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Discussion Starter #1
Hey gang,
I'm taking my first ever trip to Yellowstone (but I have been to Jellystone!!) in mid-June and I'd like to see the park but not the tourists. Some questions:

Are there any back country roads? Gravel's OK.
I have no interest in following RVs and power chairs, what good stuff is there to see that's out of the way?
I'll be coming from the west, any good campgrounds that aren't full of (you guessed it) RVs? :headbang:
Any good websites you'd recommend with info on Yellowstone and motorcycles?
I'll be there Monday and Tuesday, if that helps. Maybe Wed., too, if all goes well.
I've got a Zumo 660 and hope to have the parks loaded into it by then.

Thanks in advance,
Tom
 

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I thought that the NE corner of the park was real nice. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area was cool there wasn't as many people up there. We went in through the North entrance from Livingston. West Yellowstone is the tourist area. Most of the tourist and motor homes were near the west entrance, but I would still go over there to see the lodge at Old Faithful. Hopefully all the snow is gone by then and if you have time and it open Beartooth Pass is really cool as long as it's clear and the weather is good. Lot's to see hope you have a good time.
 

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From you name I am guessing that you are from the western Washington area. If so, I will be heading that direction on the 16th of June. If it works out, I wouldnt mind a little company on the way east. I will not be going to the park so we will have to split ways at some point. I cant help with any park info, I havnt made it there yet. I will be looking forward to the pics when you get back.
 

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You might be hitting it early enough to not have heavy traffic in the park. In all actuality, it isn't the RVs that cause the traffic. The Bison cause the real back ups... well, and the people trying to snap photos of them. The minivans were our saving grace when the Bison were right up against the road and we were on the bike. They don't seem to care for bikes too much. Use the cars, vans to flank the Bison with an odd look in their eyes. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it.

We stayed at a cabin in Gardiner at the north entrance. It was very convenient and felt rustic.

It has been three years since our visit to Yellowstone. I would love to go back. Being on the bike helped make it an experience. Let us know how it goes.
 

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My wife and I rode to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons mid-June in 2009. We were on my Harley at that time, and didn't do any gravel other than about 30 miles of "under construction" on the main road out of Yellowstone into Grand Teton, in heavy rain.
As to avoiding crowds... We thought we would be early enough in the year to avoid them, but not so. Best to start early (cold) or even better ride late after the RVs have started grilling their burgers.
Be prepared for cold weather. We had hail and snow for 20 miles as we rode into the park from the north.
Notwithstanding the weather, construction and crowds we had a great time the three days we were there.
 

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In mid-June the summer crowd season is just starting to kick in. You may get lucky and beat the real crowds. There aren't really any back roads except Blacktail Plateau Drive, which is a relatively short scenic one way drive (west to east) between Mammoth and Tower on the north end of the Grand Loop.

Coming in from the west puts you in the neighborhood of some of the most popular (crowded) centrally located campgrounds--Madison, Norris and Grant. Fishing Bridge and Bridge Bay are the RV city campgrounds due to the requirement for hardsided units. Smaller, more user friendly campgrounds are Lewis, Indian Creek, Mammoth, Slough Creek, and Tower. Some of the campgrounds require reservations, and some are still first-come, first served, but they fill up very quickly.

Way up in the northeast corner of the park is Pebble Creek campground which feels a little more wild/secluded than most of the others. Slough Creek is a quiet campground in primo wolf/grizzly country, but it is small and fills up very quickly. Might not even be open by mid-June with the weather being as wet as it's been this year. Be ready for rain. Heck, they're still getting snow as we speak...er, write. Check the park's website for which campgrounds take reservations and opening dates and road construction (there's almost always some happening. A lot of the campgrounds used to reserve sites for bicyclists/motorcyclists. Not sure if they still do.

Your best bet to avoid tourists is to ride early mornings and late afternoons. Be extremely careful if you ride after dark because the buffalo use the roads to travel and it's very easy to come around a corner and encounter a herd of them on the road. Elk and deer like to jump out in front of you in the dark too. Mid-June is still spring and you should see lots of young buffalo (small and orangey-red) as well as elk calves. Wolves and bears will be prowling looking for them too. Spring is a great time to see wildlife in Yellowstone.

Another sure way to avoid people to get out on the trails. 99% of the park's visitors never get more than a hundred yards from their cars. Try hikes to Fairy Falls or Lone Star Geyser. Mid-June will be very swampy in some areas though, so trails may take you through bogs if there are any meadows to be traversed.

Yellowstone and it's Southern Annex, the Grand Tetons (don't go to Yellowstonee without seeing the Tetons too) are truly crown jewels in the National Park System. You'll have an awesome time!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. I can't wait to get there - someday. Unfortunately, the weather has decided things for me, there's just too much snow still and Glacier/Waterton is still basically closed. Looks like I'm heading south after Klim/Rigby, ID. Never been to Craters of the Moon or Crater Lake...

Thanks again,
Tom
 

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Craters of the Moon or Crater Lake...
Craters of the Moon was awesome. But you really only need a day there. We loaded up the family truckster and took the kids there on our way to Yellowstone a couple years back. And of course, Crater Lake speaks for itself. pic

I don't see any downside to this! :yesnod:
 
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