Yellowstone National Park is an immensely popular destination for RVers. It’s a 3,500-square-mile recreation area that is situated on top of a volcanic hot spot. The park spreads across Wyoming, but into parts of Montana and Idaho as well, so naturally, a motorhome is the perfect way to see the jaw-dropping views.
There are gorgeous canyons, alpine rivers, dense forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including the world-famous “Old Faithful.” There are also large numbers of wildlife species, including wolves, bear, elk, bison and antelope. No doubt, one of the reasons that Yellowstone is so popular is because it is unlike any other spot in this nation of ours, and the beauty is best captured from the seat of your Cruise America rental RV.
Here is a combination of tips offered by frequent visitors to the park. After all, you may as well take advantage of the experiences of others … it may save you some grief in the long run!
This is what they have to say:
Best time to visit:
The timing of your visit will determine how crowded the park will be. It’s best to try to go either before or after the summer onslaught (July and August being the busiest), but if that isn’t possible, don’t miss it … go anyway! As spectacular as it is, you don’t want to miss out on this trip, no matter what your schedule is. However, be sure to do some advanced planning, making sure you have a reserved spot in one of the many camping areas or RV parks where you want to set up your motorhome. Or, if you choose, you can always camp boondock style, as each of our motorhomes is completely self-sufficient.
Should you happen to visit the park during the busy season, remember that even though there are a lot of other visitors there, you can still take advantage of all the park has to offer. In other words, “the more, the merrier!” So if you are waiting in a line of cars, for instance, you may look at it as valuable “wildlife watching time” rather than an inconvenience, and you may see spectacular creatures emerge from the woods as you are waiting that you may not have seen had you not been where you were. Also, keep in mind that the earlier you arrive at the park, the less traffic there will be, and more parking will be available. The main attractions and roadways start to get much busier mid-morning, so the earlier, the better.
The last thing you want to do while visiting Yellowstone National Park is to try to hurry, thinking you must see it all in one day. Relax, because you can’t! Plan on staying a little longer than a day. You’ll probably need about four days to see the majority of what there is to see, although one could easily spend months amidst the wonder and beauty.
Be sure to take the time to do some research, and make an itinerary that matches the time you will be spending in the park. Try to get to most of the main features, and be sure to leave time for just relaxing, as it is very easy to do there.
Rise and shine early:
The best time of the day to see the abundant wildlife is early in the morning and at dusk. The other sights will be there all day, so try to get your wildlife viewing in early. Oh, and don’t be too shy to ask park rangers and workers where the best wildlife spotting is during that particular time. They know where all of the recent sightings have been, and can save you a lot of time guessing where you might see some.
Bring the right supplies:
You have probably packed your RV efficiently, including all you may need on a camping/exploration adventure. However, there are a few items you may not think about when planning your Yellowstone adventure. Here are a few inclusions that are particularly helpful for your trip:
•Binoculars or a spotting scope – these come in handy when spotting wildlife or watching birds. If you can get a pair for each member in your party, it makes it much more fun. Also, it never hurts to bring along a constellation chart, or load one up on your smart phone, so that you and the kids can stargaze in the crystal clear skies of the park once the sun has gone down.
•Hat and sunscreen – It’s amazing how quickly one can burn when carried away by all there is to see in this amazing park. Be sure to protect your face with some type of hat, and keep the sunscreen applied throughout the day to save your skin!
•The right clothes – Bring appropriate clothing for the time of year. Just make sure they are comfortable. Also bring good shoes for hiking, as you will probably be doing a great deal of walking and exploring.
•Don’t forget the meds – There are dry, dusty parts of the park, so if any of your family is in need of allergy medication, be sure to bring it along. Needless to say, be sure to bring any medication that you may currently be taking, so as to avoid having to find a pharmacy nearby.
Come prepared for the weather: The one thing that’s consistent about the weather in Yellowstone is that it’s NOT consistent. Depending on where you’re at in the park, there can be a difference of 60 degrees from high to low on any given day. There may be snow flurries at Old Faithful in August, while in the lower areas near the north entrance it could be in the 90s. It’s a good bet to always bring more clothes than you expect you may need. By wearing layers, you can peel them off as you get warm, or put them on as it cools down. Oh, and don’t forget the raincoat, especially in the summertime!
Embrace the science:
Yellowstone may be a beautiful place, but to those who aren’t expecting it, the smell of the sulfurous steam rising from the ground in many areas can be pretty potent; especially to kids, who don’t typically understand why it smells like that. It makes it more tolerable to them if they understand that what they are smelling is perfectly natural, and that it rises up from under the earth. That said, it never hurts to carry a few bandanas for those who would prefer to wear them.
These are few of the things you can prepare for. What you can never prepare yourself for is the beauty and magnificence of this amazing part of the nation. Not only is the wildlife and lush scenery a prize to behold, the nature-in-action is awe inspiring. And there is no better way to meander the roads of this park than in a Cruise America rental motorhome.