Dubois WY to Yellowstone and West Yellowstone, Montana
Stopover at Yellowstone National Park and Old Faithful
We stayed at the Longhorn Ranch Lodge and RV Resort in Dubois, 56 miles from Moran Junction in Grand Teton National Park. The road to Moran Junction is filled with plenty to see and we saw some deer along the way. There are some spectacular scenery along the way in the Shonee National Forest. This route pretty much follows the Wind River along the way and crosses the Continental Divide at over 9500 feet.
There was snow on the ground on the 1st of July along the route. Plenty of options to stop along the way and that’s what you should do. There is so much to soak in and the terrain changes several times. There are some places to stop for gas and food along the way but not a lot. I really was in awe of the Tetons the first time they came into view. In fact, there is an area you can pull into about the time the Tetons come into view. Do it.
We got to Moran Junction and headed towards Yellowstone. Having paid our $50 fee for both parks we just showed our receipt to enter from the previous day when we visited Grand Teton National Park. We didn’t have any camping reservations and thought that we could find something at one of the seven campgrounds that do first come, first served camping. There are some harrowing views from the passenger seat looking down on the Snake River on this stretch so please take note of that if you have a passenger with some height fears.
When we got to Grant Village Welcome Center before 10 AM we were told that camping wasn’t going to be an option. You have to go into the campground to claim your site. There were two campgrounds with availability and the closest one was an hour and a half away so that wasn’t going to happen the ranger advised. This should give you an idea of how large this park is.
There are plenty of options outside the park and we were fine just spending the day discovering the park. If it was worth doing a second day, we could always come back. We found out Old Faithful was going to erupt at 11.12 AM so we headed there in plenty of time. We had no problem parking as we were 45 minutes before the time of it going off. There is a welcome center and a lodge here as well as the historic Old Faithful Inn. We joined the hundreds of people waiting for it to go off and enjoyed it though it was rather brief. The best was the tourists screaming from getting covered in the water at the one end closest to the lodge as that’s the way the wind was blowing. But reflecting back on it, it really was large, something you don’t get in person oddly enough.
We brought our dogs to view and it was easy though if you want to walk the whole way around on the boardwalk don’t bring your dogs as they are not allowed on the boardwalk. Afterwards, we took the dogs back to the RV and then ate at the cafeteria at the Old Faithful Lodge. The food was quite good and reasonably priced. The lodge is really a great building to enjoy sitting in by the way. One of my favorite things is old hotels and having a drink while sitting in them or on their porch. Do not miss being able to enjoy this one.
After our time here, which was excellent, we headed north. We only stopped a few times and couldn’t’ stop at some of the more popular stops such as Grand Prismatic Spring due to overcrowding. If you want to see anything do it before 10 or after 5. Cars are easier to park in some of the busier places though. We did see a herd of elk along this stretch. The only animals we have seen in the park other than a giant crow.
We headed out toward West Yellowstone in Montana where there are easily half a dozen camping options. We opted for the KOA that is furthest from the town of West Yellowstone (there are two KOA campgrounds here within a few miles of each other). We got a pull through site for $89 per night. This is a great KOA and the views are very good from parts of the park and there is a nature trail too. The rodeo is nearby too. There is wifi and the store is well stocked. There is a pizzeria on site too. So while the camping fee was rather high (it was July 4th weekend), it was a great experience.
The town of West Yellowstone is touristy but it was really nice. There are plenty of things to do here. The Yellowstone Historic Center is great to learn about the history of the park and tourism and there are some great shops including Eagle’s Curios which has been here since 1908. It is a relatively small town so easy to get around. Several incredible neon signs for old motels grace the town and are particularly worth looking for.
From here we still don’t have a destination though Lava Hot Springs and Driggs, both in Idaho seem attractive. That’s the general direction we will go in, one of the most wonderful things about a road trip with no plans. We ended up going directly to Lava Hot Springs.