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Experience Camping near where Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped at the headwaters of the Missouri river in 1805. Missouri Headwaters State Park campground is a 17 site campground located just a short distance from the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers. If you are a history buff or just want to learn about the Corps of Discovery journey then this is a must stay. Historical signs about the the Corps of Discovers stay at the headwaters of the Missouri and their journey are located through out the park. If you have never spent a night in a tipi you can do it here, just be sure to reserve it ahead of time. You can see how Lewis and Clark traveled up the Missouri by checking out the dug out canoe that can be found at the entrance of the campground. All the campsites have picnic tables sitting on concrete pads, and metal fire rings. Trash pins, water and vault toilets are also available. All the campsites are nice and flat. Most of the site are of good size with nice grassy areas to set up your tent, a few are a little small and cramped. All sites can be reserved. Many short hiking trails are in the park, be sure to take the short hike up to a vista to get the entire view of the headwaters area. If you like to fish you are in luck, you have four rivers to choose from, all with great fishing opportunities.
We stayed at Lake Shore Lodge Campground while visiting my parents in Ennis.
The campground is situated right on the northern shore of Ennis Lake and has a boat launch ramp for those looking to fish.
We stayed three nights at the beginning of July. Our site had water, sewer, and 30amp service. We were able to fit our 39ft toy hauler in with almost no issues.
The campground is very peaceful and appears to have a lot of seasonal residents.
Wood and ice are available from the front desk. Bath houses and laundry are also available on site.
Warning: google maps will take you down a small road with houses. Skip that one. Continue straight on the main road and it will have a turn off for the camp.
At first we we a bit worried about what it would be like. The road there went through 20 some miles of ranching and no trees. Once the national forest starts it is a beautiful area.
This is also walk-in tenting only. The sites are beautiful and hidden under trees. There is plenty of room between sites giving you privacy. The river is right next to the campsites - perfect sound to relax to. A hand pump water source is here. This is primitive camping in a cool little spot.
There is a historical site open to tour on the weekend. Natural Bridge site is on the way here with hiking. This is a nice place but it doesn’t handle our teardrop camper.
Canyon campground located in a canyon just across the highway from the Yellowstone River is a pleasant campground with plenty of boulders for kids and adults to climb. The boulders are what really make this campground interesting, many of the campsites are tucked in between these large boulders. Canyon is a good jumping off point for the north end of Yellowstone National Park, located 16 miles from the north entrance town of Gardiner. This is a cheep campground at only$7 per night,$3 more for a 2nd vehicle, but you trade a low cost campground for lack of water. You will need to bring your own water for your stay so come prepared, this is also a trash-in trash-out campground. Bear food storage rules are in affect so leave the food in your car or use the bear lockers. Campground has vault toilets and each site has a picnic table and metal fire ring. The one negative about this campground is the proximity to the highway, lots of road noise during the day, a little quieter during the night but for some reason a lot of drivers seen to hit the rumble strip as they drive by making things a little loud at night. Our Scouts used this campground as a jumping off point for a multi day backpacking trip, close to the park so we could get to the back country office early to get a permit before sites filled up.
I have now been to Norris Hot Springs two years in a row on the last weekend in September. I love the small number of camping spaces and the rules that all campers actually follow (no loose dogs, no generators). The camp bathroom/showers are super helpful and it is awesome to just walk across the parking lot to the spring.
The food is amazing and the staff are all super friendly. Both years I've been, it has snowed either a dusting or an inch-ish. The camp spots do not become a muddy mess and the drive is still easy to navigate on foot or by small vehicle.
We might make an annual trip here if we can budget in the time off. It is the perfect spot to setup camp and then go explore the area.
Ennis fishing access site is located on the Madison River just on the south edge of town. This is a First come, First serve campground that is walking distance to the town of Ennis. Some sites sit along the river, some spots are more private toward the back of the campground. It appears not much effort was placed in making this site a campground, sites are unlevel and parking pads vary from gravel, to dirt or grass. This is a dry campground like most FAS sites. A small vault toilet serves the area, site are numbered and have a picnic table and appear to all have rock fire rings. Fishing must be good here as this site always appears full when I drive by. Several spots appeared to have nice grassy areas for tents. If you have a large RV you might want to park at a parking area at the entrance and walk in to make sure there is a place big enough for you as the layout of the campground might get a bit tight for a larger RV. The fishing access site is closed to camping from December 1st through April 31st every year.
When it comes to Yellowstone camping can be difficult unless you plan far in advance and prices can soar in the summer months. For those wanting a little better price points and convenient access to the northern most entrance visiting the Gallatin National Forest is a great option for finding that perfect location and still maintaining access.
I visited this area and was very impressed with the campground and the spacing it provided. But more importantly I was happy to see that unlike the Yellowstone campgrounds which lack cell signal, at this location I was able to utilize my services through AT&T. Sure that might not be something everyone considers when traveling, but when you work remotely being able to access the internet through my cell phone is very important. I had been in the park for several days so stopping here was a good catch up opportunity.
The sites were each well spaced and offered a soft grassy pad for my tent when staying, unlike the darkened dry grassy lands around. It was almost as though this location was an oasis, despite having no services.
Each sight provides a bear box, picnic table and fire ring, overall very standard for this area. Additionally there were basic vault toilets which were very well maintained. One person at the campground actually joked about that being a great hiding place should a bear enter camp…lol
Camping at this location has a 16 night limit and sites are only $7 per night, which is $20 less expensive than the closest Yellowstone campground. Similar rules apply to this campground as others in the area. There are no trash services so you have to pack in and out all of your trash. Generators can be use throughout the camp during certain hours and there are fire restrictions during certain conditions and times (posted on the entry kiosk). This is an honor system campground with a pay box at the entry, however I did notice it was patrolled at least once nightly by area Forest Service, unlike the pull off sites just beyond camp.
- If you need anything you can stop off just before turning onto the road at any number of stores, shops or restaurants in the low laying community.
- If you need high speed WIFI Subway in the local community has the best access for free.
- West Entrance allows you to split to to east which is where you will spot more wildlife versus the Western side of the park where you will find more of the geothermal features.
It isn't all together a terrible place, best for a night or two. We stayed 3 nights. If you have a partial hook up site, they are in gravel, which isn't bad but they are so un-level. It took us longer than usual to set up. The rv sites are also cramped. They young adults who seem to manage the park are not very friendly. The bathhouse is very old and has extremely small shower stalls. The shower curtain barely fits across the opening. If you don't like trains don't go, 3-5 a night.