Wapiti Campground is located is located along the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway about 30 miles west of Cody, in northwestern Wyoming. It is 22 miles east of the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The surrounding area offers many outdoor recreational opportunities, including fishing, hiking and viewing local wildlife.
Great opportunities for hiking, fishing, scenic driving and wildlife viewing are available around the campground. The North Fork of the Shoshone River is a popular fly-fishing location for rainbow and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
The Wapiti Wayside is located less than a quarter-mile east of the campground and offers interpretive information on grizzly bears and other local wildlife.
The campground offers accessible single- and double-family campsites, many of which have electric hookups. Each site is equipped with a table, campfire ring and food storage locker. Vault toilets, drinking water and trash collection are provided. Campers may gather firewood in the area.
The campground is situated among cottonwood and juniper trees, along the North Fork of the Shoshone River, at an elevation of 6,000 feet. Ancient cliffs from the Absaroka volcanic mud flow tower above the campground.
A wide variety of wildlife lives in the area. Visitors often glimpse grizzly bears, deer, elk, bison, moose, fox, coyotes and bald eagles.
Pahaska Tepee, west of the campground, is home to Buffalo Bill's original hunting lodge, built in 1904. Tours are offered daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Pahaska also offers guided horseback rides, a gift shop, restaurant and lodging.
Yellowstone National Park's east entrance is 22 miles from the campground via the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway. The park offers unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as breathtaking scenery and unique geological features.
The small, historic city of Cody offers a variety of dining, lodging and shopping options. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center offers extensive displays of Greater Yellowstone natural history, Plains Indians artifacts, western art, firearms, Buffalo Bill memorabilia and a wild sheep exhibit.
ADA Access: N
When traveling along the riverside from Cody to Yellowstone and looking for a site which provides large spaces and electricity your options are very limited. This campground is one of the only options available with river access which meet this requirement while also catering to those which desire unimproved camping. The location offers two loops of camping including one which is designed for the primitive camper and one which caters to those who would like some of the comforts of home.
Upon entering camp you will find a camping kiosk with an honor box, however unlike many of the campgrounds in this area there are campground host which hold you accountable for your entry. This makes sense with such offerings.
Each of the camping loops are designed for one way traffic, which allows you to more simplistically move through camp however can be a bit harder for larger rigs when searching for sites as some are not clearly marked.
Each loop has access to vault toilets scattered throughout camp in key locations and there is a common water spigot in several locations around the camp. I found that this was very convenient for those which are not requiring the electricity to still have some access to water since there are no services located nearby camp.
On the primitive loop and improved loop alike the sites are very evenly sized with some locations being back in or pull in another others being pull through. There are also double sites available. All sites have common picnic tables and bear boxes in addition to fire rings.
With such a variety of services and spaces offered prices do range vastly from site to site. If you are wanting a primitive site they start off at $15 for singles and $30 for doubles or $20 for electric singles and $40 for electric doubles. They do however offer a discount for those who have a senior access pass.
This particular campground does not welcome or offer sites for those with horses, something I noticed was very common to this area.
Something which sets this site apart however from other locations is the specific area designed for fishing access. If you pull through camp there is a parking area and large bank access point for those camping at the grounds or just visiting for day use.
Despite being right on the river, I felt this campground seemed much more dry than other campsites and many of the locations were more exposed to the harsh sunlight. When vehicles drove through it was very dusty and made things feel very cloudy.
This is a nice campground with ample privacy between sites. Shelter from the wind helps, as the thunderstorms can be quite intense.
There are plenty of fishing opportunities adjacent to the campground. Be very bear aware when hiking and camping there. We saw fresh grizzly tracks and scat right outside the campground! Bear spray is a must when in this entire area.
Water is available at the entrance and it's wonderful.
The creek creates a nice habitat for bugs of all varieties, so bug spray was necessary.
Our site was a tad too small for our 34' 5th wheel, so we had to forgo a campfire, as the fire pit was right under our bumper.
we stayed here for 6 nights and loved it, it's close enough to Yellowstone and Cody that you can go either way. Also near buffalo bill dam! Water fill up ( not hook up) electric in half the campground! Pit toilets. Bear boxes for food storage.
Stones throw from Yellowstone's east gate. Relaxing river sounds glowing by. Lots to see and do in nearby Cody, WY. Clean campgrounds and bathrooms. Paved drive. Really well kept for being FREE! There is a trail following the river beyond the bridge at the back of the campground, somewhere on the trail we found a geocache! Fire pits and picnic tables at each site.
In all honesty, our 1-night stay in Wapiti was kind of a necessary evil. Yellowstone campgrounds are notoriously difficult to get into, and after researching options online I decided that Wapiti - which is within the Shoshone National Forest outside the Yellowstone park boundaries - would be a good place to spend the night prior to actually heading into Yellowstone proper. It's about 1/2 way between Cody, Wyoming and the east gate to Yellowstone and it will take you approximately 30 minutes to reach either. There is a good mix of reservable sites and first-come, first-served sites, and we were able to reserve a site near the river. We camped here in late July and arrived at approx 7 PM and all of the first-come, first-served sites were already taken, which speaks to the popularity of the greater Yellowstone area in summer. Our site (#08) had electric as well, and was close to one of the restrooms. I do have to say, that was the cleanest (single) vault toilet restroom I have ever used in my life, which I can appreciate.
Being so close to the river (North Fork of the Shoshone), this campground was extremely buggy during our visit in July, which is genreally the case for this entire part of the country (especially Yellowstone) - bring a lot of Picaridin! The river itself is very fast through this area, so be careful if you have younger children. We did not do any fishing here, but there was a family fishing from the bridge (Sweetwater Creek Rd.) using pink scented 'marshmallows' (trout bait) that the locals told them worked the best - they had not caught anything yet.
We traveled back through the national forest into Cody for dinner and ate at Millstone Pizza Company and Brewery and I would recommend it. The beer was pretty good (we split a 6-sample flight to taste everything), and the portions were great. I got a meatball sandwich that was huge and delicious, and the specialty pizzas looked fantastic as well.
This campground is about equal distances from the east entrance to Yellowstone park and Cody, WY. By Wyoming standards, it's a large campground (40 sites, many with electric hookup). The campground does permit tent camping, which the campgrounds closer to the east entrance do not. That being said, it lacks the intimacy and atmosphere of many Wyoming campgrounds. One must endure the sounds of generators and the highway. It's definitely a good place to camp while getting from Point A to Point B, but much better options exist for a relaxing camping trip.