The Basin Campground is on the West Fork Rock Creek at 6,800 ft elevation. The 30 campsites are enjoyed by hikers, anglers, and mountain bikers. The campground is in the Custer Gallatin National Forest and is close to the Beartooth Highway and Red Lodge, MT making it a popular destination.
|Season||Mid-May – Mid-September|
|Number of sites||30 campsites|
|Amenities||Vault Toilets, Picnic tables, Fire pits, Some food storage|
|Accessible||Some sites and all latrines|
|Firewood||Yes – $ 5.00 per bundle in 2022|
|Attractions||Hiking, Fly fishing, close to Red Lodge and the Beartooth Scenic Highway|
|Nearest City||Red Lodge, MT – 8 miles|
Directions to the Basin Campground
The Basin Campground is on the West Fork Road which follows the West Fork Rock Creek westward from Red Lodge, MT. The West Fork Road intersects US 212 (the Beartooth Highway) on the edge of Red Lodge, MT, 1 mile from downtown. Turn off US 212 onto the West Fork Road and continue on the paved road for 7 miles to the campground.
Basin Campground has 30 sites arranged around a single loop. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring with a grate. Most sites have steel bear-proof food storage cabinets but some sites share a cabinet. Water pumps and accessible vault toilets are spread throughout the campground. Although all of the latrines are accessible, only three campsites have accessible picnic tables.
80% of the campsites can be reserved in advance leaving 20% for those without reservations. This is a very popular campground so, if you don’t have reservations, plan to arrive early to secure a campsite. There is a nightly camping fee ($18.00 in 2022) which you pay in advance if you reserve online. If you are paying on-site be sure to have cash or a personal check. The same holds true if you want to purchase firewood from the camp host. Here is complete information about Basin Campground reservations.
If the Basin Campground is full you can continue on the West Fork Road to the Cascade Campground or take advantage of the dispersed camping opportunities in the area. There are many other campground choices in the Red Lodge area which are all described in our comprehensive guide to Rock Creek Campgrounds.
Hiking, Biking & Fishing
Visitors to the Basin Campground have many opportunities for enjoying this beautiful natural area. The West Fork Rock Creek offers great fly fishing for wild rainbow, brown and brook trout. While most fish are fairly small, the creek does have 10″ plus trout. Make sure you have a valid license if you plan to fish.
There are a variety of high quality hiking trails in the immediate area. The trailhead for the Basin Lakes Trail (trail 361) is right across the road from the campground. Designated as a National Recreation Trail, this very popular trail leads upward to the Upper and Lower Basin Creek Lakes. Although the trail is not officially in a wilderness area, it has all the characteristics of a true wilderness hike. The lower lake is a 2.5 mile hike while the trip to the upper lake is 4 miles.
The Silver Run trail area (trail #102) is very close and has multiple loops that are popular with mountain bikers as well as hikers. There are many other nearby hiking trails to be explored. The Forest Service has printed a map of hiking trails in the area.
Wild Bill Lake
1 1/4 mile east of the campground on the West Fork Road is Wild Bill Lake which offers hiking, boating, and fishing. It’s a unique area that is well worth the time for a visit. It is one of the few places that offers accessible fishing opportunities.
The parking area is right along the road and the lake is a very short walk. It’s scenic and peaceful.
For additional information about the Basin Campground contact:
Beartooth Ranger District
6811 US Hwy 212
Red Lodge, MT 59068