We spent two nights in Livingston Montana at Osen RV Park — a commercial campground for the weekend. We avoid commercial campgrounds preferring the more rustic settings. Since we are living a lot more without reservations this year and last weekend, was the last weekend before school starts in this area, we got reservations for the weekend. We didn’t know the town (Livingston) and the low price campsites were likely to be full of locals who would have a hundred-mile head start to get a campsite. Picking a campsite without knowing the area is easy, unless the competition is high, like on a Saturday.
So this morning, Monday, we got going early (for us) and arrived in West Yellowstone before 11 am. We drove right by the first campground in West Yellowstone with hopes of getting a more remote place more scenic and quiet.
We had planned to go to Mammoth Hot Springs and camp in Yellowstone National Park but instead went through Bozeman to Hebgen Lake about eight miles west of West Yellowstone. The reason for the change was that if we stayed at Mammoth Hot Springs it would be crowded; this week is the last week of heavy tourist season in Yellowstone. Labor Day marks the start of the quiet season in the park.
We are delighted with the decision because we had our pick of campsites and picked one right on the water with a view of the lake. I saw trout rising as we pulled up and again this evening as the shadows were getting long.
From this campsite, we have easy access to Yellowstone and passed through a small section of the park and a small section of Wyoming only to exit the park re-enter Montana just north of West Yellowstone. This afternoon we took a five-mile drive into Idaho to get the kayaks inspected and then turned around back to Montana to our campsite.
The drive south of Bozeman was easy and very beautiful. The road follows the Gallatin River as it flows north from Yellowstone and is one of three main rivers feeding Missouri River. The Jefferson River, Madison River, and Gallatin combine near Butte Montana to become the Missouri River. The river was clear – green color and very beautiful and looked very fishy.
Our campsite is on the Madison arm of Hebgin Lake and flows into the Madison River also sourced in Yellowstone. Driving in was rough, first paved and then washboard dirt followed by deep potholes. The fence along the road was removed but the fence poles remain, and signs stated that buffalo were common in the area. Once in the campground, we have warnings about food storage and grizzly bears.
I expect to break another tradition during our stay here (planned for two weeks) by sending out more frequent reports about Yellowstone. I am wowed by the campsite and expect to be wowed by the park.
Here is a link to the google map for the area.
Link to our 2019 Route
Link to our route Minot North Dakota to Boise
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