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Yellowstone National Park Car Camping

Where Are The Best Places To Go Camping In Yellowstone National Park


One of the best things about Yellowstone campgrounds is the fact that there are a ton of options and that they are really easy to get to. I wouldnt say one is better than the othermuch of it depends on whether you are heading there by RV or if you are planning on doing tent camping.

Some of the more popular camping options include Grant Village Campground, Madison Campground, and Canyon Campground. Its a good idea to know what you plan on seeing and which of the best hikes in Yellowstone National Park you want to head out on.

Note: Fishing Bridge RV Park, Tower Fall Campground, and Norris Campground will be closed all of 2021 due to Covid-19.

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!


What Is Camping Yellowstone National Park Like

There are many beautiful places to camp in Yellowstone National Park, but we can find some of the best camping near the geysers and hot springs. The best way to find a campsite, that doesnt need a reservation, is to drive around the park. But watch out for the crazy hairpin curve, and look for signs for camping or backcountry camping. There are also campgrounds near the entrances to the park.

When camping in Yellowstone, it is important to be aware of the dangers that exist in the park. Bears, wolves, and other animals can be dangerous, so it is important to take precautions when camping and hiking in the park.

If you cant find a place you can always head out of the park to look for a campsite.

Also Check: Point Mugu State Park Camping

West Yellowstone Boondocking Near Yellowstone National Park

West Yellowstone offers the MOST free camping and boondocking destinations near Yellowstone National Park. It is the biggest town located near Yellowstone and has numerous free camping locations in Caribou-Targhee National Forest. If you want good internet, a long stay in one location, beautiful views and a couple of lakes to fish at West Yellowstone is the place to be.

We work on the road 4-5 days a week and ended up staying right outside of West Yellowstone for 7 days. We had 25mb download and 10mb upload with our AT& T hotspot and WeBoost. Located only 15 minutes from West Yellowstone is Targhee Creek Trailhead and I believe is the best if not second best boondocking site in the area. The only spot that could compare is the overlook at Henrys Lake which is more crowded.

Targhee Creek Trailhead is able to accommodate 15-20 campers at any given time. Our favorite spot was about 200 meters once we turned on the stone road. Its the second dirt road left you can take, and we had this spot for around 7 days all to ourselves. It was a dead end, meaning no cars drove past us and we had amazing views every night, a huge fire pit and great internet.

Getting To Grand Teton

Advance reservations available in March for Yellowstone National Park ...

For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from Jackson Hole Airport as you arrive. Jackson Hole Airport is the nearest airport to Yellowstone, it is located within the Grand Teton National Park.

If you cant find flights to Jackson Hole, try flying into Salt Lake City in Utah and driving over from there. The drive from Salt Lake City to Grand Teton will take you below 5 hours.

Did you know that Jackson Hole Airport is the only airport located within a National Park?

Grand Teton National Park has an admission fee of $35 per vehicle. The entry is valid for 7 consecutive days. Consult the parks website for information on current closures and safety alerts.

What are the best things to do in Grand Teton National Park?

The following attractions are the absolute must-see on your Yellowstone itinerary!

Jackson Hole Aerial Tram

Before diving into the heart of this National Park, drive over to the Teton Village right outside of the park. This resort is home to great eateries, lodging, and equipment rentals. During the winter season, grab a pair of skis and rush down the slopes.

No matter what time of the year youre here, a trip up to Rendezvous Peak is an absolute must. Take the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram up to the peak, where you can admire panoramic views from what seems like the top of the world. At the top, a portion of hot waffles served at Corbets Cabin is not to be missed, either.

Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center

Jenny Lake

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How Do You Get A First

The first-come, first-served campgrounds include Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, and Tower Fall. Pebble Creek also designates a portion of its campsites as first-come, first-served.

These campgrounds fill in the early morning hours during the summer season. When you arrive, youll need to wait in line at the campground entrance until the campground host can assign you an empty campsite.

If you cant get a campsite in Yellowstone, I recommend using The Dyrt to find a campground outside the park.

Other Lodging In Yellowstone National Park

If camping in Yellowstone doesnt appeal to you, theres plenty of other lodging options to choose from.

Lodging in Yellowstone National Park ranges from simple cabins to sprawling lodges. There are nine total hotels, lodges, and cabins within the park. Like Yellowstone campgrounds, these fill up fast. So make your reservations early .

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Yellowstone Grizzly Rv Park & Cabins

Another option for RV camping and cabin camping in Yellowstone is Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park & Cabins. Located just blocks from the parks west entrance in West Yellowstone, this Yellowstone campground has large pull-thru RV sites with full hookups, three styles of camping cabins, and countless amenities. No tent camping is allowed. This RV Park is very close to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.

Learn more about Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park & Cabins.

Camping Around Yellowstone National Park

Camping in Yellowstone

When it comes to Yellowstone National Park camping, you dont always have to camp within the park for an amazing experience. One of the benefits of Yellowstone is the fact that it is located next to the Custer Gallatin National Forest, which is located near the park and offers cheaper sites. This is why I highly recommend purchasing an annual national parks passit offers free camping!

Eagle Creek Campground

Located right on a Yellowstone River tributary, this spot offers beautiful views without having to head into the park itself. This large national forest is worth exploring itself, especially if you consider yourself an outdoor enthusiast.

Open: Year-round

Fee: $20, $28 for electrical sites

Number of sites: 73 campsites, 33 electrical sites

Restrooms: Toilets

KOA West Yellowstone

Daniel and I stayed at the KOA West Yellowstone on our trip to the park, and we had a great experience while there. Along with luxury-like bathrooms and plenty of space, theres also a store and restaurant where you can pick up your most essential items and grab a pizza too!

Yellowstone RV Park

If you want an RV park with none of the hassle that comes with staying in the park, the Yellowstone RV Park is perfect for you. With 46 sites right on the Yellowstone River, cable TV, and more, youre living your best life!

Do you have any questions about Yellowstone National Park camping? Feel free to ask in the comments!

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Dispersed Camping Near Yellowstone National Park

The following section contains our top eight dispersed campsites near Yellowstone National Park. Since Yellowstone covers such a vast area weve done our best to include campsites near all the main entrances in hopes you find a spot convenient for your next visit.

In addition, our Yellowstone dispersed camping map below gives an overview of each sites location with a full description included in the following section. Enjoy!

If youre looking for other dispersed camping in the region, we have several helpful guides below:

How Do We Plan Ahead For Bear Safety In A Yellowstone Campground

Proper food storage is the most important precaution you can take to avoid a bear encounter in a Yellowstone campground. Be sure to store any food in a locked vehicle or in a provided Bear Box. Through Yellowstone Forevers Sponsor a Bear Box campaign, the park has successfully installed more than 185 bear-proof food storage boxes at individual campsites. Especially if you plan to go hiking, take time in advance of your trip to learn more about bear safety in Yellowstone.

Read Also: Camping With A 4 Year Old

Bill Frome County Park

Location: Island Park, ID west Yellowstone entrance

Ideal for: RVs AT& T and Verizon connectivity

Why Youll Love It: This is like a real campground with official sites, picnic tables and fire pits. They even have a well maintained vault toilet on site. The lake front views are great, but no swimming or drinking form the lake.

You do have to register to camp but the price is $0

Whats the Word: Two Plus Lu on Campendium says, We chose a spot that had good tree dividers on both sides so it was very private. The area is surrounded by cow pastures. Easy in, easy out, no rough roads or awkward navigation to contend with. Nice and quiet.

Yellowstone Campgrounds Vibe: 8.5/10 All the benefits of an established campground, but none of the cost or crowds!

Where To Stay In Yellowstone

Car Camping Yellowstone National Park

There are a total of 9 different lodges within Yellowstone National Park. Continue reading to find out the best places to stay in Yellowstone National Park.

Old Faithful Inn

If you are willing to splash out on the best accommodation in Yellowstone, check-in at the Old Faithful Inn. Its located right by the Old Faithful area and offers cozy rooms with private bathrooms. Click here for more details on this property.

Once you get hungry, you can head to the famous Old Faithful Inn Dining Room.

WorldMark West Yellowstone

If youre traveling on a tighter budget, consider staying outside of Yellowstone National Park. The pricing for accommodation within the park can get crazy, especially during peak season, and it is not always worth the hefty price tags. WorldMark West Yellowstone is a cozy property that features well-equipped rooms, an indoor pool, and various activities.

A car park is available free of charge.

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Grassy Lake Road & Reservoir Dispersed

Restrooms: Vault toilets available at some sitesWater: NoMap

The Grassy Lake Road dispersed camping area is located just south of Yellowstone between the Park and nearby Grand Teton National Park. Grassy Lake Road cuts through the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway and features approximately 20 dispersed campsites just off the road. Additionally, if you continue west along the road from Highway 191 youll reach the Grassy Lake Reservoir which has additional campsites.

The campsites along the road are already established, so youll find good parking areas, simple fire rings, and even a few vault toilets scattered about. This is a spectacular place to camp with the Snake River winding its way past most of the sites. Youre also just 10 minutes from both the South Entrance to Yellowstone as well as the northern entrance to Grand Teton.

The road is unpaved, but very passable for most vehicles. Sedans will be fine and there is room for camper vans as well as smaller RVs and trailers along Grassy Lake Road.

This is our top pick for dispersed camping near Yellowstone.

Camping In Yellowstone: Everything You Need To Know

Posted on Last updated: June 3, 2022

Recently, I spent 10 days camping in Yellowstone National Park. It was sooo nice to wake up each morning in the park. It made getting out to see the sights or go for a hike MUCH easier since we didnt have to commute into Yellowstone. And for me, camping is the best way to experience nature!

On my June 2019 trip, I spent 3 nights in Mammoth, 3 nights in the backcountry and 3 nights at Norris. It was a bit of a last minute trip so we made due with what we could get. However I always want to make sure Im choosing the best option. So while we were touring around the park, I checked out most of the other campgrounds to see which campgrounds were awesome and which were not.

Ive put together a truly MASSIVE guide to camping in Yellowstone for you, updated for the 2022 season. Its got literally everything you need to know including:

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Reserve Your Campsite As Early As Possible

Of the 12 frontcountry campgrounds located in Yellowstone National Park, 5 of them allow reservations ahead of time including Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village, and Madison.

How to Reserve a Campsite at Yellowstone

Campsites at these reservable campgrounds can be reserved online through the Yellowstone Park Lodges Website.

However, be aware that even though there are over 2,000 campsites at Yellowstone, competition is extremely fierce for these campsites due to the popularity of Yellowstone and the sheer number of visitors to the park each year.

So if youre planning on reserving a campsite before your visit then you need to be planning and reserving in advance, and when I say in advance I mean far in advance.

As you will need to reserve your campsite months in advance and even as far out as a year in advance if you are trying to reserve a spot in the popular summers months.

Reservations generally open up on the website on May 1st for the following year. Meaning that if you want to reserve a campsite for August 1st, 2021 then you will actually need to make that reservation on May 1st, 2020 in order to have the best chance of reserving the site.

Also, make sure to sign up on the site and pick out the specific campsite you want with maybe a few backups beforehand, that way when the reservations open up at 8:00 a.m. MST you will be ready to go to grab that perfect campsite.

Best Breakfasts To Cook While Car Camping

Camping in Yellowstone National Park in 2021 Tesla Model Y | S1:E15

While a big breakfast of bacon and eggs seems quintessential to camping, I find that I want to hit the trails early in the morning and cooking and cleaning up that kind of breakfast is a hassle. If Im planning an early activity, I usually opt for something quick, filling and easy for breakfast. Yogurt and granola is an easy no-cook option and instant oatmeal can be made at the same time youre boiling water for coffee. I like Kodiak Cakes protein oatmeal to keep me fueled on long adventures. When I cant shake the idea of a big breakfast, I move it to dinner time and make bacon and egg filled breakfast burritos for dinner when I have more time to cook and clean up.

Also Check: Allegheny National Forest Camping Map

When To Go To Yellowstone

While Yellowstone is open to visitors year-round, the most practical time for families planning to camp is June through August. We arrived in May one year and were greeted with snow flurries we also experienced a dusting of snow in late August on another visit, so whenever you choose to go, be sure to pack warm clothing.

Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park, South Entrance Sign

Along the way, I saw a large wooden sign that said, Grand Teton National Park. The sign, and the surrounding territory, captured my attention. So, I decided to stop and take some photos. I was not alone. Approximately twenty other people had a similar idea at the same time. Apparently, many people are attracted to this sign. How many signs have their own parking area and are noted as a point of interest on Google Maps?

After taking photos of the sign, I spent a wonderful afternoon driving around on the roads of Grand Teton National Park. Almost everywhere that I looked, there was another tremendous sight to see. I frequently found myself pulling over along a roadside in order to enjoy the view and take photos. I was having great time.

I need to reiterate, exploring nature and a National Park from the inside of a motor vehicle was not something that I was accustomed to doing. I am a backpacker. I go into wilderness areas and explore places on foot. Exploring a National Park in a car was a new experience for me. I didnt think that I would like itbut I did.

Grand Teton National Park is gorgeouseven from the inside of a car. Jagged, snow-covered, mountain peaks tower above the surrounding countryside. Clear mountain lakes and steams add to the overall beauty. It was a thrill to see the mountains and sky reflected in the lakes.

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Can I Reserve A Campsite In Advance

The seven campgrounds operated by the National Park Service are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of your stay. These include: the Mammoth and Indian Creek Campgrounds near Mammoth Hot Springs, the Lewis Lake Campground near the South Entrance, the centrally located Norris Campground, and the Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Tower Fall Campgrounds in the northeast area of the Park. The campgrounds usually fill by early morning, so plan ahead to get a site.

The other five campgrounds are operated by lodging concessioner Yellowstone National Park Lodges, and these sites can be reserved in advance online or by calling 866-GEYSERLAND . These include the Bridge Bay and Grant campgrounds near Yellowstone Lake, the Canyon campground near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, and the Madison campground near West Yellowstone. There is also an RV Park, with 344 sites for hard-sided RVs only, at Fishing Bridge near Yellowstone Lake.

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