Graham C.

Seattle, WA

Joined July 2016

Large but excellent base camp for Yellowstone

We stayed here two nights while exploring the north side of the park. The location is great for this: in addition to being steps away from the canyon, you're a short drive from the wildlife viewing opportunities of Lamar and Hayden valleys, and a bit further gets you to Yellowstone Lake or Norris geyser basin.

The campground itself spreads out the sites nicely and has plenty of trees to give some separation. Our tent area had a slight slope, but the ground was perfect for stakes, easy to put in but everything stayed tight. Our site happened to be right next to a bear-resistant food storage container and a bathroom, which was convenient, though it did mean some traffic. Overall, the campground was pretty quiet even while full.

The village nearby is full service, with gas, a general store, post office, a visitor center, and two restaurants. There was an unfortunately timed burn ban while we were there so we tried the cafeteria and it was terrible. We went to the Roosevelt lodge instead another night which was good, but meant a harrowing nighttime ascent of the mountain road back to Canyon….

Zero separation between sites

We stayed here one night as the first stop after driving from Washington. We arrived around 9:30pm, and instead of checking in we had an envelope with directions to our campsite and instructions to check in the next morning. Pretty convenient!

The sites itself are pretty dismal: there are relatively few trees in this campground and the sites are pretty packed together without separation. We didn't have a distinct tent pad either, rather just a mostly flat area near the firepit and picnic table, and the ground was tough to drive stakes into. The facilities are fine, nothing fancy, and include a dishwashing alcove, which is a nice feature (made important by bears). There weren't any trash dumpsters near the campground, but further down the road and meant for dropping off on your way out.

The location is the best part of the campground. In addition to the beautiful scenery just steps away along the Madison river across from National Park Mountain, this campground is near all the major thermal areas of the park, just a short drive away from Norris, Fountain, and Old Faithful. It's also relatively close to "civilization" in West Yellowstone.

Beautiful lake, run by two bossy goats

We did an overnight, clockwise around the High Divide Loop. This campground is a bit over a mile off the loop, and the junction is close to halfway: our first day was 13.5 miles and second 10. Compared to the campsites closer to the trail (the basin, Heart and Deer lakes, etc.), it isn't as close to the main loop but is well situated for a one-nighter, and certainly has the most beautiful lake we encountered.

The campground is on the side of a hill south of the lake and just to the west of the drainage stream. We found three campsites, and then the trail continues up the hill to the composting toilet and past it to the bear wire. We chose the lowest of the campsites (labeled site 3) which also appeared to be the largest, with two tent areas, and put a 2P tent on one and 2P and 1P tents on there other: there wasn't much room for any more tents. The ground was a little sloped and very hard: I left my tent mostly unstaked. There was a convenient trail off to the side of this site leading into the woods for when nature calls.

A main attraction of this campground is the bear wire, which allows you to hang whatever bags you want, avoiding the use of bulky and heavy bear canisters, or even having to bring rope and try to figure out a hang situation of your own. The wire consists of two pulleys hanging from trees, each having two large hooks. Hook up your bag, hoist them up, and then clip the pulley to an anchored ring to keep it from falling. Easy to use and very convenient. The campground also has an composting toilet which has an amazing view of Mt. Olympus from its perch on top of the hill. It also offers zero privacy, being unenclosed and right along the trail to the bear wire and facing down towards the campsites.

The lake is a short walk away and is stunning. In late July, it was the perfect refreshing temperature for a swim after a long hike, and is pretty large. Two of my friends decided to swim around the entire lake before spotting black bears on the far side and coming back. Fortunately this was the closest we saw them getting.

On the other hand, there is a pair of goats, an adult and a kid, who made it clear this is their campground. They walked around the entire grounds using the trails and paying no heed to any humans in the area: we had to jump off the trail for them to rush past us at one point. In the morning, they woke me up at 5:30 when they trampled through our tent area, fortunately ignoring any of our stuff. We mentioned these to a ranger we passed on the next day and she said she was off to Sol Duc Park to help with a goat problem there, so this is not unique to this site.

The mosquitos were fairly bad this time of year (late July), we were swarmed during the evening while cooking, but they died down later at night. We chose to eat breakfast up on the High Divide rather than deal with them again in the morning.

Quiet, family-friendly campground in a beautiful forest

We stayed here for a night before a trip around the high divide. The scenery is beautiful here, old-growth forest with a river running along the south side. We had a waterfront campsite, which was elevated a short climb above the water. Not enough water to swim in (a little disappointing), but at least it didn't seem to have a lot of mosquitos.

The site was quite large, we put two 2P tents in one area and a 1P tent closer to the water in the other. Probably could have fit more in both areas. The ground was level and hard in some parts, soft in others. I got all my stakes in, but wished I could find a big rock to hammer two of them in. There is a large picnic table and a firepit with a grill which can be adjusted up or down.

There are bathrooms at either end of the loop, which were a little dirty, and water spouts. The sites are sufficiently spread out such that it isn't that loud, even with some families staying there.

Important note: if you reserve ahead of time, make sure you know your campsite number! There is nothing there to tell you which campsite to go to except the camp host, and no signal. It was good we reserved though, as when we got there on a Friday afternoon the walk-up sites were all full.

Well-situated between Seattle and the mountain loop

Stopped through here on a trip around the mountain loop. This is in a great location being accessible from the city but near all the great trails in the area. The campground features running water/flush toilets and has access to the river (which was much too cold for us to swim in but I imagine this is a thing). The scenery is pleasant but it's right near the road so keep that in mind. We didn't have too much issue with this, though some sites are closer to it than others.

On a Sunday in early June, folks were still able to get walk-up sites at lunch time.

Close to the gorge, but far from the traffic

We stopped here after a day at the Columbia gorge on our way back to Seattle. Unlike many of the campgrounds in the gorge itself, this is nowhere near I-84 and was very quiet, though the site next to us was pretty close.

The facilities here are nice relative to many of the NF campgrounds in the area, there are flush toilets, but there are also pit toilets which may be closer to your site. The tent area was flat and smooth, no complaints.

Beautiful park, cabins have mice

The park is beautiful, I made sure to see all the falls (except of Winter Falls which wasn't running), and the hike was great. The park is pretty big so you do have to drive from your campsite to the trailhead, not quite hike-in.

We stayed in one of the cabins, which was quaint and nicely separated from the rest of the sites. The cabin has two small rooms, with a dining area and a sleeping area. There's no fancy appliances but we brought an electric cooler to keep our food cold, and the bathroom and parking was a short walk away. The site was outfitted with a fire pit with grill and picnic table.

On the first night we were awoken to rustling through our stuff in the other room and when I checked it out a mouse booked it out of there. Not a big deal but my fiance and I found it a little hard to sleep after that. Be sure to keep any food in your car rather than the cabin. Another night an army of raccoons made its way through our campsite, despite all our food being put away. On our way out we told the ranger about the mouse in the cabin and they didn't seem phased by it, I don't expect they did much to fix the hole (which we spotted the next day and tried to cover). Would have preferred just to stay in a tent and save a bit if the cabin is so obviously penetrable.

Great cabins, beautiful location

We stayed a couple of nights in the cabins in this campground when they were brand new in 2013. Personally, I'd be wary of tent camping in the summer here because it gets very hot. Returning from a day hiking on the rock and chilling in the AC of the cabin was priceless.

The location is great, you can walk right from the camp area up the mesa which has incredible views, or go swimming in the lake or any other water based activity. It's a short drive to town where there's a grocery store and the Grand Coulee Dam, which is a must-see if you're in the area. At night they do laser light shows, which was a fun side trip.

The facilities are great, water tap nearby, picnic table and fire pit with grill at the site, and clean restrooms with showers (that you pay for). The bathrooms get pretty sauna like in the heat but are survivable. We had a blast trying our hardest to grill things on the fire pit, though we did break down and use the microwave in our cabin at least once… The minifridge in the cabin was also nice for that. Glamping at it's finest!

Family-friendly campground near Rainier

I've stayed at this place twice, once as a base camp for a Rainier trip, and another as a weekend getaway. It's about an hours drive from Paradise, which makes it less ideal than Cougar Rock if that's your destination, but the reservations do not fill up nearly as quickly.

The facilities here are great, water taps throughout the grounds, and clean bathrooms with showers nearby. Many campsites are not adjacent to the parking but there are wagons to use to ferry your gear. Make sure you check the reservation website because there are extensive descriptions of every campsite and drone photos. In particular, on my last trip I didn't think much of where it said that the tent pad had an extreme slope, which turned out to be pretty uncomfortable to sleep through…

There are tons of families here, depending on whether you have kids, the family-friendliness may be a feature or a bug. The campsite is pretty loud until around 10 when the kids go to sleep. The campsites are also pretty close together which doesn't help, but this is again something you can look for when choosing a site. We chose a site further from the parking lot, and the nearby sites had less kids than the ones right on it.

Great out of the way campground

We stayed at this campground two nights as a base camp for some mountain loop highway hiking. Being on the gravel, one lane section of the mountain loop it's a little annoying to get to, but if you're hiking on trails like Goat Lake, Perry Creek, or Mt. Dickerman, it's very close.

The campground was very quiet (walk-up would have been easy, though we reserved ahead of time), and even if it was busy the campsites are fairly separate from each other. The tent area had just enough room for two 2-person tents and a 1-person, and was very flat and rock-free. The campsite also had a picnic table and a firepit.

The drawbacks of this site are the pit toilet and no running water. There's river access but you'll want a water filter.