There are 4 campgrounds that take reservations in Yellowstone. There is also an RV park on the system, but I will talk about that in a bit.
When you make a reservation it is by combined vehicle length. It is not site specific. It goes like this: Tent sites, 20 foot sites, 30 foot sites, and 40 foot sites.
Tent campers have it the easiest. I will list the tent loops in each reservable campground. Just pick yourself a few sites from our favorites list or photos and request one of those when you arrive. Done deal.
For RV's and those towing trailers, look at our photos and see if your rig will fit. Then do the same thing. Pick out some favorites and ask if they are available when you get there. Otherwise the staff will choose for you and they seem to like to fill up loops instead of offering the best sites.
Got it? Good. Check In/Out time is 11:00am.
On Wednesday I drove south to Bridge Bay campground and Fishing Bridge RV Park. If you still have the handy dandy map you made from my last post you can see where they are, halfway down the right side of the lower oval.
But first I had to run some roadblocks.
And when you politely ask them to move they ignore you.
I finally got to Bridge Bay, the largest campground in the park.
If you wonder how it got it's name, this photo will help.
That bridge in the background crosses over the bay in the foreground, ergo, Bridge Bay. Oh, it's all part of Yellowstone Lake. The largest high-elevation lake in the country. There is a marina here with stores and eating places.
The campground has 438 sites. Quite a few are in the open, like number nine.
But a lot have some shade. Again, look at the individual photos.
The tent loops are D (186-231), E (232-250), F (251-278), and I (421-438).
Tent site 270 has a nice view of the lake.
Next up was Fishing Bridge RV Park.
And it is an RV park. They is no stay limit. The other campgrounds allow 14 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 30 days off-season.
There are no picnic tables here and no fire rings. In fact, you are not allowed to have an outside fire. What you do get are full hookups, water, sewer and 50 amps of juice. All the sites are the same so I did not do individual photos. They look like this:
On the drive back to my campground at Canyon, the clouds were gathering over Hayden Valley.
That is the Yellowstone River winding it's way through the valley. I saw a different side of it on Saturday.
But that was three days away. First on my agenda, in honor of the roadblocks, was dinner.
Yeah. It was raining.
On Thursday I drove west to Norris and Madison campgrounds.
Norris is small compared the reservable campgrounds with only 100 sites. But it was one of my favorites. The Gibbon River flows right next to it.
Site number 11 had the best view.
Next up was Madison.
It is situated alongside the Madison River, a world class trout stream.
There are 292 sites and almost all have shade like number 51.
The tent loops here are F (196-228), G (229-271), and H (272-292).
The weather turned damp once again on my way back to Canyon.
Nothing new. I relaxed in my car and read for a bit before going to bed.
Two campgrounds here have showers and laundry, Canyon and Grant Village. Three if you count the RV park. Your $28+ per night (including some sort of taxes and fees) entitles you to two free showers per site per day. The RV park is a tad over $50. I made the most of it. The facilities are great.
That's me, second from the right. So after cleaning body and clothing I walked Canyon campground on Friday.
There are 278 sites here even though the numbers go up to 287. No sites 141-149.
The tent loops are B, C, D, and E, sites 31-103.
I liked number 22 for a tent site.
My site was number 128, a nice pull-through.
The weather looked good on Saturday, so I made a breakfast of crispy pancakes and bacon.
Then I went to figure out why they call this campground Canyon.
OK. I got it.
There is a North Rim Drive and a South Rim Drive, just like that other big canyon in Arizona. There are two waterfalls in the area, Upper and Lower that drop 108 feet and 309 feet respectively. I checked out Upper Falls first.
You can see some people on the right edge about halfway up the photo. I would go there but first I continued down the South Rim Drive to Artist's Point. And I was not the only one.
The short hike was worth it to see this view.
That's the Lower Falls in the background. Splendid.
I dove into the river and swam upstream, up the Lower Falls, up the Upper Falls, until I climbed out and took this photo from the top of the Upper Falls.
Salmon make it look easy.
I took some more photos of the canyon before swimming back to my car.
I stopped by Canyon Village on my way back to camp.
There is a Visitor Center,
A Sporting Goods store,
A General store,
And lot's of places to eat.
I spent six hours on the computer processing all the weeks photos and then hit the sack.
Sunday was moving day, and I headed south about 40 miles to Grant Village for four nights. But I had to pass through Hayden Valley again and the resident roadblocks.
They seem to get a kick out of doing this.
I arrived finally at Grant and set up camp.
My neighbors needed to borrow my power inverter to charge their camera batteries. They came by later with some food for me. Guess what it was.
Yep. Tacos. Authentic carnitas tacos from an L.A. Hispanic family. Double tortillas and everything. I was in heaven. I went to bed sated.
It rained all day Monday which was OK, as my toe was aching just a bit from all the walking.
Tuesday I walked Grant campground.
There are 403 sites here and a few other tent sites mixed in the group area.
The tent loops are D (120-138), J (329-369), and K (370-403).
The sites are shaded and most look like number 50.
90% are pull-throughs.
Wednesday, today as I write this, I checked out some of the amenities before heading to Old Faithful.
Like Canyon, there are showers and laundry.
And a store.
Unlike Canyon, since Grant is on Yellowstone Lake, there is a boat ramp,
A lakefront restaurant called the Lake House,
And a beach, where several kayakers were about to head out.
The sky started clearing as I headed 19 miles west to Old Faithful. I crossed the Continental Divide twice on my way there.
I parked near Old Faithful Lodge.
Then walked down to the geyser to see what the fuss is all about.
Nothing much going on so I walked around the Upper Geyser Basin boardwalk to check stuff out.
Those might look tempting to swim in but the water is slightly warm.
Certain forms of algae thrive in these conditions and the colors are neat.
I headed back along the boardwalk past the Old Faithful Inn.
A crowd had gathered.
And then the show started.
OK, just kidding, here it is in all it's glory.
You can feel a rumble as it it starts.
It finally stopped.
The parking lot was packed as I left. This was one of four lots filled with visitors.
Regards, Park Ranger