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Old 10-21-2016, 05:08 AM   #1
Domenick
 
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Default National Parks

I have a Citation 24SA. I am planning to take it west next year to visit some of the national parks. It is small enough that I can get it just about anywhere a large pickup truck can go. I am told by some RVers that I should get a tow car. Do I really need one to get around in some of the national parks? Will I not be able to get around? Will I miss out on anything?

If anyone has traveled to some of these parks in a small RV I would appreciate your input.

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Old 10-21-2016, 11:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: National Parks

Well I'll chip in here since nobody else has so far. I just finished a 4000 mile bicycle tour through western USA and Canada this summer (8 states and provinces) which included many of the great national parks. I fail to see how towing a car along could improve the quality of the experience. Where traffic is bad, it won't make it any better. It seems like if you're in a class B sized rig already, you'll be able to move around and find camping spots and see the sites. Personally, I'd be more inclined to take a bike or e-bike along to increase mobility. The NP experience is 100X better if you can get a few hundred meters offf the road.

Peak season is getting crazy crowded at many of the parks, "shoulder" seasons are cooler but more reasonable crowds. Also, the national forest or wilderness adjacent to the parks are often far less crowded.
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: National Parks

With a pair of shoes and a willingness to hike, you won't miss a thing! Caged up in a vehicle, stopping at overlooks and food stands - you'll miss a lot! I'd definitely recommend a bike over a tow car for the Parks. Google info on parking, traffic jams, shuttles and bike paths in Zion and Yosemite, for example. Also Google camping reservations, you'll need to make them 3-5 mos in advance for Yosemite...
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: National Parks

It will be a little more awkward than a regular car or pickup. You don't really fit in normal parking spaces - especially length. If you're a solo traveler a small gas-engine scooter on a rear carrier is a good option. It must be less than 400# though. (I do a Honda Big Ruckus on my Sprinter but there are scooters that have smaller engines, don't require a license and are easier to load.) If you have a co-pilot a really small car set up to tow 4 down is a good option but you won't be able to back up. (I pulled a Suzuki Sidekick with a Class A for a number of years.) It kind of kills the gas mileage though.
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Old 10-21-2016, 06:58 PM   #5
OldWest
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Default Re: National Parks

1. No Toad

Generally, can see most mainland natl parks with a small RV. You should be able to get to just about every natl park via driving a small RV (except island ones and several Alaska ones) and drive to.and stay in campgrounds in the natl parks.

There are some parts of various natl parks where a smaller vehicle would be better or where even a small RV would be inadvisable BUT you have options of public tours (natl parks are trying to reduce traffic in parks so may have free shuttles) or rent a small vehicle or 4x4 if necessary for that park if absolutely must see something.

Zion shuts down the main road to all traffic during peak season except for their shuttles and bicycles (and hotel traffic). Yosemite has free shuttle bus in valley and (double check) a small RV should make it to the Toulm Meadows (tour buses do but windy road and tunnels). Grand Canyon has shuttles.

Issues are height restrictions (usually tunnels or bridges), width, and dirt roads. For example, Zion has a tunnel which requires driving down the middle, Glacier has a windy mountain road to the sun, etc. Death Valley has certain sites accessible via dirt roads only.

Can research beforehand by checking each park's website, getting Natl Geo Natl Park Guide, and getting info at each park's Visitor Center (advisable for info on road restrictions, closures, hiking areas closed off for bear activity, etc.).

The main attractions of most natl parks are usually easily accessible by a small RV. If you prefer more remote areas, then check with each park for that remote area and then decide whether worth it.

Note: Bicycles are a nice choice for many natl parks. Can often rent in the parks as well.

2. Planning

Check RV caravan tour catalogs for ideas re itinerary for natl parks (e.g., the natl park loop in the western states). Helpful for timing. The Natl Geo Natl Parks Guide is helpful to decide how many days to stay in each park and what to do for number of days. For example:

http://adventurecaravans.com/tour/gr...al-parks-tour/

Also, trip routing:

http://www.randalolson.com/2016/07/3...ial-road-trip/

Should reserve campground sites way in advance as natl parks campground sites fill up way in advance. Look for nearby alternatives, including Allstays.com (app), PassportAmerica, etc.

Natl Parks vary as to available hookups in campgrounds

3. Pass

Get Senior (best deal ever) or Annual Pass.

Last edited by OldWest; 10-21-2016 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Add link to Adventure Caravans tour.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: National Parks

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com...g-newbies25735
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: National Parks

Yellowstone: You should be able to just about everywhere, but during busy season the extra width of your RV is going to be liability when pulling off the road to view wildlife. Often you are just driving, and you see an area with wildlife and parked cars. The extra width will make it harder to pull over. (We just got back from Yellowstone, but it was end of season and not busy)

Yellowstone had one road that was closed to vehicles over... 5 tons? It's short and scenic, but you could walk it if you really wanted to.

Utah: There are a lot of interesting dirt roads on the edges of the National Parks, whether state park, national forest, etc. We dry camped some days outside of Bryce. The smooth dirt roads are fine for your camper if you are up for it, but a few of the entrances to parking lots off the dirt roads are sketchy. Might depend on how good the closures on your cabinets are, and if you like everything vibrating around. There's 2 amazing dirt drives though....

Dual rear wheels can be a liability in the rocky terrain, but I saw plenty of dual rear wheel truck campers out there.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: National Parks

We just bought a Siesta 24 SR. Previously, we owned a 27' long 5th wheel and towed it with a crew cab F350. Prior to that a 29' long Class C. We managed to camp in many State Parks and just about any National Park, we traveled to. The combination F350/5th wheel, being 40'+ long combined, definitely was a challenge at, for example, Yellowstone. We haven't often needed a separate vehicle plus we are lucky that often our friends travel along with us, with their Outback and pop up.

But to the point. The Sprinter based RV's are definitely narrower, not sure about 100% of the cases, than a standard Class C. And they are also typically shorter. I don't believe that it would be wrong to claim that if I could park my F350 in a spot, then the Sprinter would not be more of a challenge. We are definitely happy with it's maneuverability and floor plan.
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Old 10-22-2016, 12:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: National Parks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domenick View Post
I have a Citation 24SA. I am planning to take it west next year to visit some of the national parks. It is small enough that I can get it just about anywhere a large pickup truck can go. I am told by some RVers that I should get a tow car. Do I really need one to get around in some of the national parks? Will I not be able to get around? Will I miss out on anything?

If anyone has traveled to some of these parks in a small RV I would appreciate your input.

Thanks,
Domenick
Nah you will be fine. I visit them all the time in my 26 ft rig
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Old 10-22-2016, 12:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: National Parks

The only limitation you may run into is that some National Parks have a 21-foot limitation for driving on some of their roads. (Going To The Sun Road in Glacier NP and the road between Kings Canyon and Sequoia NPs come to mind.) Otherwise, many of the parks these days have free shuttle services to go among their sites, and this avoids the whole issue of having to search for parking, etc.

I have seen virtually all the campground limitations as 30', and you'll be totally fine with that.

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