Yellowstone Camping: Do You Have a Reservation?

Yellowstone Camping: Do You Have a Reservation?

Written by on March 3, 2021

The 149-year-old park took a step into the 21st Century by announcing the most popular campsites in Yellowstone will operate on a reservation system.

Effective March 24, 2020, at 8 a.m., several Yellowstone campgrounds within the park will transition to reservations, rather than the first-come, first-serve model. This affects the high season at Mammoth, the entire season at Slough Creek, and over half of Pebble Creek.

Public requests for a reservation system at park campgrounds influenced this decision. The National Park Service (NPS) and are working together to provide the most efficient and fair system for all eager campers.

Park officials say the decision to transition to reservations for these campgrounds is for visitor reassurance. Park guests can now plan a Yellowstone camping trip with full confidence a campsite is waiting for them.

This will “enrich the visitor experience by reducing traffic congestion at campgrounds, improving safety, and eliminating uncertainty and frustration.”

With this change, about half (41%) of Yellowstone’s campsites managed by the National Park Service will be placed on the reservation system.  The rest will remain first-come, first-served.

Reservations, however, are the preferred option. Park officials know how popular and busy campgrounds get during the summer season. Most of Yellowstone’s campsites are full every day, and often reach capacity before noon.

Campground (Sites)

2021 Season Dates


Mammoth (85)


100% reservations during high season (5/1 – 10/15)

First-come, first-served the rest of the year.

Slough Creek (15)

6/15 – 10/12

100% reservation

Pebble Creek (27)

6/15 – 9/27

60% reservation (16 sites)

40% first-come, first-served (11 sites)

Indian Creek (70)

6/11 – 9/13

100% first-come, first-served

Lewis Lake (85) 6/15 – 11/7

100% first-come, first-served

Campgrounds at Norris and Tower Falls are closed for the 2021 season. They will not be taking reservations at this time.

Reservations are currently available for the campgrounds at Bridge Bay, Madison, Canyon, and Grant Village and Fishing Bridge RV Park. To reserve campsites at these campgrounds that are managed by Yellowstone National Park Lodges, visit Yellowstone National Park Lodges.

The reservation system also comes with an additional $5.00 processing fee.

National parks are adopting the reservation system whole-heartedly. Grand Teton announced its own reservation system for all its campgrounds –  Colter Bay, Gros Ventre, Jenny Lake, Signal Mountain, and Lizard Creek – in January 2021.

The mobile app “puts adventure at your fingertips. From booking a weekend getaway to planning a cross-country road trip, the app helps you find and reserve campsites, review location details, and quickly access information on past and upcoming reservations.”

Learn more about camping in Yellowstone on the park website.

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