As the country’s first national park, Yellowstone needs no introduction. Covering 3,400 square miles in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, but also encompassing territory in Montana and Idaho, this world-renowned park offers some of the most breathtaking natural scenery anywhere in the USA.
Regardless of whether you want to hike through remote backcountry, paddle a canoe through pristine waters, or just do some sightseeing, you’re well catered for throughout this extensive park. Best of all, if you’re planning on camping with an RV at Yellowstone National Park, there are 12 campgrounds to choose from.
In a park as big as Yellowstone, it’s hard to know where to start your outdoor adventure. There are five major hubs which provide easy access to Yellowstone’s best-known sites, but it takes several hours to drive from one entrance to the next.
However, the main attractions for most visitors are the otherworldly geothermal features dotted throughout the park. Believe it or not, Yellowstone National Park is actually an active supervolcano; it hasn’t erupted in over 600,000 years, but the heat from that last eruption is why the park is home to hot springs, bubbling geysers, and steam vents.
The most famous of all these volcanic wonders is Old Faithful, a cone geyser that erupts with pleasing regularity for anyone hoping to snap the perfect photo. Other highlights include the boardwalks at Norris Geyser Basin, which is the hottest and most diverse of all of Yellowstone’s thermal areas, and the remarkable beauty of Mammoth Hot Springs.
While there’s plenty of easily accessible scenery on offer, the best way to experience Yellowstone National Park is to lace up your hiking boots and explore the 900 miles of hiking trails. Of course, it’s up to you to choose an adventure based on your fitness level and the terrain you want to traverse.
For example, if you’re in excellent shape and want to admire some spectacular scenery, the 10-hour trek from the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and up Mount Washburn is well worth exploring. If you’re looking for something more sedate, investigate the geological features on the Natural Bridge Trail or go birdwatching on the Pelican Creek Nature Trail.
The wildlife watching opportunities on offer within the park will no doubt thrill nature lovers. A wide range of magnificent creatures call this part of the world home, and the best part is that you can spot many of them all year round. While you might come across bison and elk in the Old Faithful area, the two areas of the park that offer the most diversity of wildlife are Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley.
Depending on the time of year, you could see grizzly and black bears, wolves, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and much more. Just make sure you stay at a safe distance at all times – it’s not worth putting yourself in danger just to get the perfect selfie.
Camping at Yellowstone National Park
Planning on going RV camping at Yellowstone National Park? The good news is that there are 12 campgrounds spread throughout the park, all of which welcome motorhomes. So if you need to book an RV rental near Yellowstone National Park, check out the list of RV rentals in Cody (to the park’s east) and Jackson (to the south), or a little further afield in Billings.
However, please be aware that most campsites aren’t big enough for oversize units, so keep this in mind when renting an RV.
Reservations are required at each of the following campgrounds:
- Bridge Bay. Open May to September, Bridge Bay Campground sits on the shores of Yellowstone Lake. There are over 430 sites available, but no electricity, water or sewage hookups.
- Canyon. Located under a mile from the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Canyon Campground has over 270 sites. However, hookups aren’t available.
- Fishing Bridge RV Park. Located at the mouth of Yellowstone River, this Yellowstone National Park RV campground offers 340 sites. Sites fit RVs of up to 40 feet, with full hookups available.
- Grant Village. Open June to September, the Grant Village Campground sits on the southwestern shore of Yellowstone Lake. There are 400-plus sites for RVs and tents, but no hookups.
- Madison. Open from April to October, Madison Campground offers convenient access to Old Faithful. It features more than 270 sites, but there are no hookups.
The following campgrounds offer sites on a first-come, first-served basis:
- Indian Creek. Located near Mammoth Hot Springs, Indian Creek Campground offers 10 RV sites with a maximum vehicle length of 35 feet, and 35 sites with a 30-foot maximum length. However, there are no hookups.
- Lewis Lake. Lewis Lake Campground sits on the southeastern shore of Lewis Lake and offers 85 sites. It’s only suitable for RVs that are 25 feet or shorter, but there are no hookups.
- Mammoth. Open year-round, Mammoth Hot Springs Campground sits five miles south of Yellowstone’s northern entrance. There are 85 sites available, but the maximum RV length is 65 feet in summer and 30 feet in winter. There are no hookups.
- Norris. Open May to September, Norris Campground sits near the Norris Geyser Basin. There are two RV sites with a maximum vehicle length of 50 feet, and five sites with a maximum length of 30 feet. Once again, there are no hookups.
- Pebble Creek. Pebble Creek Campground is close to the park’s northeast entrance and offers 27 sites, including some pull-through sites for larger rigs.
- Slough Creek. Situated in Lamar Valley, this campground features 14 RV sites for vehicles up to 30 feet long. No hookups available.
- Tower Fall. Located near Tower Fall and accessed via a winding road, this campground accommodates RVs up to 30 feet long. However, the loop has a hairpin curve, and there are no hookups.
Exploring the Area
There’s much more to Yellowstone National Park than simply watching Old Faithful do her thing, so take the time to explore everything this beautiful region has to offer.
If you want somewhere you can admire the view and capture some memorable photos, head to Artist’s Point, which offers breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The lookout atop Mount Washburn, one of Yellowstone’s most popular hiking destinations, is also well worth visiting with your camera.
If you’re a history buff, you might want to visit the Lamar Buffalo Ranch Historic District or Roosevelt Lodge, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. And for a real taste of the Old West, book yourself in for an authentic dinner cookout that includes a wagon ride as part of the experience.
No matter what kind of outdoor adventure you’re planning, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Yellowstone National Park. There’s simply so much to see and do within the boundaries of the park that we couldn't possibly list it all here. And that’s before we even start talking about nearby attractions, such as Shoshone National Forest, cities like Idaho Falls and Bozeman, and a host of other destinations.
So book yourself an RV rental, pack your bags, and start planning your Yellowstone National Park camping experience.
Yellowstone National Park, WY is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Yellowstone National Park. Outdoorsy's Yellowstone National Park RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.