Early season campers in Yellowstone National Park this upcoming 2012 summer season can expect not only plenty of availability but also plenty of memorable experiences, especially during the months of May and June.
There are two main reasons that will result in this being a particularly good year for early campers in Yellowstone. First, new electrical upgrades have been completed at Fishing Bridge RV Park, and availability is plentiful because of the perception that lingering snow will delay openings.
Secondly, there will be fewer people in the park than in the summer because families with schoolchildren tend to travel during peak season. Demand at Yellowstone is at its highest from June 15 to August 15, typically.
“A year ago we were still snowed in at this time, and I believe many people remember last year and are leery of making reservations,” said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts’ Yellowstone operations. “Those who do come to the park this month and in June will find that spring wildlife watching is excellent. Bears are roaming around in search of meals to build back the body weight lost during hibernation. Bison calves have already begun to appear, and they are a joy to watch as they test their new legs. Elk calving begins in late May and June. Other park wildlife are also involved with newborns, and there are expected to be many more opportunities for them to roam this spring without deep snow in the park.“
Visiting in spring is an especially good time to have cameras at the ready. In addition to the chance to photograph wildlife, photographers will behold landscapes characterized by greening grasses, early wildflowers, snow-capped mountains and ridges, and the dramatic effects of cool temperatures on spouting geysers and steam vents.
Of the 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone, five of them – comprised of more than 1,400 individual sites – can be reserved online at www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com or by calling toll-free 1-866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375) or 1-307-344-7311.
Xanterra-operated campgrounds include Bridge Bay Campground, Canyon Campground, Grant Campground, Madison Campground and Fishing Bridge RV Park. Except for Madison Campground, these campgrounds are located at convenient distances from stores, sightseeing tours and camper services such as laundries and showers. Due to the proximity to grizzly bear habitat, Fishing Bridge RV Park is designed for hard-sided RV and trailer units only with a maximum length of 40 feet.
Opening dates and rates (not including taxes or utility fees) for campgrounds in Yellowstone this summer are:
- Madison Campground. Open. Rates are $20.50 per night.
- Fishing Bridge RV Park. Opens May 11. Rates are $45 per night and include electric hook-ups and two showers per night. All Fishing Bridge RV sites include water and sewer hookups. Electrical upgrades to all sites at Fishing Bridge were recently completed.
- Bridge Bay Campground. Opens May 25. Rates are $20.50 per night.
- Canyon Campground. Opens June 1. Rates are $25 and include two showers per night.
- Grant Village Campground. Opens June 21. Rates are $25 and include two showers per night.
Visitors holding a Golden Age Pass/Senior Pass or Golden Access/Access Pass receive a discount of 50 percent.
National Park Service regulations require camping equipment to fit in designated sites. When making a reservation, online visitors must to book a site that will accommodate their camping equipment. Non-tent campers must ensure that they book a site that will accommodate the total combined length of their vehicle and camping equipment. Tent campers must be prepared to give the size of their tent in feet and inches or the size of their RV and any towed vehicle separately.
Xanterra operates all lodges and the majority of restaurants, gift shops and other concessions in the park.