Carbella Rec Site
Guide

Introduction

Carbella Recreation Site is a popular fishing access site that sits on the upper Yellowstone River where visitors and guests get to bring their angling pursuits and other recreational interests to life. This Bureau of Land Management site lies more or less along Highway 89, Montana and so is a simple drive-in park for guests coming in from Livingston in the north and Gardiner in the south. The road that leads directly to the site is gravel and unpaved.

Up to five campsites are available in this BLM park, all of which are open all year. Tents and RVs are accommodated in the site, but vehicles must not be longer than 35 feet. Maximum stay in the recreation site is 14 days. Facilities available include restrooms, a boat ramp, picnic tables, frills, and a parking area.

Popular activities that campers engage in at this BLM park are fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing. Species of trout are the commonly caught fish here. Hikers, mountain bikers, cyclists and ATV riders find trails to explore in the vicinity and at Custer Gallatin National Forest. Picnic sites are available at this park and nearby at Sphinx. Mountaineering opportunities also abound on any of the surrounding mountains.

RV Rentals in Carbella Rec Site

Transportation

Driving

Carbella Recreation Site lies about 34 miles south of Livingston, along Yellowstone River in Montana. This Bureau of Land Management site is easy to access as it is situated off US Highway 89. So, guests coming in from Livingston in the north or Gardiner in the south can simply drive into the site from the Highway. The turn-off point from the highway to the recreation site is Tom Miner Road, a paved road. As soon as you enter Tom Miner Road, take the first right turn just a few meters from the junction on to an unpaved gravel road which will take you the recreation site.

Plenty of room for parking is available in the area, right from Tom Miner Road all the way to the park. RVs, trailers, and cars can be accommodated within the parking spaces, as long as they don’t exceed the stated maximum vehicle length in the park (35 feet).

Equipment rental services for RVs and motorhomes are available at Gardiner and Livingston.

Parking

Public Transportation

For guests that wish to make use of public transportation services to this BLM site, Karst Stage operates a bus service from Bozeman to Gardiner once every day. A shuttle service is also provided by Mountain Runner Shuttles from Bozeman Airport to the south-central Montana area.

Campgrounds and parking in Carbella Rec Site

Campsites in Carbella Rec Site

Reservations camping

Livingston / Paradise Valley KOA

Livingston / Paradise Valley KOA is a modern campground located east of Brisbin, a few miles south of Livingston, along Yellowstone River. The road that leads to the campground can be rough at times, so bear that in mind and drive slowly. This campground is open between May and October, and the campsites are available by reservation. Cottonwood trees shade the campsites.

There are 48 campsites here that accommodate tents and RVs. Full (electric, water, and sewer) and partial (electric and water) hookups are provided. Other amenities include Wi-Fi, pool, pavilion, and firewood. Restrooms, showers, and fire rings are also available.

Things to do here range from fishing, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding to bird watching.

The maximum vehicle length here is 90 feet.

First-come first-served

Canyon Campground

Canyon Campground is a National Forest Campground located south of Carbella Recreation Site along the Yellowstone River. This campground is open all year and offers campsites on a first-come, first-served basis only. Pets are welcome, as long as you keep them on a leash.

There are 17 campsites in this campground, with amenities such as fire grates, toilets, and picnic tables. Trash pickup is not available, so pack out what you pack in. Firewood is not available.

The roads in the campground cannot accommodate vehicles longer than 48 feet, while the largest parking spur is 12 feet by 50 feet.

The camping limit in the campground is 16 days.

Seasonal activities in Carbella Rec Site

In-Season

Trails

Hiking, horseback riding, and all-terrain vehicle riding trails are available around the Carbella Recreation Site area and at Custer Gallatin National Forest. Just south of the recreation site, the Joe Brown Trailhead offers hikers the opportunity to explore the Yankee Jim Canyon.

Most of the equestrian riding opportunities are provided in the National Forest, where some of the campgrounds are even equipped with facilities designed to accommodate stock. Horseback riders get to ride along designated equestrian trails here.

Picnicking

Carbella Recreation Site is a good place to visit with your family and friends and share meals. The view of the river from the picnic sites adds a certain splendor to the setting and offers you the chance to enjoy the cool breeze as you feast.

Nearby at Sphinx, the Sphinx Creek Picnic Area is another facility open year-round for picnicking. Featuring two picnic sites, open parking, and ADA-accessible toilets and trails, this picnic area attracts guests in the area. Because no trash receptacles are provided here, you are required to pack out whatever you pack in.

Fishing

Carbella Recreation Site is a popular fishing access site to the Yellowstone River. The main fish found in the river are brook trout and rainbow trout. Brown trout is often caught in the river too, but not as commonly as the other two trout species.

Lake, pond, river, and stream fishing opportunities are available at Custer Gallatin National Forest where guests can engage in fly-fishing, ice fishing, and other angling experiences. Get a fishing license to be able to make the best of your angling adventure.

Off-Season

Dailey Lake

As a boating enthusiast, you may want to consider visiting Dailey Lake, located a few miles northeast of this BLM park, and accessible via the unpaved Dailey Lake.

This lake provides two boat ramps with docks and also offers good opportunities to fish for rainbow trout, walleye, and yellow perch. Other native fish species found in the lake are brook stickleback, longnose sucker, white sucker, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Campsites are also available in a campground by the lake where tents and trailers are allowed.

Mountaineering

There are different places where you can engage in rock and mountain climbing around Carbella Recreation Site, all thanks to the various mountains that surround the BLM park.

It’s up to you to choose whichever one of Dome Mountain, Red Mountain, Mans Foot Mountain or Sphinx Mountain to climb. Just ensure you have the appropriate gear and carry enough water to sustain you through the trip. Rest assured you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views at the peak of these landscapes.

Mountain Biking

If you’ve got your bike and wish to ride up mountains, visit Custer Gallatin National Forest to pursue your recreational interest. The best time for this sport is between June and October, so time your visit well. If you have an electric bike, only ride on the motorized routes in the Forest.

When riding in fall, ensure you wear a bright-colored vest and attach a bear bell to your bike so that hunters will be alerted to your presence.

Find the perfect campsite.