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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    Thanks, crackerjack. We are hoping to have some power here and there on this trip. Our battery didn't last long at Yellowstone. We would drop it off at the gas station daily to charge it ($16 or so per charge). We needed it for heat at night. Have asked if we need generator...but my other half says it would be cheaper to buy an extra battery. Y'all have a great trip. Sounds like you have almost as far to drive as we do!
     
  2. Tin_man

    Tin_man New Member

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    We stayed in St. Mary before, you're right, not much there. And unfortunately, if your over 21 ft long, you won't be able to drive the Going-to-the-Sun road. But I see you're staying 3 days so that shouldn't be a problem.
     
  3. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

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    I have been to all of these places as an adult except Banff (was there as a kid). I take a long two week trip with my family each summer and do some serious driving and I would say that you are biting off a huge amount for 19 days (two weeks + a few days). Most of these places that you are visiting are not just drive through places, they are places to take a few hikes and so on and enjoy the beauty. If you do not do so when you plan trips, I would suggest that you work with a spread sheet with all the days and then google maps for miles, driving time and camping locations. Only you know how much driving your family can tolerate.

    First, there are no elec. hookups in any of the NPs unless you stay in an RV park part of them and I would not recommend that. With LED lights and limited/ no use of the furnace (you will really not need it), you can go 5-10 days on a good group 29 or 31 deep cycle battery.
    I would stay directly in Sequoia for 2 days and maybe take a day trip to Kings Canyon. You can spend a whole day hiking amongst the trees. You will nearly go right through Death Valley, so maybe think about that, but it is a tough one in the summer.
    Yosemite is an easy drive from Sequoia and there are some great groves of trees and and awesome hike on the way. Stay in the valley at Yosemite and then spend a few days there and then maybe exit out via Tioga rd. I would try to take in Lake Tahoe if you can. Emerald Bay SP is the place to stay there - you can swim at that beach.

    You can take 5 North, but I think you want to get over to 101 and drive up and see the Redwoods and the coast. Of course, you will miss Lassen, but that is OK. By my calcs, you are just getting to the Edge of Oregon and it is already about 10 days of the trip. It sounds like you will skip OR entirely, which is too bad because there is awesome scenery and waterfalls and so on there.

    Head up trough Astoria and there is Cape Dissapointment SP which is a neat place to stay. Up 101 into Olympic. In the park, there is only one campground that takes reservations and that is on the ocean. I like Hoh, Fairholme, and Heart O hills. There is a lot of nice hiking to do in Olympic and as noted, the huge Douglas firs and Cedars are awesome. I see where you want to take the ferry out of Port Townsend and then head up to North Cascades and then Banff. I think you are going to be close to 13-15 days in at this point and you really need 3-5 days min in Banff / Lake Louise area. My recommendation would be to come out of Olympic on the Tacoma bridge and spend at least one night camping at Mount Rainier. It is a beautiful area. You could then head east on 90 and get to the west side of Glacier (which you really need 3 days there at least). Drive over going to the sun road, you can't pull the camper over it. The West side is OK, but there are actually more hikes and things to see on the East side. I know you can reserve at St. Mary's on the east side and I'm sure you can at one of the west side ones also.

    It is over a nine hour drive from Glacier to Teddy Roosevelt park and from there it is still two days of driving back home for you. So, I know that you want to see a lot, but it kinds of looks like way too much for me and I drive 850 miles in a day with my family.

    My recommendation - plan it out on a spreadsheet with a map and make sure you take time to actually see what the various locations have to offer. There is lots to see and unfortunately not enough time to see it all - at least until retirement it appears.
     
  4. emmy

    emmy New Member

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    [?]we stayed at Princess campground last summer near Kings Canyon and Sequoia and it was a perfect spot, and easier to reserve than the national park site. However, it may have been torched in this summer's wildfire :(

    Jedediah Smith is lovely, as is anything a bit south on avenue of the giants. I gre up camping at richardsons grove, which is a really nice state park. Patricks point is gorgeous too.

    You won't need a heater except maybe at Patricks point, as long as you're not going in winter.
     
  5. ezakoske

    ezakoske Active Member

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    I believe that both Princess and Hume Lake campgrounds were spared by the tireless work of the firefighters! I know for sure that Hume Lake was.
     
  6. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Active Member

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    For Yosemite - one option is to stay at a Motel outside the Park on Hwy 140 (at/near El Portal) - Cedar View Lodge and its neighbor. Short drive in to the park. That's where I stayed one night after a "snap" trip into Yosemite in February to see the "Firefall". California has way more people now than it had when the campgrounds were built back in the 60s, so vacationing is more difficult.
     

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