BEST AREAS FOR WILDERNESS CAMPING
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK 2,020,625 acres in Wyoming (2,219,736 acres total). Located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, with small portions in Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is our largest National Park outside of Alaska. The park is slowly recovering from the damage suffered during the major forest fires of 1988.
Most of the area is managed as wilderness. The park is most famous for Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and literally thousands of other geysers and hot springs. Also notable are gigantic Yellowstone Lake and the 1,500-foot-deep Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, which has a 308-foot waterfall.
Crossing the region is a section of the Continental Divide. Highest elevation is 11,358-foot Eagle Peak. Along with numerous mountain ranges there are high plateaus, open meadows, conifer forests, and some sagebrush desert. Among the wildlife are grizzly and black bear, elk, antelope, mule deer, moose, and bighorn sheep.
Activities: Backpacking and hiking are available on over 1,100 miles of trails. Difficulty varies from easy to strenuous. Bushwhacking or cross-country travel is not recommended due to thermal hazards and also the denseness of the forest.
Horseback riding is allowed on many but not all trails. Use of horses before July 1 must be approved by a ranger. Bikes are permitted on park roads only, and prohibited in the backcountry.
Cross-country skiing is a winter option on trails in the park. Canoeing is possible on Yellowstone Lake. Fishing is available by permit, but hunting is not allowed.
Camping Regulations: A free permit is required in order to camp in the backcountry and to make campfires. A large number of designated campsites are located throughout the park, and camping is restricted to these established sites.
Permits must be obtained in person from a ranger station no more than two days in advance. Numbers of campers are limited for each site, and the maximum stay allowed at campsites ranges from one to three nights. Since there’s snow here from fall through spring, summer is the main camping season.
Some regions of the park are restricted or closed to camping for part of the year to minimize the possibility of encounters with bears. Campfires are allowed only in established fire pits, and prohibited at some sites. Pets are not permitted.
For Further Information: Yellowstone National Park, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190; (307)344-7381.