Reed Point, MT to Red Cliffs Nat'l Forest Campground, Yellowstone, Grand Teton Nat'l Parks

Big Sky Travel Blog

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Red Cliffs, MT

On August 3, I packed up and drove west on I 90 through Bozeman, MT and then south on Rt 191 to the National Forest Campground at Red Cliffs. This was just a few miles south of the resort town of Big Sky. This campground is quite rustic and rough with no water at the sites, just electric. The canyon was quite narrow with a beautiful river running on the edge of the campground. I was on the east side with the red cliffs to my back and as a result the sun did not get to me until mid morning. It took a long time to warm up in the mornings. The remote location left me with no internet or phone service. Got lucky and found a hole in the trees so I had TV reception. The reason I selected this spot was to be near the entrance of Yellowstone Nat'l Park.

Yellowstone

On the 6th of August, I drove down to West Yellowstone which is a small tourist oriented town with loads of shops and funky restaurants just outside the entrance of the Park. Entered the park and decided to visit the Geysers so I took the southern loop along the Firehole River. Made stops at Lower, Middle and Upper Geyser Basins. Took my time and walkes all of the boardwalks snapping pictures of the steaming basins. Finally I arrived at Old Faithful and found the huge parking lot very full. Had to park way in the back where the RV's were parked. It was amazing to see how many rented RV's were there. Hiked across the lot and found I had just missed Old Faithful's eruption.

Grand Teton
The next one was not for another 90 minutes so I decided to move on rather than hang around and wait.

From Old Faithful I decided to go south and visit the Grand Teton National Park. Made it to the Visitor's Center, stopped and took several pictures and then returned to Yellowstone. Grand Teton was quite beautiful with spectacular views of the mountains over a huge lake. On this day, I saw an Eagle and loads of Elk . A great day in beautiful country.

A couple of days later, I returned to Yellowstone and took the northern roads this time. This looped me over to Canyon Village where I made several stops to see the canyon. At the head of the canyon is a big waterfall which must be beautiful during the spring runoff. Took about 110 pictures of geysers, waterfalls, mud holes erupting and canyons on this visit and all I can say is that Yellowstone is fantastic.

Yellowstone
Traffic in places was terrible with inconsiderate folks stopping in the middle of the road to see buffalo or elk. During the three visits to the park, I did not miss many turnoffs or sites but could come back and spend several more days seeing what I missed. The trails to the geysers and some of the other attractions were in some places tough uphill climbs which I passed because of the altitude. Others had me puffing in spots.

Glad I got smart and packed lunches because the crowds at the restaurants were large with long lines. Parking everywhere was a challange in part because I was driving a fat dually. It's no wonder this is the most popular and highest visited of all of the National parks. What a great place!!!!!

Comments on the fire damage in the park....In 1988 a huge forest fire ravished thousands of acres in the park and surrounding areas.

Yellowstone
Most of the trees are Lodgepole Pine and are very tall, straight with small limbs. They have small root systems and after the fire, insects and winds toppled most of the trees in the lower elevations. The natural re growth of the forest now has trees in the 6-10 foot range and the new forest is lush and full. At the higher elevations however, the trees have not fallen over in part because there is much less insect activity on the roots. There is little re growth visible up high because of a shorter growing season and lack of good topsoil.

Yellowstone National Park stands alone in my opinion as being the best of the 61 National Parks and Monuments I have visited.

Summary: Elk Lodges: 53; Escapee RV Parks: 26; Public RV Parks: 47; National Parks: 61; Ships: 17; Forts: 29.

Expenses: 49 months on the road with an average of $1964/month.

 

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Red Cliffs, MT
Red Cliffs, MT
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94,949 km (58,999 miles) traveled
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photo by: ejames01