Columbus, Montana has a free city campground and we stayed there for a few days. The reason we stayed there was that it is at a lower elevation. This means we had much warmer weather. No snow! Bonus was that is along the Yellowstone River.
The campground has an interesting name, Itch-Kep-Pe Campground, and was simple, quiet, with wide spaces between campers.
Today, we moved to the north entrance of Yellowstone. Our plan was jump out of bed by sunrise and hurry to the Mammoth campground inside Yellowstone.
The view of the mountains as we drove toward Yellowstone was amazing.
As we approached the entrance at 10:45 AM, we found through the Yellowstone National Park Service App that the campground was full.
Time for the backup plan.
We turned around and headed back north for the Carabella BLM (Bureau of Land Management- - not the other BLM) camping and fishing area which is 17 miles from the entrance on the Yellowstone River. About 11 AM, we found a site we liked and started setting up when a US Government truck pulled up. The ranger asked us if we could be out by 2 PM today. What?!! She said that the area would be closing today and that the notice was posted on the pit toilet at the far end of the road by the boat ramp. I felt like Author Dent from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Not only were we not fishing but the dock was nowhere near the campsites. Along with that, they had not put a notice at the entrance. As Shawna said they are young (under 30) and stupid otherwise they FIRST would have put the notice at the entrance THEN other places in the area. Why was there no sign at the entrance that stated that the campground was closed!? Especially since they knew a month ago that they would be closing the campground by Sept 10th.
Time for the emergency backup plan.
Loch Leven Campground which is Montana Fish and Wildlife land with access to the Yellowstone River. It is only $18 a night for camping. Sites are first come, first serve and were available so this is where we will be for the night. It is also miles further from Yellowstone at 39 miles from the entrance. It is a pretty area. Just to check we did call 4 private parks and all were full which is what we expected.
In the morning, we will be up at "the butt crack of dawn" and head out as soon as we have good daylight. If we arrive at the park entrance by 8 AM, we should not have a problem with getting a campsite.
Of course, we have new backup plan, emergency backup plan,...which will be used if needed.
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We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...