Ideal RV Length for Fitting into National Park Campsites

 

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Having a large RV is wonderful for having a spacious and comfortable place to stay, but many buyers of very large RVs regret their purchase when trying to find a camp site.  State and national parks are notoriously difficult to camp in if your RV is too long.

Since I’m shopping for a Class A RV right now, I decided to do some research into different campgrounds across the United States, and here are my findings.

After quite a lot of research, I consider the ideal RV length for camping in national parks to be 35′ or less.  At that length, you’ll be able to find at least a handful of spots big enough to handle your rig in almost any national park in the country.

Best RV Lengths for National Parks

All of the numbers included here are the COMBINED lengths of the tow vehicle and the trailer/fifth wheel, or the motorhome and the towed vehicle.  So you need to add the length of the RV and the vehicle together.

Also, keep in mind that RV companies often fudge the numbers on the length of their RVs.  Get out a tape measure and actually measure your RV to know–it’s probably longer than what the manufacturer advertised.

Here are the averages:

  • RVs up to 12′ in length fit in every national park campground in the United States, although there are a few campgrounds that don’t allow RVs at all and are tent only.
  • RVs up to 19′ in length fit in 98% of all national park service campgrounds.
  • RVs up to 25′ in length fit in 93% of all national park campgrounds
  • RVs up to 29′ in length fit in 84% of all national park campgrounds
  • RVs up to 32′ in length fit in 81% of all national park campgrounds
  • RVs up to 35′ in length fit in 73% of all national park campgrounds
  • RVs up to 37′ in length fit in 60% of all national park campgrounds
  • RVs up to 40′ in length fit in 53% of all national park campgrounds (Remember that many of the parks will only have a few sites this size, however.  Book long in advance if reservations are available–otherwise you run the risk of not having a spot)
  • RVs up to 41′ in length fit in 7% of all national park campgrounds (Remember that many of the parks will only have a few sites this size, however.  Book long in advance if reservations are available–otherwise you run the risk of not having a spot)

Full List of Popular National Park Campgrounds and Their RV Size Limits

  • Acadia National Park
    • Blackwoods Campground – 35′ in COMBINED length of the tow vehicle (or towed vehicle) and the RV itself.  Slide outs must fit in space.  So if you have a toad (car you’re towing behind the motorhome), then you really can’t get in with anything longer than 29′ for the RV itself to fit the letter of the law, but some RVers who went there said that they got away with being a little longer without issue.
    • Seawall Campground – 35′ in COMBINED length of the tow vehicle (or towed vehicle) and the RV itself.  Slide outs must fit in space.  So if you have a toad (car you’re towing behind the motorhome), then you really can’t get in with anything longer than 29′ for the RV itself.
  • Arches National Park
    • Devil’s Garden Campground – 25% of the spots accommodate an RV and towed vehicle combined length of 25′.  25% of the spots take an RV up to 30′, and 25% of the spots can fit an RV up to 40′.
    • Archview Campground – Up to 50′ in length, but you have to pay more for these premium spots.  This isn’t owned by the national park system, so it’s more accommodating.
    • Moab Valley Campground – Up to 44′ in length, but you have to pay more for these premium spots.  This isn’t owned by the national park system, so it’s more accommodating.
  • Badlands National Park
    • Cedar Pass Campground – No official rule was found.  Campers who went there said it was plenty big for even the biggest RVs.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
    • Pines Campground – No official rule, but visitors reported parking 40′ RVs without issue.
    • North Campground – Officially the limit is 40′, but visitors say that 40′ would be a tough squeeze.
  • Denali National Park
    • Riley Creek Campground – Up to 40′ if you pay for a premium spot.  Regular spots are 30′.
    • Savage Campground – Up to 40′ if you pay for a premium spot.  Regular spots are 30′.
    • Teklanika Campground – Up to 40′ in length.
  • Death Valley National Park
    • Sunset Campground – Up to 40′ in length.
    • Furnace Creek Campground – Some spots up to 40′ in length.
  • Everglades National Park
    • Flamingo Campground – Up to 45′ in length.
  • Grand Canyon National Park
    • Railway Campground – Up to 47′ in combined length (motorhome and toad or fifth wheel and tow vehicle)
  • Grand Teton National Park
    • Colter Bay RV Park – No real limit.  Even a 43 footer with a tow vehicle will fit in some of the spots.
  • Great Smoky Mountains
    • Abrams Creek – 12′
    • Balsam Mountain – 30′
    • Cade’s Cove – Trailers up to 35′ and Motorhomes up to 40′
    • Cataloochie – 31′
    • Cosby – 25′
    • Deep Creek – 26′
    • Elkmont – Trailers 32′, motorhomes 35′
    • Look Rock – No limit
    • Smokemont – Trailers 35′, motorhomes 40′
  • Joshua Tree National Park
    • Black Rock Campground – Half of the sites accommodate up to 25′ in combined length, and half go up to 35′.
    • Hidden Valley Campground – COMBINED length of RV and towed vehicle or toad is only 25′
    • White Tank Campground – COMBINED length of RV and towed vehicle or toad is only 25′
  • Redwoods National Park
    • Jedediah Smith Campground – Trailers 31′, motorhomes 36′
    • Mill Creek – Trailers 27′, motorhomes 31′
    • Elk Prairie – Trailers 24′, motorhomes 27′
    • Gold Bluffs – Trailers PROHIBITED, motorhomes 24′
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
    • Aspenglen – 30′ max
    • Glacier Basin – 35′
    • Moraine Park – 40′
    • Timber Creek – 30′
  • Sequoia National Park
    • NOTE: Although some campsites allow parking of larger RVs, Sequoia National Park has very restrictive rules about the length of RVs that can drive on certain roads.  Several roads don’t allow anything longer than 22′.
    • Lodgepole – Up to 42′
  • Yosemite National Park
    • “In Yosemite Valley, the maximum RV length is 40 feet and maximum trailer length is 35 feet, however, only a total of 12 sites of this size are available (six sites each in Lower Pines and North Pines, which are open spring through fall). Many more sites exist in Yosemite Valley and elsewhere in Yosemite that can take RVs up to 35 feet or trailers up to 24 feet.” Source.
  • Yellowstone National Park
    • Fishing Bridge RV Park – Up to 40′ RVs and a vehicle of equal or lesser length beside it (So if your RV is 40′ and you have a car towed behind it, you’re fine because the car can be parked to the side of the RV.
    • Bridge Bay Campground – 40′ COMBINED RV length (Meaning the length of the RV PLUS the length of the towing vehicle or the towed car behind a motorhome cannot be more than 40′.  Very limiting!)
    • Canyon Village Campground – 40′ COMBINED RV length (Meaning the length of the RV PLUS the length of the towing vehicle or the towed car behind a motorhome cannot be more than 40′.  Very limiting!)
    • Grant Village Campground – 40′ COMBINED RV length (Meaning the length of the RV PLUS the length of the towing vehicle or the towed car behind a motorhome cannot be more than 40′.  Very limiting!)
    • Madison Campground – 40′ COMBINED RV length (Meaning the length of the RV PLUS the length of the towing vehicle or the towed car behind a motorhome cannot be more than 40′.  Very limiting!)
  • Zion National Park
    • Lava Point – 19′
    • Watchman Campground – 19′

Comments

    1. no worries , just camp outside the park if you have a towable, cheaper that way too

      1. what to you mean, cheaper?? campground fees, or is there something we don’t know? planning to buy our first travel trailer. recently retired

  1. Thank you, we have been wondering if there was a maximum size for the National Park service. We will be full timing in a 5th wheel this spring.

  2. Tremendous effort. And this will be fwd’d to a few RV dealers whom were less than knowledge wise on limitations.
    Thank you for doing the leg work.

  3. Thank you for sharing this , it will be a huge help when we buy our RV to go full timing .

  4. State parks may be a greater problem. Here in California, by actual count there are 28 state parks that will admit a 30 foot motor home, but will not admit a 32 footer. My conclusion is that, at least if one intends to camp in state parks in California, 30 foot is the “sweet spot” for motor homes. I have not researched trailers, however.

    1. Thank you for all your time and diligence in putting this report together.

  5. I am looking at buying at 30′ travel trailer – def knocks me out of several of the nicer national parks.

  6. Do any of these parks have overflow parking? Would you be able to unhook your “toad” and leave it in the overflow area and then just park your class A in the camping spot?

  7. For travel trailers is this measurement from tongue to bumper or the floor space?

  8. This was pretty nice. We appreciate you putting this info together and recognize it took a lot of work. Thank you very much!

  9. I don’t get how this could POSSIBLY be true that the combined tow vehicle plus trailer has to be less than 30 feet…. why can’t you park the trailer and then park the tow vehicle separately?

    A combined length of 30 feet will eliminate 95% of all RVs and mean basically that only B Class and pop-ups towed by a shortbed without a crew cab. I can’t see how that is actually enforced. They might as well say “no RVs, pop ups or B class only” if that is the policy.

    30 feet would eliminate basically all 5th wheels, and travel trailers and A class

    1. Author

      @Jeff – I understand how you feel, but if you go look at the National Park Service campground sites, you’ll see it’s true. The length they are listing for the campground space is the DRIVEWAY length.

      So unless they are offering a double wide space, you can’t park your car to the side. Some spots allow that, but most aren’t wide enough.

      If you HAVE another spot to park a vehicle, then I’m sure that’d work perfectly fine, but most of the campgrounds don’t offer you a parking spot in the parking lot AND a camp site.

      RVs are getting bigger and more prevalent with the low cost of gasoline and the fact is that most of the national parks simply don’t have enough spaces for large RVs. Hope they change, but no luck so far.

      1. Thanks for all the hard work Jim.
        I had trouble with this question as well and looking deeper, I found this which seems to contradict your statement.

        From the recreation.gov site:
        Q. Does the vehicle length include the trailer and the tow vehicle?
        A. The vehicle length listed on the website is only the length of the actual camping vehicle. It does not include the tow vehicle.

        https://support.recreation.gov/articles/en_US/Article/Facility-Details-and-Policies
        4th question down

        That would seem to exclude toads as well as tow vehicles and only applies to the RV or trailer in which you will be camping.

      2. To verify information listed here, I went ahead and called the Rocky Mountain National Park. They told me that the lengths DO NOT include the vehicle that is doing the towing, as there is a separate place for the vehicle to park next to the RV. So, I would advise everyone to double check before ruling something out.

    2. The other thing to keep in mind is when the National Parks and their campgrounds were created, decades ago. The advent of the enormous crew cabs and fifth wheels that we now enjoy is a (relatively) recent phenomenon. Small cars, trucks and even smaller campers/tents were the norm back when these campgrounds were first laid out.

  10. Most parks have a curb or stop point at the end of their parking pads if your axile are centered on your trailer and there aren’t no trees or bushes behind the pad then your 30ft trailer can hang over by 12 to 15 ft giving you that extra room up front to park your tow vehicle. We find this to accommodate our 30ft trailer and 19ft tow vehicle in most state parks in Oregon that are rated at 30 or 40 ft max. Don’t they consider this in national parks when booking a site.

  11. This is useful thank you. However our experiences have demonstrated some different findings. For example we stayed at both the Grand Canyon South Rim (trailer village) and Grand Canyon North Rim national park campground grounds with our 36′ motorhome plus tow dolly plus Mini Cooper Convertible without any issue at all. Also Watchman campground in ZION NP in section B. Generally speaking, the longer your rv/setup is, the more you will face challenges – because the number of larger sites are limited and there is growing competition to secure them. But all that said, we feel fortunate we have been able to stay in quite a few with no problem.

    1. Since you have stayed at the Trailer Village, do you know if they actually measure your rig going in? We want to go so badly and are renting an RV but so few are 28ft or less and I can only get a 28ft spot at the Village. I have found a TON of 30/31 ft Class A and C’s to rent at a reasonable price but almost none that are 28ft-ish at a price I can afford. Any help/advice you can give me would be deeply appreciated!

  12. We’re going full timing soon and have been researching the price and comfort, but not so much length, though we did hear about this. As someone who wants a class “A” and a Jeep toad this is great info. I wonder if there is a way to find out if some parks have separate parking or areas close buy that one could park the toad? Even a fee would be ok to still be able to enjoy camping in a National park!

  13. is there a catalog one can get containing all the national parks, and one for all the state parks in the US? Trying to get info about RV camping is like finding a needle in a haystack with the individual websites. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Kathy

  14. I’m thinking the same thing. When I make reservations in Michigan State Parks they only ask the length of the RV itself. In our case we are 18’9″, so I chose 20 ft. We never leave our trailer hooked up to our tow vehicle. There is always room to park it separately on the site. I realize that perhaps not all places figure that way. I understand though that some motorhomes would not unhook their toad for a short stay. To us a pull behind trailer allows us to unhook and explore the area better than a motor home. We aren’t campground sitters.

  15. Great! Here we are sitting here in Arizona in a campground preparing for our trip home to South Dakota. We were planning on visiting several campgrounds, but when I found this, I discovered we are a bit large for such a trip, with a 35 foot motor home and a Jeep towed, Oh well there are always campgrounds outside the parks where one can stay, however the price is much higher in the outside areas.

  16. Great work, I added a few things, I thought it would help your readers a little more. Your comment box lost the format but you got the info

    Rich

    Full List of Popular National Park Campgrounds and Their RV Size Limits
    • Acadia National Park’s, Hancock/Knox Maine Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm)
    • Blackwoods Campground – 35′ in COMBINED length of the tow vehicle (or towed vehicle) and the RV itself. Slide outs must fit in space. So if you have a toad (car you’re towing behind the motorhome), then you really can’t get in with anything longer than 29′ for the RV itself to fit the letter of the law, but some RVers who went there said that they got away with being a little longer without issue.
    • Seawall Campground – 35′ in COMBINED length of the tow vehicle (or towed vehicle) and the RV itself. Slide outs must fit in space. So if you have a toad (car you’re towing behind the motorhome), then you really can’t get in with anything longer than 29′ for the RV itself.
    • Arches National Park’s, Moab Utah Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm)
    • Devil’s Garden Campground – 25% of the spots accommodate an RV and towed vehicle combined length of 25′. 25% of the spots take an RV up to 30′, and 25% of the spots can fit an RV up to 40′.
    • Archview Campground – Up to 50′ in length, but you have to pay more for these premium spots. This isn’t owned by the national park system, so it’s more accommodating.
    • Moab Valley Campground – Up to 44′ in length, but you have to pay more for these premium spots. This isn’t owned by the national park system, so it’s more accommodating.
    • Badlands National Park, South Dakota Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/badl/planyourvisit/maps.htm)
    • Cedar Pass Campground – No official rule was found. Campers who went there said it was plenty big for even the biggest RVs.
    • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm)
    • Pines Campground – No official rule, but visitors reported parking 40′ RVs without issue.
    • North Campground – Officially the limit is 40′, but visitors say that 40′ would be a tough squeeze.
    • Denali National Park, Alaska Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/dena/index.htm)
    • Riley Creek Campground – Up to 40′ if you pay for a premium spot. Regular spots are 30′.
    • Savage Campground – Up to 40′ if you pay for a premium spot. Regular spots are 30′.
    • Teklanika Campground – Up to 40′ in length.
    • Death Valley National Park, Nevada Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm)
    • Sunset Campground – Up to 40′ in length.
    • Furnace Creek Campground – Some spots up to 40′ in length.
    • Everglades National Park, Florida Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm)
    • Flamingo Campground – Up to 45′ in length.
    • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm)
    • Railway Campground – Up to 47′ in combined length (motorhome and toad or fifth wheel and tow vehicle)
    • Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm)
    • Colter Bay RV Park – No real limit. Even a 43 footer with a tow vehicle will fit in some of the spots.
    • Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm)
    • Abrams Creek – 12′
    • Balsam Mountain – 30′
    • Cade’s Cove – Trailers up to 35′ and Motorhomes up to 40′
    • Cataloochie – 31′
    • Cosby – 25′
    • Deep Creek – 26′
    • Elkmont – Trailers 32′, motorhomes 35′
    • Look Rock – No limit
    • Smokemont – Trailers 35′, motorhomes 40′
    • Joshua Tree National Park, California Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm)
    • Black Rock Campground – Half of the sites accommodate up to 25′ in combined length, and half go up to 35′.
    • Hidden Valley Campground – COMBINED length of RV and towed vehicle or toad is only 25′
    • White Tank Campground – COMBINED length of RV and towed vehicle or toad is only 25′
    • Redwood National Park, California Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm)
    • Jedediah Smith Campground – Trailers 31′, motorhomes 36′
    • Mill Creek – Trailers 27′, motorhomes 31′
    • Elk Prairie – Trailers 24′, motorhomes 27′
    • Gold Bluffs – Trailers PROHIBITED, motorhomes 24′
    • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm)
    • Aspenglen – 30′ max
    • Glacier Basin – 35′
    • Moraine Park – 40′
    • Timber Creek – 30′
    • Sequoia National Park, California Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/seki/index.htm)
    • NOTE: Although some campsites allow parking of larger RVs, Sequoia National Park has very restrictive rules about the length of RVs that can drive on certain roads. Several roads don’t allow anything longer than 22′.
    • Lodgepole – Up to 42′
    • Yosemite National Park, California Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm)
    • “In Yosemite Valley, the maximum RV length is 40 feet and maximum trailer length is 35 feet, however, only a total of 12 sites of this size are available (six sites each in Lower Pines and North Pines, which are open spring through fall). Many more sites exist in Yosemite Valley and elsewhere in Yosemite that can take RVs up to 35 feet or trailers up to 24 feet.” Source.
    • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm)
    • Fishing Bridge RV Park – Up to 40′ RVs and a vehicle of equal or lesser length beside it (So if your RV is 40′ and you have a car towed behind it, you’re fine because the car can be parked to the side of the RV.
    • Bridge Bay Campground – 40′ COMBINED RV length (Meaning the length of the RV PLUS the length of the towing vehicle or the towed car behind a motorhome cannot be more than 40′. Very limiting!)
    • Canyon Village Campground – 40′ COMBINED RV length (Meaning the length of the RV PLUS the length of the towing vehicle or the towed car behind a motorhome cannot be more than 40′. Very limiting!)
    • Grant Village Campground – 40′ COMBINED RV length (Meaning the length of the RV PLUS the length of the towing vehicle or the towed car behind a motorhome cannot be more than 40′. Very limiting!)
    • Madison Campground – 40′ COMBINED RV length (Meaning the length of the RV PLUS the length of the towing vehicle or the towed car behind a motorhome cannot be more than 40′. Very limiting!)
    • Zion National Park, Utah Official Site (https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm)
    • Lava Point – 19′
    • Watchman Campground – 19′

  17. Thank you so much Jim! Thanks to those who commented too. I’ve been looking for this information and it is VERY hard to find. This will help us decide how long a 5th wheel we are going to get when we go full-time!

  18. Jim,

    Looks like you might have taken the time to make an Excel file or database file out of each of National Parks and their respective size limits to calculate the percentiles you listed at the top of your post. If you did, would you mind posting the file where we could download it or email it to those that request a copy?

    Your efforts have saved us a lot of time already, but would love to have the data in an electronic format.
    Thanks!

  19. Recreation.gov, which does the reservations for national parks, says on its website that the length they indicate is trailer only, not towed vehicle. Just FYI.

    1. Rec.gov doesn’t do all booking for NPS. Yellowstone uses xantera…and it is tow vehicle and trailer length

  20. This posting, along with the comments, is a great resource. I use a combination of campground site maps and Google satellite view when making public campground reservations. We recently stayed at Furnace Creek Campground in Death Valley in Site 85. It was listed at 55 ft on the reservation system, and the satellite view revealed a double wide apron for additional parking. Our 53′ truck/5th wheel combo fit with room to spare and our daughter parked her car on the apron with permission from the ranger. We used her car for exploring and were able to leave the RV connected, which was nice with the high winds.

    Another comment mentioned using a clear area to the rear of the site for the RVs overhang. Don’t plan on doing this at Furnace Creek, as large rocks have been placed just off the end of the pavement!

  21. Amazing piece of work putting this together. I’ll be referring back to this when others ask the same question as to what is the best size for national parks.

  22. Great job. You put in a lot of work. I have a few questions and comments. You go back and forth using the terms campground and campsite. If you look at campground for your percentages are you just counting the longest site in a particular campground? Saying campsite implies researching all of the sites in a given campground. Which is it?

    I have found the max length numbers many times aren’t as restrictive as they seem. My experience is the length limit is based on the measurement of the parking pad only. Take a motorhome for example. If there are no obstructions behind the pad and it is a back-in one I have been able to put my 40′ coach on a pad that is quoted as for 33′, sometimes even 30′ units. Just depends on the layout.

    Now, why would you restrict yourself to the total length of a vehicle and a towed device? The car being towed by a motorhome is going to be detached when at the campsite. Even a car or truck pulling a trailer is going to be unhooked and parked elsewhere. Rarely do both vehicles have to be parked in line.

    All of that being said, on my last trip to Yellowstone I called ahead and was told by representatives of two campgrounds they had sites for my unit. While that was somewhat true they were very difficult to park in and sometimes I couldn’t extend my slides. Also, driving the campground roads was an experience. Low lieing limbs and tight turns were common.

    So it can be a crapshoot. The only sure way of analyzing this is to personally visit the campground but that is rarely feasible.

    Again, thanks for all of you effort.

  23. Just looked at your “Full List of Popular National Park Campgrounds….”. We camped at Yellowstone’s Grant Village and Madison campgrounds last year. Our m/h is 40’+ and 61′ with car in tow. Neither campground restricted us.

  24. Listening I appreciate the info however when looking for a pull through at some campgrounds that advertised Certain lengths or widths I noticed one I wanted to visit only had 2 sites total for the size advertised.
    Do you feel the parks you checked had multiple large sites or will I run into this problem every where?

  25. For my information. I was told sites would be available but I would be restricted from parking lots at Yellowstone and others. Do you have knowledge of that? Thanks.

  26. I must say that the numbers reported by the Park Service are so innacurate as to be useless. The table shows Watchman campground at Zion National Park as having a maximum length of 19′. Well, I camped there in a 41 foot Class A plus pulling an SUV with no problem whatsoever. A 45′ Class A would have fit in my site easily. Not every campsite in the campground was this large, but many were.

    Whoever compiles these length limits is incompetent. Unfortunatley, that leaves no way to know the true length capacity of the campground , except for occasional user reports like the one I have posted here.

  27. Very helpful information. We aren’t full-timers yet. We have a 40 ft 5th fifth wheel and so far have only camped at PA and NY state parks and COE campgrounds. We can search by RV length when booking a site. However, one thing to consider, even if there are pull-throughs or sites that can accommodate the length, are turns within the campground as well as trees can be an issue. We always look at campground reviews for some help on that subject. If you plan on using NY State parks, use the very helpful website http://www.campadk.com/campsitephotos/ to actually see the campsites. You can choose the state park, then choose the site you want to look at and you will have the view from the road, the side (how close your neighbors will be) and the view from the back of the campsite. We use this every time we book a NY park site so we can avoid some of the tricky backing-up between, say trees on both sides of driveway entrance. Also, it’s great for knowing how close you’ll be to the playground, showers, etc. because the photos give a nice wide angle. Love this site-it’s better than the NYS park site for photos. I generally open two windows–one with the map from NYS park reservations and the Campadk site so I can see the spots we’re interested in before I make my reservation.

  28. Well, Im not sure if it is a typo, but I was in Zion multiple times, and most of the sites in Watchman are 45, and up to 50 ft

  29. I am a true newbie … when a campsite says max width 15 does that mean with awning and slides too ??

  30. Thank you for all the great information.

    I live in California and we have beautiful parks here. From Lake Tahoe to the Coast. Here are some State Park information on Rv length sites. Hope this helps you all. But just remember that we also have private parks as well.

    http://www.parks.ca.gov/rvlength

  31. I found a lot of limitations when we drove our 40′ 5th wheel to CA. Had to stay in private parts to accommodate.

  32. From a quick look at allowable lengths in State of California Parks, it seems that maybe 27 to 28 feet length motor home is the “sweet spot” that would get you into about 90% or more of the parks.

  33. Hi thanks for your research. I do have a question though. You say that the lengths are the combined length of the toad or the towing vehicle. If there is a limit of 27 ft and I have an expedition that is 17 ft long that only leaves 10 ft for an RV. So this makes no sense. I’ve stayed in many state parks with my 31 foot travel trailer plus Expedition with no issues whatsoever. I rarely park on the pad I would park on the side of the Road or sideways in front of the RV. Can you comment please? Thank you

  34. We were camp hosts at Zion. Large motorhomes are able to camp in Watchman and South campgrounds. We had many sites in South that would accommodate larger campers and motorhomes.

  35. National Park Service Camping Guide by William Herow:: can be ordered to view every national park RV guideline. Let’s just say that if your RV itself is 34 ft you will probably NOT be allowed into any national park. I have reviewed them all. Just fyi

    1. This is totally not true – as others have noted above. We have been to about 30 National Parks and found most places could easily accommodate a 34-footer, and they are certainly allowed in the parks. We saw huge motorhomes everywhere in Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and even in areas where they weren’t supposed to be in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Inspiration Point). We found California – Redwoods, specifically to be the most restrictive. We found 30-35 foot motorhomes were pretty safe in most parks if you plan ahead and find the spots that will accommodate them. Above 35 and you might have a harder time finding a spot to fit. If you are showing up without a reservation, there’s probably not going to be any larger spots left. FYI one of the nicest campgrounds out there is in Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah – just down the road from Canyonlands NP and Arches. NP. Check it out.

  36. Thank you, thank you! Something I hadn’t considered. Have to train the brain on this new mindset and lifestyle. I have learned so much on your site. Thank you!

    (newbie rv’er, 28′ Winnie Minnie)

  37. Awesome information. This is really going to help a lot. We just bought a ’96 Rexhall Aerbus. We’re new and ready to learn all things RV

  38. Thank you for gathering this info.Invaluble! Thanx for the time you spent gathering all this together

  39. With respect to travel trailers the ‘Length’ gets a little confusing. Is the length you are indicating tongue to bumper or box length?
    Then you indicate the lengths for TT includes TV & TT, I do not think that is not correct. Because my truck by it’s self is 19′. I think the length referanced is JUST the primary RV length, not including toad or truck.
    Also we have found the limited factor in lengths noted in campground guide are due to drive isle narrowness not space length, which can be misleading.
    We travel with a 28′ trailer and have camped in ALL the major National Parks and many State and County campgrounds across the country.
    So don’t put to much faith in the park info you find on line. If indought CALL the park staff and ask them.

  40. Looking at buying a 26′ travel trailer. If I go to a park that only allows 24′ , will I be allowed to stay with 2 extra feet? Not sure if they check the exact measurements. Thanks for all this valuable information!

    1. My understanding is that the “length” restriction means: the travel trailer + the towing vehicle.

  41. this can’t be correct, and F-150 long bed truck is 20′ itself, so you have a 5-15′ camper?

  42. Yellowstone specifically states that the length is the COMBINED length of the travel trailer and the towing vehicle. I have a 23′ TT and my truck is about 19′, because of this I erred on the side of caution and booked a sit at the Fishing Bridge RV park, which wasn’t much fun. I am ready to make reservations for this summer and am just going to call them and see what they have to say. I would hate to get there and be denied my site because I am over the length limit.

  43. Another angle to consider is if you plan to travel to Alaska via the Alaska Hwy through BC, the Yukon Territory & Alberta. We spent 3 months in 2016 and had our (at the time) F-550 crew cab with full length bed and a 31′ 5’er in tow. Many of the provincial parks in Canada are very nice however were built decades ago and are now showing their age due to the roads, site sizes and if you’re lucky enough to find a site long enough they generally are not very wide and trying to shoehorn into some of the back in sites takes a few tries due to limited road width to maneuver the truck to put the 5’er in the site. We stayed at one CG in Alberta that we got one of the few vacant sites from the over 600 the park has. Only issue was we had to maneuver around a cement slab recycling station and 4 foot high brush on both sides of the narrow road accessing the site.

    When we got home we upgraded to a new 40′ 5’er which has us at 57′ now. Currently looking at a 45′ Class A which we will tow our Jeep behind. DOES WAL-MART HAVE A SIZE LIMIT IN THEIR PARKING LOTS? 🙂

    We plan to return to the North however will take our 12′ truck camper and a toad behind us as we plan to visit Inuvik, NWT and drive up to Prudhoe Bay and get off the beaten path most RV’ers travel.

    Thanks to the author for all the fact finding research and organizing.

    George

  44. On a trailer do you count the length of the hitch ( or the part that extends in front of the box portion)?

  45. Great info I’ve been looking for for years. Proves the more input the greater the total knowledge!

  46. Because of the conflicting info on several sites (including recreation.gov & NPS, with one another,) I had a nice multiple e-mail exchange today with a ‘Visitor Services Assistant’ at Glacier National Park, MT.

    Basically, it boils down to this… if the site you’re after lists a ‘driveway length’, and it’s longer than your TV and TT hitched together, you’re good. In effect, the stated length limit for a site or facility applies to the TOWED vehicle (full length, not just the ‘box’.) If you have room to unhook and park the TV (for those sites that allow it), even better.

    Her last reply is pasted below, for reference (the space in question was a 40ft pullthrough, in St. Mary’s campground; my TV is 17ft, and my TT is just shy of 29ft – so I make the 50ft limit w/ 4ft to spare, and my trailer is 11ft shy of the 40ft limit for that, as well.)

    This is a text-only page, so I can’t paste the Google Earth image of the site – but she did send it to me so I could see the exact site from a birds-eye view.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    The driveway length is 50 feet, as you noted, and the shape of the drive way is arched. This arch is why the maximum single vehicle that would fit in the driveway is listed as 40 feet. Per our camping regulations, you are permitted up two vehicles per campsite. The driveway length is the length you have to work with for parking those vehicles. If you are able to fit your vehicle and your RV within the driveway length, without hanging out of the driveway into the road or prohibiting entrance to the neighboring site, then you are good to go. Depending on the orientation of the driveway and the location of trees and posts at each campsite, some sites you may be able to squeeze in an extra foot. But it is very much site specific. There is no parking space on the road next to the campground so the worst case scenario is that you are able to get an RV or tow vehicle in the driveway and then you would park your second vehicle in public parking area, likely a 5 to 15 minute walk away from your campsite.

    I understand it can be frustrating to see different answers from visitors or on recreation.gov but the reality is that there may be a little fudging space depending on the site, but not for every site.

    So, a good rule of thumb is to know the total driveway length is what you have to work with. If you have a smaller RV and a car, you will likely be able to get both vehicles in a 50′ driveway length. If you have a 40′ RV (just for an example) and a compact sedan, you might be able to squeeze it into a 50′ driveway depending on the location of the campsite and the physical barriers around the parking area. If you have a longer car, suv or truck, you probably won’t be able to get the max vehicle length in with an additional car.

  47. This is really valuable info! Thank you so much. We always tent camp in national parks and now want to get a 5th wheel. Now I know what size I need to get. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  48. WOW this was AMAZING!!! We almost made a too big purchase mistake.
    I very much appreciate you taking the time to inform!!!

  49. Hello, I suggest you read through the other comments. You may not be as restricted as you think.

  50. We have a Travel Trailer and I wondering when a spot size is given are we including tongue in measurement or just the box?Exterior Length (Box) 34′ 1″
    Exterior Length (Overall) 37′ 8″

  51. I have reservation for lodgepole campground site 205. My truck and rv combined are 42 feet.
    The travel trailer is 22 ft. and together between 13 and 14 ft. wide. Wondering about them fitting in the site, or if any overflow will be available for the truck. Also I’m coming from the south, so should I go around and come in on hwy 180 ( I think it is) or am I ok on 198 ? We are travelling in mid September of this year. Anyone have any 1st hand experience with backing into 205?
    John

  52. Thank you for the work but I find it disappointing! Even if we buy a 26 foot RV, our car is around 16 feet and the average tow is 4 feet that would made it 46 feet making it almost impossible to get into a National Park. How do people do it ?

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