10 Things To Know About Camping In Yellowstone National Park (2021)

If you’re camping in Yellowstone National Park then there are some things you need to be aware of. If you know these things then you don’t have to be tensed about your safety from black bears or other wildlife (their safety too) and you’ll know what to do and what not to do while you’re Yellowstone camping. In this article, I’ve written every important thing about Yellowstone camping so you don’t have to read ten other blogs on Yellowstone camping tips, rules, safety, to the point details about campgrounds, etc.

Things to know about camping in Yellowstone National Park

10 Things to know about camping in Yellowstone

  1. Reserve your spot as early as possible.
  2. Overnight parking or camping is only allowed in designated campsites or campgrounds.
  3. Plan to pick a site on fist-come, first-served campgrounds earliest because they usually filled by early morning.
  4. Campsite occupancy is limited to 6 people/site
  5. Camping in Yellowstone is limited to 14 days from 1st July to Labor Day (first Monday in September) and 30 days throughout the rest of the year. No days limit at Fishing Bridge.
  6. Drinking water is normally available in all campgrounds
  7. All campgrounds in Yellowstone offer discounts for Senior Passes except Fishing Bridge RV Park.
  8. Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only campground in Yellowstone National Park that offers sewer, water, and electrical hookups (50 amp service): it is only for hand-sided vehicles and not for tents or tent-trailers.
  9. Wood and charcoal fires are permitted in all campgrounds except Fishing Bridge RV Park. You can check for any other restrictions or update them on Yellowstone’s current conditions page.
  10. Group sites are available at Grant Village Madison campground, and Bridge Bay for large groups (e.g. educational groups) with a designated leader. The price per night depends on group size (Fees range from $144.61 to $422.71). You can contact Yellowstone National Park Lodges for availability and pricing. Reservations are required.

Related: How to stay safe from black bears during camping

Activities that are prohibited in Yellowstone

  1. Feeding or hunting wildlife.
  2. Willfully approaching or remaining near wildlife (including nesting birds) within any distance that displaces or disturbs the animals.
  3. Traveling off designated trails in hydrothermal areas or boardwalks.
  4. Swimming in hot springs.
  5. Throwing anything into thermal features.
  6. Traveling off-road by bicycle or vehicle.
  7. Possessing or removing natural or cultural resources such as antlers, wildflowers, rocks, and arrowheads.
  8. Leaving detachable side mirrors attached when not pulling trailers.
  9. Camping outside of designated areas.
  10. Imitating elk calls or using buglers. Imitating wolf howls.
  11. Using electronic equipment capable of tracking wildlife.
  12. Smoking is prohibited on trails or in geyser basins. There’s no smoking within 25 feet of building entrances and within buildings.

Related: How to keep mosquitoes away while camping

Types of camping in Yellowstone

First come first served camping in Yellowstone

First come first served in Yellowstone means ‘come early in the morning to ensure your place at night’. So don’t assume to come at 5 pm and have a free spot for you. We’ll see all the first come first served campgrounds available in Yellowstone National Park sooner in this article.

Reservable camping in Yellowstone

These types of campgrounds have most of the facilities which are mainly provided by the Xanterra/Yellowstone National Park Lodges and not by the park services. Reservable campgrounds are huge and have multiple choices to camp. You’ll get flush toilets in all sites, RV friendly sites, and some also have showers too. You can book your site on the website of Yellowstone National Park Lodges. Just make sure to book sooner in summer because they’ll get full sooner before you book (you can reserve as early as May 1 of the year before your trip).

Backcountry camping in Yellowstone

Yellowstone also has a lot to offer for hikers. So for them beyond the developed areas of Yellowstone, they have 100s of miles of trails to explore diverse mountainous landscapes (you can explore thought boats, pack stock, and your own foot) and over 300 backcountry campsites that facilitate exploration throughout the park. If you have plans for overnight stays then permits are required.

How to get first come first served campground for camping

Check which campground is available

Before you jump to any first-served campgrounds just make sure that they’re not full and available to camp on. Click here to check the availability of campgrounds at Yellowstone.

sample screenshot of yellowstone national park camgrounds availability
Sample screenshot of Yellowstone National Park Camgrounds availability page

Get there Early

As I told you early, don’t assume to have a first-served campsite available for you to register in the evening. That’s why in the early morning register your spot for the night. In summer the registration starts at about 7 am so try to come more early if you’re going to Yellowstone in summer.

Details about all campgrounds at Yellowstone

First-come, first-served campgrounds

Indian Creek Campground

  • Open: Mid June to Middle of September
  • Nightly fee: $15
  • Reservation: No
  • Sites: 70
  • Max RV length: 35 ft
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicycle riders, and Vault toilet
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2225 m (7300 ft)
  • Location: Located about 8 miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs on the road to Norris. It is approx 20 min drive from Indian Creek to Mammoth Hot Springs.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: Yes

Norris Campground

  • Open: Mid May to end of the September
  • Nightly fee: $20
  • Reservation: No
  • Sites: 111
  • Max RV Length: 50ft
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicyclers, Flush toilets, Generators are allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit)
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy) 
  • Elevation: 2286 m (7500 ft)
  • Location: Situated in a lodgepole forest near the Norris Geyser Basin
  • Wheelchair access: Yes

Mammoth Campground

  • Open: Year-Round
  • Nightly fee: $20
  • Reservation: No
  • Sites: 85
  • Max RV Length: 30 ft (winter limit)
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicyclers, Flush toilets, Generators are allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit)
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: `1890 m (6,200 ft)
  • Location: Located 5 miles south of Gardiner, Montana, and the park’s North Entrance. 
  • Wheelchair access: Yes

Pebble Creek Campground

  • Open: Middle of June to late September
  • Nightly fee: $15
  • Reservation: No
  • Sites: 27
  • Max RV Length: Some long pull-throughs
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicycles, and Vault toilet
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2103 m (6,900 ft)
  • Location: Located at the foot of the Absaroka Mountains near the park’s Northeast Entrance.
  • Wheelchair access: No

Tower Fall Campground

  • Open: Late May to Late September
  • Nightly fee: $15
  • Reservation: No
  • Sites: 31
  • Max RV Length: 30ft
  • Amenities: Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicycles, and Vault toilet
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2012 m (6,600 ft)
  • Location: Located on the northern side of the winding, steep, road to Dunraven Pass,
  • Wheelchair Access: No

Slough Creek Campground

  • Open: Mid June to mid-October
  • Nightly fee: $15
  • Reservation: No
  • Sites: 16
  • Max RV Length: 30ft
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available and vault toilets.
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 1905 m (6,250 ft)
  • Location: Located in the Lumbar valley
  • Wheelchair Access: No

Lewis Lake Campground

  • Open: Beginning of June to the beginning of November
  • Nightly fee: $15
  • Reservation: No
  • Sites: 84
  • Max RV Length: 25ft
  • Amenities: Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicycles, and Vault toilet.
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2377 m (7,800 ft)
  • Location: Located about 8 miles from the park’s South Entrance and a short walk away from the southeast shore of Lewis Lake
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes

Reservable Campgrounds at Yellowstone

Bridge Bay Campground

  • Open: Mid June to the beginning of September
  • Nightly fee: $27
  • Reservation: Yes (check availability)
  • Sites: 432
  • Max RV Length: 40ft
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicyclers, Flush toilets, No showers, Dump station (it may close when temperatures are below freezing point), Generators allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit), Group sites available (registration required).
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2377 m (7,800 ft)
  • Location: Near Yellowstone Lake
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes

Canyon Campground

  • Open: Mid May to Mid September
  • Nightly fee: $32
  • Reservation: Yes (check availability)
  • Sites: 273
  • Max RV Length: 40 ft
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicyclers, Flush toilets, Dump station (it may close when temperatures are below freezing point), Generators allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit), Pay laundry/showers onsite, Two showers included each night.
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2408 m (7,900 ft)
  • Location: Located in the south of the Washburn range, near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and lies in a lodgepole pine forest at the canyon.
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes

Grant Village Campground

  • Open: Mid June to mid-September
  • Nightly fee: $32
  • Reservation: Yes (check availability)
  • Sites: 430
  • Max RV Length: 40 ft 
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicyclers, Flush toilets, Dump station (it may close when temperatures are below freezing point), Generators allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit), Pay laundry/showers onsite, Two showers included each night, Group sites available (reservation required)
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2377 m (7,800 ft)
  • Location: Located in Grant Village. You can get there by taking the Grand Loop Road at the south end of Yellowstone Lake.
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes

Fishing Bridge RV Park

  • Open: Beginning of May to mid-September
  • Nightly fee: $47.75
  • Reservation: Yes (check availability)
  • Sites: 310
  • Max RV Length: 40 ft
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Flush toilets, Full hookups. Dump station (it may close when temperatures are below freezing point), Generators allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit), Pay laundry/showers onsite, Two showers included each night
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2377 m (7,800 ft)
  • Location: Located near the Yellowstone River where this river exits Yellowstone Lake on North toward the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes

Madison Campground

  • Open: Late April to mid-October
  • Nightly fee: $27
  • Reservation: Yes (check availability)
  • Sites: 278
  • Max RV Length: Limited number of sites available for RVs larger than 40 ft.
  • Amenities: Accessible sites available, Limited number of campsites set aside for hikers and bicyclers, Flush toilets, No showers, Dump station (it may close when temperatures are below freezing point), Generators allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit), Group sites available (registration required).
  • Pets allowed: Yes (Read Yellowstone’s Pet Policy)
  • Elevation: 2073 m(6,800 ft)
  • Location: Located about 14 miles east of the town of West Yellowstone and about 16 miles north of Old Faithful.
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes

Additional resources

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