When you embark on your adventure in Yellowstone National Park, you’re sure to experience a deep connection with nature—but the explorers who choose to camp under the stars will enjoy unparalleled immersion in Yellowstone’s natural beauty. West Yellowstone’s abundant campground options give adventurers a rugged base camp for conveniently exploring the park’s wonders during the day and relaxing by the campfire at night.
Keep reading to discover the many campgrounds and RV parks in West Yellowstone, and learn everything you need about camping right outside the world’s first national park.
The Camper’s Guide to Yellowstone
Welcome to the wilderness wonderland of West Yellowstone! Nestled at the doorstep of one of nature’s greatest treasures, Yellowstone National Park, this rugged paradise offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Before embarking on your camping adventure, here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your experience:
For adventurers interested in camping at Yellowstone, there are several options available. There are several developed, “front-country” style campgrounds within Yellowstone National Park that can serve as great accommodations for enjoying the nature of Yellowstone. Alternatively, those who seek true solitude and are prepared to carry everything they need on their back can have a “back-country” camping experience at one of Yellowstone’s 300 back-country campsites. Permits are required for this kind of adventure, and they can only be obtained in person no more than 3 days in advance of your trip at one of the park’s backcountry offices.
The best option for RV camping is in West Yellowstone, thanks to the town’s unbeatable proximity to Yellowstone National Park. As the closest gateway to the park with several campgrounds throughout, camping in West Yellowstone is a fast pass to convenience and exploration. The location of your campsite will provide easy access to some of the park’s most iconic features, including the legendary Old Faithful geyser, the mesmerizing Grand Prismatic Spring, and the majestic Yellowstone Falls. Plus, you’ll have access to the endless attractions and services offered in West Yellowstone to make your adventure accessible and amazing.
Be prepared for changing weather conditions in Yellowstone. Most campgrounds are open from May through October (Summer to early Fall). Summers are generally pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C)—perfect camping weather! However, pack warm layers, as temperatures can drop significantly at night. Fall brings cooler temperatures and potential rainfall, but is still a great time for camping for those adventurers who enjoy colder weather.
Yellowstone National Park is renowned for its abundant wildlife, including grizzly bears, bison, elk, and wolves. While thrilling, it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance and follow park guidelines to ensure both your safety and the welfare of the animals. Carry bear spray, stay on designated trails, and store food properly to minimize interactions. To safely encounter grizzlies, wolves, otters, and more, check out the Grizzly & Wolf Discover Center located in West Yellowstone, and visit our website to learn about even more wildlife viewing guidelines and opportunities.
Prioritize safety during your camping trip. Be aware of potential hazards such as changing weather, wild animals, and rough terrain. Carry essential supplies, including a first aid kit, plenty of water, and maps of the area. Check local regulations and advisories, and always inform someone about your plans before venturing into the wilderness.
Leave No Trace
As responsible adventurers, it’s crucial to preserve the natural beauty of Yellowstone for future generations. Practice Leave No Trace principles, including packing out your trash, respecting wildlife and vegetation, and staying on designated trails. Let’s all contribute to the conservation efforts of this magnificent landscape.
Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey through the untamed beauty of West Yellowstone. Whether you seek tranquility, adventure, or connection with nature, this captivating destination has it all. So pack your gear, bring your sense of wonder, and get ready to embark on an extraordinary camping experience in the heart of the wilderness.
West Yellowstone Campgrounds
As the closest gateway to Yellowstone National Park, West Yellowstone offers a wide range of campground options that make enjoying all of Yellowstone’s amazing attractions easy, affordable, and immersive.
West Yellowstone RV Parks
Several RV Parks are nestled within the town of West Yellowstone, so you can set up your base camp within walking distance of the Western Entrance to the Park:
- Buffalo Crossing: This RV Park offers pull-through and back-in campsites with fantastic features like the Giant Screen Theatre and the Yellowstone Trading Post retail store, plus essentials like laundry and shower facilities.
- The Pony Express: Right on the border of Yellowstone National Park, the Pony Express can accommodate a range of camper sizes with full hookups. In addition to the RV park, the Pony Express is also a motel that offers standard rooms and suites to make larger groups feel right at home in West Yellowstone.
- Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park: Situated among the exciting attractions in West Yellowstone, travelers who stay at the Grizzly RV Park can choose to park their campers or stay the night in one of their rustic cabins. The park also features a pavilion for group gatherings, a playground, and the main building which houses a convenience store, gift shop, and more.
Tent Camping Near West Yellowstone
If you prefer tent camping or are looking for a more secluded campground, you’ll have to venture outside the town of West Yellowstone. Here are some nearby options that will allow you to still enjoy the town’s dining, shopping, and other services while experiencing backcountry-style camping in the pristine nature of Montana.
- West Gate KOA: Located less than 10 minutes away from West Yellowstone’s town center, this division of Kampgrounds of America (KOA) offers a great location and stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you want to pitch a tent, park your RV, or stay in a deluxe cabin, this campground has you covered. The grounds also feature amenities like full hookups, WiFi, a snack bar, and a pool, plus campground recreation including mini golf and bike rentals.
- Mountainside KOA: This KOA campground is also just 10 minutes west of West Yellowstone, making the town the perfect stop on your way into Yellowstone National Park. In addition to the unbeatable location and gorgeous nature, explorers at Mountainside KOA often experience exciting wildlife viewing. The campground accommodates everyone from tent campers to the largest RVs, and features attractions like Mountainside Mining Camp and fishing.
- Madison Campground: Located inside Yellowstone National Park, Madison Campground is less than a 30-minute drive from West Yellowstone. Named for its proximity to the Madison River, the campground is nestled in a lush mountain setting that is rich in wildlife. Campsites for tents, RVs, and RV/tent combinations are available. Staying here allows you to enjoy the natural wonder of Yellowstone and experience rugged camping with the convenience of the town close by: none of the campsites offer electricity, water, or sewer hookups. Public restrooms and dishwashing stations are available, but the campground does not offer shower or laundry facilities, so guests should be prepared for a backcountry camping experience.
Planning the Rest of Your Trip
During your camping trip in West Yellowstone, you’re bound to explore the countless awe-inspiring attractions throughout Yellowstone National Park. Discover more warm weather activities and nail down your travel plans using our travel guide. You won’t want to miss iconic landmarks near your base camp, such as The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Old Faithful, which offer breathtaking vistas and extraordinary geological wonders that will leave you in awe.
West Yellowstone is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts like you. Hiking, biking, fishing, and wildlife watching are just a few of the activities awaiting you during your camping trip. Embark on scenic trails, cast your line into pristine rivers and lakes, or simply sit back and marvel at the beauty surrounding you from your campsite.