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5 Best Hiking Trails & Campgrounds In Yellowstone National Park

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Jen Hong

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places to visit in the entire United States. Over 67 species of mammals, 300 different birds, and 16 species of fish have made Yellowstone their home. It is an excellent destination for viewing wildlife like bison in their natural habitat.  

Fully embrace the Great Outdoors by camping overnight in one of Yellowstone’s many campgrounds. Doing so allows for easy access to trailheads leading to the national park’s most noteworthy sights, such as the Electric Peak, Lamar Valley, and of course, the iconic Old Faithful geyser

This post will review some of Yellowstone National Park’s best scenic hiking trails and campgrounds. We will also provide some helpful tips and tricks tailored to Yellowstone’s trails to ensure that you have the best hiking trip yet.

Tips For Hiking In Yellowstone National Park

Before you embark on the trails at Yellowstone National Park, let’s briefly go over a few tips that will surely make your hiking experience even better. 

  • Drink A LOT of water. You will surely get tired after a long morning hiking through Yellowstone’s trails, especially in the summer when temperatures may reach the high 70s or low 80s. 
  • Try to avoid hiking alone. Yellowstone has a lot of vast wildernesses, home to bears, wolves, and even mountain lions. You should hike with a group or bring a bear bell and spray along in your hiking bag for safety reasons. Loud noise is helpful when you encounter wildlife to get them to back off in time to make a swift escape. 
  • Wear layers. Pack lots of layers to combat any unpredictable weather you may experience during your Yellowstone hiking excursion. We suggest wearing thin, comfortable clothing so that you can freely move around on challenging treks. 
  • Lastly, take your time. Yellowstone National Park boasts an abundance of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. So, slow down and take in the scenery throughout your hike rather than rushing to reach the end of the trailhead. 

Best Hiking Trails In Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is home to over 250 distinctive scenic hiking trails. They vary from easy to challenging, meaning that there is an ideal trail for you regardless of skill level. You are sure to stumble across wildlife, massive geysers, and beautiful landscapes while making your way through the trailhead. 

Below are some of the best hiking trails that you will not want to leave Yellowstone without seeing:

Where To Camp In Yellowstone National Park

If you want unlimited access to Yellowstone National Park’s stellar scenic hiking trails, you will want to see accommodations within the park. There are twelve campgrounds situated across the park with over two thousand individual campsites. 

A few of the top campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park include: 

1. Fishing Bridge RV Park

Situated on the north end of Yellowstone Lake, Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only campground in Yellowstone with full electric, water, and sewage RV hook-ups. Tent camping is not allowed in the area since it often doubles as a hangout for grizzly bears. 

So, those bringing their trailers along will likely want to seek accommodations at this lovely RV Park. Since campsites tend to book up quickly, be sure to make your reservation at least one month in advance. 

2. Grant Village Campground

Only a quick hike away from the miraculous West Thumb Geyser Basin, this laid-back campground has it all. Grant Village is among the largest campgrounds in Yellowstone, offering over 400 campsites to accommodate tents, small campers, and RVs. 

Each campsite boasts a picnic table and fire pit, ideal for open campfire cooking. Most of these sites are within close proximity of the campground’s restrooms, complete with flush toilets and hot showers. There is also a restaurant, general store, post office, and gas station less than a mile from the campground’s entrance. 

3. Indian Creek Campground

Indian Creek Campground has some of the best views of Northern Yellowstone atop nearby Electric Peak. It is the tallest peak in the Gallatin Range, with an elevation of about 11,000 feet. 

The campground has 70 sites for tent and RV camping. However, there are no on-site electric or water hook-ups for trailers. Picnic tables, fire rings, and food storage lockers are available at each campsite. 

Since Indian Creek Campground is popular, we strongly urge visitors to reserve their campsite at least six months in advance. The area is desirable thanks to its proximity to other Yellowstone attractions like Electric Peak,  Mammoth Hot Springs, and Osprey Falls. 

4. Mammoth Campground

Unlike the other campgrounds on this list, Mammoth Campground is the only one open year-round and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Thus, you do not have to worry about reserving a campsite at this facility. 

Mammoth Campground features 85 campsites and communal restrooms with flush toilets. Several campsites can accommodate RVs and trailers, but no electric, water, or sewage hook-ups are available. Be on the lookout for Elk or Bison sightings around the campground! 

A prime reason to stay at this Northern Yellowstone campground is the straightforward access to the Mammoth Hot Springs. Take a quick soak in the springs after a long day on the trails before returning to your campsite.

5. Slough Creek Campground

Slough Creek Campground is the perfect place for animal lovers. It is adjacent to the vibrant Lamar Valley, where you may encounter herds of bison, coyotes, bald eagles, grizzly bears, badgers, and deer. 

The campground itself has 23 campsites suitable for tents and small trailers. Each site is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, and restroom access. It is also conveniently located near a historic former wagon route now called the Slough Creek Trailhead. Slough Creek Campground is smaller and more low-key yet popular among travelers. You will want to make reservations well in advance to guarantee a campsite.

Do I Need To Make A Reservation For Yellowstone National Park Campgrounds?

All of Yellowstone National Park’s campgrounds require a reservation, except for Mammoth Campground. You can make reservations for these campgrounds online or over the phone. Several of the campgrounds, including Indian Creek and Lewis Lake, are posted on Recreation.gov. Meanwhile, the remaining five campgrounds may be reserved via the Yellowstone National Park Lodges website.

Jen Hong

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