Day 367 – Finding a campsite in Yellowstone NP

At 5am we fired up the rig and left the town of West Yellowstone. We headed back to Yellowstone National Park to be the first in line for the “first come, first serve” campsites available today.

We had two campgrounds in mind for a campsite. The first place was Grant Village which was a 1 1/2 hour drive from Montana.  We entered Yellowstone park at 5:45am and it was so early there wasn’t even a ranger at the gate to ask for our parks pass.  

Without any traffic in the park we were able to make good time and arrived at Grant Village at 6:55am. We actually had to wait in line with two other campers because the check in window didn’t open until 7am. When we got to the window they said they only had tent sites available and shared that 6 campsites in Yellowstone were closed this summer due to COVID-19 and there was no place we could go in the park for RV sites.  Ouch!

I knew that there was a campgound in Grand Teton NP that could try so, we took off in hurry to travel South into Grand Teton National Park.

Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone NP butt up against each other with Grand Teton to the South.  So, we drove about 1 hour South towards Colter Bay Campgound.  On the way South we saw a grizzly bear cross the road in front of us. That was really cool because you don’t see many bears.  We arrived at the campground and got on the “first come, first serve” line.  

It was about 8am and we were 5th in line for a site, which was great!  Although we were still nervous, we were welcomed by someone, walking down the row of waiting vehicles, who told us they had room for us. YES!  We were in!

They gave us a campsite to stay in for the next 3 nights until we leave for Jackson Hole and we were beyond excited.  Finding a campsite in Yellowstone National Park for the 4th of July (without a reservation) was incredible. 

Additionally, we were headed to Jackson Hole in 4 days and we were now only about an hour away.  This RV park (Coulter Bay) was very nice and full of trees.  Each campsite had a picnic table, fire ring and a bear box.

I’d never seen a bear box before. Living on Long Island I never had to deal with bears. A Bear Box is basically a large locker to store your food in when you camp.  If you are in a tent this is very important but, the ranger at the front gate said that a large RV is a bear box of its own so, we didn’t need you use our bear box.

We checked in and setup our RV on the site they gave us. Jenn jumped on a few business calls for the day while I made breakfast for everyone and then we left to explore the park.

Jenn and I were exhausted from lack of sleep last night and having to get up at 5am to drive hours across Yellowstone but, we kept going.  Yellowstone is such a huge and incredible park and we didn’t want to loss a minute thinking about all the sleep we didn’t get last night.  Sleeping is for everyone else. Right?

We drove everywhere in Yellowstone and saw lots of deer, elk and even bison.  There are tons of geisers, steaming ponds of water, mountain lakes and views that leave you pondering how incredible this country is.

We had an incredible day and my bed was calling when we finally made it back to the campsite around 8pm. I couldn’t wait to get a good nights sleep in a quiet campground.

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