Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Grapevine Campground, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Fort Smith MT


Since we were this far south, and I had seen some pictures of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, we decided to do a side trip there on our way to Yellowstone National Park. I knew that the Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center closed on Labor Day, but we figured we’d at least be able to see the dam and the large canyon area. (See below for more on that.) There’s a ranger station as we got to Fort Smith, but that is open only 3 days a week, and we didn't hit the right day. I had called last week to see if our rig would be able to fit into Afterbay Campground. He said we probably can’t fit in that one, but the one across the river should work, Grapevine Campground. We were able to pull in a spot and unhook the jeep. There were two other campers there and five across the river at Afterbay.           

Click here for more pictures
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We weren’t able to get close to the Yellowtail Dam; it was gated shut. We drove 10 miles to Ok-A-Beh Marina the next morning. There is some different landscape along that road. Nearing the marina, you can see the back side of the 525 foot high dam. The canyon is deep, but I don’t think you can get the real dimension unless you boat through it (which we didn’t do). There weren’t any other roads that we could drive along the canyon to see. According to the map, if you go through Wyoming, there is a visitor center near Lovell and you can drive back in to Montana with more access sites.
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