Best Yellowstone Backcountry Campsites

Best Yellowstone Backcountry Campsites
Find solitude in Yellowstone National Park's backcountry. You'll need a permit to stay overnight. Campsites can be reserved in advance, beginning on April 1 of each year, for a small fee. Walk in to a ranger station 48 hours before your planned trip to obtain a free permit. The National Park Service maintains 300 backcountry campsites for hikers, boaters and stock parties. Some are designated hiker-only. Most have a fire ring and bear pole.

Black Canyon of the Yellowstone

Campsites along the Yellowstone River in the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone offer an easy water source, beaches and scenery. West Cottonwood Creek campsite, 1R1, provides privacy on the bank of the river for hikers, boaters, and horseback-riders. Nearby East Cottonwood Creek campsite, 1R2, is for hikers only. Yellowstone River Trail campsite, 1Y1, has a small beach and views. Access these campsites via Black Creek Trail, a 15-mile one-way trek through varied topography.


Slough Creek

The Lamar Valley, in Yellowstone's northeastern portion, is prime wildlife habitat. Slough Creek Trail takes you through its heart to small, hiker-only campsites. Lower Slough Creek campsite, 2S1, lies a half-mile from the trail. From there, you can bushwhack to serene McBride Lake. Upper Slough Creek campsite, 2S6, offers views of the valley. Both have nearby water sources.

Shoshone Lake

Just three miles on DeLacy Creek Trail brings you to the largest lake not accessible by car in the lower 48 United States. Twenty-two miles of trail surround Shoshone Lake. The remote Shoshone Geyser Basin lies on the lake's western shore. Basin Bay Point campsite, 8R5, provides ultimate privacy. The campsite is located a half-mile from the hiking trail, on a small peninsula. The lake is your water source; the park maintains a primitive toilet.


The 70-mile Thorofare Trail takes you into Yellowstone's remote southeast corner. On Thorofare Creek, camp at North Thorofare campsite, 6T2, for views. Rivers Edge Campsite, 6C2, offers seclusion on the Yellowstone River, one mile from the trail.


Article Written By Kelly Aspen

Kelly Aspen's writing focuses on natural places, cultural sites and wildlife. She has more than 10 years of experience as an editor and writer for various magazines, books and websites.

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