Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone Camping | The Ultimate Guide To Yellowstone Campgrounds

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Yellowstone Camping has 12 campgrounds with more than 2,000 camping spots, but more than 3 million visitors a year! That’s a lot of competition for some of the best camping spots in America. If you get the chance this summer, or next, you should do everything you can to camp in a Yellowstone Campground, or camp near Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Camping
Courtesy of: NPS.gov

Tips for Making Yellowstone Camping Memorable

The number one tip for making your Yellowstone Camping trip the best it can be is to visit the Park from April to May and between September and November. These seasons offer milder weather and fewer crowds. For families, consider camping in Yellowstone during July and August. The kids are out of school, and the weather is warm enough to sleep outside. Other tips:

Making Reservations –

  • Make reservations as early as you can.  CLICK HERE FOR RESERVATIONS
  • First-come, first-served campgrounds usually fill by early morning (5-8 a.m.) plan ahead to obtain a site.
  • Overnight camping or parking is only allowed in designated campgrounds or campsites.
  • Campsite occupancy is limited to six people per site.
  • Camping is limited to 14 days from July 1 through Labor Day (first Monday in September) and to 30 days the rest of the year; no limit at Fishing Bridge.
  • Drinking water is normally available in all campgrounds.
  • Campfires, including those in portable wood or propane fire pits, are prohibited in the Fishing Bridge RV Park. Wood and charcoal fires are permitted in all other campgrounds (unless fire danger prompts special restrictions). Any restrictions will be listed on campground information boards and on the current conditions Propane grills and stoves are not usually affected by fire restrictions.
  • Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only campground offering water, sewer, and electrical hookups (50 amp service): it is for hard-sided vehicles only (no tents or tent-trailers).

Yellowstone National Park Fees

Starting in 2018 Yellowstone park will have new fees. They’re summarized here:

  • Vehicles: The entrance fee will be $30 per vehicle to visit Yellowstone National Park for 1-7 days. Grand Teton National Park will have a separate pass for $30. People visiting both parks can save $10 by purchasing a $50 two-park vehicle pass, also valid for 1-7 days.
  • Motorcycles: Motorcycles can enter Yellowstone for $25 for 1-7 days or both parks for $40.
  • Individuals: Per person fees will be $15 for Yellowstone or $20 for both parks.
  • Annual Passes: Yellowstone’s annual pass will be $60. This pass offers visitors in the local area an option that is less expensive than the $80 Interagency Pass. The Interagency Pass rates will remain the same: Annual ($80) and Senior ($10). Military passes and Access passes (for people with permanent disabilities) will remain free.

Odd and Fun Facts About Yellowstone

If you want to scatter Mom’s, or Grandma’s ashes inside the park, you can do so – with some restrictions. Apparently, this is such a common request that the official park page has a list of frequently asked questions about scattering human remains in the park. Here they are:

  • Call our Visitor Services Office at (307) 344-2107 and give the exact area where ashes will be scattered, as well as the date and time the activity will take place.
  • Human ashes may only be distributed in undeveloped areas. Ashes may not be distributed in or near roads, buildings, parking lots, or campgrounds.
  • Scattering ashes in thermal areas are prohibited.
  • Installation of a monument or other commemorative tribute is prohibited.
  • The use of aircraft to scatter ashes shall be in accordance with regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration. In the park, a 500′ Above Ground Level (AGL) distance must be maintained over undeveloped areas and a 1,000′ AGL and a horizontal distance of 1,000′ must be maintained overdeveloped areas. Pilots are required to contact Yellowstone Fire Dispatch at (307) 344-2180 prior to flight for aviation safety purposes.

Park Form –

You don’t have to apply for a permit. Park officials ask that you print off this page and carry it with you when scattering any human ashes within park boundaries. PRINT FORM HERE and carry it with you when you go to honor your deceased family member. A printed copy of that web page serves as your permit.

The conditions pertaining to this activity are outlined in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.62 (b), which states: “the scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit, or in designated areas according to conditions which may be established by the superintendent.”

  • The park is 96% in Wyoming, 3% in Montana, and 1% in Idaho, and is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.
  • Yellowstone is a volcano, and has 1000 to 3000 earthquakes annually, although Park Officials say it’s not likely to blow anytime soon, it could.
  • There are more than 300 active geysers and more than 290 waterfalls.
  • Yellowstone is home to 67 species of mammals, 285 species of birds, 16 species of fish, 6 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, and more than 7 aquatic nuisance species.
  • Two threatened species call the park home – the Canada lynx and Grizzly bears. Wolverines are a proposed threatened species.
  • There are five park entrances and 466 miles of roads, and 15 miles of boardwalk.
  • There are 92 trailheads that access approximately 1000 miles of trails.
  • Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s most famous and popular geyser, erupts, on average, every 92 minutes.

Is Yellowstone National Park About to Blow?

Yellowstone National Park sits on top of the largest supervolcano in North America. It’s still considered an active volcano as well. Scientists say the ground beneath the park contains a reservoir of magma big enough fill the Grand Canyon two-to-three times with some magma left over. While some scientists say they aren’t concerned about an eruption occurring any time soon, others say the last eruption some 640,000 years ago means an eruption is long overdue. If Yellowstone does blow, the devastation would change the United States economy, life, and transportation as we know it. Better see it soon while it’s still there!

Things to Do Inside and Outside Yellowstone National Park

Giant Zipline

See the wilderness from the air, at high speed, on a giant zipline outside Yellowstone Park. Sound fun? It is. Sound scary? It is. Sound like something you should definitely do? It is!

MORE INFO HERE

Yellowstone IMAX

Right outside of the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park, is an activity everyone in the family will love – the Yellowstone IMAX Theater (yellowstoneimax.com). IMAX theaters as well known for their massive viewing screens and high resolution videos that make viewers feel like they’re in the movie. Yellowstone IMAX gives visitors a chance to view Yellowstone both as it is the day they visit, and what it looked like 100,000 years ago.  The best part of Yellowstone IMAX are the high-definition peeks into areas of the park the public is not allowed into, or that the casual visitor to the park typically doesn’t hike into. This is a perfect destination while Yellowstone camping if you need to take a break.

Virginia City, Montana

Virginia City is 20 miles outside of Yellowstone Park’s gateway, but frozen in time. If you enjoy the authentic look and feel of an Old West Victorian mining town, be sure and visit it while you’re staying in the park, or before you enter or as you leave it. Don’t worry. It just looks like a ghost town from a distance. Once you get there you’ll find there’s a lot to do. Visitors can go on walking tours of the city or tour by stagecoach, enjoy nightly cabaret entertainment, go on a gold panning expedition, and other events that were popular when the town was established in the 1800s. Ten things to do in Virginia City while you’re there.

CLICK HERE FOR TOP THINGS TO DO

Yellowstone’s Twelve Campgrounds

Your Yellowstone camping experience will vary with the campground you stay in, inside or outside the park. Inside the park, you have the option of camping near some of the park’s water features – like Yellowstone Lake or Slough Creek, or other bodies of water or thermal features. There are six campgrounds that require reservations and have more amenities, and six free campgrounds that are first come, first serve, and have only vault toilets and limited amenities, including no dump stations. Either way, all the sites offer spectacular views of the park’s best features. Some sites allow generators, others don’t. Before making reservations or heading out for a first come, first serve Yellowstone camping site, call ahead, or check the park’s website for updates, changes, and more information.

Fishing Bridge Campground is the only Yellowstone Camping site with full RV hookups, (50 amp service) and the only campground that does not allow tents or tent campers because of the frequency of grizzly bear visitation in the area. Fishing Bridge, Lewis Lake, Tower Fall are the only campgrounds with no accessible sites.

Bridge Bay – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone Camping - Bridge BayBridge Bay Campground is located 30 miles from the park’s East Entrance. Camp here and you’ll enjoy being next to Yellowstone Lake and the Bridge Bay Marina. If you love scenic vistas you’ll enjoy the views of the Absaroka Range that rises along the eastern shore.

Number of campsites: 432

Amenities:

  • Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit with a grate.
  • Flush toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Dump station
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use
  • Bridge Bay Marina offers a small store, and a backcountry office
  • Boat rentals and tours on Yellowstone Lake
  • Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground amphitheater.

Canyon – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingCanyon Campground is one of the park’s most popular campgrounds due to its heavy lodgepole pine wooded campsites, and its relatively central location within the park. It’s also within easy walking distance for most (one mile) of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Number of campsites: 273

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Flush toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Dump station
  • Pay showers and laundry
  • Stores, restaurants, and lodging
  • Nearby hikes include Cascade Lake, Mount Washburn, and the Canyon Rim trails
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use
  • Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground amphitheater.

Fishing Bridge RV Park – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingFishing Bridge RV Park is located near the Yellowstone River where it exits Yellowstone Lake on its way north toward the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Because of the frequent visits to this campground by grizzly bears, no tents or tent campers are allowed. Campfires, including the use of portable fire pits, are also prohibited. This is the only campground in Yellowstone to offer water, sewer, and electrical hookups for RVs.

Number of campsites: 325

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Flush toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Dump station
  • Pay showers and laundry
  • Stores, restaurants, and lodging
  • Nearby hikes include Cascade Lake, Mount Washburn, and the Canyon Rim trails
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use

Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground amphitheater.

Grant Village – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingGrant Campground is located in Grant Village at the south end of Yellowstone Lake. Sites are surrounded by trees and offer a variety of views –  some with tree-filtered views of the lake. It’s also close to West Thumb Geyser Basin, a short drive north of the Grant Village.

Number of campsites: 430

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Flush toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Dump station
  • Pay showers and laundry
  • Two nearby stores, a restaurant, a gas station, visitor center
  • A boat ramp
  • Nearby hikes include Cascade Lake, Mount Washburn, and the Canyon Rim trails
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use
  • Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground amphitheater.

Madison – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingMadison is another one of the most popular campgrounds due to its central location. It has a slightly longer season than the other campgrounds too. Located about 14 miles east of the town of West Yellowstone and 16 miles north of Old Faithful, it’s a popular site for fly fishermen because of the nearby the Gibbon and Firehole rivers. The two rivers join to form the Madison River, thus the name. All three rivers are considered world-class fly fishing destinations.

Number of campsites: 278

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Flush toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Dump station
  • Pay showers and laundry
  • Two nearby stores, a restaurant, a gas station, visitor center
  • A boat ramp
  • Nearby hikes include Cascade Lake, Mount Washburn, and the Canyon Rim trails
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use
  • Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground amphitheater.

The nearby Madison Information Station also offers Junior Ranger activities from late May through early September.

Indian Creek – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingIndian Creek Campground sits near the base of the Gallatin Mountains, about eight miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs on the road to Norris. Unlike many of the other campgrounds, it’s located off of any main roads and is much quieter than other sites. No generators are allowed at this campground.

Number of sites: 70 (No reservations. First come, first served.)

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Vault toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground amphitheater.
  • For RV’s: 25′ length limit

Lewis Lake – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingLewis Lake Campground is about eight miles from the South Entrance and located in a dense forest of lodgepole pine. It’s also only a short walk from the southeast shore of Lewis Lake.

Number of sites: 85 (No reservations. First come, first served.)

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Vault toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use

Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground Amphitheater

Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingMammoth is located five miles south of Gardiner, Montana and the park’s North Entrance and is the only Yellowstone Campground open year round. The campground is close to fishing, hiking, and the famous Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. You’re likely to see elk and bison occasionally passing through the campground.

Number of sites: 85 (No reservations. First come, first served.)

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Both vault and flush toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use
  • Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground amphitheater

Norris – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone Camping

Norris Campground is a popular destination due to its central location in the park, and its location in dense lodgepole pines which offer privacy to campers.

Number of sites: 100 (No reservations. First come, first served.)

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Flush toilets
  • Accessible sites
  • Two sites with max length of 50′; five sites with max length of 30′
  • Guided ranger walks will take you through the Norris Geyser Basin
  • Norris also features the Museum of the National Park Ranger (a quick stroll), the Norris Geyser Basin Museum, and Norris Geyser Basin—the hottest and most dynamic thermal area in Yellowstone
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use

Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground Amphitheater

Pebble Creek – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingIf you like peace, quiet, and isolation, and boondocking, you’ll love Pebble Creek Campground. With only 27 campsites, there’s no crowd to disturb you. The campsite’s backdrop is the Absaroka Mountains near the park’s Northeast Entrance. Sites can accommodate a few RVs, including longer RVs or vehicle/trailer combinations in pull-through sites. The closest store is nine miles away in Silver Gate or Cooke City, so stock up before settling in.

Number of sites: 27 (No reservations. First come, first served.)

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Vault toilets
  • One accessible site
  • Outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities throughout Lamar Valley
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use
  • Some long pull-throughs for RVs

Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground Amphitheater

Slough Creek – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingSlough Creek Campground is a wildlife watchers paradise. It’s located in Lamary Valley near some of the best fishing, and the best wildlife watching opportunities in the park. Located at the end of a two mile graded dirt road, this campground is best suited for tents and small RVs. Slough Creek is a very popular stream for fishing. The famous, scenic Beartooth Pass is a short drive away. There are plenty of hiking opportunities nearby, including the Slough Creek Trail which begins nearby. Nighttime offers a quiet, unimpeded view of the stars and the possibility of hearing wolves howl.

Number of sites: 16 (No reservations. First come, first served.)

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Vault toilets
  • One accessible site
  • Outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities
  • Fishing along Slough Creek
  • Hiking at Slough Creek Trail
  • Near famous, scenic Beartooth Pass
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use
  • Most likely to hear wolves howl at night here
  • RVs – 14 sites with max length of 30′ (walk through first to assess sites)

Park rangers host nightly evening programs from early June to early September at the Campground Amphitheater

Tower Fall – Yellowstone Camping

Yellowstone CampingTower Fall Campground is near the Tower General Store and Tower Fall, where Tower Creek plunges over 130 feet down to its confluence with the Yellowstone River. It’s also on the north side of the steep, winding, road to Dunraven Pass.

Number of sites: 31 (No reservations. First come, first served.)

Amenities:

  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate
  • Vault toilets
  • One accessible site
  • No generators
  • Food storage boxes measuring 48 x 22 x 22 inches are available for shared use
  • A six-mile trail provides access to the summit of Mount Washburn
  • Roosevelt Lodge, a short drive from the campground, offers dining and horseback riding
  • RVs – Maximum 30’ length limit because of hairpin loop on the road into camp
  • Park rangers offer evening programs on select nights during the summer