Backcountry Campgrounds In Yellowstone
There are over 300 backcountry campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park that you can reach by foot, horseback or boat. Some of them are less than a mile from the road, while others are a LOT further.
I stayed at three of them along the Yellowstone River Trail during my trip to Yellowstone, and they were all pretty gorgeous.
However, info on backpacking in Yellowstone is outside the scope of this campground guide, so I wont get into details. If you want more info, see the Backcountry Camping page on the Yellowstone National Park website.
What You Need To Know About Camping In Yellowstone
- Season dates may vary by year. Be sure to check the website for information on opening and closing dates while you are planning your trip.
- If you want to make a reservation for the summer, be sure to do it 13 months in advance. Campgrounds that accept reservations often fill many months in advance.
- Many of the first-come, first-served sites should be claimed by 7 a.m. during summer months! Plan your trip so that you can get to the campsite early before it fills.
- Hookups are only provided in the Fishing Bridge Campground.
- Dump Stations are available in Madison, Canyon Village, Bridge Bay, Fishing Bridge, and Grant Village.
- Each standard campsite only accommodates six people. If you have a larger group, you will need to book two campsites or look for a campground that offers double or group campsites.
- You cannot reserve a tent-only site if you will not be sleeping in a tent, even if your truck camper or van fits in that site.
- Yellowstone is bear country! Each campsite provides a bear box for you to store your food and other scented items in, but be sure to educate yourself on proper food storage practices before you go.
This article contains information on the frontcountry camping experiences that are available within Yellowstone National Park. In other words, it covers places you can get to with your car! If youre interested in hike-in backcountry camping options,
Getting to the Campgrounds in Yellowstone
Rv Camping Near The West Entrance To Yellowstone
There are multiple camping options when leaving Yellowstone on the west side off Highway 91.
Bakers Hole Campground
From May 15th to September 30th, you can travel 3 miles from the parks west side to reach Bakers Hole Campground in West Yellowstone, Montana. Availability is first-come, first-served with a $20 fee for two driving vehicles, an additional vehicle charge of $7, and $28 for an electrical site.
There are 73 campsites with 33 electrical sites on the grounds. RVers are welcome, as spots are up to 75 feet. Fees include a fire grate, fishing platform, tablets, water, and toilets.
Rainbow Point Campground
Rainbow Point Campground, 10 miles away from Yellowstone in West Yellowstone, Montana, provides RVers with a comfortable stay. Between May 15th and September 15th, visitors can call the campground to make reservations. Costs are $20 for two driving vehicles, $7 for each extra automobile, and $28 for an electrical spot.
The campground has 83 sites with 46 electrical hookups, and each site fits an RV less than 40 feet. Fire grates, fishing areas, toilets, and water, as well as a dock and boat ramp, are available.
Lonesomehurst Campground is approximately 12 miles from the park in West Yellowstone, Montana. Visitors can call anytime to make a reservation between May 15th and September 27th. Furthermore, entrance fees are $20 per two driving vehicles, $7 for another car, and $28 per electrical site.
Cherry Creek Campground
Red Cliff Campground
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What To Pack For Camping In Yellowstone National Park
All of Yellowstones campgrounds are above 6000 feet so it can get cold at night. As well, it can rain at any time in the mountains. Make sure youre prepared. For my recommendations on what to bring camping, see my Yellowstone Packing Lists.
So thats everything you need to know about camping in Yellowstone. I know youre going to have an AWESOME trip! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section. Ill be happy to answer!
The Only Campground In Yellowstone With Full Hookups
As previously mentioned, the Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only place for RV camping in Yellowstone with full hookups. RVs up to 40 feet in length or less, including any vehicle attached, are accepted, but limited space restricts units over that limit. Failing to abide by this regulation will result in entry refusal.
Depending on the site, 50-amp, 20-amp, and 30-amp spots are available. Note that generators are allowed but cannot surpass 60 decibels. Each space is a back-in within the pine-forested open area. The area itself is twice as wide as the RV, meaning there is restricted room for slide outs.
Dumping stations are near the entrance of the park for your convenience. Be aware of the outdoor temperatures, as stations may close due to the cold weather.
Fishing Bridge RV Park lies in bear territory therefore, the park only admits hard-sided RVs. Visitors must be particularly mindful about food storage and disposal due to this threat.
Ice and drink vending machines are available, as well as recycling and waste containers. For cooking purposes, regulations allow charcoal and propane grills, as long as there is no open flame. Keep in mind that these areas do not have picnic tables and fire grates.
Just outside the RV Park is a service station for fuel, gas, and repair assistance. There is a local general store for food and camping goods, as well as an information facility for maps and programs. Rangers are also on-duty to answer visitors questions.
Access And Senior Pass Discounts
If you are a holder of an Access Pass or Senior Pass you can receive a 50% discount off of established standard rates at Bridge Bay, Canyon, Grant and Madison Campgrounds. The offer is not valid for Fishing Bridge RV Park. If booking online, you can obtain the special rate by providing the Promo Code Pass when you begin the booking process or to book now. However, you must show your pass at check-in to receive the discount on your site only. Otherwise you will be charged the prevailing standard rate.
This offer is not valid with the Interagency Annual Pass.
Getting To Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park has 5 park entrances. They are accessible by making a couple of hour detour off I-15, I-90, and I-80. The park is also a great stop for people traveling from Billings, Montana to Idaho Falls, Idaho. Public transport is limited to the towns outside of the park.
There are 3 airports near the park. The closest airport to the park is Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming. COD is about 30 minutes from the parks eastern entrance. The other airport is in BozIf you are going to fly, the best airport is the Jackson Hole Airport in Jackson, Wyoming. JAC is one of the most scenic airports in the world and is a 1.5-hour drive from the parks south entrance. If you are going to fly, spend at least 3 days to a month in Yellowstone National Park.
Estimated Drive time to Yellowstone National Park
- Bozeman, Montana 1.5 hours
More detail on planning the best way to get to Yellowstone.
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The 10 Best Campgrounds In Yellowstone
Spilling across the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, Yellowstone National Park is alive with abundant forests, bubbling geysers, and crystal-blue lakes. Every year, millions of visitors travel to this vast expanse of wilderness.
Luckily, there are several campgrounds within the park, each boasting unique opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking, and access to famous natural landmarks.
While deciding upon the right campground can be tough, knowing the strengths of each can help you to figure out which site is right for you. And to help, weve put together a list of the top 10 best campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park. Check it out below!
How Much Does It Cost To Rv Camp In Yellowstone
With anything, costs for RV camping in Yellowstone fluctuate yearly. Rates also vary depending upon the features each site holds. Some have showers, toilets, and hookups, whereas others do not.
Below is a list of fees for overnight stays at each campground, as of 2019. Each listing also includes the approximate dates the area is open, although these days change yearly, as well.
- Tower Fall Campground : $15 per night
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Canyon Village Area: Grebe Lake
For a family friendly hike with very little elevation gain, head to Grebe Lake for a night or two. There are four campsites marked around the lake. Its a 3-mile hike into the lake from the Grebe Lake trailhead.
In this area, there are a chain of lakes connected by trails, so you can spend a day exploring nearby lakes like Cascade Lake, just 1.9 miles away. Or summit Observation Peak, which is 4.4 miles away from Grebe Lake one-way. Be prepared to work hard as you will gain 1,400 feet in elevation in 3 miles. The views of Yellowstone are incredible, though, from the top.
Because the Grebe Lake area is at 8,000 feet, snow can hang on until mid-June and mosquitos until early July, so if you want to avoid mud and mosquitos, do this trail later in the summer rather than early.
To get to the Grebe Lake trailhead, head 3.5 miles west of Canyon Junction on the Norris-Canyon Road. It will be on your right.
Yellowstone Campgrounds At A Glance
|Mammoth General Store|
Fishing Bridge RV Park
Fishing Bridge RV Park will be undergoing renovations for most of the 2020 season. Fishing bridge WILL BE CLOSED during this time. It is expect to re-open in September 2020.
Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only full service RV campground in the park. It is located near the spot where the Yellowstone River enters Yellowstone Lake. This is a popular area for grizzly bears and they are often seen in the campground.
Only hard-sided RVs and trailers are allowed in this campground. No tent or tent trailer camping is available here. Campfires are banned in this campground.
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Are There Restrictions For Camping In Yellowstone
There are a number of restrictions when it comes to the best places to camp in Yellowstone National Park. Here are some you should be aware of when booking your spot:
- Occupancy for campsites is limited to six people
- Yellowstone limits its camping to 14 days from July 1 through Labor Day, and 30 days for the rest of the year. However, there is no limit at Fishing Bridge RV Park.
- Campfires are allowed at all sites unless stated otherwise. This is excepting the Fish Bridge RV Park, where fires are not allowed at any time.
- There is no tent camping at Fish Bridge RV Park, and it is the only one that offers running water, a sewer, and electricity.
- Senior discounts are available for all campgrounds except Fish Bridge RV Park.
- You can make larger group reservations at Grant Village Campground, Madison Campground and Bridge Bay campground. Fees range from $144 USD to $422 USD a night.
What People Are Saying About Cody Koa
Nice place to stay, has lots of space and things for kids to play. Sites are not that tight when compared to other KOAs. Good place to arrive and stay for a while, as Yellowstone is right next to the city. Bruno, TripAdvisor
Located directly in Yellowstone, along a winding road leading to Dunraven Pass you cant really get a more peaceful location than Towerfall Campground. The 31 basic RV sites are first-come, first-served, and each comes equipped with a picnic table and fire pit. While it may not be the fanciest campground around, its the perfect place for campers looking to stay as close as possible to the National Park.
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How To Make Camping Reservations In Yellowstone
There are three main types of campgrounds in Yellowstone: National Park-run campgrounds, privately-run Yellowstone National Park Lodges campgrounds, and backcountry campgrounds. You can drive up to the first two types but youll need to walk, paddle or ride a horse into the backcountry.
The reservation process for each type is different.
Camping At Yellowstone National Park
The park has twelve campgrounds within its boundaries. All but one are seasonal and open from June through September, so plan accordingly when designing your Yellowstone camp trip. All but two have handicap-accessible sites, and many offer showers and flush toilets.
Of the twelve campgrounds, five have campsites that can be reserved in advance. In other words, the other seven are first-come, first-served campgrounds. See the listings below to learn more about each group and how to secure your campsite.
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Yellowstone Camping Reservations: Secrets You Need To Know
The nations first national park still captures Americas hearts, luring more than 2 million visitors to its borders every year. With so many tourists wandering through, the race is constantly on to score a Yellowstone camping reservation.
Many opt for camping, either in tents or RVs, and although there are more than 2,000 campsites within the park, the trick is knowing how to garner one before it is snatched up by fellow travelers.
Wed like to help you secure that elusive campsite on your next visit by providing some insight into Yellowstone camping reservations. Read on!
Why Youll Love Yellowstone Valley Inn
When it comes to amenities, Yellowstone Valley Inn is the best in the area. They offer a host of amenities that are hard to come by near the National Park, including both a heated pool and hot tub, free WiFi, and an on-site restaurant. Along with that, their facilities are state of the art. They offer modern laundry facilities, a clean bathhouse, and a handicap accessible bathroom.
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Why Youll Love Fishing Bridge Rv Park
Aside from giving you both immediate access to Yellowstone and full hookup campsites, Fishing Bridge brings a few more small conveniences to the table. Laundry and shower facilities, an RV dump station, and close proximity to church services, restaurants, gas stations, and convenience stores can all help make your trip run smoothly.
About Yellowstone National Park
Opened in 1872, Yellowstone not only holds the record as Oldest National Park in the United States. It is widely touted as the oldest in the world. Thats quite a pair of shoes to fill, but the destination is known as Wonderland has no problem wowing all those crowds, with mind-boggling geothermal features like Old Faithful Geyser, bubbling paint pots, and Mammoth Hot Springs, as well as stunning scenic locations like Upper and Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
Wildlife abounds here like no other place imaginable: elk herds run wild just as they did before this country was settled. Visitors ogle at grizzly and black bears, wolves, and lynx, who are seemingly unaware that they are being watched. Additionally, viewers clamor to see bison meandering down the road or foraging for their afternoon snacks.
It is this element of surprise and sense of grandeur that draws crowds to every attraction Mother Nature has on display here. This makes lodging options challenging, but by learning about Yellowstone camping reservations, you may have a leg up on the competition when it comes to grabbing the perfect camp spot even before you arrive.
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More to Explore in Yellowstone: Our guide to the top attractions in Yellowstone highlights all the best things to see and experience within the park. For planning ahead and figuring out when to go to Yellowstone, our best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is a helpful resource.
More Campgrounds in Wyoming: Directly to the south of Yellowstone National Park, the tall mountain peaks of Grand Teton National Park beckon visitors from across the world. To take in the idyllic mountain scene presented by Grand Teton, check out our guide to the best campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park. To branch farther out in the state and experience some of Wyoming’s state parks, national forests, and massive reservoirs, the best campgrounds in Wyoming provide access to it all.
Jackson Hole: For more hiking adventures head to nearby Jackson. Just outside of Grand Teton, the resort city of Jackson Hole is a great base camp for adventure. Likewise, hiking trails in Jackson Hole also provide quite the view.
Rv Campgrounds Near The Northeast Entrance To Yellowstone
Sites on the northeast side are between 6 and 7 miles from the park, running along Highway 212.
Soda Butte Campground
Soda Butte Campground is open from July 1st to September 7th, is only 6 miles from the park in Gardiner, Montana. The system uses a first-come, first-served basis and costs $9 per night with a $3 fee for each extra vehicle.
The campground includes 27 spots with access to fire grates, food boxes, tables, tent pads, trash cans, toilets, and water. Only hard-sided camping is allowed here since it is in bear country. Sites can accommodate units up to 48 feet.
Moving 7 miles northeast from Yellowstone will land you in Colter Campground. Located in Gardiner, Montana, this campground costs $9 per night with a $3 fee per additional automobile. RV camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis between July 1st and September 7th.
This campground, which is located in an area populated by bears, only permits hard-sided camping in each of its 18 sites. Tables, fire grates, food boxes, tent pads, toilets, water, and trash cans are available. Recreational vehicles up to 48 feet are welcome.
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