Author Topic: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm  (Read 1734 times)

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Online HikeBikeCook

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Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« on: December 31, 2020, 04:41:00 pm »
The logistics of finding accommodations crossing Yellowstone appear to be limited and somewhat daunting. Coming into the park from the south offers  Colter Bay Village in the Grand Teton Park. From there it is 57 miles up to Old Faithful through park traffic with only two lodges available that sometimes book months or years in advance. Traveling from the east coast picking a date almost two months after starting seems like a crap shoot at best and adds the pressure of "making the date." There must be some sensible alternative for long distance cyclists. Any and all input welcome.
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Offline staehpj1

Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2020, 05:05:55 pm »
If you aren't camping I don't have any idea.  That said when we were there on the Trans America there were hiker biker sites.  Three of us were travelling together and splitting the cost three ways it was cheaper to get a regular site instead of staying in the hiker biker sites.  They were unsure if they were supposed to let us get a regular site.  I convinced them that we were just as entitled to one as anyone so we got a regular site.  Arriving Sunday evening helped, since the park empties out Sunday afternoon.

Online HikeBikeCook

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Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2020, 05:11:18 pm »
We are camping whenever we can. I was using Google Maps and it was not showing all the campgrounds the park maps show. It has been close to 40 years since I have been there. My brother is a back country guide in the area - (more out towards Wisdom) but stays out of the park for the most part. I just searched and read other posts about Yellowstone (should have done that first) and looks like they will always squeeze in a cyclist at a compground.
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Offline staehpj1

Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2020, 05:24:03 pm »
You might check if the pandemic has affected hiker biker site availability.  In some places it has.  I think since it is a shared group site it may or may not be open.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2020, 07:25:19 pm »
As you have discovered, they rarely turn away a cyclist (or hiker) from a campground since they know the alternative is for you to camp illegally somewhere else in the park which for them is worse than allow you to camp in a campground that is full.  Plus the hiker biker sites are rarely full.

Also, as Pete mentioned, it is much better to arrive into the park (or any major tourist destination for that matter) on a regular Sunday to Thursday (not adjoining a holiday) as there are just less people there.  Not only are the campgrounds less crowded, but the attractions, restaurants, laundromats, etc. are also somewhat less crowded.

Finally, if you want indoor lodging, just call once or twice a day but especially right after the "must cancel by" time and see if anything has opened up.  Two or three years ago, we did that and got a same day reservation in Colter Bay and also in West Yellowstone.  And this was over July 4th!  Granted, we only got to stay one night due to availability in Colter Bay but that is much better than we thought we would.

In summary, don't worry, it always works out for some odd reason.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2020, 08:16:23 pm »
Also, as Pete mentioned, it is much better to arrive into the park (or any major tourist destination for that matter) on a regular Sunday to Thursday (not adjoining a holiday) as there are just less people there.  Not only are the campgrounds less crowded, but the attractions, restaurants, laundromats, etc. are also somewhat less crowded.
It is also a way better time to be on the roads traffic wise.  It is also a good idea to knock out miles early while all the tourists are not yet on the road in large numbers.  Traffic is much lighter before noon.  You can avoid most of those rental RVs that way.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2020, 08:34:17 pm »
Traffic is much lighter before noon.
So so true!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2021, 02:15:27 pm »
Camping in Grand Teton and Yellowstone is not a problem. Cross it off your worries list.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2021, 09:31:02 am »
Finally, if you want indoor lodging, just call once or twice a day but especially right after the "must cancel by" time and see if anything has opened up.  Two or three years ago, we did that and got a same day reservation in Colter Bay and also in West Yellowstone.  And this was over July 4th!  Granted, we only got to stay one night due to availability in Colter Bay but that is much better than we thought we would.

Once you get pretty close to Yellowstone (say, Dubois or Lander coming from the east), if you've got someone back home who can call for you, this approach often works well.  My wife got my daughter and me a room in West Thumb (she was sure we would be eaten by bears if we camped), after we stayed at the Colter Bay hiker/biker/group campsite.

Didn't see either bear or buffalo on that trip.  :(

As John Nelson said, camping won't be a problem.  There are four campgrounds along the TransAm route in Yellowstone, IIRC, although you'll want serious mosquito repellent and netting if you stay at Lewis Lake.  (We didn't even stay there to eat lunch!)  There was also a forest service campground before you got to the gate at Moran Junction back when I went through there, but it's hard to stay that close to the Tetons without getting 10 miles closer!

Offline Figaro

Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2021, 10:02:42 am »
I did the TransAm in 2018 East to West. I camped in Colter Bay campground on July 3rd, the did 93 miles on the 4th riding all the way through Yellowstone. I got a hotel in West Yellowstone on the night of the 4th of July without a reservation at Al’s Westward Ho Motel.

Online HikeBikeCook

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Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2021, 10:49:21 am »
Thanks Figaro - We will arrive somewhere around July 24 under our current plans, which is based on only about 47 MPD average, but we are riding a lot of trails. I suspect we will travel a bit faster than planned, but this is planned a a leisurely ride since we will be retired and not constrained by time.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966