Yellowstone Campgrounds

This is part of a multi-blog series of campground reviews. You can click through others at the bottom of this post. 
Yellowstone National Park has twelve campgrounds for car camping. I’m going to review a few of them, but all of the campgrounds are listed below and if you follow the link you’ll get to a page that allows you to look at photos and get more information on each one.

Overnight camping of any type (tent, vehicle, or RV) outside designated campgrounds is not allowed. You can get a permit to use backcountry campsites, but you need to backpack in to those.

Mammoth

The upside of the Mammoth Campground is that it is the only campground in the park open all year. Located near the north entrance of the park, it has easy access to the Boiling River and all the amenities in Mammoth and Gardiner.

The downside is that it is in the bend of a road, so it’s noisy as cars drive by all day (and night). The campground is in a sagebrush steppe, so it’s pretty open and you’ll have good views of your neighbor. If it was up to me, I’d camp just outside the park at the Forest Service’s Eagle Creek Campground.

Mammoth has 85 sites and most are pull-throughs. It’s first come, first serve—no reservations. The campground may be filled by 11 am, so arrive early to obtain a site. Campsite occupancy is limed to six people per site. You can stay for up to 14 days from July 1 through Labor Day, and 30 days the rest of the year.

Indian Creek

This is a nice alternative to the Mammoth Campground since it is quieter and more secluded. It’s just 10-15 minutes (driving) from Mammoth. Indian Creek runs alongside the campground and is great for wading in and looking for macroinvertebrates. The Big Horn trail leaves from the campground, and is an easy walk—depending on how far you go. I like this campground because you could spend a whole day here without ever getting in your car.

If you do want to drive, the Bunsen Peak and Hoodoos Trails start just a few minutes away.

Indian Creek Campground has 75 sites and 45 of them are pull-thoughs. Expect vault toilets. It’s first come, first serve—no reservations. The campground may be filled by 11 am, so arrive early to obtain a site. Campsite occupancy is limed to six people per site. You can stay for up to 14 days from July 1 through Labor Day, and 30 days the rest of the year.

I love this NPS photo from the 70s (?) of the Indian Creek campground so much.

I love this NPS photo from the 70s (?) of the Indian Creek campground so much.

Canyon

This campground is huge, but it has always been surprisingly mellow when we’ve stayed there. The individual sites are pretty tiny.

The campground is located near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, on a hill across the street from the Canyon stores, visitor center, and lodge. It's nice to have easy access to the Canyon and the Upper and Lower Falls early in the morning or later in the evening when the crowds have dissipated.

Breakfast at Canyon Campground.

Breakfast at Canyon Campground.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates Canyon Campground and reservations can be made through their website. Same-day reservations can be made by calling 307.344.7902. Future reservations can be made by calling 307.344.7311 or 1.866.GEYSERLAND. There are 273 sites spread out over several big loops. There are pay showers and laundry on site. Campsite occupancy is limed to six people per site. You can stay for up to 14 days from July 1 through Labor Day, and 30 days the rest of the year.

Grant 

Grant is a ridiculously large campground, but you can get quieter sites. Plus, it’s Yellowstone and more than three million people come through each year. The only way to avoid crowds is to get into the backcountry.

Grant Campground is located near Yellowstone Lake, as well as restaurants, shops, and Lake Lodge. It’s a good place to stay for trips to Heart LakeWest Thumb, and even the Old Faithful area.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates Grant Campground and reservations can be made through their website. Same-day reservations can be made by calling 307.344.7902. Future reservations can be made by calling 307.344.7311 or 1.866.GEYSERLAND. There are 430 sites. There are pay showers and laundry on site, but two showers/night are included with your campsite. Campsite occupancy is limed to six people per site. You can stay for up to 14 days from July 1 through Labor Day, and 30 days the rest of the year.

Four random 80s kids at Grant Campground. NPS photo.

Four random 80s kids at Grant Campground. NPS photo.

More campgrounds

As promised, here are the rest of the campgrounds in Yellowstone. For more details and photos, go to the webpage.