2017 West trip- tips on campgrounds needed

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by kimlovescamping, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    We are starting to plan a big trip for late June 2017. Want to visit: Sequoia, Yosemite, Redwoods, N. Cascades, Banff, Glacier and T. Roosevelt. We prefer electric hook ups, but want to be close to the action in the parks, so we can make due without it. Would like to be close to the major activities in the parks and need flush toilets. We will pull our pup from SC and have 2 teenagers. Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. crackerJack

    crackerJack Well-Known Member

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    Cool, sounds like a big trip. We are booked for a big trip in June as well. Badlands, Yellowstone, Glacier, and T Roosevelt. In that order.
    We will dry camp in the parks at badlands and t Roosevelt, and stay at rv parks near Yellowstone and glacier.
    We are taking 2 weeks off and it will be 4000 miles round trip. How many miles for you?
    I really want to go to crater lake and redwood someday.
     
  3. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

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    We went to Glacier in 2014 and since we arrived at 2:00 in the afternoon, we reserved our first night at the KOA just down the road from the park entrance, and then, the next morning, my son and I entered the park and drove around the Apgar campground, looking for people who were packing up camp (since its FCFS). It didn't take us long to find a site, so we paid at the pay station, asked the prior campers if we could leave 2 chairs, placed our paid ticket on the clipboard at the site and went back to the KOA to pack up. This is apparently how people do it for the FCFS sites. I don't love the idea of trolling, but it worked out well. Loved the campground, easy access to the shuttle which takes you all over, no need to drive much. I'd pass on the red bus tour, it was a bit boring, but definitely take the shuttle to Logan's pass and do the high line trail. It was just amazing!! We also liked the easy cedar trail, very magical. Enjoy your trip.
     
  4. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    If you want a Yosemite Valley site, (well worth it ) jump on recreation.gov right when they are made available, I believe 7 a.m. PST, February 15th is what you want. Go for Upper pines CG, and don't try for a fri or sat night. Upper pines is the biggest CG, so it increases your chances.
     
  5. ezakoske

    ezakoske Active Member

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  6. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    Thanks y'all! I am a little overwhelmed with all this research. We will leave from SC - so it will be around 8,000 mile trip. Crackerjack, where are you starting from? We loved the Badlands and Yellowstone. Kids want to see the big trees - so we are headed to California!

    Gardenbliss, I just can't take the stress of not knowing if we will get a campsite. I am researching camp ground rules on reservations now. I'll diary to make reservations on the first day available (Thanks camp freak) at each of the parks. I have studied Yosemite for the last couple of days and am pretty sure we want to stay in the valley. We will come into the park from the east (after staying in Las Vegas the night before). I'll make a note to try for Upper Pines. The length restrictions really have me confused. Our pup is 26' long when open. I tried to find a site and picked 30'...then when you open it - it tells you the trailer can't be longer than 24'. What to do? Luckily, I have a year to figure it out.

    Also a little concerned about the battery...after dry camping for 3 nights. I guess the valley isn't extremely cold at night in late June? The battery dies after a night of furnace use (we learned this in Yellowstone a couple years ago). Wondering if we should invest in a generator. The only thing we would need the battery for is the furnace fan and for the electric lift for roof.

    My main concern on picking campgrounds is convenience to the action in the parks. Seems like that would be the Valley in Yosemite. I'm working on Redwoods now and need to print a map, because it is sideways on the computer. I like Jedihah Smith and Patriots Point so far.

    I forgot that we are also going to Olympic NP. Not having much luck figuring out where to stay there yet. Maybe some of the Washington peeps would help me. We'd love to see the rain forest... my 14 year old watched a video about Olympic 3 years ago and wants to go. We have redone the whole trip around her request. (This was supposed to be a Grand Canyon/Utah trip)

    I finally decided to research in the order we are going.... Yosemite, Sequoia, Redwoods, Olympic, N. Cascades, Banff, Glacier, T. Roosevelt.

    It is a long process trying to figure out which roads allow trailers and how to get to each park. I can't do a lot of that until I pick out which campgrounds we need to get to.

    Thanks for all you advice, so far. I hope to have all the dates marked for when to make reservations in the next couple of months.
     
  7. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    Not just first day available for Yosemite, we are talking 6:59 am (PST), then 5,4,3,2,1, BOOKNOW!! Log in to the site about 10 minutes early and get set up. I know it's ridiculous, but that is what you need to do.
    As far as the trailer length goes, my popup is also very long, at least 24 feet open. I have actually squeezed it into a site that said 12' max trailer length in Upper Pines CG. Now, I'm not recommending that you do that, but what I'm trying to say is don't sweat it TOO much. The reason there is a difference between your site length and max. Trailer length is because there may be obstacles when backing in. In other words, the site might be 30' long, but they don't think you can get more than a 24' in there. Short sites are do-able because you can hang the rear bunk over the back edge of the site, ( if there's no trees in the way ) , and sometimes you can even hang the back of the box over the back of the site, keeping the wheels on the pad. In my experience, they are really not very fussy there about that kind of stuff, as long as you aren't hanging out in the road too much.
    Over night temps in Yosemite valley for that time of year should be in the high 40's, so not too bad.
    If you go into yosemite on hwy 120 over Tioga pass, it's very beautiful, but you will go up a pretty steep climb, about 3000' in 5 miles.
     
  8. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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  9. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    Thanks campfreak...I'll mark the date and log in early. I had a similar experience getting a site in the Fl Keys ..for Christmas and it was crazy. I lucked up that year and got one. It's good to know this now. I'll need some sort of back up plan. I'm sure there are KOA's or state parks near Yosemite that I could reserve if I don't get a spot in the park?

    Thanks Speck - i'll check out the reviews on FB.
     
  10. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    Sorry I got so wordy on you. I thought you were planning for this year.
    There are also CG's inside the park, that are not inside the valley. They have a saying there. "99% of the visitors only see 1% of the park". The 1% is the valley! and that's why it's so difficult. Especially May, June, and July.
     
  11. Heartman_wa

    Heartman_wa Active Member

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    How important are flush toilets? Out here they are very rare normally only in private and State parks.
     
  12. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    Heartman, I guess we could do without the flush toliets. We have before. I just can't go out there and not have a reservation. I would be so stressed about looking for a site. Time is valuable too and I don't want to spend hours waiting for someone to pack up and leave.

    I'm making progress in my research. The FB pop up group hasn't been that helpful. When you look at the list for California - I have no idea where each campground is. It would take a lot of time to determine if it was even near the location I was looking for. It would be better if they organized it in groups - like Near Redwoods... or near Yosemite. I did find a site RV park reviews. Every time I get on it my computer gets really slow though. As I am learning the names of the campgrounds in the area, I am having more luck finding them.

    Here is my preferred list, so far. Let me know if anyone has anything to add...

    Yosemite: Upper Pines. Looking now for a back up option. We will come into the park on the east side, so we could maybe have a back up in the Tuolumne Meadows. I don't think we will want to stay up that way the whole time though.

    Sequoia: I'm leaning towards leaving the pup at Yosemite and just doing a day trip.

    Redwoods: Jedediah Smith SP. Is it close enough to the major attractions in the Redwoods though?

    Olympic: Salt Creek Recreation Area. Votes at home for not staying in the rain forest due to being wet the whole time (??)

    N. Cascades: Howard Miller Steelhead Park, Rockport. Comments??

    Banff: either Lake Louise or Tunnel Mt (not sure which Tunnel one though)

    Glacier: Fish Creek

    T. Roosevelt: Red Trail Campground... this will be a quick overnight.

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  13. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    When we went to Glacier in 2010 we camped at St. Mary (in the park). We made our reservations over the phone 6 months in advance so we would have a site when we got there. No hookups!
     
  14. molanginaeda

    molanginaeda Member

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    For Banff, I will recommending tunnel Mt village 2. Several site has a very nice view. It's close to flush toilet & shower area. Try to reserve on opening day, Jan 2016. Check Park Canada for info. I was on B4 on July 2015. Best view I can get. Lake Louise is off limit for Soft side pop-up if you need hookup. I opt to drive from Banff ~ 1+ hrs.

    Glacier - I was at St. Mary KOA. Very nice facilities. Since I need hook up, I got no much choice. KOA is about a miles plus from the Glacier NP St Mary entrance.
     
  15. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    There is a real good book called California Camping, by Tom Stienstra. Details on all CG's that I know of, private, state, national, with maps to show locations.

    Sequoia NP might look close to Yosemite, but it's a heck of a long day trip. I think not even possible.

    Tuolumne is a good backup plan, but is even further from Sequoia NP.

    There are also some Sequoia groves in Yosemite, the best one being Mariposa grove, but it is closed for major renovation until sometime in 2017.
     
  16. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    Reviews are listed in that FB Group's files by nearest town. Admittedly it does take a minor amount of effort by the user to look on a map or googleearth or some other source to find where those towns are in relationship to where they want to go. I just did a quick scan of the California CGs listed and found at least one review for a CG next to Yosemite.
     
  17. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    speckhunter...no offense meant by comment on the FB review site - just wasn't that helpful to me since I am not familiar with cities in all those states. It might be more helpful now - since I have been studying for a while. I do look there for information when I am camping in areas I am familiar with. I also look here at the state listings of campground comments.

    molanginaeda - thank you! I have studied your trip report too. Very nice trip. We will be on a similar pace...maybe not as quick as yours, but aggressive. I can't do the night driving thing though. I think we need to stay on the west side of the park. I don't want to deal with wind. I will reserve 6 months out and have set a diary for that for Fish Creek. I will put down KOA st Mary's as a back up.

    I will mark down B4 in Tunnel Mt 2. My hubby wants to know if there is a fence for bears? Do we need to be worried about bears and lose sleep? We will follow all bear rules. But, we have cooked in our camper many times...no bear worries here in SC where we camp.

    SilverMickey - thank you... will note St Marys in the park as another back up. I don't think reservations look as hard to come by if you do it timely in Glacier... correct?

    thank you again Campfreak. I did notice it was further from Sequoia. I would prefer to be in the valley. Wonder what kind of parks are right outside of the west entry? Maybe I could use one over there for a back up? Online maps show that Sequoia is about 3-4 hours from the valley. Does that sound right? Maybe the Yosemite sequoia area will open back up before we go in 2017. I'll look for the book on Amazon now. thank you!
     
  18. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping New Member

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    Another question... we may have to take a ferry on Hwy 20 from Olympic NP to N. Cascades NP. Has anyone done this with a pop up? Will I be able to take the propane tank that is on the pup?
     
  19. ezakoske

    ezakoske Active Member

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    Grant Grove might be a good place to search on for Sequoias - the General Grant tree is right there. Looks like about a 2:30 drive from Yosemite - doable for a day trip, but kind of long....

    Hume Lake Campgrounds and Princess Campgrounds are about 20 mins from Grant Grove. Both are nice and have flush toilets; neither have hookups.
     
  20. molanginaeda

    molanginaeda Member

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    There is no fence in Tunnel Mt village 1, 2 & trailer . It's not bear active area. Wild animal like deer/elk is active in the area. If you don't need hookup like electricity, two jack lakeside campground is good too (swimming at the lake). Lake Louise campground is bear active area. They have fence around the campground. But the campground don't have hook up. The trailer campground don't have fence, therefore, no soft side trailer/popup allowed.

    If you ever head north to Jasper, it's another beautiful area. Quiet town with less tourist than Banff.
     

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