14

There are 59 National parks in the US. Of which 49 are in the Continental US (lower 48). There are 52 weeks in a year. I would like to take a year and spend about a week camping and exploring each of the 49 National parks in the lower 48.

I am camping with a travel trailer, It is important that camping be available in the area during the visit, preferably in the park. Temperatures and weather should mild during my visit. An overnight frost is ok, but a week of below freezing weather is going to be a problem for the plumbing in my camper.

The route should be logistically appropriate, moving between relatively nearby parks, not jumping back and forth across the country.

49/12 = 4.08 Optimal I would visit about 4 parks per month. Each park would be about a day's drive, from the last.

  • 1
    Cool idea, hope it's not getting too stressful. Good luck m8 :) – Wills Jun 19 '16 at 19:49
  • 1
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem -- Edit: Though to be fair, it's not quite Travelling salesman because you want any answer, not just the most optimal. – Russell Steen Jun 19 '16 at 23:01
  • Ou may want to consider adding National Monuments and National Historic Sites to your list. – StrongBad Jun 21 '16 at 15:12
  • I did a faster pace version of this, car camping at ~20 National Parks in 2 months or so. They were all in the western US (and a couple in Canada). There are some parks which are quite difficult to get a campsite at (e.g. Arches in Utah). If you want to stay in the park, you will need to reserve some spots when the 6 month window opens. I suspect in terms of routing, your personal preferences of what to see and when will dictate more than some ideal/optimal route. I wished we stayed at more places between the NPs, but we didn't plan gap days for that and had reservations to hit. – Byron Wall Jun 21 '16 at 20:35
12

In general, you want to be in the south during winter. Another problem is that parks are more dispersed in the east.

One strategy might be to start in the northeast (which basically means Acadia) as late in the season as you can handle, then move down the east coast as the weather gets cooler, getting to the Everglades in the depth of winter. You then go north out of Florida and west along the gulf coast into Texas and the southwest, then zig-zag across the west going more north each time. You end up in maybe Isle Royal, depending how your zigging and zagging goes.

That's the basic plan, but there are some major wrinkles that effectively mean you don't end up following the nice and neat plan you laid out. Some parks aren't really park-like at all without any camping and in the middle of cities. If you're looking for a nature adventure, cross these off your list. These include places like the customs house in Salem MA, the liberty bell in Philadelphia, various places in Washington DC, etc.

Even sticking to "nature" national parks, you have to consider elevation and general climate. Roosevelt Elk on the California coast has a much milder climate than Lassen just a couple 100 miles inland at the same latitude. The road thru Roosevelt Elk is probably open all year, but Lassen is probably snow-bound and closed until July. Even within a park, there are differences due to altitude. The valley in Yosemite has quite a different season than Tenya Road, for example.

I'd start by getting a decent size map of the US, then sticking a pin at each park, color coded by how far into summer you need to visit. You'll find it's not a simple problem to visit them all in a year and still enjoy the individual stays while minimizing driving between any two.

You'll also want to stay longer in some parks while you'll be fine with just a quick one-day visit at others. Personally, I'd rather spend more time in Rocky Mountain, Glacier, and Yellowstone, than small single-attraction places like Fossil Fish Beds. You may also be "stuck" in the south disproportionately longer during winter. You might end up hanging out in Big Bend or Death Valley, for example, for a couple of weeks.

  • 1
    Based on the link in the question, I assume OP is referring only to National Parks and not National Historic Parks (e.g. the Liberty Bell). – Byron Wall Jun 21 '16 at 20:24
  • Correct, he was – James Jenkins Jun 22 '16 at 16:05
  • I agree with everything you said. Since you mentioned Lassen specifically I thought I should bring up that it is open year round, and I have been back country skiing there many times in the winter and spring. The road going through the park is closed until summer though just like you surmised. Also during the winter a busy day will have 15 cars in the parking lot, and most of them are just snow shoeing in the flats. – Erik Dec 27 '16 at 2:40
4

This answer assumes a year spent on the road, visiting one national park after the other. With an average visit of one week per park, or four parks per month. The camper (RV) being a self-contained; trailer or motor home with fresh & grey/black water holding tanks. The optimal RV site being in the park, with at least electrical hookups available, and the site reservable in advance. Optimal temperature range for visiting the park is a low of 32 F or above, and high of 89 F or below.

Jan_Jun

January

Park: Carlsbad Caverns State: New Mexico Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Vehicle or RV camping is prohibited.

Reserve: White’s City RV Park is closest 575-785-2291

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Horse; non-reservable


Park: Guadalupe Mountains State: Texas Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Nearest Comercial is outside of Carlsbad Caverns

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; non-reservable


Park: Saguaro State: Arizona Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: None -Camp sites are not accessible by vehicles and must be hiked to, at 6 designated campgrounds within the Saguaro Wilderness Area

Reserve: Nearby state park "Catalina State Park’" with electrical hookups https://azstateparks.itinio.com/catalina/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike; Permits may be issued up to two months in advance, but no later than noon on the day of departure. All applications by mail or fax must be complete to process. Questions? Call the visitor center at (520) 733-5153.


Park: Joshua Tree State: California Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: State parks and commercial options, To many variables to suggest a defualt

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


February

Park: Death Valley State: California,Nevada Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Furnace Creek campground has full hookups

Reserve: http://www.recreation.gov/camping/furnace-creek/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70978

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; non-reservable


Park: Channel Islands State: California Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: There are no facilities for RV camping, and tent camping requires a boat to get to the park's islands.

Reserve: State parks and commercial options, To many variables to suggest a defualt

Primitive Camping Options: Boat; reservations required


Park: Sequoia State: California Region: Pacific West Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: State parks and commercial options, To many variables to suggest a defualt

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Redwood State: California Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Multiple options https://www.nps.gov/redw/planyourvisit/lodging.htm

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; reservations recommended.


March

Park: Pinnacles State: California Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Pinnacles Campground (Consesion)

Reserve: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/pinnacles-campground-ca/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=73984

Primitive Camping Options: Drive; reservations recommended.


Park: Yosemite State: California Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: State parks and commercial options, To many variables to suggest a defualt

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Zion State: Utah Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Many options, Sand Hollow State Park with hookups is nearby http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/sand-hollow-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=UT&parkId=345761

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Arches State: Utah Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: http://www.discovermoab.com/campgrounds_private.htm

Primitive Camping Options: Drive; Reservations recommended. Effective September 6, 2016, Arches National Park has suspended backcountry overnight use while staff examine whether current backcountry management allows for adequate protection to park resources.


April

Park: Black Canyon of the Gunnison State: Colorado Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: South Rim Campground (loop B)

Reserve: http://www.recreation.gov/co/south%20rim%20campground%20(co)/campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=74059

Primitive Camping Options: Drive; Some reservable


Park: Petrified Forest State: Arizona Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Petrified Forest National Park does not have campground facilities.

Reserve: Multiple Nearby, some are National Forests with amenties and reservable https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/asnf/recreation/camping-cabins

Primitive Camping Options: Hike; Non-reservable


Park: Capitol Reef State: Utah Region: Intermountain Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: http://www.capitolreef.org/lodging.html

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; non-reservable


Park: Kings Canyon State: California Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: State parks and commercial options, To many variables to suggest a defualt

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


May

Park: Bryce Canyon State: Utah Region: Intermountain Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: https://utah.com/campgrounds/bryce-canyon-national-park

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive; some reservable


Park: Grand Canyon State: Arizona Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Adjacent, Mather Campground, Trailer Village (Concession) offers paved RV sites up to 50 feet in length with full hook-ups.

Reserve: https://gc.synxis.com/rez.aspx?Hotel=63275&Chain=398&Arrive=1/1/2015&_ga=1.32018878.1891428768.1413476050

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Rocky Mountain State: Colorado Region: Intermountain Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: The 'Ranger Lakes Campground' in 'State Forest' state campground has electricity http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/StateForest/Pages/Camping.aspx

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; some reservable


The fourth week of May is for driving between Rocky Mountain & Acadia. This trip plan began in Acadia the first week of June. Leaving a one week gap and the longest distance between parks here.


June

Park: Acadia State: Maine Region: North Atlantic

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Schoodic Woods Campground

Reserve: http://www.recreation.gov/camping/schoodic-woods-campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=74299

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Reservations recommended.


Park: Shenandoah State: Virginia Region: Northeast

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Shenandoah River State Park http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/shenandoah-river-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=VA&parkId=140160

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Cuyahoga Valley State: Ohio Region: Midwest

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: No RV camping or overnight parking. West Branch State Park is the nearest state park

Reserve: http://ohiostateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/west-branch-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=OH&parkId=960039

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Reservations recommended (required peak).


Park: Isle Royale State: Michigan Region: Midwest

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: 36 campsites located across the island. Campsites are accessible only by foot or watercraft. Cascade River State Park appears to be nearest with electric ~44 miles south of Grand Portage

Reserve: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/cascade_river/camping.html

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat; non-reservable


Jul_Dec

July

Park: Voyageurs State: Minnesota Region: Midwest

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: All park campsites are only accessible by watercraft.

Reserve: See park paper for current lists of Commercial with amenities, https://www.nps.gov/voya/learn/news/newspaper.htm

Primitive Camping Options: Boat: Reservations required


Park: Theodore Roosevelt State: North Dakota Region: Midwest

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Nearby with hookups Sully Creek State Park http://www.parkrec.nd.gov/parks/scsp/scsp.html

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Badlands State: South Dakota Region: Midwest

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Cedar Pass Campground

Reserve: https://foreverresorts.rzda.net/cedarpass/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive; non-reservable


Park: Wind Cave State: South Dakota Region: Midwest

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Several Campgrounds with hookups in Custer State Park http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/custer/campgrounds/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive; non-reservable


August

Park: Grand Teton State: Wyoming Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Signal Mountain Campground has one site with full hook-ups and 24 sites with electric hookups. Colter Bay RV Park and Headwaters Campgrounds & RV sites do have full hookups. The campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-served basis, advance reservations are not accepted.

Reserve: Headwaters Campground and RV sites at Flagg Ranch , Reservations team, please call 307-543-2861.

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; non-reservable


Park: Yellowstone State: Wyoming,Montana,Idaho Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Fishing Bridge RV Park (consesion)

Reserve: http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lodging/camping/fishing-bridge-rv-park/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Glacier State: Montana Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: https://glaciermt.com/camping.php

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: North Cascades State: Washington Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Multiple state parks with amenities & reservable http://parks.state.wa.us/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


September

Park: Olympic State: Washington Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Multiple state parks with amenities & reservable http://parks.state.wa.us/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive; Some reservable


Park: Mount Rainier State: Washington Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Nearby Alder Lake Park https://washington.goingtocamp.com/AlderLake-TacomaPowerPark

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive; Some reservable


Park: Crater Lake State: Oregon Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Mazama Village Campground has 214 tent and RV sites, accommodating tents up to 12’ x 12’ and RVs up to 50 feet in length. All sites with hookups are available on a same day, first come, first serve basis.

Reserve: http://www.craterlakelodges.com/lodging/reservations/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive; some reservable


Park: Lassen Volcanic State: California Region: Pacific West

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Nearby NFS campgrounds Merrill & Hallsted; http://www.reserveamerica.com/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


October

Park: Great Basin State: Nevada Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: 3 commercial campgrounds nearby https://www.nps.gov/grba/planyourvisit/camping-outside-of-the-park.htm

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Mesa Verde State: Colorado Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Morefield Campground (concession?)

Reserve: http://www.visitmesaverde.com/lodging-camping/morefield-campground/

Primitive Camping Options: Drive; Some reservable


Park: Canyonlands State: Utah Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: http://www.discovermoab.com/campgrounds_private.htm

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; non-reservable


Park: Great Sand Dunes State: Colorado Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Campgrounds within 40 miles of Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center https://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/area-campgrounds.htm

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


There is a 30,000 character limit per answer, See the rest of the answer here

  • 2
    Good grief this answer looks like a lot work. – Charlie Brumbaugh Dec 27 '16 at 20:58
  • Ok, answer completed. All my data is in an excel book. If I have made an error, it is probably more than one. Leave a comment and I will fix them all in a couple days. – James Jenkins Dec 27 '16 at 22:56
  • A few notes: 1) The Grand Canyon in May means the South Rim. The North Rim is still closed for the winter. 2) Reservations are mandatory for Yellowstone -- the campgrounds usually fill in mid-morning during summer. Because of this, I'd switch the order of Yellowstone and Grand Teton so that you're already in the area when trying for a first-come first-served site at Colter Bay or Signal Mountain. 3) Mount Rainier in September is risky weather-wise: maybe you'll get four inches of rain in three days like my most recent visit, or maybe it'll be clear and sunny like the time before that. – Mark Dec 29 '16 at 3:24
2

30,000 Character limit per answer. This is the end of my large answer

November

Park: Mammoth Cave State: Kentucky Region: Southeast

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Nearby Nolin Lake State Park http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/nolin-lake-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=KY&parkId=91832

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Great Smoky Mountains State: Tennessee,North Carolina Region: Southeast

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Other for amenities

Reserve: Nearby state parks http://theblueridgehighlander.com/state_parks/

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Park: Congaree State: South Carolina Region: Southeast

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Camping at Congaree is tent only. RV and/or car camping is not permitted within the park. Poinsett State Park is nearby

Reserve: http://southcarolinaparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/poinsett/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=SC&parkId=10224

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive; reservations Required


Park: Dry Tortugas State: Florida Region: Southeast

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Boat access only. Of the nearest private campgrounds Boyd's Key West Campground looks best. The Nearest state park with electric seems to be Bahia Honda State Park (35 miles from Key West)

Reserve: http://floridastateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/bahia-honda-sp/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=FL&parkId=281005

Primitive Camping Options: Boat; non-reservable


December

Park: Everglades State: Florida Region: Southeast

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Flamingo campground, T loop has 41 sites with electircal hookups.

Reserve: http://www.recreation.gov/fl/flamingo/campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70976

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Drive, Boat; Some reservable


Park: Biscayne State: Florida Region: Southeast

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: There are no facilities for RV camping, and tent camping requires a boat to get to the park's islands.

Reserve: Pelican Cay Harbor Marina (commercial) seems closest 305-345-4830

Primitive Camping Options: Boat; non-reservable


Park: Hot Springs State: Arkansas Region: Midwest

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Gulpha Gorge Campground, All sites have full hookups: 30 and 50 amp electric, water and sewer connections. Sites are available on a first come, first served basis. You cannot make a reservation.

Reserve: State parks and commercial options, To many variables to suggest a defualt

Primitive Camping Options: None, Full only


Park: Big Bend State: Texas Region: Intermountain

Links: National Park Service, NPS camping, Wikipedia, Weather

RV Camping in the Park: Rio Grande Village RV Campground (concession)

Reserve: call 1-877-386-4383, or 432-477-2293

Primitive Camping Options: Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse; Some reservable


Disclaimer and warnings

The question says there are 49 National Parks in the lower 48, I only found 47 when creating this answer.

This is the result of internet searching in the Fall of 2016. Nothing is static, parks are subject to full or partial closure due to weather or planned major constructions projects. No attempt is made in this answer, to identify closures that are not permanent. If a major event (disaster or construction project) alters the permanent state of a park readers are encouraged to update the answer, while keeping the same optimal site parameters.

Modifications in your “optimal” site can greatly impact the potential available solutions. Of the 47 parks, many do not offer RV camping with electrical hookups (circa 2017), but do have nearby state parks with hookups, these are used as the secondary optimal site location. Commercial sites with full hook-ups can usually be found in the area. Most National parks allow some form of backcountry camping. The addition of a generator or solar panel(s) to your RV that eliminate a need for electrical hookups can greatly expand the available options. Most self-contained RVs will have sufficient battery and fuel (propane) storage to allow for a couple of days camping without any hookups.

Many of the National and State parks have limits on vehicle length. You will need to know the actual length of you RV, tow vehicle and combined length, when choosing campgrounds and/or specific sites. Use a tape measure to find the actual length of your equipment.

Legend

  • Park = name of the park
  • State = name of the State(s) the national park is located in
  • Region = general area of the country the park is located in
  • Link to National Park Service = main park page at nps.gov
  • Link to NPS camping = camping page at nps.gov
  • Link to Wikipedia = main park page at en.wikipedia.org
  • Link to Weather = one of potentially several park specific sites for the monthly weather at weather.com at the time these links where selected they also displayed a graph indicating the average temperature range of the park for each month of the year. I transferred these values to a table and used the table plan the visit schedule. Optimal temperature range for visiting the park is a low of 32 F or above, and high of 89 F or below.
  • RV Camping in the Park = lists the name of a campground in the park with electrical RV hookups (optimal) and or provides important information about RV camping in the park. “Other for amenities” Means RV camping is allowed in the park, but without hookups. Length rules are NOT addressed here.
  • Reserve = this is my attempt to identify the most likely place I would choose to make reservations for a visit. Information here is going to be the most subject to deterioration over time and subject to opinion. Attempting this journey without reservations would be disappointing at best, impossible at worst. In some cases, reservations are required for even the most difficult to access non-RV sites. With variations by park, ranging from drop in the office the day before, to schedule online 2 days, 2 months, or anything up to a year in advance. While it gives a starting point, significant effort by the trip planner will be required in this area.
  • Primitive Camping Options = A brief review of camping options in the park, other than an RV site with hookups. Any of four general options are given Hike, Boat, Drive, Horse
    • Hike = Generally termed “backcountry camping”, you walk some distance (rules vary by park) carrying all of your gear (and maybe water) to spend the night. Options range from designed sites that require reservations, to sleep anywhere out the wilderness. At the least usually requires a free pass be obtained from the ranger station that day.
    • Boat = Anything from class V white water, to ocean going boating. Generally, either personal boats or rental options exist, “backcountry camping” access by boat.
    • Drive = Drive to a designated site without RV hookups, RVs may or may NOT be permitted. A numbered site in a designated campground, minimum is generally parking for one vehicle, a picnic table, fire pit, and room for a tent. Drinking water may or may NOT be available in the campground, at least a pit toilet is available, some may have flush toilets and showers with hot water.
    • Horse = Generally, either personal horses or rental options exist, “backcountry camping” by horse.
    • bicycle = Rules vary significantly by park. No parks identified them as primary means of access to a campsite. I did not include any bicycle considerations in this answer.

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