Categories
Yellowstone Area Hikes and Attractions

Beartooth Highway Camping and Campgrounds

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some links on this site are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

There are many public campgrounds along the Beartooth Highway. Which campground 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

NameDistance From Red LodgeDistance From YellowstoneNotes
Soda Butte Campground63.5 mi4.5 miHard sided campers only – No Tents
Colter Campground61.9 mi6.1 miHard sided campers only – no tents
Fox Creek Campground56.9 mi11.1 miThis campground was closed in 2019 & 2020
Pilot Creek Dispersed Camping55.3 mi12.7 miDispersed camping sites on both sides of the highway
Crazy Creek Campground53.1 mi14.9 miEasy access to Crazy Creek Falls
Lake Creek Campground50.5 mi17.5 miLocated on Chief Joseph Highway .8 mi from Beartooth Highway
Lily Lake Campground49.mi18.5 miPartially Developed camping
Beartooth Lake Campground41.3 mi26.7 mi
Island Lake Campground38 mi30 mi
Rock Creek Road Campgrounds12 mi56 mi4 campgrounds are located on this road
Parkside Campground.4 mi from Beartooth Highway
Greenough Campground.8 mi from Beartooth Highway
Limber Pine Campground.9mi from Beartooth Highway
MK Campground2.9 mi from Beartooth Highway
East Side Access Road Campgrounds8 mi60 mi2 campgrounds are located on this road
Rattin Campground.3 mi from Beartooth Highway
Sheridan Campground1.8 mi from Beartooth Highway
West Fork Rock Creek Road1 mi67 mi3 campgrounds are located on this road
Palisades Campground Road1 mi from Beartooth Highway
Basin Campground7 mi from Beartooth Highway
Cascade Campground10.3 mi from Beartooth Highway

General Beartooth Highway Camping Information

Campgrounds are located along the entire 68 miles of the Beartooth Highway but only a couple are located near the middle of the route. Most are closer to Yellowstone Park and Red Lodge, MT. The highway is in Montana on both ends but much of the middle is in Wyoming. Campgrounds are located in both states which won’t matter to most campers but it is important if you are fishing.

Beartooth Campground Fees and Reservations

Most campgrounds on the Beartooth Highway have no reservations and are open to whoever secures a spot first. Many campsites fill during the summer months so try to plan to occupy a site early in the day if possible. It’s no fun to be searching for a campsite in the evening only to discover that every campground is full.

Except for the dispersed camping areas, all of these campgrounds charge a nightly camping fee. Fees are paid on site so be sure to have a checkbook or cash to make your payment. Credit and Debit cards are not accepted!

Beartooth Highway Campground Weather

Campgrounds along the Beartooth Highway are located at elevations ranging from 7,000 ft to 9.500 ft so be prepared for extreme weather conditions. Cold and windy conditions are common and nighttime temperatures in the 30s or colder are not uncommon. Also, rain (or even snow) storms can appear suddenly so make sure you have appropriate clothing and camping gear.

Enjoy the Night Skies on the Beartooth Plateau

Camping along the Beartooth Highway offers some of the best stargazing in the lower 48 states. These are remote campgrounds with no man-made lights interfere with the night sky. You are surrounded by vast wilderness and the air is pure and clean with no pollution to block out the stars. Finally, the higher altitude provides a thinner atmosphere and enhances the viewing.

Full moon nights are almost bright enough to read by. During the dark times of the month the sky is ablaze with the milky way. It’s a real treat to see the amazing display overhead when you are camping here.

The Beartooth Highway is Bear Country

While it is unlikely that you will encounter a bear, always be aware that grizzly and black bears call this their home. It’s vitally important that you take care to keep your campsite clean. Avoid dropping any food scraps to the ground. Keep your food stored properly unless you are cooking or eating. Most of the campgrounds have steel bear-proof food lockers at each campsite and you should always use them. When there is no food locker be sure to keep you food inside of a vehicle.

Always carry bear spray when you are in bear country and be sure you understand exactly how to use it. It’s too late to figure it out when you need it! Here’s more information about being bear aware.

Fishing & Boating at Beartooth Highway Campgrounds

A variety of fishing opportunities are available to campers. Three of the campgrounds are located on lakes while several others offer easy access to stream fishing. You always need a fishing license so make sure you have the proper license before fishing. Even though this is remote country, I’ve visited with game wardens checking boats and anglers. Make sure you are legal before you fish.

If you are boating on one of the lakes (fishing or just boating) you must first have a Wyoming Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection and a WY AIS Decal. This applies to any type of boat or watercraft you use on the water. Fortunately, the Top of the World Store is authorized to conduct watercraft inspections.

Enjoy the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

Along most of the Beartooth Highway the 943,648 acre Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness boundary is just south of the highway. Many of the campgrounds offer easy access tot he wilderness which is a prime destination for hikers and backpackers. To get the most out of your visit I recommend you have both maps and a guide book. I especially recommend:
Hiking
Day Hikes in the Beartooth Mountains
Hiking the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
Fishing
Fishing the Beartooths – An Angler’s Guide
National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness East [Cooke City, Red Lodge]