Yellowstone Camping Reservations: Secrets You Need To Know

The nation’s first national park still captures America’s hearts, luring more than 2 million visitors to its borders every year. With so many tourists wandering through, the race is constantly “on” to score a Yellowstone camping reservation.

Many opt for camping, either in tents or RVs, and although there are more than 2,000 campsites within the park, the trick is knowing how to garner one before it is snatched up by fellow travelers.

We’d like to help you secure that elusive campsite on your next visit by providing some insight into Yellowstone camping reservations. Read on!

About Yellowstone National Park

Opened in 1872, Yellowstone not only holds the record as “Oldest National Park” in the United States. It is widely touted as the oldest in the world. That’s quite a pair of shoes to fill, but the destination is known as “Wonderland” has no problem wowing all those crowds, with mind-boggling geothermal features like Old Faithful Geyser, bubbling paint pots, and Mammoth Hot Springs, as well as stunning scenic locations like Upper and Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. 

Wildlife abounds here like no other place imaginable: elk herds run wild just as they did before this country was settled. Visitors ogle at grizzly and black bears, wolves, and lynx, who are seemingly unaware that they are being watched. Additionally, viewers clamor to see bison meandering down the road or foraging for their afternoon snacks.

It is this element of surprise and sense of grandeur that draws crowds to every attraction Mother Nature has on display here. This makes lodging options challenging, but by learning about Yellowstone camping reservations, you may have a leg up on the competition when it comes to grabbing the perfect camp spot even before you arrive.

Grand Prismatic Spring from far away with the whole spring in view and mountains in the background. To stay close to the spring, you'll want to learn our yellowstone camping reservations tips.

Camping at Yellowstone National Park

The park has twelve campgrounds within its boundaries. All but one are seasonal and open from June through September, so plan accordingly when designing your Yellowstone camp trip. All but two have handicap-accessible sites, and many offer showers and flush toilets.

Of the twelve campgrounds, five have campsites that can be reserved in advance. In other words, the other seven are first-come, first-served campgrounds. See the listings below to learn more about each group and how to secure your campsite.

How to Make Yellowstone Camping Reservations

Rather than use a nation-wide reservation service like Recreation.gov, Yellowstone takes care of its lodging reservations in-house at www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com. A credit card is needed to guarantee your reservation at any of the five reservable campgrounds listed below, starting on June 1 each year. Additionally, keep in mind that most campsites cannot accommodate RVs in excess of 40 feet in length.

Yellowstone Reservable Campgrounds

The following campgrounds have reservable campsites. The majority of these campgrounds have no hookup, aka dry camping, which means you’ll have no water, electricity, or sewer. If this is new to you, be sure to read What is Dry Camping? Essential Tips You Need To Know.

Bridge Bay

$27 per night, with 432 sites with no hookups. Flush toilets are available, but no showers and campsites are open to both tents and RVs, however, sites for 40-foot rigs are very limited.

Canyon

$32 per night with 273 sites with no hookups. Flush toilets and hot showers are available, and campsites can handle both tents and RVs. There is a dump station on-site, as well.

A bear peeking over a large rock with trees in the background.

Fishing Bridge RV Park

Currently closed all year, but when accessible, there are 510 full hookup sites available for RVs only (no tents or soft-sided units). Flush toilets, hot showers, and a dump station are on site.

Grant Village

$32 per night with 430 sites with no hookups. Flush toilets and hot showers are available, and campsites can handle both tents and RVs. There is also a dump station on site.

Madison

$27 per night, with 278 sites with no hookups. Flush toilets are available, but no showers and campsites are open to both tents and RVs, however, sites for 40-foot rigs are very limited.

A campground in Yellowstone with a bison eating grass in the background. People are able to stay here after learning tips for Yellowstone camping reservations.

First-Come, First-Served Campgrounds in Yellowstone

These campsites lend themselves well to those last-minute travelers who decide they want to camp that night! First-come, first-serve campsites mean that you can’t make reservations, you must show up in person to claim a spot. So if you fail at making Yellowstone camping reservations, you’re not out of luck just yet.

Indian Creek

$15 per night with 70 sites offering no hookups. Campsites can be utilized by both tenters and RVs up to 35 feet in length. Vault toilets are available and no generators are allowed.

Lewis Lake

$15 per night with 84 sites offering no hookups. Campsites can be used by both tents and RVs up to 25 feet in length. Vault toilets are available and no generators are allowed.

Mammoth

$20 per night with 85 sites offering no hookups. This is the only campground open year-round, and campsites are available for both tents and RVs up to 30 feet in length. There are flush toilets available and generators can be utilized.

Norris

Currently closed all year, but there are 111 sites offering no hookups. Campsites are good for tents and RVs up to 30 feet in length (however, there are 2 sites that can handle 50-foot rigs). Vault toilets are in use, and generators can be utilized.

Pebble Creek

$15 per night with 27 sites offering no hookups. Campsites can be utilized by both tenters and RVers, as sites have long pull-thru accessibility. Vault toilets are available and no generators are allowed.

Slough Creek

$15 per night with 16 sites offering no hookups. Campsites can be utilized by both tenters and small RVs up to 30 feet in length. Vault toilets are available and no generators are allowed.

Tower Fall

Currently closed all year, but there are 31 sites offering no hookups. Campsites are good for tents and RVs up to 30 feet in length. Vault toilets are in use, and generators can be utilized.

A bison eating grass outside of an orange tent next to a river. To get views like this be sure to know our yellowstone camping reservations tips.

What To Do If You Can’t Get a Yellowstone Camping Reservation

If the reservation pool has been depleted for your dates of travel to Yellowstone, try to get a first-come, first-served campsite within the park. Between the seven campgrounds listed above, there are more than 420 sites available on a daily basis, just waiting for campers to take a chance on them!

If you would feel more comfortable knowing where you will be camping before your trip commences, and you weren’t able to get a Yellowstone camping reservation online, check out several of the privately-owned campgrounds outside of the national park. You may find the perfect site, complete with many of the amenities not available within Yellowstone, making your camping trip even more enjoyable and relaxing.

Yellowstone Camping Reservations

The National Park Service has made Nature’s most exquisite landscapes readily available to all, but with so many rushing to enjoy the bounty of these wonders, it is difficult to score a Yellowstone camping reservation.

In other words, if Yellowstone is on your wish list this year, be sure to take advantage of their campground reservations to give you more flexibility in exploring the park. Having the security of a reserved campsite will lengthen your adventure while giving you peace of mind.

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  1. Great info, as always, Jason. There has been a slight change to some of the campgrounds listed above. Just a few days ago, Mammoth, Slough Creek, and Pebble Creek (sites 1-16) became reservable through recreation.gov. The Yellowstone sites that will take RVs up to 40 feet have a caveat: that’s 40 ft total length of the RV and tow/towed vehicle. Madison does have a few double wide sites, so if you have a 40′ rig plus a toad or truck, you can park them side by side. Fishing Bridge was supposed to have opened this summer but that’s been pushed back a year because of Covid. Actually, I believe the renovations were originally scheduled to be finished in 2019. Until last summer, I could usually get a campsite reservation about ten months out. Now the spots seem to disappear the second they’re eligible to be booked. It’s getting to be a lot more challenging to be spontaneous. I can’t remember if you mentioned yet that all of the First Come, First Served Grand Teton campgrounds are now reservation only. I think the NPS got tired of campers lining up at three in the morning to get a spot. Have fun in Corpus.

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