Guide to Yellowstone's backcountry camping rules and spots

Guide to Yellowstone’s Backcountry Camping Rules and Spots

In Yellowstone National Park, backcountry camping allows me to fully immerse myself in the wilderness and experience the breathtaking landscapes up close. However, to protect the park and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, there are crucial rules and regulations that visitors, including myself, must follow. Let’s take a closer look at these camping regulations in Yellowstone.

Key Takeaways:

  • Backcountry permits are required for overnight stays in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Campers must stay at designated campsites and avoid camping near water sources.
  • Proper food storage and trash disposal are vital to prevent wildlife encounters.
  • Campfires are only allowed in established fire rings at designated campsites.
  • Bathing or swimming in thermal waters is not permitted.

Best Backcountry Camping Spots in Yellowstone

best backcountry camping spots in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse landscapes, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and camping enthusiasts alike. If you’re looking to venture off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the wilderness, the park’s backcountry camping options offer the perfect opportunity to do so. Here are some of the best backcountry camping spots in Yellowstone:

  1. Gallatin Area
  2. Yellowstone River
  3. Solfatara Plateau
  4. Canyon Area
  5. Slough Creek & Pebble Creek
  6. Lamar Area
  7. Old Faithful Area
  8. Yellowstone Lake
  9. Shoshone Lake
  10. Bechler Area
  11. Pitchstone Plateau
  12. Heart Lake & Snake River
  13. Thorofare & Two Ocean Plateau

Each of these backcountry camping spots offers its own unique charm and opportunities for exploration. From the pristine shores of Yellowstone Lake to the rugged terrain of the Lamar Area, there is something for every adventurer. Whether you prefer to hike along picturesque trails, fish in crystal-clear streams, or simply bask in the serenity of nature, these camping spots provide a truly unforgettable experience.

To make the most of your backcountry camping adventure, it is essential to obtain a backcountry permit from the park. These permits ensure that there is a controlled number of campers in each area, helping to preserve the park’s delicate ecosystems and prevent overcrowding. Additionally, be sure to familiarize yourself with any camping restrictions or regulations that may apply to the specific area you plan to visit.

As you embark on your backcountry camping journey, remember to leave no trace of your presence and respect the natural environment. Follow designated trails, pack out all trash, and practice proper food storage to minimize wildlife interactions. By adhering to these guidelines, you can help preserve the beauty and integrity of Yellowstone’s backcountry for generations to come.

Backcountry Camping Spot Features
Gallatin Area Mountain vistas, alpine meadows, wildlife sightings
Yellowstone River Pristine riverbanks, great fly fishing opportunities
Solfatara Plateau Geothermal activity, bubbling mud pots, colorful hot springs
Canyon Area Dramatic waterfalls, deep canyons, hiking trails
Slough Creek & Pebble Creek Renowned trout fishing, peaceful meadows
Lamar Area Abundance of wildlife, Lamar Valley views
Old Faithful Area Geysers, hot springs, boardwalk trails
Yellowstone Lake Scenic lakeshores, boating opportunities
Shoshone Lake Largest high-elevation lake in the park, secluded camping
Bechler Area Waterfalls, remote wilderness, hot springs
Pitchstone Plateau Expansive views, diverse wildlife
Heart Lake & Snake River Remote camping, excellent fishing
Thorofare & Two Ocean Plateau Wilderness solitude, scenic vistas

Backcountry Camping Safety and Tips

When venturing into Yellowstone’s backcountry, camping safety should be your top priority. As you embark on your adventure in this remote wilderness setting, it is essential to be well-prepared and aware of the potential challenges that lie ahead.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, there are several camping tips for Yellowstone that you should keep in mind. Firstly, make sure to carry a backcountry permit with you at all times. This permit is required for overnight stays and helps park rangers keep track of visitors in case of emergencies.

Another important tip is to familiarize yourself with the Yellowstone backcountry camping map. This map will guide you to your desired camping spot and provide valuable information about the terrain, trails, and designated campsites. Planning your trip accordingly can help you avoid any surprises along the way.

When it comes to camping in Yellowstone, proper food storage is essential to prevent any unwanted encounters with wildlife. Hang your food from food poles or use bear-resistant food containers to keep bears and other animals away from your campsite. This not only protects you but also ensures the safety of these magnificent creatures.

Additionally, it is crucial to stay hydrated and pack essential gear and supplies. The Yellowstone backcountry can present unpredictable weather conditions, so make sure to bring appropriate clothing and equipment for various scenarios. Always be aware of potential hazards such as wildlife encounters and changing weather, and take necessary precautions to stay safe.

Lastly, remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles to preserve the beauty and integrity of the backcountry camping experience in Yellowstone National Park. Properly dispose of waste, minimize your impact on the environment, and leave the wilderness as you found it.


I'm nationalparkscamping, the author behind - the ultimate guide to camping adventures in the nation's most breathtaking landscapes. Explore the wild with me as I provide a comprehensive resource for outdoor enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves in the serene beauty of national parks. From the rugged peaks of the Rockies to the lush forests of the Smokies, I offer detailed information on campgrounds, essential gear, permits, and sustainable camping practices. Join our community of nature lovers today and let's plan your unforgettable and eco-friendly national park camping trip together. Start your escape into the wild with me now!

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