The Beartooth All-American Road into Yellowstone

Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park can approach from the northeast via one of America’s most scenic routes, the Beartooth All American Road. This stretch of US 212 runs from Red Lodge, Montana, through forested mountains, Alpine tundra, and lush valleys to the park entrance in Wyoming, just past Cooke City. All American Roads are, in the judgement of the U.S. National Department of Transportation, the most scenic of the National Scenic Byways. The Beartooth is the final 70 miles of US 212, which originates in Edina, Minnesota, 950 miles to the East. Please remember that much of the Beartooth is closed during the winter.

Have your camera handy, as this drive features some of the most scenic country on the continent. Plateaus offer fantastic views of sharp peaks dramatically rising up to meet the wide western sky, and the hundreds of small lakes you will drive past can glint in the sun like diamonds or moodily reflect the beauty of the surrounding landscape, depending on the light and how you look at them. A trip along the Beartooth is officially estimated at 2-3 hours, but we’d suggest leaving plenty of extra time to soak up the views, and to enjoy at least one meal at one of the many places you’ll want to stop along the way.

You might want to keep the binoculars at the ready, too. Wildlife viewing opportunities are plentiful here, as the Beartooth highway provides access to one of the last complete ecosystems in North America. At any time during your trip, you might encounter grizzly bears, mountain goats, gray wolves which were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995 and are gaining a foothold, as well as countless species of birds.

The Beartooth begins in Red Lodge and consists of a 69 mile drive into the northeast Entrance of the park. The drive will climb into Alpine tundra at nearly 10,000 feet, and take you past three national forests (Custer, Shoshone, and Gallatin) and through the beautiful Beartooth pass. Winter conditions here are so harsh that only a few hardy mammals stay year round, and the pass is closed to all wheeled traffic. Summertime, however, allows the RV traveller exceptional views of the surrounding scenery. The switchbacks leading up from the head of the valley offer dramatic outlooks, and culminate at Vista point, which has a short walk out to overlook Rock Creek Canyon and Hellroaring Plateau. There are many turnouts along the route that provide breathtaking views of the unspoiled glacial lakes below. These are very narrow and require extra care, especially if you’re driving a rental motorhome that you’re not intimately familiar with.

Driving down from the pass, you will motor through scrubby softwood forests and wildflower meadows. Several large peaks in the Absaroka Range will be visible, including Pilot Peak which is slightly over 11,000 feet. Continuing to descend, you’ll travel through some denser pine forests before emerging at the highway’s namesake, Beartooth Lake. Watch for a great view of Beartooth falls. Just about a mile before going into Yellowstone via the northeast entrance, you’ll pass through the historic mining camp of Cooke City.

Be careful to reserve camping in advance, or to secure your site early in the day, because Yellowstone can be quite busy in mid-season. The National Park Service has information about camping sites available in or near Yellowstone. For camping in Red Lodge, Montana, we’d suggest the Red Lodge KOA.

Also be sure to check the weather, either with the Park Service or the Montana and Wyoming weather services before setting out. Summer snow isn’t unheard of along the Beartooth!

Picture credits: The picture of the Beartooth Highway is from the Wikimedia Commons. It file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Posted in Montana RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment

RV Camping – The Hunter’s Best Lodging Option

Whether you spend hunting season up a tree in a deer stand or tucked into a duck blind sipping coffee, a comfortable place to call home at night is essential. If you’re planning to travel in search of game this year, why not consider comfortable, affordable RV camping close to the action? Let’s see what RV campgrounds around the US are offering hunters this year:

Twin Creeks Campground in Buffalo, Wyoming features game racks, a hunters’ lounge and quality campsites close to Big Horn National Forest. That’s where hunters will find pronghorn antelope, wild turkey, elk, moose and deer in abundance. If you’re heading for the Big Horn Mountains this year to hunt, reserve your campsite in Buffalo before you go.

Hunting in Colorado this season? Mt Princeton RV Park in Buena Vista really caters to hunters, with space to process and hang game and affordable campsites every hunting season. A couple of hours south of El Monte RV Rentals in Denver, it’s a prime spot to set up camp while hunting elk and mountain goats in the Buena Vista area.

The Lincoln National Forest from Crest Trail

The Lincoln National Forest from Crest Trail

Big game hunters will find state-managed hunting right next door to the RV campsites at Gillespie Ranch RV Park in Mayhill, NM. Elk, deer and wild hogs are just three of the big game species found regularly near the campground. You’ll find this first-rate hunters’ campground four hours south of Albuquerque in the heart of Lincoln National Forest.

If you’re headed for Oklahoma’s Kiamichi Mountains this hunting season, book your campsite now at Honobia Creek Store and RV Park. About three hours north of McKinney, TX El Monte RV Rentals, this RV campground hits the bulls eye for excellent wilderness hunting accommodations. Wild hog hunting is popular in this southwestern Oklahoma region, so ask the RV park owners to schedule a guided hunt. Keep an eye out for Bigfoot!

One more premier hunting and RV camping experience can be found on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at Sherman’s Resort on South Manistique Lake. Not only do they offer first-rate RV camping amenities, they also have a guide service for hunters hoping to find black bear or white-tail deer. Duck hunting is another star attraction for this area, so be sure to reserve your campsite early.

Haven’t hit your style of hunting with our suggestions? No worries – any style hunting expedition is made easier with deluxe RV accommodations. Pick your favorite hunting spot this season and then contact us to book your RV rental. We look forward to helping make your hunting trips memorable!

Posted in Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Hunting Trips, Michigan RV Camping Vacation, New Mexico RV Camping Vacation, New York RV Camping Vacation, Oklahoma RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment

Casper, Wyoming – A Magical RV Camping Destination

A wild Western river running right through downtown and beautiful Casper Mountain as a backdrop… sounds like the perfect place to spend a vacation, doesn’t it? Where’s this magical RV camping destination? It’s Casper, Wyoming, and we’re going to tell you how to get the most from your RV trip there.Where to Camp in Casper, Wyoming

Just four hours north of Denver, Casper sits in the Laramie Range of the Rockies, intersected by the North Platte River. Casper campgrounds are numerous, so choose the one most suited to your style of RV camping. Fort Casper Campground, for example, is tucked into a bend in the North Platte River and offers an on-site opportunity to hike the river trail or fish in a private pond.

Casper KOA, on the other hand, is in the nearby town of Bar Nunn, and advertises a chance to see the area’s abundant antelope on-site. For an upscale motorhome camping experience in Casper, try River’s Edge RV Resort, also on the North Platte River.

Once you’ve settled on a Casper area campground, it’s time to plan the kind of adventures you’ll talk about for years.Historic Adventures in Casper, Wyoming

Casper’s roots are in ranching and oil and the town has nicely evolved into a center of finance. What that means for you, RV traveler, is that there are not only historic attractions to discover, but also nice amenities like galleries and museums.

But let’s talk about Casper’s history. Four historic pioneer trails crisscrossed in the Casper area, prompting the development of the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. Read actual journal pages from some of the half million immigrants who traveled west through Wyoming from 1840 to 1870. Look out over the North Platte at a prairie landscape almost unchanged since those days. This center is a gold mine of information for RV travelers hoping to learn more about America’s Western Expansion.

And to learn even more about Casper’s early history, take a trip to Fort Casper Museum. First a military outpost to protect early travelers, Casper’s military history is well-displayed in this reconstructed fort. And here’s a fun way to enjoy Casper’s Old West flavor – check the schedule of events for the Bessemer Vigilance Committee! These creative folks dress in costumes and hold shooting competitions based on actual historical events.Adventures in Casper, Wyoming

There’s no way to avoid being caught up in the beauty of Casper, where the western plains meet the Rockies. Scenic sites abound for outdoor recreation; here are just a few ideas to get your trip started:

  • Platte River Parkway and Casper Rail Trail – miles of well-maintained hiking and biking trails for the whole family.
  • Independence Rock – a scenic and historic spot where early settlers carved their names for posterity.
  • Pathfinder Reservoir – a rugged lake perfect for a fishing adventure.
  • Alcova Reservoir – fishing, swimming and boating haven operated by Natrona County.
  • Casper Mountain – trails, wide meadows and year-round scenic views make the town’s namesake mountain a favorite outdoor destination.
  • Rotary Park/Garden Creek Falls – fabulous mountain trails lead to a beautiful waterfall just waiting to be photographed.

It’s all there in Casper, Wyoming – mountain trails, Wild West history and comfortable accommodations. Why not add Casper to your “must see” list when you’re planning this year’s RV adventures?

Posted in Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment

An RV Vacation to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Bighorn Canyon NRA

Bighorn Canyon NRA

Do you enjoy boating as well as camping on your RV vacations? If you do, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, located in both Wyoming and Montana, is the perfect place to do both. Few places offer the chance to glide through pristine blue waters surrounded by rock cliffs hundreds of feet high. Add that to scenic RV campgrounds, and an RV vacation to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is one you’ll want to repeat.

What’s so special about the lake that gives this vast protected area its name? For one thing, the waters of Bighorn Lake are prime trout fishing territory, drawing thousands of fishermen hoping to land the big one each year. There’s also nothing quite like the view at Bighorn Lake – rugged, multi-colored canyons, sudden bursts of pine trees interrupted by tall rock spires, and dozens of interesting coves to explore by kayak or canoe. Whether you’re there to water ski, paddle or drop a line in the water, experiencing the Bighorn by boat will give you plenty of stories to tell back home.

And the camping! On the Montana side, near Fort Smith, RV campers will enjoy the shaded campsites at Afterbay Campground. If you’re planning to stay in Wyoming, the Horseshoe Bend Campground and Marina is nicely shaded with both water and mountain views from the campsites. You should know in advance that campsites at Bighorn NRA are almost all free of charge, and on a first-come-first-served basis, so plan your schedule to arrive near the check out times posted on the NPS site.

But what about RV campers who don’t plan to boat or fish? There’s still a vacation-full of activities available to you! The NRA’s scenic drives, historic ranches and visitor centers alone will have you wondering how many pictures your camera will hold.

Park favorites: Devil Canyon Overlook on the Wyoming side, with a dizzying view of the lake down the sides of the canyon, and Yellow Tail Dam Visitor Center near Fort Smith, MT, with its fascinating exhibits about local Native American history, ancient geology and the construction of the lake. If you prefer getting out into nature a bit more, there are twenty-five miles of hiking trails through desert canyon habitat, with plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities.

Don’t miss the chance to visit Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area this year! There are things for every member of your RV camping party to enjoy, whether they like their outdoor exploration from the water, on the trails or in an air conditioned visitor center. Visit the National Park Service site soon for more information on planning your own RV trip.

Posted in Montana RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment

RV Camping Trip – Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Take an RV camping trip this summer to experience Grand Teton National Park. Why? Because no one should miss the chance to wake up to crisp mountain air in the Tetons. Come along as we tour the possibilities of an RV camping trip to Northwestern Wyoming.

About six hours northeast of Salt Lake City and due south of Yellowstone, this National Park encompasses popular getaways like Jackson Hole and Teton Village, Wyoming. Not only will you find spectacular scenery at every turn, you’ll also find two RV campgrounds with all the modern conveniences within easy driving distance of Park attractions.

Flagg Ranch Campground is situated near the boundary between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Colter Bay Campground is near Jackson Lake, north of Moose, Wyoming. There are several other campgrounds with RV dump stations only, if you’d like a more remote setting. A private RV campground to consider is Grand Teton RV Resort, situated between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

No matter what outdoor activity you choose to pursue once your RV is parked among the Tetons, you’ll find a place to do it! Mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, boating and horseback riding are just a sampling of the things Park visitors indulge in every summer.

A number of commercial outfitters lead excursions of all kinds, so be sure to check the NPS website for current listings. You’ll also find well-staffed visitor centers throughout the Park to enhance your education and serve as home base for Ranged-guided tours.

Be sure to make plans to spend time on the water once you settle in. An endlessly blue sky is reflected in the pure mountain lakes of Grand Teton, inviting RV campers to launch a canoe, paddle a kayak or fish for trout. Elk, otter and beaver are just three of the abundant species of wildlife that share watering holes with the trout.

And we haven’t even talked about the scenic drives that await your viewing pleasure! Climb to the top of Signal Mountain Summit Road for a panoramic view of the Park. Loop around through extraordinary scenery on Jenny Lake Road, keeping a close watch for bison, elk and moose along the way. Teton Park Road winds through the Park at the base of the Teton Range, offering unforgettable views of those jagged peaks.

Come on, this is the year to take that dream vacation to Grand Teton National Park! Let us know if we can help with an RV rental. We have a great staff in our Salt Lake City RV rentals location just waiting to assist. The Teton Range is like no other mountain range in America. Don’t miss the chance to experience it for yourself.

Posted in National Parks, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment

Buffalo, Rainbows, and Dragons Breath

I recently led an RV Rental caravan from Las Vegas through Salt Lake City, Jackson Hole Wyoming, and into Yellowstone.

The trip itself was a blast and I hope to be able to post details about each major tour area here.

There was one day that made the whole adventure come together for me. We had just left Artists Point in Yellowstone headed back to camp and a brief rainstorm came and went. My wife and baby were seated in the back of the motorhome and she was still talking about the waterfall we had just seen.

Suddenly we saw coming toward the side of the motorhome what looked like a small wooly

Picture of a Bison in the National Bison Range

Bison in the National Bison Range

mammoth. Snorting and stomping as he came, the buffalo didn’t seem to mind cars, trucks, or motorhomes as he pushed across the road and stopped traffic.  The big fellow joined a herd on the other side of the street. The sun came out of the clouds and above the herd a rainbow grew.

We later came to one of the many geological features of Yellowstone, a hot springs area with a particular feature called Dragons Breath.  This feature actually puffed steam and made noise that made it seem like a dragon might really live at the bottom of this cave and be puffing steam up to warn us to stay away.

I suppose there are many memories I could keep in my head to remember this trip. I remember early mornings and coffee with friends, and the late nights with campfires and smores and songs and jokes. However, I suppose the lifetime memory I’ll take with me from this trip is sitting in a motorhome with my family after a rainstorm with buffalos, rainbows, and dragons breath.

If you want to go to Yellowstone or another national park and see these things for yourself check out the El Monte RV Rentals National Parks page.

Posted in National Parks, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Camping, Chuck Wagon Dinner Show, Trail Ride and Rodeo in Dubois, Wyoming

Come to Dubois, Wyoming (Where Real Cowboys Work and Play), on a Thursday, June 18 – August 20, and camp at the Dubois Wind River KOA, enjoying all the scenery of the wilderness while camping on the Wind River in the heart of a small old West town.

Thursday night dinner is served at the Circle Up Chuck Wagon Dinner Show where Cowgirl Catering cooks up a full Dutch Oven meal like the cowboys enjoyed after a day on the trail. Then listen and laugh to the music of The Prickly Pair and the Cactus Chorale as they entertain you in the old West and Celtic way. Just $22.00 for adults and $6.00 for kids 11 and under. Saunter back to your campsite for a good night’s rest.

The next day take a 2 hour horse ride on MacKenzie Highland Ranch’s trails into the Shoshone Forest. Rides are $20.00/ hour per person. Longer rides are available for an added charge. They also have ATV’s for rent if you have no spurs.

Upon returning to your campsite, get ready to Cowboy Up at the Dubois Rodeo. Enjoy Sally’s burgers and Angus dogs before heading to the stands to experience a local rodeo where the competition is friendly but the cowgirls and cowboys are serious. Kids enter the mutton bustin’ or race for the ribbons on the calves’ tails. Dudes from the quest ranches compete for ribbons on the steers’ tails. Tickets are available at the gate for $7.00/ adults and children under 5 free.

It’s a late night of fun.

Then it’s back to your campsite for one more night of camping along the Wind River. $43.00/ night for full hookups with TV and WiFi. The Dubois Wind River KOA is located 50 minutes east of Grand Teton National Park and 90 minutes east of Yellowstone National Park.

Thanks to our friends at Dubois Wind River KOA for providing us with this description of what sounds like a very good time. Other RV Campgrounds should feel free to share with us the wonders that may be found in and around their campground. Please send your article submissions to monty@elmonterv.com.

Posted in National Parks, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Family RV Vacation of a Lifetime

An RV Vacation Through Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico

The following was submitted by an RV Vacation Fan.

It was the summer of Y2k. My family (husband, wife & 2 sons) had planned a six-week trip traveling through five western states in an RV. We started with an RV Rental in Salt Lake City where we flew in two days before settling into our new “home.”

Our RV was a Class A, 36 feet long and slept six to eight. It had all the makings of home except the washer and dryer. There were two TV’s, stereo, refrigerator, stove and microwave. What more could we ask for? The grocery trips were fun – we could just leave the store and be home.

We drove up to Jackson Hole and to Grand Teton National Park. It was our dream family vacation. Teaching the boys, albeit young, only six and nine, about our country’s history in real life!

After spending one night, we continued our drive north to Yellowstone National Park. It was amazing. We had booked the campground for a week, rented a car to tour the park and settled in to see the geysers and the wild life. Old Faithful was as true as they say. We hiked the trails and saw deer, moose and bison close enough to see the color variations in their fur.

The boys, with my husband, fished for dinner in the lake at the park. I never had trout that tasted so good. After making the kids try the fish, they chose to eat the hamburgers we brought as a backup plan.

From Yellowstone, we drove across Wyoming to Cheyenne, where we stopped to see a real rodeo, with bronco roping and everything. What a hoot. Next stop was Four Corners, in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. The boys loved the idea of being in four places (states) at the same time.

We arrived in Denver, happy to go to a Colorado Rockies baseball game at the infamous Mile High Stadium, drove up to the top of Rocky Mountain National Park and even tried Buffalo burgers.

In Moab, we went on a half-day rafting expedition in a class 4 river. The rapids were a blast. So were the water gun fights we had with the people in the three other rafts!

Grand Canyon

Driving west, we fell in love with Bryce Canyon. It was so beautiful to gaze down at the gigantic monoliths from the top of the trail. Of course, we spent time at Zion National Park as well, since it was practically across the street. On to the Grand Canyon, our final park before heading back to Salt Lake City to return our home on wheels. We went to both the north and south rims. Very different views and although each was astounding, I highly recommend visiting the north rim.

This was the trip of a lifetime. A memory making adventure my family still talks about and will always remember. We could not have done it without the RV.

El Monte RV has RV rental locations in many places that can be used for a similar vacation (depending on the starting point):

Please feel free to share your RV vacation experiences with us. Send them to monty@elmonterv.com.

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, Colorado RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, New Mexico RV Camping Vacation, Utah RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment