta get there very very early to get a spot. Having never really been to a big attraction like Yellowstone we were very surprised by how early these campgrounds filled up. Usually by 8 in the morning they were full. These 7 first come first serve campgrounds are operated by the National Park Service. The other 5 campgrounds are operated by the Yellowstone National Park Lodges and the take reservations. They suggest that you make your reservations well in advance of your arrival. Some of them told us 6 to 8 months in advance is not unreasonable as they fill up quickly as well. You can probably find campgrounds outside the park, but the park is huge and its really to your advantage to camp inside the park. We traveled about 600 miles within the park to see all the sights we wanted to see. We camped at a campsite in the Grand Tetons National park, our campground was 1 mile from the gates to Yellowstone. We were there in mid June of 2009 and we were camping about 5000 feet elevation. And let me tell you it was cold at night. We were in a tent and about froze to death. At about 10 or 11 in the morning the temperature would rise into the 70's, but that campfire at night was wonderful. This is bear country and most of the campsites had these big metal bear proof boxes on the campsite for your coolers and food. They suggest you don't leave your food in the car because a bear can break the windows and get in. I admit that I was a bit nervous about camping in bear country but the metal boxes did make me feel a bit better. Yellowstone is a massive National Park. As you travel along the roads inside the park there are pull offs along the roads to see different sights like waterfalls and bubbling mud pools and of course all the wildlife. You can easily sit in traffic for hours as the buffalo wander about the roads and everyone is taking pictures. We had one buffalo walk past us on the road and I could have put my hand out the window and easily touched him. He was massive. We saw tons of small recreation campers in Yellowstone and were told that you could rent these for however many days that you wanted. This does save on money as its very expensive in Yellowstone. You would probable have to rent these campers well ahead of time as you do the campsites. You can google to find where you can rent these. There are many sites on the internet that have to do with Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks. Those websites have oodles of information to make your trip everything you want it to be. They do suggest having a car because of the size of the park and the miles between all the major sights. As I said before we put on 600 miles in 7 days just inside the park. If you like the outdoor and wildlife, Yellowstone is the place to go, the amount of wildlife that we saw was just amazing. The only thing we didn't see were wolves. I hope you enjoy my pictures, I took over 300 of them so I can't show them all, but I hope you like my selection.