Camping in Yellowstone – Wild Camping Tips & Campsites

The first national park in the U.S. was Yellowstone. Up until today, it amazes us with its geological wonders and beautiful nature. Camping in Yellowstone is something else, and that’s why we put together this article. Even when Yellowstone is nearing its winter clothes, the geological and thermal wonders are still wide awake.

We will tell you all about the weather, animals, and other information you need to consider when visiting this natural gem. Regardless of whether you want to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, hiking trails, or mammoth hot springs terraces, we have it all covered.

Yellowstone fishing

Is It Legal to Camp in Yellowstone?

Camping in the National Park, outside of designated camping areas, is forbidden. This means you cannot wild camp or vehicle camp in picnic areas, near trails, or on the side of the road. There are no overflow camping facilities.

In terms of camping itself, you can camp in designated campgrounds or Yellowstone campgrounds. This goes for up to 14 days a year between 1. July and early September (Labor day) and up to 30 days a year in the off-season.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a place to camp in the backcountry, the National Park has a Central Backcountry Office. Before you proceed to camp in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, you will need a permit. All permits are issued over the phone or through email and should be available 3 days before the start of your trip.

If you fail to abide by the National park’s rules and regulations regarding camping, you may face a $50.00 fine. Also, building campfires is prohibited and can get you fined again for $50.00.

“There is “technically” no free camping inside of Yellowstone National Park. It is frowned upon, but we have done it multiple times and have seen 50+ other people doing it also. Our rule of thumb is to arrive at our spot around sunset and to try not”setup” camp and leave our slide-outs in, and ready to hit the road. There are parking lots, pull-offs, and picnic areas that we have seen people camp at” – Says Wanderus Living.

Weather in Yellowstone

Weather in the Yellowstone National Park depends on the season, and winter and summer can make it seem like you are visiting two different places. In summer, the national park is packed with visitors from all over the world.

They want to access the best campground locations, activities, and services during the high season. This is the time when Yellowstone is dry and timid. June can be rainy, and in some instances, July and August can have an occasional afternoon thunderstorm.

All in all, summer is the best time to visit Yellowstone if you want the best weather since the temperatures rarely drop. They stay between 80 and 70°F or 21 and 26°C and can get lower on higher elevations.

Winter, on the other hand, is low in temperature, especially in the mountains. Travel is hard, and designated campgrounds are mostly closed.

Most outdoor lovers stay clear of the crowds and see Yellowstone national park during the off-season. This means Spring and Autumn, the temperatures ranging from 40 and 60°F or 5 to 15°C. If you’re looking to stay away from the crowds, spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Yellowstone. You will also enjoy the crisp air, yellow or green leaves, and wildlife as an added benefit.

Lake in Yellowstone

What to Bring When Camping In Yellowstone

When camping in Yellowstone during summer and the mid-seasons, don’t forget to bring these items:

  • Bear spray
  • Sunglasses and sun hat
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain jacket

Where to Camp In Yellowstone

The Yellowstone National Park has twelve campsites, out of which seven campgrounds are managed by the national park service and operate during winter. The Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only Yellowstone campground that has unlimited access. This means you can camp there for longer than 30 days a year.

Yellowstone national park lodges are also on Yellowstone lake for those who don’t like to camp. Here are our favorite Yellowstone camping locations, we prepared for you to try out:

  • Bridge Bay Campground – This campground is a developed campground for overnight camping. It features flush toilets, reception and a store on the campground, while it doesn’t have internet access and showers.
  • Lewis Lake Campground – Close to Lewis lake, it is a first come first served campground with vault toilets and no phone reception. It’s great for wildlife viewing.
  • Madison Campground – This is a village campground near Old Faithful, with no showers or cell phone reception. It’s perfect for RV camping since it holds hookups and a lot of space, making it the biggest Yellowstone campground.

Wild Camping Tips and Gear

If you’re planning on camping or wild camping in Yellowstonedon’te are our tips:

  • Choose between backcountry, reservable, and first come first served campground managements.
  • Pack mosquito repeller for the summer months and a warm sub-zero sleeping bag for the winter months.
  • The park is full of buffalos, elk, bears, and wolves. Keep a minimum distance of 25 m or 80 ft between you and wildlife.
  • Camp away from paths, and if you are wild camping, always arrive at your campsite late and leave early.
  • Keep all of your food in bear bags, and always keep your food stored away in your car, backpack, or RV. Sleep 100 yards away from the place you are preparing food.
  • Always keep your pet on a leash, and remember that areas don’t allow pets. Keep your and your pet safe by staying away from wildlife.
  • Use the toilet at least 30 m or 100 ft away from any water, and don’t forget to use a trowel.
  • Always stay at least 30 m or 100 ft away from the area you cook in.


We hope this article helped you in choosing the right place and time to visit Yellowstone National Park. Don’t forget your permits for backcountry camping in Yellowstone, and don’t exceed your yearly camping limit.

About Antonio

I’m Antonio, a passionate traveler, and outdoor lover who’s running this website. I started this site to share my passion for camping, traveling, and bikepacking.