A week of dry camping is do'able if you have a generator (or a solar setup, though Elkmont doesn't offer much sun) to top of your battery (or batteries). If you don't have a means to re-charge it is unlikely you;ll be able to get by for a week.
FWIW, I don't think Elkmont has "cabins" for your brother.
I have to think there is something in Townsend that might meet your needs.
Unless you a big on hiking I can't imagine what will occupy 8 days at Yellowstone.
I disagree. We could have gone animal watching all day, every day for a week easily. We saw grizzlies, wolves, elk, buffalo, etc. I guess it depends on what you're into.Add a "me too". We spent 5 days there, did not do any hiking (other than paths/boardwalks/stairs), did not visit the lake, did not do any real "animal watching" (except what we saw as we drove around) and skipped a few of the smaller thermal areas.
Had we done a few shorter hikes (4-7 miles), I'm sure we could have spent 2+ weeks there.
A couple of other YS myths that didn't hold true for us were the "crowds" and the "traffic". We were there in the 3rd week of June and our friend were there the 3rd week in July. And neither of us thought it was crowded. It was busy in some areas (primarily old faithful, its lodge and inn), but it was never what I would call "crowded".
My definition of crowded is Disney's Main St USA after the late lighted parade. YS's "crowds" were more like a small town's street fair if not closer to a Saturday afternoon at your local mall.
Traffic was another issue that was never, ever an issue. Sure we had to slow down when animals were nearby, but we only had to "stop" for ~15 min one time. And we saw 7+ bear (including 2 with cubs) road-side. I even hit 60 mph a few times in the roads (by accident) without even noticing the "traffic". Frankly, the worst bit of traffic we experienced was driving through Mammoth. But that is primarily due to its close proximity to the springs and the fact the "streets" are not built to divert traffic around the town.
We were in YS (Madison CG) for 5 days this past June. We never left YS the whole time we were there.
We loved the thermal stuff, but the Canyon and the views/drive/hikes between Canyon and Tower were amazing. The evening ranger presentations at Madison CG were a great way to end the day. We also did the Chuck Wagon dinner one night. While costly, it was really, really fun. And the beans are amazing!
If you think you are going to buy stuff from the gift shops or bookstores within YS, I strongly suggest you get a membership with the Yellowstone Association ($35) available at the "bookstores". With the membership you get 10-15% off everything you buy within the park except "served food". Had we bought the membership on day 1, it would have paid for itself by day 3 (family of 5 buying sweatshirts for all plus a few books).
Another vote for Rafter J. We stayed there this past June. Kids loved it and it seems to be ~10 miles from everything as it is right at a major crossroad in the black hills.
We stayed in the "main camp" (closest to the pool), if we had to go back, I'd consider Lower Ranch Camp or the Ranch Camp. They are a bit more "remote", especially the Lower Ranch Camp (though it is furthest from a real bathroom).
I was in YS a couple of weeks ago. I never thought it was crowded. Even at Old Faithful. Sure some attractions were busy for a few moments (10am seems to be peak time), but that's it. Traffic wasn't an issue. We had a few slowdowns on the road, never a real "jam". We spent all 5 nights at Madison CG. Like many of the CG within YS, the "back" of the lot is against the road which is very narrow. Sort of like a canyon of campers. The "front" was more roomy that just about any other place we have stayed, though you can see other sites. Everything was quite by 9pm and no real "noise" until 8am when a few people would start their generators.
In short, YS was far less congested and crowded than I expected given reports online. While we were there all CG were "full" every night except one which wasn't open yet.
Camper: 2012 Roo 233S
TV: 2008 Ford Expy (HD tow package with non-tow friendly 3.31 rear-end)
Family: DW, Me, DD (14), DD (11), DS (8)
When: 7-June-2012 thru 25-June-2012
7-June -- Started at 3pm -- Tipton, IA (Hunt's Cedar River CG) -- 500 miles
8-June -- Stopped at SD Visitor Center on I-29 and Corn Palace -- Interior, SD (Badland's KOA) -- 700 miles
9-June -- Visit Badlands (Window, Door, Notch, Cliff Shelf), Prairie Dog gravel road trip, Wall Drug -- 0 miles
10-June -- Keystone Alpine Side! and Bear Country USA Hill City, SD (Rafter J-Bar) -- 120 miles
11-June -- Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Mt Rushmore Lighting Ceremony -- 0
12-June -- Custer SP, Wind Cave, Wildlife Loop, Needles Highway -- 0
13-June -- Hiked Harney Peak, Laundry, Resupply, Pool -- 0
14-June -- Resupply, Shopped at Sierra Trading Post, Yellowstone Valley Inn -- Cody, WY -- 400 miles
15-June -- Madison CG -- 100 miles
16-June thru 19-June -- Various attractions within YS including Chuck Wagon dinner on the 17th.
20-June -- Laundry, Colter Bay RV Park, 75 miles
21-June -- Day Hike and Snake River Float -- 0
22-June -- Canoe/Kayak Paddle, Day Hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Pt
23-June -- Colby, KS -- 730 miles
24-June -- Home -- 1100 miles
Had to leave a day earlier than expected due to a business trip that arose during the vacation.
We loved the Badlands and wish we would have stayed another day (day hike through the middle?).
We also wished we stayed several more days at Yellowstone (in order to do some hiking).
We could have skipped the Black Hills. Though Mt Rushmore is a "must see" and Harney Peak was nice. The Black Hills is a great place to camp, but for a trip of this magnitude, I wish we would have skipped it. I do however wish I would have stopped at the Minutemen Missile Site for a tour and/or maybe visit Devil's Tower.
Wall Drug is as bad as you think with no real quirky charm. IMO, the Corn Palace is a better stop. Though I'd skip both on a return trip.
We didn't get a good feel for Grand Teton's as our visit was cut short though it does seem to attract a wealthier and/or snooty crowd compared to YS. The Jackson Lodge is beautiful. The Snake River Float was fun and we had a great guide.
Hidden Gem -- Ten Sleep Canyon
Biggest Disappointment -- Crazy Horse and Wind Cave (we heard Jewel Cave is nice) as it wasn't even close to Luray Caves in VA or Mammoth Caves in KY.
Weather was awesome, mild days, cool nights. We had 5 min of rain in the Black Hills.
Ask questions if you have any!