Nearly 250 years old, Yellowstone National Park is not only the first national park in the United States, but also in the world. For this reason alone, it should draw your interest as an outdoor lover, but it doesn’t end there. From its natural beauties to diverse wildlife, there is a lot to be discovered here. If you are planning on visiting it soon, here is everything you need to know about camping in Yellowstone National Park.
The majority of the park (%96) is located in Wyoming, though it has parts in Montana and Idaho. %5 of its land is rivers and lakes, and Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water. The lake is also the highest altitude lake in the United States as it is 7,733 feet above the sea level.
%80 of its nearly 3,500 sq mi land is made up from dense forests. The park itself is also quite high: Its average elevation is 8,000 feet above sea level since it’s mostly on Yellowstone Plateau. There are also 9 smaller, named plateaus on Yellowstone Plateau that differ in altitudes. Yellowstone National Park also houses hundreds of different waterfalls, some still undiscovered. There are many minor and major mountain ranges in the park, as well as 3 deep canyons.
The center of the park has the Yellowstone Caldera, which is a volcanic caldera and a supervolcano. The volcanic ash that this supervolcano has created buried the nearby forests a long time ago and created one of the park’s biggest attractions: its large petrified forests, which are basically trees that have transformed to stone by a process called permineralization.
Because of the many plateaus and mountains it houses, Yellowstone National Park varies in altitude a lot, which causes its weather to be rather unpredictable and dependent on its altitude. Generally speaking, since its average altitude is high, it is rather chilly in spring and fall seasons with daytime temperatures between 30 – 60 °F and night temperatures between -5 – 20 °F.
Summer is considerably warmer with 60 – 80 °F average temperatures during daytime depending on your altitude, but the nighttime is still cold with 30 – 40 °F. Considering these statistics, it is no surprise that winters in Yellowstone National Park are very harsh and cold. Average winter temperatures are around 0 – 20 °F and it goes below zero from time to time.
Yellowstone is a big and diverse place, so there are various different recreational activities you can take part in, and different kinds of camping are really popular. There are 12 different campgrounds to meet this demand, and each one can give you a different experience.
Yellowstone is famous for its amazingly diverse wildlife, so if you want a chance to take a look at it, you need a campground in or near the Lamar Valley, which houses all kinds of astonishing wildlife, such as wolves, elk, bison, coyote, moose, bear, deer and eagles. Slough Creek, Pebble Creek and Tower Falls Campground are suited for this job.
If you are looking for a campground that is near Yellowstone Lake, Grant Village Campground, Fishing Bridge RV Park and Bridge Bay Campground are your spots.
If you want to watch the breathtaking sceneries of Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Canyon Campgrounds is right near it.
Yellowstone also houses many astonishing geyser basins, so if you want a chance to see them, Madison and Norris Campground are your best bets.
If you are planning on RV camping, the campgrounds that permit RVs are Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, Mammoth, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, Fishing Bridge RV Park and Tower Fall Campgrounds.
Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is an extremely popular location for many different events and recreational activities, especially in summer months. If you hate the cold, don’t mind the huge crowds and are able to make a reservation, months before your trip, summer can be ideal for you. Plus, there are festivals and other social events in Yellowstone during summer. If you don’t like crowded facilities, booking for spring or fall seasons is a good idea. Most facilities are open at this point, and it is not as populated as summer, and not as cold as winter. Unless you like winter camping in really harsh and cold environments with heavy snowfall, don’t go in winter months.
Are you planning a camp? Explore the camp checklist.
Are you new? Check out the camping beginner's guide.
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