Named for the famous mountain man John Colter, this campground is right on the Beartooth Scenic Byway and is just a few miles from Cooke City, MT and Yellowstone National Park. This is prime grizzly bear country so the Colter Campground only allows camping in hard-sided campers – No Tents Allowed! The campground is in the Gardiner District of the Custer Gallatin National Forest.
The Soda Butte Campground is the closest campground to Yellowstone Park along the famous Beartooth Scenic Byway. It’s just outside of Cooke City, MT only 4.5 miles from the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone. The campground is in prime bear country and is only open for hardsided campers – trailers, motor homes or truck campers. No tent camping is allowed.
|Soda Butte Campground|
|Season||July – September|
|Number of sites||27 sites – Hard Sided Campers only|
|Amenities||Water, Pit Toilets, Picnic tables, Fire pits, Food storage boxes|
|Attractions||Close to Yellowstone Park|
|Nearest City||Cooke City – 1.5 miles|
Soda Butte Campground is located in the Gardiner District of the Custer Gallatin National Forest. The campground is open from early July thru September. The exact season is weather dependent so check in advance if you are coming early or late.
The 27 campsites in the Soda Butte Campground fill up almost every night in the summer. There is no reservation system and all sites are available first-come first-served. There is no way to check site availability in advance so plan to arrive as early in the day as possible to try to secure a site. If the campground is full try the Colter Campground which is just a mile away. There are many other choices in our guide to Beartooth Highway Camping & Campgrounds.
Each campsite has a picnic table, a fire pit and bear proof food storage. Water and pit toilets are available in a central location. There are no hookups for campers. The Forest Service recommends a vehicle length limit of 48 ft. There is a nightly camping fee which you must pay on-site. Cash and check only.
The campground is located at about 7,500 ft elevation and temperatures can be colder than you expect, especially at night. Between the high elevation and the crystal clear atmosphere you can expect to have some of the best star gazing you have ever experienced.
For more information contact:
Custer Gallatin National Forest
P.O. Box 5; 805 Scott St.
Gardiner, MT 59030
At the Missouri Headwaters State Park three great rivers; the Madison, the Jefferson, and the Gallatin join to form the Missouri River. The Missouri flows 2,341 miles downstream until it joins the Mississippi River and ultimately reaches the ocean in New Orleans. In 1805 the Lewis & Clark expedition became the first known European explorers to reach the area. They traveled up the Missouri and named the three rivers they found coming together here.
The Blacktail Creek Trail (trail #337) is a short trail in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. It connects the Davis Creek Trail (trail #38) in the West Boulder River drainage to the North Fork Deep Creek Trail (trail #45) in the Yellowstone River drainage and the Elephanthead Mountain trail (trail #37) in the Mission Creek Drainage. Along the way, it connects to the trail to Blacktail Lake (trail #105).
The Davis Creek trail (trail #38) runs into the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness from the West Boulder River. It travels about 9 miles to the top of the Davis Creek Divide where it connects with the South Fork Deep Creek Trail (trail #388). Along the way, it intersects the Blacktail Creek Trail (trail #337) which leads to Blacktail Lake and continues on to join several other trails.
Blacktail Lake is a small mountain lake nestled in the Absaroka Mountains near Livingston, MT. The lake is 4.2 acres and sits at 8,750 ft elevation. It’s used by day hikers, backpackers, and horse packers. While Blacktail Lake is the only lake in the West Boulder drainage that has a trail to it, it can be reached using three different trails that are in three different drainages.
The North Fork Deep Creek Trail (Forest Service Trail #45) takes hikers into the Absaroka Mountains near Livingston, MT. The trail climbs into the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness for about 5.5 miles, ascending about 3,500 ft in that distance. The trail ends at an intersection with the Elephanthead Mountain Trail (trail #37) and the Blacktail Creek trail (trail #337).
George Lake is a small, rarely visited lake in Paradise Valley south of Livingston. The lake is only about 7 acres in size and sits at 7,900 ft elevation. George Lake is at the end of a 5 1/4 mile hike into the Absaroka Mountains in the Custer Gallatin National Forest. The trail is open to mountain biking and is especially popular early in the season.
Suce Creek offers hiking, mountain biking, and cross country skiing access into the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness near Livingston, MT. The primary hiking attraction is a 6-mile loop trail that takes you from stream bottom to a scenic ridgeline. For those seeking more, the trail continues on to Livingston Peak then connects with the backcountry trail system heading deeper into the wilderness.
The Yellowstone River is one of our nation’s most remarkable treasures. It’s the last major free-flowing river in the lower 48 states, traveling 680 dam-free miles. The river begins as a melting snowbank on Yount’s Peak deep in the Wyoming wilderness south of Yellowstone Park. From here it runs north then east until it joins the Missouri River in North Dakota.