Do you want to take an RV trip to Yellowstone National Park? Don’t head out without reading this! There are some important things you need to know about Yellowstone Campgrounds and camping in the park. You can’t just show up without a plan. Here’s what you need to know about Yellowstone National Park camping:
Yellowstone National Park is a 3,500 square mile wilderness, sitting on a volcanic hot spot. This makes it larger than the state of Rhode Island! The park is located mostly in Wyoming, but it does enter Montana and Idaho, as well.
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular National Parks in the United States. This is largely due to its unique geothermal features, like colorful springs, roiling geysers, and mud pots, not to mention its rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and famous wildlife. Yellowstone is like another planet!
Because Yellowstone is so popular and sees so many visitors during its peak season, you’ll need to do some research and planning if you want to take an RV trip to this area.
Because of its huge size, there is more than one way to enter the park. There are actually 5 entrances to Yellowstone:
These entrances vary in their distances to different attractions within the park and how mountainous they are. For help choosing which entrance you should enter from, check out our article on Getting To Yellowstone – Which Entrance Should I Take?
Camping in Yellowstone is a truly unique experience. There is nowhere like this place on earth! We’ve put together some details that you need to know about Yellowstone National Park Camping.
Yellowstone has 12 campgrounds with over 2,000 campsites. But, only 5 of these campgrounds are reservable. The other 7 campgrounds are first-come, first-served. First-come, first-served means that whoever shows up first gets the spot. Early bird gets the worm!
Reservable campsites in Yellowstone fill up months in advance. Reservations open up to a year ahead, so it requires careful planning.
First-come, first-served campsites are known to fill up early in the morning. At the more popular sites, they can fill up as early as 5:30 am! Read on to learn how to snag one of these sites.
Here is a breakdown of the 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park:
Bridge Bay: The nightly fee at Bridge Bay campground is $27. This campground has flush toilets and a dump station. There are 432 campsites at Bridge Bay, and it’s located near Yellowstone lake.
Canyon: Canyon Campground has 273 sites and is located in a lodgepole pine forest near Canyon Village. This campground has flush toilets, showers and laundry facilities, and an RV dump station. Camping at Canyon campground is $32 per night.
Fishing Bridge RV Park: Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only campground in Yellowstone to offer full hook-up sites for RVers. This campground is near where the Yellowstone River enters Yellowstone Lake. Because grizzly bears frequent this area, only hard-sided RVs are allowed in the campground. Prices are currently unavailable as the RV park is closed and undergoing renovations. It is due to re-open in September 2021.
Grant Village: Grant Village campground is $32 per night. Additionally, this campground has flush toilets, a dump station, and shower and laundry facilities. Grant Village is at the south end of Yellowstone Lake.
Madison: Madison campground is $27 per night. This campground has flush toilets and an RV dump station. This is one of the most popular campgrounds in the National Park, and it fills up quickly!
Indian Creek: Indian Creek campground is $15 per night and has no amenities. There is a vault toilet at this campground. This park has 10 sites for RVs that are 35 feet long and 35 sites for RVs that are 30 feet long or shorter.
Lewis Lake: Lewis Lake campground is $15 per night and has a vault toilet on site. This campground can only accommodate RVs that are 25’ long or shorter. This campground is about 8 miles from the South Entrance and has 84 campsites.
Mammoth: Mammoth campground is $20 per night and is open year-round. This campground can accommodate RVs that are 30’ long or shorter. This campground has 85 sites and is in a great location, near the Mammoth Hot Spring terraces. As such, it’s very popular! Mammoth also has flush toilets.
Norris: Located near Norris Geyser Basin, Norris campground has 111 sites. Of these campsites, 5 can accommodate RVs up to 50’ long, and 5 campsites for RVs up to 30’ long. Norris campground has flush toilets available in the campground.
Pebble Creek: Pebble Creek is $15 and is a more isolated camping experience. Some long pull-throughs can accommodate larger RVs. This campground only has 27 sites and has vault toilets.
Slough Creek: Slough Creek has 16 campsites and 14 of those can accommodate RVs 30’ long or shorter. It is recommended that you walk through and assess the sites first. This campground is said to have some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the park.
Tower Fall: Tower Fall has 31 campsites and can accommodate RVs 30’ long or shorter due to a hairpin curve. This campground has vault toilets and isn’t too far from the Tower General Store.
If you didn’t get a reservation and you need to get a first-come, first-served site, you still need to do some special planning to get one!
First, know which campgrounds fill up first. The park publishes this information daily on their website here. Most campsites will be claimed by 7 am. But, at the more popular campgrounds, they can fill up as early as 5:30 am. So, there will be a lot of standing in line and waiting!
It’s easier to get a site during the week than on the weekend, but it’s still difficult in the summer season. If at all possible, have a back-up campground selected! This will mean 2 people waiting in line for a few hours in the morning at 2 different campgrounds. Cell phones will not work, so plan on having a backup communication method to know if either party has snagged a spot.
The campgrounds only accept cash and nothing bigger than a $20 bill. So, be sure you have cash handy!
Then, with all this information in hand, get to your desired campground as early as possible and get in line. As campers begin to check out, the sites will be rented to the next person in line. Campers have the option of extending their stay, so the campground won’t fully clear out each morning. This is why it can be good to have a backup plan!
The campgrounds in Yellowstone are run by a company called Xanterra, who also run the Yellowstone National Park Lodges.
Reservable campsites are typically booked out several months in advance, so you’ll need to plan very far ahead! You can book your Yellowstone National Park Campsite as early as 1 year before your planned trip. Booking this early out will help you get your desired spot and campground.
You can make reservations here on the Yellowstone National Park Lodges website.
The process for making Yellowstone camping reservations is pretty straightforward. Keep in mind that some of the campgrounds are closed for renovation or due to the pandemic, but plan to re-open soon!
Yellowstone is a premier destination, not only for people all over the US but all over the world! Taking an RV trip to Yellowstone is an unforgettable experience. To have the most epic trip possible, do your part ahead of time!
Spend your time researching the campgrounds and planning so when you arrive you can focus on enjoying yourself – not scrambling for a place to spend the night.
Your road trip getting to Yellowstone requires some planning, too. We recommend checking out RV Trip Wizard to help you plan your rest stops, fuel stops, overnight stays, and routes, so you arrive in Yellowstone ready for adventure!
Simply plug in your RV type, your fuel capacity, and your driving preferences, and let RV Trip Wizard do the work. Try it out today for free to see what we mean!
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