The Ultimate Guide To Yellowstone Backcountry Camping

By Charles •  Updated: 04/26/22 •  12 min read

If you’re looking to get away from the crowds and truly experience Yellowstone National Park, backcountry camping is the way to go. However, before you can go camping in Yellowstone, there are a few things you need to know. In this guide, we’ll provide everything you need to know about backcountry camping in Yellowstone, from permits and regulations to tips for finding the best sites. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting out, this guide will help you plan your Yellowstone backcountry camping trip and ensure that you have an unforgettable experience in one of America’s most beautiful national parks. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring Yellowstone today!

Table of Contents

What Is Backcountry Camping And Why Should You Do It In Yellowstone?

Backcountry camping is a type of camping that allows you to truly immerse yourself in Yellowstone’s stunning landscape. Unlike campgrounds and car-accessible sites, backcountry sites are located deep within the park, so you’ll have peace and solitude while enjoying sweeping views of Yellowstone’s many natural wonders. And since Yellowstone is such a large park, there are plenty of backcountry sites to choose from, so you can find the perfect spot for your group.

In addition to being a great way to connect with Yellowstone’s natural beauty, backcountry camping is also an excellent way to watch wildlife. Yellowstone is home to many different animal species, and you’re likely to see some of them while you’re camping. Keep your eyes peeled for bison, elk, deer, and even bears! Just remember to practice safe food storage techniques to avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite.

Yellowstone Backcountry Camping
Yellowstone National Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone backcountry camping is an unforgettable experience that we highly recommend to everyone. However, it’s important to be prepared before you go. Read on for everything you need to know about Yellowstone backcountry camping, from permits and regulations to tips for finding the best sites.

How To Get A Permit For Backcountry Camping In Yellowstone

Yellowstone Backcountry Camping
Yellowstone National Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The first step in planning your Yellowstone backcountry camping trip is obtaining a permit. Permits are required for all overnight stays in Yellowstone’s backcountry, and they can be obtaine byd visiting the Yellowstone National Park website or by calling the park’s Backcountry Office at 307-344-2160.

When you apply for a permit, you’ll need to provide some basic information about your trip, including the number of people in your group, the length of your stay, and the backcountry sites you’re interested in camping at. You’ll then be assigned a backcountry zone, and you’ll have 14 days to complete the reservation.

It’s important to note that Yellowstone’s backcountry sites are highly popular, so it’s best to book your permit as far in advance as possible. Yellowstone typically only allows around 50-70 percent of requested campsites per night, so the earlier you book, the more likely it is that you’ll get your desired sites.

Now that you know how to obtain a Yellowstone backcountry camping permit, it’s time to start planning your trip! Be sure to do plenty of research on Yellowstone’s ecology and wildlife, so you can properly prepare for all types of weather conditions and animal encounters.

When To Go To Yellowstone Backcountry Camping

The best time to go Yellowstone backcountry camping depends on what you’re looking for in a trip. Yellowstone is open year-round, but the park’s weather and wildlife patterns vary significantly depending on the season.

Yellowstone Backcountry Camping
Yellowstone National Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Spring

Spring is a great time to go Yellowstone backcountry camping if you’re hoping to see some wildlife. Yellowstone’s animals are just moving back to the park or coming out of hibernation, so you’ll have a good chance of spotting elk and bears in the park’s early-season meadows. However, spring can also be quite wet, and most roads in Yellowstone don’t open until late May or early June.

Summer

Summer is another popular time to enjoy Yellowstone backcountry camping. The park is open and accessible, so you’ll have your pick of backcountry sites. Yellowstone’s geothermal features are also at their peak during the summer months, so be sure to include some hot springs soaking on your itinerary! Just remember that Yellowstone can be quite crowded during the summer, so you may want to consider going during the off-peak season if you’re looking for a more peaceful trip.

Fall

If you’re looking to avoid Yellowstone’s crowds and enjoy quieter campsites, fall is the perfect time to go backcountry camping in Yellowstone. While some roads may close due to snowfall by late September or early October, Yellowstone is still accessible via most main roads, and you’ll be able to enjoy incredible fall foliage during your trip.

No matter when you choose to go Yellowstone backcountry camping, just remember to prepare yourself for all types of conditions.

What To Bring With You On Your Trip

When planning your Yellowstone backcountry camping trip, it’s important to be well-prepared. Here are some of the most essential items you’ll want to bring with you:

Sleep System

Clothing

Cooking/Food

Other Items

With these Yellowstone backcountry camping essentials, you’ll be prepared for anything the Yellowstone backcountry throws your way!

Tips For Finding The Best Backcountry Campsites In Yellowstone

When it comes to Yellowstone backcountry camping, there are over 2,000 miles of trails. In addition, there are thousands of possible backcountry campsites to choose from. With so many options, it can be tough to decide where to set up camp.

Here are some tips for finding the best Yellowstone backcountry campsites:

Yellowstone Backcountry Camping
Bauer, Erwin and Peggy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find the perfect Yellowstone backcountry campsite for your next adventure! Yellowstone backcountry camping is an unforgettable experience that will allow you to explore the park’s incredible scenery and wildlife. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you’ll be sure to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

How To Prepare For Your Yellowstone Backcountry Camping Trip

If you’re planning a Yellowstone backcountry camping trip, there are a few things you’ll need to do in order to prepare. Here are some tips for getting ready for your Yellowstone adventure:

By preparing well for your Yellowstone backcountry camping trip, you’ll be able to focus on enjoying all the incredible beauty and adventure that Yellowstone has to offer!

What To Do If You Encounter Wildlife While

Yellowstone Backcountry Camping
© Frank Schulenburg
Yellowstone Backcountry Camping
Doug Smith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone is home to a variety of wildlife, including bears, wolves, bison and elk. While Yellowstone’s wildlife is generally shy and unaggressive, it’s important to know what to do if you encounter a wild animal while backcountry camping.

Here are some tips for dealing with wildlife encounters:

  • Make sure you have your bear spray readily available and know how to use it.
  • If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and do not approach it.
  • If you encounter a bison, keep your distance and do not try to pet or feed it.

By following these tips, you can safely enjoy Yellowstone’s incredible wildlife while backcountry camping!

Leave No Trace Principles For

When backcountry camping in Yellowstone, it’s important to follow the Leave No Trace principles in order to protect the park’s fragile ecosystem. Here are 7 tips for Leave No Trace camping:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare for your trip.
  2. Pack out all trash, including food scraps and packaging.
  3. Dispose of human waste properly by digging a cathole and burying solid waste.
  4. Pack in and pack out all gear, including tents, sleeping bags and camp chairs.
  5. Respect Yellowstone’s wildlife by giving them space and not approaching them.
  6. Respect Yellowstone’s plants by not trampling them or picking flowers.
  7. Leave rocks, fossils and other natural objects as you found them.

By following these tips, you can help protect Yellowstone’s fragile ecosystem and ensure that future generations can enjoy its beauty!

Final Thoughts

Yellowstone backcountry camping is an unforgettable experience that will allow you to explore the park’s incredible scenery and wildlife. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you’ll be sure to have a safe and enjoyable trip. By following the Leave No Trace principles, you can help protect Yellowstone’s fragile ecosystem and ensure that future generations can enjoy its beauty!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you camp in the backcountry in Yellowstone?

Yes, Yellowstone National Park allows camping in the backcountry with a permit. Camping is allowed anywhere above the treeline, except within 100 feet of lakes and streams.

What do you need to camp in Yellowstone?

In order to camp in Yellowstone, you’ll need a valid backcountry permit, which can be obtained online or at any ranger station. You should also pack a sturdy backpack, water filters or purification tablets, a first aid kit, fire starters, camping gear like tents and sleeping bags, and a compass.

Is Yellowstone backcountry safe?

Yes, Yellowstone backcountry is generally safe, but it’s important to be prepared for wildlife encounters. Make sure you have your bear spray readily available and know how to use it. If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and do not approach it.

Can you camp on trails in Yellowstone?

Yellowstone National Park allows camping off-trail, but you must camp at least 100 feet away from lakes and streams. There are also some areas that are closed for camping, so it’s important to check the park’s regulations before your trip.

Is Yellowstone backcountry suitable for all skill levels?

Yes, Yellowstone backcountry is suitable for all skill levels. However, it’s important to be prepared for your trip and to know your limits. If you are a beginner, it may be best to go on a guided backcountry trip or hike with an experienced friend. With the right preparation and a cautious approach, Yellowstone backcountry can be enjoyed by anyone!

Can you camp in Yellowstone without a reservation?

While Yellowstone National Park does offer some campsites that can be reserved in advance, a number of campsites cannot be reserved and are available first-come, first-served. If you are planning to camp in Yellowstone without a reservation, it’s important to arrive early in the day and be prepared for the possibility of not finding a site.

Featured Photo: Yellowstone National Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Charles

Charles is a man who loves the outdoors. He moved to Wyoming specifically to spend more time in the mountains and wilderness. A hunter and fisherman, Charles knows how to enjoy nature and all that it has to offer. He is an outdoorsman through and through, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Charles is the President of Absaroka Enterprises, an company focuse on outdoor entertainment and endeavours. He's also an Editor for Alpha and Omega Outdoors, an online hunting, fishing, camping, trapping, and all around outdoors blog.

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