Camping & Campgrounds Gardiner, Paradise Valley, Livingston

Canyon Campground – Upper Yellowstone River

Canyon Campground is a Custer Gallatin Forest campground located just across US 89 from the Yellowstone River in Yankee Jim Canyon. The campground has 17 sites that are available on a first-come-first-served basis. It’s 16 miles to Yellowstone Park making this one of the closest public campgrounds to the park.

SeasonOpen all year
Number of sites17 campsites
AmenitiesVault Toilets, Picnic tables, Fire pits, Some food storage
AccessibleSome sites and all latrines
AttractionsYellowstone River, Fly Fishing, Whitewater, Close to Yellowstone Park
Nearest CityGardiner, MT – 15 miles

Campground Basics


Canyon Campground is right on US 89 15 miles north of Gardiner, MT, and 38 miles south of Livingston. It’s a Custer Gallatin National Forest campground that has only basic improvements.

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Photo of typical campsite in Canyon Campground showing bear-proof food storage cabinet
Canyon Campground is in bear country and most campsites have bear-proof food storage cabinets. Always keep a clean camp!

Campground Details

There are 17 campsites that are open to all types of camping. However, the Forest Service advises that there is a 50′ maximum length. Note that the sites are all “back-in”. None are pull-thru sites.

There are vault toilets in several locations. There is no water and no trash removal.

Camping Fees

The nightly camping fee is paid onsite at the campground. Cash and personal check only – no credit cards so plan ahead.

Canyon Campground does not use reservations and all sites are first-come, first-served. Unreserved campsites are scarce in the Upper Yellowstone area so plan to arrive early if you hope to secure a site. If you can’t get a site here try the Carabella Recreation Site which is 2 miles north on US 89 at the mouth of Yankee Jim Canyon. Another camping option is the Tom Miner Campground.

Physical Setting

Canyon Campground is located in the middle of Yankee Jim Canyon where the canyon walls are close to the river and the road. The campground is in an area that butts against the steep wall. Massive boulders that have tumbled down from above are scattered throughout the campground and the entire area is mostly wooded.

Campsite in Canyon Campground near Yellowstone Park on US89
The campsites are set in the trees and among the boulders that have tumbled down the mountainside.

Since the canyon is narrow, the campground is right next to the highway. It can be very noisy with highway traffic. Unfortunately, this is a major entrance road to Yellowstone Park and it often has traffic at all hours.


Canyon Campground is located alongside the Yellowstone River which is one of our nation’s treasurers. The Yellowstone provides world-class fly fishing along with outstanding whitewater and scenic floating. Learn more about the river in our Complete Guide to the Yellowstone River.

It’s also possible to visit Yellowstone Park from here. The north entrance is 15 miles down the highway. You could set up a base camp here and do day trips into the park.