Originally named the Paradise Access, the Dan Bailey Fishing Access Site and campground sits on the east bank of the Yellowstone River, just downstream from the Mill Creek bridge, in the middle of Paradise Valley. The site is located on Hwy 541 (East River Road) 15 miles south of Livingston. There are 4 campsites set in the trees along the river.
|Number of sites||4 campsites|
|2021 camping Fee||$5.00 – $18.00|
|Amenities||Vault Toilets, Picnic tables, Fire rings|
|Accessible||Some sites and latrines|
|Attractions||Fly fishing, river floating, nearby hiking, scenic views|
|Nearest City||Livingston, MT – 15 miles|
Directions to Dan Bailey Campground
The entrance to Dan Bailey Fishing Access is right on Hwy 541 (East River Road) about 15 miles south of Livingston, Mt. It is just north of the intersection of Mill Creek Road and Hwy 541. Visitors coming from Yellowstone Park or Gardiner, MT take US 89 north to the Mill Creek Road and turn left onto 541 just across the Yellowstone River.
The very short access road leads to the river’s edge and the campground.
There are 4 campsites at Dan Bailey and they take up all the space. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no reservations! The campsites are rather sparse with a table and fire ring in each site. There are vault toilets but no water or trash removal.
If you are unable to find a campsite here you might try Mallard’s Rest Fishing Access Site which is a couple of miles downstream on the opposite side of the river. Loch Leven Access is just a few miles north on Hwy 541 and has 17 non-reservable sites. Another option is the Snowbank Campground which is about 12 miles up Mill Creek Road.
Fees and Payments
There is a nightly camping fee that must be paid on-site. There is no option for credit card payment – cash only! Come with cash – the nearest ATM is a long way away.
Dan Bailey Access sits on the riverbank in a row of mature cottonwood trees that lines the river. These trees don’t extend inland very far but the campsites are mostly in the trees. Most of the site is taken up by the campsites and there is no real hiking or exploring onsite.
Although the sites are very close together, this is a quiet and relaxing campground right on the river bank. The Yellowstone is a majestic river and camping here is a treat.
The Yellowstone River is a world-class trout stream. At lower flows, it’s possible to fish right in the access site and ambitious anglers can fish a long distance by wading up or downstream. Wading is possible only at low flows. At higher water levels the Yellowstone is powerful and dangerous. Never try to wade into a fast current. I generally avoid wading if the river is above my knees.
The Dan Bailey boat ramp is used by some float fishers to hand launch their boat. However, few fly fishing float trips start or finish here.
Rafts, kayaks, paddleboards, and even inner tubes are used for floating this section of the Yellowstone. With lots of river accesses to chose from it’s easy to plan a great float. Inquire at Dan Baileys in Livingston for more information.
Hiking near the Dan Bailey Campground
Dan Bailey Fishing Access is located close to Mill Creek which is one of the best hiking areas in Paradise Valley. Passage Creek Falls is a 5-mile hike on an easy trail which makes it a popular choice. There is excellent hiking through a mountain forest on the East Fork Mill Creek Trail. You can hike any distance on this lightly used trail. Just turn around when you have gone far enough.