Yellowstone Travel: 6 Superb Campgrounds Between Cody and Yellowstone
Written by Nick on April 14, 2023
You Can’t Go Wrong with the Campgrounds Between Cody and Yellowstone
A camping adventure with your favorite people at one or more of the campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone National Park is undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience this pristine region.
As long as you know what to expect as far as rules and regulations, opening or closing dates, and whether you need reserevations, it’s easy to enjoy a camping trip anywhere along the 50-mile stretch beteween the seat of Park County and Yellowstone’s East Entrance.
If you’re looking to enjoy a camping adventure, start planning with this list of the six best campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone.
Buffalo Bill State Park: Lake Shore and North Fork Campgrounds
We’ll start this list off with two campgrounds for the price of one. Just a few minutes west of Cody on US 14/16/20, you’ll find Buffalo Bill Reservoir and Buffalo Bill State Park.
This park includes two campgrounds: Lake Shore, which is located just south of the highway along the water’s northern edge, and North Fork, which is situated at the western edge of the reservoir where the North Fork of the Shoshone comes in.
The state park is open for camping year round, but some amenities and facilities close during the winter season. From May through September, you can count on everything being open, although water and showers depend on the weather.
North Fork Campground is closed from October through April, but Lake Shore stays open.
You’ll find five dedicated tent sites at Lake Shore and six such sites at North Fork, though you can set up a tent at any site within either campground. You must reserve tent sites, so call the park at 1-877-996-7275 for reservations.
Shoshone National Forest: Elk Fork Campground
Keep heading west through the Wapiti Valley. As you wind along the North Fork of the Shoshone River, you’ll find the Wapiti Ranger Station on your right.
Shortly after you pass the ranger station, hang a left and you’ll arrive at Elk Fork Campground — one of the prime campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone.
It’s open year round and sees heavy usage, in part because it provides fantastic access to the Washakie Wilderness, with corrals at the trailhead and trailer parking available.
Services are available from May through September, and a $10 fee is assessed each night during this peak season.
Expect vault toilets and no water.
It’s a superb base camp for hiking, fishing, and just about anything you can imagine doing in the great outdoors.
You’ll be on the Shoshone National Forest all the way until you cross into Yellowstone National Park, so the rest of the campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone will all be on USFS land, including Clearwater Campground.
This is simply the best tent camping on the North Fork. Clearwater has 11 tent sites in a single-loop orientation.
Clearwater Campground is open from late May through early September each year, and isn’t as busy as some other campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone.
The group site at Clearwater includes sites 9, 10, and 11. It can accomodate up to 50 people for special events or large outings, and features some shade along with newer picnic tables and fire rings.
See the Clearwater group site web page for information about reservations.
Rex Hale Campground
Next on our list of the top campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone is Rex Hale Campground.
This is a popular spot because it’s close to Mummy Cave and the Blackwater Trail, which every hiker or backpacker should check out during their trip.
The campground is named for Rex Hale, a firefighter who died during the 1937 Blackwater Fire. This campground is about a mile and a half from the Firefighter Memorial, and you can access the Firefighter Monument via Forest Service Trail 758.
The 30 sites at Rex Hale Campground are spacious, and this campground is also open from late May through early September. It does have potable water and a vault toilet.
Fees are as follows:
- $15/night for a single non-electric site
- $20/night for a single site with electricity
Eagle Creek Campground
These last two sites are probably the best campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone, but frequently grizzly bear activity means there’s no tent camping at either of them.
Eagle Creek Campground lies along the north side of the river, across from where Eagle Creek enters the North Fork. It’s a stunning spot with pumps for potable water and vault toilets.
The 21 sites at Eagle Creek sit between the Washakie and Absaroka Wilderness areas, so it’s a great home base for anyone accessing either of these pristine areas.
You’ll find a pair of trailheads about a mile and a half east, as well as corrals for public use.
There are bear boxes available for food storage. Fortunately, this campsite is accessible to people with mobility impairments.
Again, you must have a hard-sided unit to use Eagle Creek Campground.
Also with 21 sites for hard-sided units only, Threemile Campground is similarly situated along the northern bank of the North Fork.
It’s just a little ways east of William F. Cody’s original hunting lodge at Pahaska Teepee, which conveniently features a relaxed bar and fine dining if you want a little change of pace on your camping trip.
Again, because of the grizzly bear presence in this area, be prepared to properly store food. You should also review these important safety tips for recreating in bear country and using campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone.
Threemile Campground is open from the beginning of July through late September. Expect to pay $15/night for a single unit.
Planning on camping in Yellowstone National Park proper? Here’s some important information about the park’s campsite reservation system.