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Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Madison River at Bakers Hole Campground Our Opinion: Recommend.  Low fees, level sites, 3 miles from west entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

Date of Stay: September 7 through 10, 2010.  This is our second stay - the first was in June of 2004 and nothing appears to have changed.

Weather During Stay:  We had it all: warm sunshine, cold rain, wind and calm.  No snow, but some cold nighttime temperatures.

Site Description:  Just off of Hwy 191, 3 miles north of West Yellowstone, this USFS campground has 72 developed sites, 33 with 30/50 amp electricity, the rest “primitive” (no electricity).  No water or sewer at sites.

Loop roads are narrow and paved.  Sites are level and graveled, with plenty of space between sites.  Lots of pines throughout the campground, often close to the road.  About ten sites are large pull-outs alongside the loop road, but the majority of the sites are back-ins of varying sizes.  Many sites can accommodate big rigs.

Bakers Hole Map SignAs you enter the narrow entry road, a sign to your left shows a map of the campground loops next to the self pay station.  Ahead, another sign identifies sites 25 through 72 as best for larger rigs.  In this loop, the sites with E come first, and these sites fill more quickly than the sites without electricity.  There is no place along the loop to stop to unhook a towed vehicle other than the road, which can be awkward (see Comment).

The smaller loop (sites 1 through 23) also has some electric sites, several of them large enough for big rigs.  In both loops, sites with E are closer to Hwy 191, and highway noise is noticeable.  Sites without E are farther from the road, closer to the Madison River, a more desirable location - but still hear some highway noise.

Pit toilets.  No showers.  No on-site dump station.  One threaded water spigot near entrance to fill freshwater tanks (in an awkward spot); numerous non-threaded spigots throughout the campground for filling buckets and water bottles.  Two on-site host couples.  Plastic and aluminum recycling and central dumpsters.  Sixteen-day stay limit, 2 pm checkout.  Open May 15 to Sept 15, depending on the weather.

Site 30 Bakers Hole Rate: $16/night without utilities.  Add $6 for E.  Senior pass holders get half off the site rate, so pay $8 for the site plus $6 for E - a total of $14/night for an electric site. 

Phone/radio/TV:  Verizon phones and aircard worked – though sometimes poorly - without a booster or amplifier.  Our site was large enough that we found an opening through the trees for our roof-mounted satellite TV.  We didn’t bother trying the air antenna, but some rigs had them deployed.  Local NPR on 91.9.

Elevation/landscape/terrain: Located at 6,600 ft., this flat campground is adjacent to the lovely Madison River for first-class fishing.  Some of the “primitive” sites have great views of the river, but most sites had views of pines and other rigs.

Lighting/noise:  VERY dark at night!  Noise from Hwy 191 is noticeable during the day and until fairly late at night - but didn’t keep us awake.

Typical primitive site. Favorite Sites:  On our first visit, we were in site 29, a roomy, level back-in.  This time, we took site 30, a huge pull-out.  Both worked fine for us, as would many others, including pullouts 20 and 22 in the smaller southern loop.

Hiking/Walking:  Pleasant walking along the riverbank, and the hosts have advice about longer walks from the end of the northern loop - but the really good stuff is in nearby Yellowstone National Park!  Walk the outside of the combined loops for around 3,000 steps.

Comments:  All the sites in this park are first-come, first-served, which works very well for us.  We appreciate the reasonable price, the quiet campers (seems more geared to fisher folk than to families), and the easy access to the west gate of Yellowstone National Park.  West Yellowstone is nearby (groceries, gas, tourist services and entertainment).  There is a very large, signed “day use” area, suitable for trucks and big rigs, one mile south on Hwy 191 – a good place to unhook a towed before entering the campground, or for hooking up after you depart.  Since there is no dump station and the single threaded water spigot is awkwardly placed, come with empty holding tanks and full fresh water.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Looks good. We opted for the full hooks no view in town at the rustic wagon since we are here for a week. Not much of a place but very close to the park entrance.

Heading out Saturday.

ReneeG said...

Thanks to your comments we not only stayed here last year but also this year just leaving after a 7 day stay. We were in site 21 last year, a pull through with E in the trees and this year we stayed in 46, a pull through with E more in the open so we could use our satellite. Each E site has 30 and 50 amp hookups but at site 46, our surge protector registered that the 50 amp had an open ground so we used 30 amp with no problem. We reported the problem to the hosts, which are great by the way. Last year, after driving through one loop with no luck, we stopped at the host site and asked if there were any sites to fit our rig. They directed us right to an open site. This year, we drove over to see what was open while our rig was at a full hookup in town and they advised us to come over in the morning with our tow vehicle, pick a site, and then go back and get our fifth wheel. We did and it worked out great. Each site must be occupied the first night so this was a good way to get around being nervous on if you are going to get the right site.