During our Yellowstone trip, I decided to maximize what we saw, we should position ourselves with the best access. That meant changing campgrounds a couple of times. We used the Madison Campground as a home base for trips to the south (Old Faithful and the surrounding areas) and to the North (Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Geyser Basin).
I opted to reserve us space at Canyon Campground because it was really central and it would give us access to several other things. One of them being showers, the other being the more natural things like the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to our south and Roosevelt Lodge to our north. One benefit it has was the “Welcome Bison” who had planted himself at the turn in. No really, right next to the recycling bins.
Canyon is a massive campground, and despite it’s size, it does fill up. We were in the L loop, which was the furthest loop from anything, and you are practically at the Roosevelt Tower (I kid, but it is way way back from everything, including Canyon Village which I count as a positive). Pulling in I noticed a bunch of screen houses up and was wondering what we were getting into. Coming from Madison, which is quite a bit lower in elevation, meant the mosquito population had died off sooner and they were not bothering us. Canyon was a different story. We were swatting and dodging as much as possible just on set up. It didn’t help and I started to panic as I have become allergic to their bites. Big bummer!
As to the spots, they were good size. The parking strip gave us enough room for the trailer and one truck. The rental had to be parked elsewhere though. Each spot comes with a picnic table and fire ring. You feel more packed in here, and maybe we had a bigger feeling of that being on the inner loop, rather than the outer. Each loop has a building with toilets and sinks. There is also the standard wash room for waste water.
One nice thing about being at the Canyon Campground is the proximity to Canyon Village which, if you are running low on groceries, fuel, souvenirs, postal stamps, or want to eat out, they have you covered. There is also a lodge in the Village for those who prefer that option. There aren’t many areas in Yellowstone where your cell phone works either, which is fabulous, but if you must use it I was able to get a signal here.
After we set up we had a quick lunch and decided to high tail it out to Roosevelt Lodge. We ran into a little traffic on the way due to some major road construction, so plan extra time for that (they stop at 6:00 though and traffic moves freely), but got there in about an hour. The lodge is beautiful and rustic and has wonderful rocking chairs you can sit in and relax.
We popped into the little store for a couple of ice creams and some squirrel entertainment before setting out on a couple of short hikes. The first hike we did went up a trail between 1/4-1/2 mile to Lost Creek Falls. The hike was beautiful and a good warm up for our slightly longer hike. The falls were not huge by our standards (in fact we thought they were quite small), but it got us warmed up for our 2+ mile round trip hike to Lost Lake. Lost Lake is gorgeous and serene and I could have spent a lot more time just sitting and relaxing. It was so quiet there. We decided to head back as it was dinner time and we had been told the food at Roosevelt Lodge was some of the best in the park. We definitely enjoyed our meal!
On the way back to the campground we made a quick stop at Tower Falls. They are gorgeous, but the 1/4 mile in is all the hiking you will get to do off that trail. The lower trails have been closed due to washout. It was a nice stop though.
When we got back, it was still really buggy, so we went and had showers. Showers are located back at the campground reservation building near the entrance, which was a long haul from Loop L, so we drove down (we could have ridden bikes, but my husband didn’t have his). I had a little chat with the reservation folks while we were down there to see if we could change our 2 night reservation to 1 night and find a spot in another campground. They were very nice and were able to accommodate us. We headed back, snuggled right into bed and enjoyed lots of story time. The next day we moved to Bay Bridge Campground.