Yellowstone Camping fi

Yellowstone Camping: Our Top Yellowstone Campground Picks

By Tom Harrison on April 15, 2024
17 min read

They say Yellowstone camping is the best way to experience America’s first national park. And we couldn’t agree more! After a day of hiking, scenic driving, and soaking in Yellowstone hot springs, there’s something cool about sitting under the starlit sky of this park and reviewing the day’s doings. 

If Yellowstone National Park camping is next on your bucket list, this guide is yours. Dive in for advice on the best Yellowstone campgrounds that allow everything from pitching tents to hanging hammocks, RVing, and glamping

Key Takeaways

  • Yellowstone has 12 “front country” campgrounds with 2142 campsites, plus 293 designated backcountry campsites.  
  • June to September is the best time for camping at Yellowstone National Park. This is the peak season in the park, so expect some company. 
  • While it’s possible to see its major highlights in one day, you need at least three days to do Yellowstone National Park justice. 
  • When open, Mammoth Campground is the only campground in Yellowstone National Park that operates year-round. 
  • Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only RV camping park in Yellowstone that offers full hookups: water, sewer, and electricity (30 amp and 50 amp). 

What to Know Before Your Yellowstone Camping Trip 

When to Go 

The best time for camping at Yellowstone with family is June through September. This period offers pleasant weather conditions for those who want to experience the best whitewater rafting adventures in the US, explore this park’s hydrothermal areas, and observe wildlife.

While summer is the busiest season in Yellowstone National Park, all roads and trails are open (weather permitting), allowing for scenic driving and hiking. 

The best time for Yellowstone Park camping without the crowds is the shoulder months of April and May and again from October through November. 

For winter sports, we recommend visiting between mid-December and early January when the risk of extreme weather conditions is low. 

How Long to Stay

With over 40 fun things to do, Yellowstone is a park you could explore for a week and never see it all. But if you don’t have that much time, we recommend spending at least three days. Three days will be enough to experience the most popular highlights of this park at your own pace without feeling overwhelmed. 

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A bison grazes near a steaming Yellowstone geyser. Photo by: sbthegreenman.

Top Yellowstone National Park Camping Spots

Lewis Lake Campground

Lewis Lake Campground is a reservable campground operated by the National Park Service. This is one of the best campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park if you dream of a secluded and serene camping spot with great views. 

Lewis Lake Campground is eight miles north of the south entrance on US Highway 89/191. It’s perched on a tree-covered hill just a short walk from the southeast shore of Lewis Lake. There is a boat ramp nearby, so be sure to bring your canoe, kayak, or motorboat. 

This campground has 84 camping sites set around four small loops: three allow mixed-use camping (car/tent/small trailer), while one is designated for walk-in tent camping only.

The sites are relatively small and accommodate RVs and trailers up to 25 feet. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and camping food storage. Amenities at the campground include seasonal pit toilets, potable water, and trash collection. 

  • Elevation: 7800 feet
  • Operating season: Mid-June to early November
  • Fee: $20
  • ADA campsites: No
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Lewis Lake, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by: pabrady63.

Tower Fall Campground

Tower Fall Campground is located on the northeast corner of Yellowstone in the Washburn Range. This is a favorite among Yellowstone visitors seeking to explore the attractions in the northern corner of this park. Nearby attractions include Mt. Washburn, the wildlife-rich Lamar Valley, Antelope Creek, Tower Creek, and Tower Fall.

This somewhat secluded, generator-free campground also makes an excellent choice for campers looking for peace and quiet but not in the backcountry. 

Tower Fall Campground has 31 camping sites for tent campers, pickup truck campers, vans, and small trailers up to 30 feet. Each campsite has a fire ring, a table, a grate, and a shared food locker. Amenities at the campground include vault toilets, drinking water, and trash collection. There is a small general store and a restaurant with showers nearby. 

  • Elevation: 6600 feet
  • Operating season: Late May to mid-September
  • Fee: $15
  • ADA campsite: No
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Tower Falls by: fukez84.

Norris Campground

Norris is one of the best campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park because it’s centrally located. Being centrally located means you can access most of this park’s major attractions and things to do before retreating to a relaxing campground beside a river. 

This generator-friendly campground is on the southwest side of Yellowstone National Park, right by the Gibbon River. It’s near the Museum of the National Park Ranger, Cinder Pool, Realgear Creek, and Steamboat Geyser. Mammoth Hot Springs are 21 miles to the north, and Canyon is approximately 12 miles to the east. The Solfatara Creek trail - a moderately challenging route - starts here, too. 

There are 111 sites at Norris Campground, with a maximum occupancy of six campers per site. These mixed-use sites allow tents, trailers, and RVs up to 50 feet. Campground amenities include a campfire circle, drinking water, flush toilets, and shared bear-proof food storage lockers. There are bathrooms, but showers can be found at Canyon, about 12 miles away. 

  • Elevation: 7500 feet
  • Operating season: Late-May to late-September
  • Fee: $15
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Gibbon River as seen from Norris Campground. Photo by: Mike Goad.

Indian Creek Campground

Indian Creek is another primitive campground with a fantastic forest cover and shade. Right off the bat, this will be your best campground in Yellowstone National Park if you want a generator-free camping spot. 

Indian Creek Campground is located in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. It’s south of the North Entrance, midway between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris, along Gardner River. It’s close to popular hiking trails, including Bighorn Pass, Indian Creek Trail, and Sheepeater Trail. 

There are 70 camping sites at Indian Creek Campground, including a few designated for ADA and bikers. The sites accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs up to 35 feet. Campsite amenities include a fire ring, picnic table, and food storage box. Vault toilets and drinking water are available at the campground. Showers, a general store, and other amenities are available at Mammoth Hot Springs, around eight miles away. 

  • Elevation: 7300 feet
  • Operating season: Mid-June to mid-September
  • Fee: $20
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Indian Creek in Yellowstone National Park by: TSchofield.

Pebble Creek Campground

This is one of the best places to base yourself if you’ll be camping near Yellowstone North Entrance. Pebble Creek Campground is located near Cooke City, about nine miles west of the remote northeastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. 

Pebble Creek Campground takes some effort due to its remote location. But this also makes it the perfect place to snag a camping site if you want a peaceful, quiet, and more isolated camping experience. 

Pebble Creek Campground has 27 mixed-use camping sites. There are several larger sites designated for long RVs. All sites have a picnic table, fire ring, and shared food box. This is a primitive campground with pit toilets, drinking water, and no cell phone service. Showers, laundry facilities, and a store are available at Cooke City or Silver Gate, around nine miles away. 

  • Elevation: 6900 feet
  • Operating season: Mid-June to late-September
  • Fee: $20
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Pebble Creek by: Htrnr.

Slough Creek Campground

For the best campgrounds for wildlife viewing in Yellowstone National Park, consider Slough Creek. This campground is located in the northeastern region of the park along the banks of Lamar Valley.

Its location makes it one of the best campgrounds for hikers and fishermen. The pronghorn, bison, elk, and deer that thrive in this valley also make it a popular spot for wolves and grizzly bears. Bring your bear spray. On the other hand, Slough Creek may not be an ideal camping location if you want to explore major attractions, such as Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. 

With only 16 camping sites, Slough Creek is among the smallest campgrounds in the park. The small number of sites coupled with its relatively short season (mid-June to mid-October) means that it gets booked out quickly. Be sure to reserve your spot as early as possible. 

Although primitive, the sites have picnic tables, fire rings, and shared bear boxes. Campground amenities include vault toilets and potable water. 

  • Elevation: 6250 feet
  • Operating season: Mid-June to mid-October
  • Fee: $20
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Slough Creek, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by: Billy McDonald.

Mammoth Campground

For good reason, Mammoth Campground is one of the most popular Yellowstone campsites. This is the only campground that remains open throughout the year. The campground is closed for 2023 due to flood damage sustained in 2023. 

Another reason for its popularity is that it’s easy to access. Mammoth Campground is located about five miles south of Yellowstone’s North Entrance. This location puts you super close to Mammoth Hot Springs, Canary Spring, and Orange Spring Mound. Primrose Creek, which offers a picturesque stop, and Main Terrace Overlook are a short distance from here.

Mammoth Campground has 82 sites, some of which are wheelchair accessible. There are several biker and hiker sites, too. These sites are generator-friendly (8 AM to 8 PM) and have a fire ring, picnic table, and a bear box. There are flush toilets within the campground. But showers and laundry facilities are only available in the Mammoth Hot Spring area.

  • Elevation: 6200 feet
  • Operating season: Year-round
  • Fee: $25
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Mammoth Hot Springs by: Keely Klenke.

Top Yellowstone Privately-Run Camping Spots

Madison Campground

Madison Campground is one of the privately run campgrounds near Yellowstone. This campground is located on the western side of Yellowstone National Park, around 14 miles east of the West Entrance. 

Named after the Madison River, which runs through the lush mountain setting, this is a relatively convenient camping location for exploring Old Faithful (16 miles north) and the Upper, Midway, and Lower Geyser Basins.

Madison Campground in Yellowstone has 276 individual and group sites. Wheelchair-accessible sites are available, as are RV, hiker, and biker campsites. All sites have a fire ring, picnic table, and flush toilets with cold running water. Showers and laundry facilities are available at Canyon Campground. 

  • Elevation: 6800 feet
  • Operating season: Early May to mid-October
  • Fee: $33 + taxes
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Upper Geyser Basin. Photo by: Danita Delimont.

Bridge Bay Campground

Bridge Bay Campground is the most convenient campground if you want to experience as much of Yellowstone Lake as possible. This beautiful campground is located 30 miles from the East Entrance and several miles from Lake Village. Although not the most centrally located, Bridge Bay Campground allows easy access to almost any part of this park. 

There are 432 camping sites, including ADA-accessible, biker, and RV sites (up to 60 feet). Generators are permitted between 8 AM and 8 PM, and there are flush toilets and a dump station. Showers and laundry facilities are just a short drive away in Lake Village. 

  • Elevation: 7800 feet
  • Operating season: Mid-May to mid-September
  • Fee: $33 + taxes
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Spontaneous Elk visit on Bridge Bay Campground. Photo by: Hanjo Hellmann.

Grant Village Campground

With 430 camping sites, Grant Village Campground is one of the largest Yellowstone National Park campgrounds. This campground is located within Grant Village on the southwest shores of Yellowstone Lake, about 22 miles north of the southern park entrance. 

This campground has a mix of tent, RV, and combination sites. Wheelchair-accessible, group, and hiker/biker sites are also available. RV sites can accommodate campers and trailers up to 50 feet. 

All campsites have a picnic table and fire grate. Other amenities include washrooms with showers, flush toilets, faucets with cold running water, and a dump station. There are stores, restaurants, a gas station, and a boat ramp nearby. 

  • Elevation: 7800 feet
  • Operating season: Mid-June to mid-September
  • Fee: $39 + taxes
  • ADA campsites?: Yes

Canyon Campground

Canyon Campground is the perfect place if you're tent camping in Yellowstone and want to easily access every part of the park. Canyon Campground is in a lodgepole pine forest at Canyon Village near Cascade Creek. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is a short distance from here. Other notable attractions close to Canyon Campground include Brink of Lower Falls and Inspiration Point. Several trails also start around here, including Mount Washburn, Cascade Lake, Canyon Rim, and Glacial Boulder.  

Canyon Campground allows generators and offers 273 ADA, trailer, RV, and tent camping sites. RV/trailer sites accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet. Amenities include a fire ring, picnic table, and drinking water. Showers, flush toilets, and a dump station are available at Canyon Campground. 

  • Elevation: 7900 feet
  • Operating season: May to September
  • Fee: $39 + taxes
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Brink of the Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Par by: Sceninc Media.

Fishing Bridge RV Park

Fishing Bridge RV Park is an RV-only campground, meaning tents and canvas trailers are not allowed. That's because the campground is set in Bear Country. It's a good thing Fishing Bridge RV Park is a full hookup campground with water, sewer, and electricity facilities. 

There are 310 sites at Fishing Bridge RV Park in Yellowstone. The sites are tiny, and there's not a lot of privacy because each site backs up to another site. Nevertheless, the campground is in a great location right next to Yellowstone Lake, and most Yellowstone attractions will be within a two-hour drive from here. 

  • Elevation: 7800 feet
  • Operating season: Mid-May to early October
  • Fee: $89/$99 + taxes
  • ADA campsites?: Yes

Top Camping Spots Near Yellowstone 

Eagle Creek Campground

Eagle Creek Campground is a good alternative if Yellowstone campgrounds are sold out. This is one of the best campsites near Yellowstone because it puts you around 10 minutes from the North Entrance to the park. 

Eagle Creek Campground is a beautiful campground set along the Yellowstone River. It's two miles northeast of Gardiner, Montana, on Jardine Road. This dry campground offers 16 tent and RV sites, each with a fire ring and picnic table. Vault toilets and horse corrals are available at the campground. 

  • Elevation: 6500 feet
  • Operating season: Open year-round
  • Fee: $15
  • ADA campsites?: Yes

Headwaters Campground

Headwaters Campground is the perfect place to base your stay if you are visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton. This campground is situated in a forest along the Snake River on the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. It's just two miles from Yellowstone's South Entrance and about five miles from Grand Teton National Park entrance. 

The campground offers 97 full-hookup and pull-through RV-only sites, 34 tent sites, and 40 camper cabins. Each site has a fire pit, picnic table, bear safety box, and potable water. There are flush toilets, 24-hour showers, and laundry facilities on site. Each RV site has a dump station. 

  • Elevation: 6500 feet
  • Operating season: RV sites (mid-May through September), Camper cabin and tent sites (June to September)
  • Fee: RV sites ($73), Tent sites ($37.50)
  • ADA campsites?: Yes
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Breathtaking hot springs in Yellowstone. Photo by: MARIOLA GROBELSKA.

Colter Campground

Colter Campground is usually a good place to set camp if you’re mainly interested in Grand Teton National Park. But its location, around 90 minutes from Yellowstone’s North Entrance, allows for day trips to this gem. 

Colter Campground is located inside Grand Teton National Park. It’s a walking distance to the visitor center and Jackson Lake. There are 18 sites meant for hard-sided campers only because this is prime grizzly bear country. The campground has vault toilets, picnic tables, potable water, and food storage boxes. 

  • Elevation: 6794 feet
  • Operating season: Mid-May to late September (weather permitting)
  • Fee: $26
  • ADA campsites?: Yes

Yellowstone Backcountry Camping

Yellowstone’s backcountry beckons if you yearn for the seclusion and solitude of backcountry camping and backpacking. Yellowstone National Park has 293 sites designated for backcountry camping.

In the true sense of the word, these sites have a more natural vibe and lack most facilities in developed camping sites. But they are a special treat to behold if you can strap everything you need onto your back. 

Yellowstone National Park offers backcountry camping sites in these areas:

  • Canyon Area Campsites
  • Yellowstone River – Hellroaring Creek Area Campsites
  • Lamar Valley/Pebble Creek Area Campsites
  • Bechler/Old Faithful Area Campsites
  • Yellowstone Lake Area Campsites
  • Gallatin/Mammoth Area Campsites
  • Canyon Lakes Area Campsites
  • East Yellowstone Lake/Thorofare Area Campsites
  • Shoshone Lake Area Campsites
  • Heart Lake Area Campsites
  • Old Faithful Area Campsites

You’ll need a Backcountry Use Permit to spend a night in any of these off-the-beaten-path campgrounds. You must have this permit throughout the time you’ll be camping in the backcountry. Backcountry Use Permit is not necessary for day hikes in Yellowstone National Park. 

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Elk Roaming the Meadows of Lamar Valley in Yellowstone. Photo by: Kerry Hargrove.


Yellowstone National Park has about 2,142 camping sites spread across 12 developed campgrounds.

When choosing your ideal Yellowstone campground, consider the attractions you want to see, seasonal opening and closing dates, and the amenities available at the sites. 

All front-country camping sites require advance reservations through Yellowstone National Park Lodges except for Mammoth Campgrounds. Yellowstone camping reservations sell out four to six months in advance. You’ll be wise to book your spot as soon as they are available.

You can reserve a Yellowstone front country campsite up to 13 months in advance. The booking window opens on the 5th of each month for reservations of the same month the following year. For instance, on August 5, 2023, Yellowstone National Park Lodges started receiving reservations for August 1 through August 31, 2024.

Yellowstone campground reservations for backcountry camping are not a must. But they are encouraged.

Yellowstone camping reservations can be made online or by calling 866-GEYSERLAND (866-439-7375). 

What to Do When Camping in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park offers over 3,500 square miles of timeless outdoor explorations. This splendid park in the northwest corner of Wyoming is home to gorgeous lakes, winding rivers, canyons, and forest-covered mountain ranges. In other words, running out of things to do at Yellowstone National Park day or night is hard. 

These are the top attractions that you should not miss when visiting Yellowstone National Park:

  • Old Faithful - an age-old geyser that erupts nearly every 91 minutes, shooting over 8000 gallons of hot water in the air for just 15-20 seconds. 
  • Grand Prismatic Spring - the largest hot spring in the US and the most photographed geothermal feature in Yellowstone National Park. 
  • Mammoth Hot Springs - a unique hydrothermal feature comprising massive terraces of hot-spring limestone. 
  • Lamar Valley - dubbed the Serengeti of North America because it’s a wildlife haven and the best place to see elk, bison, pronghorn antelope, wolves, grizzly bears, and other animals roam the plains.
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - a spectacular geological feature often regarded as the most beautiful scenery inside the park.
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Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone by: Seth Cottle.

Must Do Activities in Yellowstone National Park

  • Fishing
  • Star gazing
  • Horseback riding
  • Hiking - Fairly Falls, Mount Washburn, Mystic Falls, and Lone Star Geyser Trails are among the most popular hiking trails in this park
  • Kayaking, boating, and rafting

Tips for Camping in Yellowstone

Reserve your camping site as early as the reservation window is opened. 

Most people don’t realize Yellowstone National Park is huge until they arrive. Having a list of things to do for the time you’ll be in the park will help you make the most of your visit. 

Arrive with accommodation plans ready. Dispersed camping is not allowed in Yellowstone. In addition, you cannot sleep in your car anywhere around the park other than at designated car camping sites. 

Regarding what to wear for Yellowstone, keep in mind that most campgrounds in this park are located above 6000 feet. Pack for cold temperatures even if you’re planning to visit in summer. Use this camping checklist and first aid checklist to pack smart for your Yellowstone National Park visit.

Final Thoughts

Camping inside Yellowstone National Park or nearby is an experience every outdoor lover should try. It’s less expensive than staying in a hotel nearby. And if you’re an early riser, you get to hit the most popular attractions of this park before the crowds arrive. Not to mention, earlier does mean cooler temperatures and better sunlight angles for more photo ops.

Remember to choose a campground that puts you closer to what you most want to do or see. Slough Creek and Pebble Campgrounds are the best if you’re interested in wildlife viewing at Lamar Valley. Grant Village and Madison are great campgrounds for visiting Old Faithful, Upper, Midway, and Lower Geyser Basins. Headwaters Campground is a great base camp for exploring both Yellowstone and Grand Teton. And don’t forget that backcountry camping in Yellowstone National Park is always an option.

Featured image by: Picturellarious.


How much does it cost to camp in Yellowstone?

A basic tent or RV camping site in Yellowstone costs $15 to $39, except for Fishing Bridge RV Park, where a site starts at $89.

Is it hard to get a campsite in Yellowstone?

Despite having over 2000 camping sites, Yellowstone’s 12 campgrounds get fully booked up fast. Luckily, you can make reservations up to a year in advance.

Can you swim in Yellowstone Lake?

Yellowstone Lake is not a safe place to swim due to its frigid waters.

Can I bring a weapon into Yellowstone?

Yes. Guns are allowed in Yellowstone, but hunting within the park boundaries is prohibited.

Are there snakes in Yellowstone?

Prairie rattlesnake, bullsnake, Rubber boa, common garter, and western terrestrial garter are the most common snakes in Yellowstone National Park. 

What is not allowed in Yellowstone National Park?

Off-roading, littering, picking wildflowers, and collecting natural or archeological objects, animals, or plants are prohibited.

Tom Harrison
Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison is an intrepid explorer and fervent nature lover. Through his clean writing style, he invites readers to join him on an exhilarating journey into the wilderness.


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