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
by Stan Clements
It was probably the best I had ever seen the stars in my life.
It was the night of the new moon. The air was cold and dry. We were at high altitude, in wilderness miles from the lights of the smallest of towns. It was dark out. It was really dark out, good old country dark, here in Montana’s Beartooth Wilderness. My friend Bob and I had maybe the most adventurous drive of our lives over the Goose Lake Jeep Trail, just to get to the spot where we donned our packs. We walked and climbed into this rugged country, bushwhacking off the official trails, to reach remote Anvil Lake.