Last Day in Yellowstone


Did we save the best for last? Check out our final stop in Yellowstone and get the down and dirty details of camping with no electric hookup.

West Thumb Geyser 7

Southern Yellowstone – West Thumb Geyser Basin

It has been a busy week so today we decided to take it easy and stay near the campground with a short drive to West Thumb Geyser Basin. I’ll be honest, I was feeling a bit done with the whole geyser thing.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an exciting and mind-blowing concept that an active volcano and subterranean magma chamber is directly under our feet, but I enjoy hiking in the woods instead of open areas. We also hadn’t read or heard much about the West Thumb Geyser for some reason so we weren’t expecting much.

southern yellowstone

West Thumb Geyser 6

We were pleasantly surprised when we realized the boardwalk is right along the lake and we spotted some of the geysers submerged in the lake itself. Looking out at the water, you’d think we were in the Caribbean instead of Wyoming! The water is crystal clear with a rainbow of colors progressing out to the center.

West Thumb Geyser 2

West Thumb Geyser 3

West Thumb Geyser 4

West Thumb Geyser 8

Camping in Yellowstone

It’s mid-June so it should be warm right? Or at least that’s what I was thinking! It is warm during the day, but at night it gets down to the thirties. The campground has no electric so that means NO HEAT. We have two sheets, a down comforter and another blanket. I am sleeping in a tank top, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and sweatshirt on top and yoga pants with sweatpants on the bottom. My husband sleeps in shorts and a t-shirt and thinks I’m crazy. If I can see my breath, we have a problem! Shockingly, it has been bearable.

Getting out of bed in the morning is tough, but once we are up and moving it’s not too bad. No electric normally would mean no lights or running water in the pop up either, but we use a portable jumpstart battery to run the water pump for the sink and LED lighting.

Camping in Yellowstone
Don’t I look cozy?

Grant Village Campground in Yellowstone National Park

The sites are fairly level and spacious, but I wouldn’t say they are private. Picnic tables and fire-pits are within view of each other. We are staying in section I which is the furthest from the check-in area and the shower building, but it also has the most sites near the lake.

The location is convenient if you are planning to combine the trip with Grand Teton National Park, but it is a long distance to the northern section sights. If we were to do it again, we would split the time up between Grant Village and a campground further north.

Grant Village Campground

In bear country, the parks have established what they call a “bare” campsite program. All dirty dishes must be washed at a cleaning station (here they are in between the bathrooms), not at your campsite due to bear activity. All food, food-related items like pots and pans, and toiletries (I’m talking toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and conditioner) must all be stored in a hard-sided vehicle/trailer/motor home or in the campground food storage lockers provided every few campsites. Since we are in a soft pop up, all of our things with the exception of clothes stay in the car.

There are bathrooms with toilets and cold running water in each section, but the showers are in a separate building. The campground hands out a piece of paper at check-in with a specified number of showers and we were told not to lose it because it would not be replaced. The shower area is clean, water is hot and there are many shower stalls, but there are specific hours from 7 am – 9:30 pm so that was a little inconvenient.

There are also laundry facilities in the same building as the showers. We did our laundry there today and it is reasonably priced.

What are We Eating?

We are keeping it simple for meals. In the morning we use a propane stovetop to boil water for instant coffee and oatmeal. For lunch, we make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips and fruit cups. We snack on granola bars and Twizzlers throughout the day. For dinner, we heat up more water and eat Ramen noodles with canned chicken.

Next: Expense Roundup

And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 13 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces and 13 national parks. You can also follow our journeys via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Miles Driven Today: 198, Total Miles Driven: 3,207, Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.60

If you would like to see our full itinerary, start at the beginning here. And Start at Day One here.

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Day 16 Yellowstone

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Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

11 Responses

  1. Paige Wunder

    West Tumb Geyser Basin was one of my favorites in Yellowstone! I’m loving the way you do your roundup! Genius! I’m loving following this journey! Cheers!

  2. Chris Travels

    I have to say I was really amused by your description of what it has been like to sleep in a cold popup without electricity. I remember many cold camping nights myself over the years, having to layer my clothing and sweats just to try and stay warm enough. Nothing ruins a good night of sleep like feeling extremely cold. I’d say you have definately been initiated into the world of camping and as more days are behind you on this 80 day trip you are fast becoming a thoroughly “seasoned” camper!

  3. Joshua

    We want to camp at Custer State Park next summer (pop up camper). What camp ground do you recommend? Did you like where your were?

    • Dang Travelers

      We stayed at Stockade Lake South & really liked it. Loved the location for ease of getting in and out of the park & being by downtown Custer. We did a lot of sightseeing & driving. The bathrooms were clean. Only had 2 sinks though which got annoying, but had 3 shower stalls. I had to wait in line only once in the girls and never for the mens side. The spot we were in was not very level, but that could have been just our spot & we used boards to level our pop up. If you want to swim or be by a lake with more activity going on the other campgrounds would be better though. Lake Sylvan was a happening place with a restaurant, swimming, hiking etc. Overall, I would stay at Stockade South again.

  4. Kim B

    Hello again Travelers,
    I like the diversity in the West Thumb area. I also love spending time near the water. Thanks for all the tips. I was thrilled when I was able to buy our generator for camping. That alone has opened up more camping with hubby. Due to his medical issues & meds he gets cold easily so having heat helps tremendously. Also on our Thanksgiving trip I took our feather comforter off our guest bed & used it in the motor home. Hubby was toasty thrilled.
    I’m glad you are managing your pop-up so well.
    Kim B

    • Dang Travelers

      I’m glad we were fortunate to be able to borrow a pop up instead of buying one so we could see what we liked and didn’t like. I’ve heard of some people using battery-powered heated blankets too, but layers worked good for us. What kind of motor home do you have Kim? We just made a big purchase ourselves for future travels, but I haven’t formally announced it on the blog yet.

      • Kim B

        Hey there again,
        We got a great deal on a little 1993, 22′ Itasca Spirit. We just put a new engine in last fall. We’ve gotten up to 18 mpg but probably overall average 14 3/4 to 15 mpg. It’s perfect for the 2 of us & our 2 little dogs. Or for my mom & I when she travels with me.
        We also have a 1995 35′ Bounder (low mileage) that we leave in Alaska for much of our summers there.
        I can’t wait to hear what you bought, I’m sure you’ll love it
        Kim B

        • Dang Travelers

          Oh wow, they both sound perfect. That’s good mileage for a motorhome. Summer in Alaska…WOW! We’ve been a couple of times (military trips then our own) but we would love to road trip through some of it.

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