Yellowstone Camping Question

IlVagabondo

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Jan 4, 2021
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Greetings,

Not a backcountry question per se, but I plan to spend June and early July living in Powell, WY, making frequent trips into Yellowstone: day hikes, backpacks, and some car camping.

My question for now is about the non-reservable tent camping sites. I would prefer to stay in one of those than, say Canyon or one of the other big reservable ones. But I also don't want to show up on the day and find out they're all full. So, what has been your experience with showing up and trying to snag one of these unreserved sites?

Related, how much does day of the week matter? I have a flexible schedule but probably tend to work weekend days. Also, if you show up first thing in the morning, how does that work grabbing a site if somebody is in it but leaving later?

Please feel free to answer any other questions I didn't think to ask. And yes, I am aware I'm hitting prime mosquito season, but it can't be helped.

Thanks!
Paul
 

Yvonne

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Jan 19, 2012
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you can check real-time when the campsites fill up each day by checking the Yellowstone app. They post each day when sites fill up. Last year most filled up by 7 am. I always reserve in advance, so I do not have to worry about it and get out on my hike early and then go to my campsite and set up camp. Or if I use a campground as a base camp, I head out early each day and day hike in the backcountry.
I go every year for a prolonged time and camp in the park
 

swmalone

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Apr 27, 2016
Messages
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I agree with @Yvonne. I checked the website and seeing how early the first come first serve campsites filled up I went with the reservable campsites. I have a long drive and a limited time to visit the park and don't want to worry about not getting a campsite. If you are comfortable with the risk and can get to the site you want early enough in the morning it does provide you with a few more camping options.
 

swmalone

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Apr 27, 2016
Messages
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Thanks @Yvonne and @swmalone! Sounds like reserving ahead of time is worth the peace of mind, even if it means a bigger campground.

We stayed in one for the first time this past August at Grant Village. Even though it is bigger and full it didn't seem overly crowded. I would recommend that if you plan to tent camp to try to get the tent only site as opposed to the tent/rv shared area. The tent only areas seemed to be a bit quieter. I also found out that if you call you can actually request specific sites and they will do their best to get you the site you want or very close to it.
 

Yvonne

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Joined
Jan 19, 2012
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Thanks @Yvonne and @swmalone! Sounds like reserving ahead of time is worth the peace of mind, even if it means a bigger campground.
I didn't mind the bigger campground. I just sleep there, that's all.
I was out all day hiking the backcountry.
But it was really nice to know I do not have to search for hours for a campsite and just pull in after a day of hiking and set up camp
 

tennistime99

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Jan 16, 2018
Messages
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My favorite time is the week after Labor Day. Crowds have died out and the elk are bugling all night. Just have to be more attentive to your gas situation as parts of the park amenities are closed for the season. I haven't had much luck in the brunt of the tourist season.

When in luck I like Indian Creek Campground which is pretty centrally located and on the occasions I've been there has a bison that walks circles around the campground.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
 
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