Camping in Yellowstone National Park is a classic part of many Yellowstone vacations. However, selecting a Yellowstone campground can be a challenge as more than four million visitors travel to the park annually. There are five campgrounds offering sites via online reservations – be sure to reserve early if you hope to stay at one of them. Other campgrounds are first-come, first-serve and availability depends on the day and season. The park service usually keeps a log of availability and fill times updated online, but you should check this before going as there is very little internet service in the park.
When we visited just before Memorial Day 2016, we stayed in Norris Campground, which is a first-come, first-serve that had availability when we arrived. Our days there yielded some great stories, including a bison deciding to evict me from my fishing spot so that it could continue to graze in the early morning on the first day of the fishing season. It seemed too rain too frequently as we were trying to cook over the campfire, and we enjoyed the map left by a previous visitor in the bear box with a map of activities to complete in the campground. Overall, it was a great place to stay during the trip.
Bridge Bay Campground – This is one of the largest Yellowstone campgrounds with 432 sites, sitting across the Grand Loop Road from Bridge Bay in Yellowstone Lake. Bridge Bay typically opens before Memorial Day and closes in early September. Campsites are reservable online. It is located southwest of Lake Village.
Canyon Campground – This campground has 273 sites and is located near Canyon Village and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. It is typically open from just before Memorial Day to mid-September. Reservations are accepted online.
Fishing Bridge RV Park – This is a RV campground with 310 sites for hard-sided recreational vehicles only. There are no tents or tent campers allowed because grizzly bears frequent the area. It is located on the north end of Yellowstone Lake near where the Yellowstone River exits northward toward the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Reservations are accepted online. It is closed for construction for much of the 2020 season.
Grant Village Campground – This is a large, developed campground in Grant Village near the south end of Yellowstone Lake with a store, restaurant, gas station and visitor center nearby. There are 430 sites, making it one of the largest campgrounds in the national park. It is open from early June to mid-September. Sites are reservable online.
Indian Creek Campground – This limited development campground sits near the base of the Gallatin Mountains eight miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs on the road to Norris. It contains 70 sites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis (no reservations accepted). It has 10 sites that can acommodate RVs and trailers up to 35 feet and 35 sites that can handle up to 30 feet. It is typically open from mid-June to mid-September.
Lewis Lake Campground – This campground is about eight miles from the South Entrance near the southeast shore of Lewis Lake. This is a limited development campground and there are 85 first-come, first-served sites. The campground is open from mid-June until the beginning of November. It sits at an elevation of 7800 feet. It can accommodate RVs and Trailers up to a total length limit of 25 feet.
Madison Campground – Madison is one of the five campgrounds with reservable sites in the park. It ia a large developed campground that sits in Madison Junction at an elevation of 6800 feet where the Firehole and Gibbon rivers join to form the Madison River. It is a popular location because it is only 14 miles east of West Yellowstone and 16 miles north of Old Faithful. There are 278 sites, 62 of which are designated as tent-only. The Madison campground typically opens shortly before Memorial Day and closes in mid-October.
Mammoth Campground – Five miles south of Gardiner, Montana, this is the only campground in the park that is open year-round. it is first-come, first served (no reservations accepted) with 85 sites. It is located east of the Visitor Center and the National Park headquarters, and northeast of the Mammoth Hot Springs attraction. RVs and trailers are allowed with a maximum length of 30 feet.
Norris Campground – Norris is a developed campground with 111 sites located in the Norris Geyser Basin. It is centrally located in the park at the intersection of the north and south loops through the park. It sits at an elevation of 7500 in a lodgepole forest near the Gibbon River. Site are first come first served with no reservations accepted. It typically opens in mid/late May and closes in late September.
Pebble Creek Campground – This is a small first-come, first-served campground near the northeast entrance with 27 sites. It is typically open from mid-June to late-September. It offers opportunities to enjoy the Lamar Valley as well as the towns of Silver Gate and Cooke City.
Slough Creek Campground – This is a small first-come, first-served campground in the Lamar Valley with 16 sites. It is located at the end of a two mile dirt road and the campsites are best suited for tents and small RVs.
Tower Fall Campground – This is a primitive campground with 31 sites near Tower-Roosevelt, offered on a first come, first served basis (no reservations accepted). It is located on the road between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village across from Tower Fall, a 132 foot waterfall. It sits at an elevation of 6600 feet on the north side of the road to Dunraven Pass. RVs and Trailers are allowed but all sites are 30 feet or less. It is typically open from late May to late September.