We were a little worried when drove through a large burned area in the forest just before arriving at Madison Arm Resort, but the forest fire spared this beautiful little campground on the shores of Hebgen Lake.
The owners were always available, and all of the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. In fact, many of the staff appeared to be previous longtime campers that return here every summer like the swallows to Capistrano.
All facilities were modern and clean, and the only possible drawback was the small back-in spots that could be difficult maneuvering for larger RVs. We have a 19-foot Airstream, so we had no difficulties getting situated. However, we couldn't leave our pickup connected to the trailer, because we had to back in through part of a neighbors camp spot. If we had parked our truck in front of the trailer, it would have been sitting on about 1/4 of their area. There was convenient parking on our lot for our tow vehicle; it just wasn't directly in front of where the trailer had to be dropped to reach the hookups. This was not a big concern, though, as we needed to disconnect so that we could drive into Yellowstone everyday.
Even though the spots were a little close together, we had far more room than in the other campgrounds in town that looked like a Safeway parking lot on Saturday morning. We were camped right in the trees, and had our own picnic table, fire pot and enough room for our granddaughters and dog to run around. Also, the resort's proximity to the lake shore and availability of several types of watercraft and water toys really made the vacation for our two granddaughters. Please note that although we were cautioned about bears, we saw none in the campground; and this should not be a big concern for campers that aren't familiar with camping in bear country. However, common sense precautions should be followed for food storage and trash disposal, etc.
We discovered how to avoid the crowds in Yellowstone. We stayed around the campground until lunchtime, enjoying the swimming beach, paddle boats, kayaks, etc. in the morning. Then, we went into West Yellowstone for lunch and to see the tourist attractions (like the Grizzly and Wolf Center, etc.) and headed into park every afternoon around 3-4 PM. By that time, most of the Yellowstone visitors were headed OUT of the park for dinner and evening activities; and there were absolutely no crowds in the parking areas or at the geyser features. Since sunset was around 9:30 PM in July, that gave us plenty of time to see everything; and the best wildlife sitings are at dusk.
What you hear about mosquitos being thick is true due to the amount of snow melt and rain in this area, but they are easily avoided by using Deet or just wearing long pants and a hooded sweatshirt to minimize exposed skin. We had no problems with the mosquitos, but we saw other unprepared visitors in Yellowstone that were getting eaten up!
We had a great time, and we will definitely be back to Yellowstone and Madison Arm Resort!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- On the lake, in the pines, we offer great RV camping, Tent camping, fishing. we have fishing boat rentals as well as paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes. A complete marina with a fuel dock and charging outlets for trolling batteries.We also offer fine cabin and cottage accommodations. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Madison Arm Hotel West Yellowstone
- Madison Arm Resort West Yellowstone, Montana