The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone National Park is world-renowned for its wildlife and geothermal activity. The diverse landscape of Yellowstone makes this national park a special place. There is so much to do and see in this massive National Park. It can take over an hour to drive from one area of the park to the next so staying in Yellowstone is one of the best ways to make the most of your time in the park. Here is how to get a jump on exploring the park by camping in Yellowstone National Park.

Here is everything you need to know about front-country camping in Yellowstone National Park.

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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 (COD) 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 (JAC) in Jackson, Wyoming.  JAC is one of the most scenic airports in the world and is a 1.5-hour drive from the park’s 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
  • Jackson, Wyoming – 2.5 hours
  • Billings, Montana – 2.75 hours
  • Salt Lake City, Utah – 4.75 hours
  • Boise, Idaho – 5.75 hours
  • Denver Colorado – 8.25 hours

There is currently no public transportation in the park.

More detail on planning the best way to get to Yellowstone.

Yellowstone National Park Camping

Things to Know about Yellowstone Camping

  • Yellowstone National Parks had 12 campgrounds spread out across the park.
  • Only Mammoth Campground is open year-round. The other 11 campgrounds close for the winter. The Opening and Closing Dates can vary from year to year. These dates are weather dependent. Check the NPS website for the latest on campground opening and closing dates.
  • Reservations are available for 5 Yellowstone campgrounds – Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village, Madison
  • Campground Reservations are released on May 1 of the preceding year. So the campground reservations for the 2020 season started in May 2019 and reservations for the 2021 season start on May 1, 2020. Make your reservation as early as possible.  Space can fill up fast and some campgrounds will be fully booked by May 15.
  • Many Campgrounds have ADA specific sites. Lewis Lake, Tower Falls, Fishing Bridge do not have ADA specific sites. Fishing Bridge has paved sites for RV users. All campgrounds have ADA accessible toilets and many other campsites are level and may be usable by people in wheelchairs.
  • Quiet Hours are from 8 pm to 8 am.  Generator use only allowed in outside of these hours. Generators are not permitted at Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, or Tower Fall.
  • The larger the RV the less campsites are available. RV’s are limited to 40 ft or less in all campgrounds. Individual site length varies by campsite.
  • Hookups are only available at Fishing Bridge Campground. Dump stations are available in Madison, Canyon Village, Bridge Bay, Fishing Bridge, Grant Village.
  • Standard campsites can have up to 6 people.  You are allowed a maximum of two vehicles and two tent.
  • All wood and charcoal fires are allowed in all campgrounds except Fishing Bridge RV Park unless fire danger prompts special restrictions. Please do not transport firewood. Burn it where you buy it.
  • Store all food items in your car or bear box.  Please do NOT leave any food, utensils out, or any scented items.  This includes toothpaste, toothbrush, chapstick.  Pretty much put everything but what you are going to sleep in your car.  Yellowstone National Park is in bear country. Properly secure all items so no wildlife can get it.

Where to camp in Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone Campground Map

Campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park

  • Bridge Bay Campground
  • Canyon Campground
  • Fishing Bridge RV Park
  • Grant Village Campground
  • Indian Creek Campground
  • Lewis Lake Campground
  • Madison Campground
  • Mammoth Campground
  • Norris Campground
  • Pebble Creek Campground
  • Slough Creek Campground
  • Tower Fall Campground

Campgrounds near Yellowstone National Park

Campgrounds in John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway
  • Headwaters Campground
Campgrounds in Grand Tetons National Parks
  • Lizard Creek Campground
  • Colter Bay Campground
  • Colter Bay RV Park
  • Signal Mountain Campground
  • Jenny Lake Campground
  • Gros Ventre Campground
Campgrounds near Yellowstone’s West Entrance
  • Bakers Hole Campground
  • Buffalo Crossing RV Park
  • Fort Jax RV Park
  • Hebgen Basin Campground
  • Hideaway RV Park
  • Lonesomehurst Campground
  • Madison Arm Resort
  • Pony Express RV Park
  • Rainbow Point Campground
  • Wagon Wheel RV Cabin Campground
  • Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park
  • Yellowstone Park / Mountainside KOA Journey
  • Yellowstone Park / West Gate KOA
Campgrounds near Yellowstone’s North Entrance
  • Bear Creek Campground
  • Canyon Campground
  • Eagle Creek Campground
  • LaDuke Spring Campground
  • Rocky Mountain RV Park + Cabins
  • Timber Camp Campground
  • Yellowstone RV Park
Campgrounds near Yellowstone’s Northeast Entrance
  • Beartooth Lake Campground
  • Colter Campground
  • Crazy Creek Campground
  • Fox Creek Campground
  • Hunter Peak Campground
  • Perry’s RV Park and Campground
  • Red Lodge KOA Journey
  • Soda Butte Campground
Campgrounds near Yellowstone’s West Entrance
  • Absaroka Bay RV
  • Big Game Campground
  • Buffalo Bill State Park North Shore Campground
  • Clearwater Campground
  • Cody KOA Holiday
  • Eagle Creek Campground
  • Elk Fork Campground
  • Green Creek Inn & RV Park
  • Newton Creek Campground
  • Parkway RV Campground
  • Ponderosa Campground
  • Rex Hale Campground
  • River’s View RV Park
  • Threemile Campground
  • Wapiti Campground
  • Wheels of Wonderment
  • Yellowstone Valley Inn & RV Park

Getting a Yellowstone Campsite

Yellowstone Camping Reservations

If you are looking to make a Yellowstone campsite reservations, you NEED to plan ahead and be ready to make a reservation on May 1 the year before your trip or be REALLY flexible on campgrounds and dates.

Yellowstone campground reservations open on May 1 of the preceding year at 8:00 am Mountain Standard Time. So basically, campground reservations for:

  • 2020 season reservations started on May 1, 2019
  • 2021 season reservations will start in May 1, 2020
  • 2022 season reservations will start in May 1, 2021

These spaces FILL UP FAST. It isn’t uncommon for campgrounds to be fully booked within 30 days of being released. If you can’t get your desired dates, keep checking back, cancellations happen or plan on trying to get a first-come-first server campsite.

Click here to make your Yellowstone Camping Reservations.

Yellowstone First-come-first-serve Camping

During the summer, getting a first-come-first-serve in Yellowstone can be a challenge. I was to Yellowstone in mid-September 2019. By some miracle, I found snagged a Norris campground site at 5:00 pm on a Saturday. When I head out at 6:00 am the next morning, there where already 10 people in line waiting for a campsite.

To get a first-come-first-serve campsite, you need to be at your desired campground early in the morning, the earlier the better. (Remember, I was there in September and that is well outside of high season).

When you arrive, get in line at the entrance kiosk and wait until the campground host can assign you an empty site. The host usually starts handing out sites around 10 am after the campground’s checkout time.

My recommendations for getting a Yellowstone first-come-first-serve site
  • Be at the entrance kiosk by 5:00 am.
  • Once you get a campsite, book for your entire stay (unless you want to keep getting up really early and waiting until 10:00 am to get your next site).
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Camping at Yellowstone National Park

** All Campground prices are valid as of 04 December 2019.

Yellowstone Campgrounds at a Glance

CampgroundRegionReservationsOpening Dates (2020) Sites Fees ADA SitesAmenities
Bridge BayEastYes5/15 – 9/7432$27YesD, F, G
CanyonEastYes5/22 – 9/20273$32YesF, G, S, L
Fishing BridgeEastYesClosed for 2020340$79NoD, F, G, H, L, S
Grant VillageSouthYes6/5 – 9-13430$32YesD, F, G, L, S
Indian CreekNorthNo6/12 – 9/1470$15Yes
Lewis LakeSouthNo6/15 – 11/185$15No
MadisonWestYes4/24 – 10/18278$27YesD, F, G
MammothNorthNoAll Year85$20YesF, G
NorrisWestNo5/15 – 9/28111$20YesF, G
Pebble CreekNortheastNo6/15 – 9/2827$15Yes
Slough CreekNortheastNo6/15 – 10/1316$15Yes
Tower FallNortheastNo6/5 – 9/631$15NoF

Amenities Key

  • D – Dump Station
  • F – Flush Toilets
  • G – Generator
  • H – Full Hookups
  • L – Laundry
  • S – Shower

Yellowstone Campgrounds

North Entrance (Gardiner, MT)

Mammoth Campground

Mammoth Campground is located near Mammoth Hot Springs and provides great access to Lamar Valley. The campground is located right next to the road leading into Gardiner, MT. The campground has a few trees but there isn’t a lot of shade to be had in this campground. This campground is very popular.

SeasonYear Around 
Number of Sites85 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$20 per individual site

$5 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

Reservations AvailableNo, First-come-first-serve
Max RV Length65 ft
RV Hook-upNo, dump station available
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fills in the early mornings from May to late September. Typically doesn’t fill or fills in late afternoon the rest of year outside of holidays.

Closest General Store  Mammoth General Store – Year Round
Indian Creek Campground

Indian Creek Campground is located about eight miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs. The campground is set back from the road and is typically a quiet campground filled with hikers and fisherman.

Seasonmid-June to mid-September
Number of Sites70 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$15 per individual site

$5 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

Reservations AvailableNo, First-come-first-serve
Max RV Length35 ft
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets – Seasonal

WaterRunning Water – Seasonal
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fills in the early mornings

Closest General Store  Mammoth General Store

West Entrance (West Yellowstone, MT)

Norris Campground

Norris Campground is located near the Norris Geyser Basin and within a short driving distance to Mammoth Hot Springs and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The campground is hidden in a small lodgepole pine forest and has a fair amount of shade. This is a great centraly located campground.

This is the best campground for geyser gazers who are waiting for a Steamboat Greyser eruption.

Seasonmid-May to end of September
Number of Sites111 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$20 per individual site

$5 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

Reservations AvailableNo, First-come-first-serve
Max RV Length50 ft
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fills in the early mornings

Closest General Store  Mammoth General Store
Madison Campground

Madison Campground is another centrally located campground. It is 16 miles from Old Faithful and near the Norris Geyser Basin. The campground is popular for fisherman as nearby the Gibbon and Firehole rivers combine to form the Madison River.

The campground sits in a stand of lodgepole pines and the spaces are spread out and mostly shaded.

Seasonlate-April to mid-October
Number of Sites278 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
3 group site
Fee per night$27 per individual site

$5 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

$136 – $399 for group sites
Reservations AvailableYes
Max RV Length40 ft (a few sites may accommodate RV’s greater than 40 ft)
RV Hook-upNo, dump station available
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically full reserved in June, July, and August prior to season beginning

Closest General Store West Yellowstone, MT

South Entrance (Grand Teton Entrance)

Grant Village Campground

Grant Village Campground is located on the southern edge of Yellowstone Lake. It is short drive from Old Faithful and the West Thumb Geyser Basin. The campground is large and has a decent amount of trees to provide shade and privacy. It is possible to see the lake from your campsite. Two showers are included in the nightly rate.

Seasonearly-June to mid-September
Number of Sites430 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
8 group sites
Fee per night$32 per individual site

$9 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

$136 – $399 for group sites
Reservations AvailableYes
Max RV Length35 ft
RV Hook-upNo, dump station available
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersYes
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesYes
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeTypically full reserved in June, July, and August prior to season beginning
Closest General Store  Old Faithful General Store
Lewis Lake Campground

Lewis Lake Campground is about eight miles from the South Entrance and is on the shore of Lewis Lake. The campground is near the Lewis Lake boat ramp. The campground is set back in the woods and most sites have shade and some privacy.

Seasonmid-June to early-November
Number of Sites85 individual sites
Fee per night$15 per individual site

$5 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

Reservations AvailableNo, First-come-first-serve
Max RV Length25 ft
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fills in the early mornings

Closest General Store  Bay Bridge General Store

East Entrance (Cody, WY Entrance)

Bridge Bay Campground

Bay Bridge Campground is the largest campground in the park. It is an open campground with a few scattered trees near Yellowstone Lake. The campground has great lake views and Absaroka Range.

Seasonmid-June to mid-September
Number of Sites432 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
4 group site
Fee per night$27 per individual site

$9 per hiker/bicyclist shared site$136-$399 per group site

Reservations AvailableYes
Max RV Length40 ft
RV Hook-upNo, dump station available
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fills in the early mornings

Closest General Store  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 RV’s and trailers are allowed in this campground. No tent or tent trailer camping is available here. Campfires are banned in this campground.

Seasonearly-May to mid-September
Number of Sites340 individual sites
Fee per night$79 per individual site
Reservations AvailableYes
Max RV Length40 ft
RV Hook-upYes
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersYes, two per day are included in the nightly rate
Max Length of StayNone
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesYes
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fully reserved

Closest General Store Fishing Bridge Camp Store
Canyon Campground

Canyon Campground is located near Canyon Village in a stand of lodgepole pines. The campground is well shaded and the trees provide a bit of privacy. This campground is a central campground with great access to Hayden Valley and Norris geyser basin. It is located near the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

SeasonLate-May to mid-September
Number of Sites273 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$32 per individual site

$9 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

Reservations AvailableYes
Max RV Length40 ft
RV Hook-upNo, dump station available
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersYes, two per day are included
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesYes
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically reserved before the season begins

Closest General Store Canyon Village General Store

Northeast Entrance (Cooke City, MT Entrance)

Tower Falls Campground

Tower Falls Campground is located on the north side of Dunraven Pass near the Roosevelt Lodge. This campground is small but is located just outside Lamar Valley and near the Tower Fall waterfall and Mount Washburn.

Seasonearly-June to early-September
Number of Sites31 individual sites
Fee per night$15 per individual site

$5 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

Reservations AvailableNo, First-come-first-serve
Max RV Length30 ft (The loop has a hairpin curve)
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fills in the early mornings

Closest General Store  Tower General Store
Slough Creek Campground

Slough Creek Campground is located in the heart of Lamar Valley. I refer to this campground as the wolf watching central. The campground is located near a wolf den. This den has been regularly used since 1996.

This campground is located down a two mile long dirt road.

Seasonmid-June to mid-October
Number of Sites16 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night $15 per individual site
Reservations AvailableNo, First-come-first-serve
Max RV Length30 ft
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fills in the early mornings

Closest General Store  Tower Falls General Store
Pebble Creek Campground

Pebble Creek Campground is the most isolated campground in the park. It is near the northeastern park entrance and is tucked up against the Absaroka Mountains. The campground offer access to the famed Beartooth highway along with Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.

Seasonmid-June to Late-September
Number of Sites27 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$15 per individual site

$5 per hiker/bicyclist shared site

Reservations AvailableNo, First-come-first-serve
Max RV LengthVaries by site, it has some long pull-thoughs
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterRunning Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Yellowstone National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Typically fills in the early mornings

Closest General Store Cooke City, MT
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Jennifer Melroy

    Jennifer has been obsessed with national parks as a child.  This Tennessee native spent her childhood exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and traveling with her parents to National Parks and around the Caribbean.  She is always planning her next adventure and is ready to see the world while trying to visit all 59 National Park (*She is ignoring the hunk of concrete that just became a national park).

    Jennifer Melroy has 120 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Melroy

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