Pine Creek rushes out of the Absaroka mountains just south of Livingston, MT in Paradise Valley. Pine Creek Campground is at the end of a 3-mile paved road leading into the national forest. The campground has 27 sites set in the forest near the creek. The Pine Creek trailhead is adjacent to the campground and leads to Pine Creek Falls and Pine Creek Lake.
There are many public campgrounds along the Beartooth Highway. Which one is best for you will depend on a number of factors. To help you choose we’ve prepared this guide to the public campgrounds along the route. There is a page of additional information about each of these campgrounds – just click on the campground name to learn more
Beartooth Lake is a spectacular high-mountain lake located along the famous Beartooth Highway (U.S. Hwy 212). The lake is a popular destination that offers fishing, boating, camping, hiking, and backpacking in a pristine alpine setting. Beartooth Lake is immediately adjacent to Hwy 212 which is both good and bad because it makes access very easy but it also promotes heavy use.
Island Lake is a beautiful high-mountain lake on the Beartooth Plateau in Wyoming. It’s easily accessed from the Beartooth Highway (US 212) and is just a few miles west of the Beartooth Pass. Sitting at 9,518′ elevation, Island Lake covers 146 acres to a maximum depth of about 100ft. Island Lake is a very popular recreation area with a US Forest Service campground, a boat ramp and beach area, and a trailhead that is popular with hikers and backpackers.
M-K Campground is located alongside Rock Creek about 15 miles from Red Lodge, MT. It’s on the Rock Creek Road about 3 miles from the Beartooth Highway. Sitting at an elevation of 7,500 ft, M-K is remote, quiet, and scenic making it a place to vacation or spend the night.
Located on the Beartooth Highway 11 miles east of Cooke City, MT and 15 miles from Yellowstone Park, the Crazy Creek campground has 16 campsites near Crazy Creek. A special feature is a short trail to the scenic Crazy Creek Falls. Crazy Creek Campground is in the Clark’s Fork Ranger District of the Shoshone National Forest on the Wyoming section of the famous Beartooth Highway.
The Shoshone National Forest allows dispersed camping along a mile or so of the Beartooth Highway in the Pilot Creek area. There is one large area on the south side of US 212 about 9 miles east of Cooke City which has multiple undeveloped campsites as well as a vault toilet. There are a number of additional potential campsites on both sides of the road for a mile or so. While most of these sites have “user-built” fire rings, there are no other amenities.
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