camping in Yellowstone

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Monday, 18 April 2022 09:42

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Published in Content
Tuesday, 08 June 2021 10:54

Top Things to Know, Before You Go

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With pent-up travel demand and visitors eager to get outdoors and experience public lands, the tourism industry is working hard to ensure everyone has a good time leaving home and visiting our eclectic mountain home of Gardiner, Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The Gardiner Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center is here to help – we’ve got answers to frequently asked questions, insider tips, and important reminders so you can make the most of your visit.

Gardiner welcomes you and asks for your patience, kindness, and respect when visiting our area because you are essential in maintaining the pristine conditions that make our public lands special to travelers and locals alike. 

ACCOMMODATIONS

For your accommodations, you will need reservations. Gardiner’s lodging accommodations are open and ready to serve you. We advise making reservations as soon as possible as most all properties are booked months in advance. For a list of various lodging properties including hotels and motels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, glamping experiences, cabins and cottages, and RV parks, please visit here.

Yellowstone has campgrounds with over 2,000 sites – all of which require an advance reservation. Yellowstone National Park  Lodges (Xanterra) takes reservations for five of these campgrounds: Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village, and Madison. The National Park Service manages the other seven campgrounds: Indiana Creek, Lewis Lake, Mammoth (closed until further notice), Norris (closed until further notice), Pebble Creek (closed for 2023), Slough Creek, and Tower Fall (closed until further notice) – with reservations available through Recreation.gov. Additionally, Yellowstone offers backcountry campsites for people who prefer to explore and camp along less traveled routes, find out more information by visiting here.

DINING

Be kind, be patient, and have a backup plan! If you are choosing to dine out during your visit, you have made a great decision as our area has something to offer for everyone! Please understand this is an unprecedented season with many obstacles for our small gateway community.  Keep in mind that some restaurants may not be able to accommodate reservations or to go orders, and with higher than typical call volume reaching out virtually may be best.

Don’t forget about Food Trucks! In Gardiner there are food carts located on the corner of Park St & HWY 89 and Big Sky Baked and Loaded at the Super 8 Motel parking lot.  Just three miles north of Gardiner at the Yellowstone Dinolube is Follow Yer’ Nose BBQ, which serve delicious food and can tend to be a little bit less busy. Further north is the Grizzly Grill.

  • For up-to-date business hours for Gardiner dining establishments,  please click here.
  • For dining inside the park, Yellowstone National Park Lodges is providing updated information, please visit here.

ACTIVITIES

Rafting, horseback riding, tours & more! Warm temperatures and longer days mean time for playing outside with friends and family. Consider taking a rafting trip down the Yellowstone River as it meanders through the town of Gardiner and further north as it tumbles through Yankee Jim Canyon. Horseback rides through meadows and mountain forests offer a true western adventure. Guided tours provide an inside perspective (and added bear safety!) for hiking, backpacking, fishing, wildlife watching, and photography. For a full listing of activities offered by local companies, please visit here. You’ll want to book in advance, as many of these popular services are in high demand and are selling out quickly.

PLAN AHEAD

Yellowstone is vast. Expect longer travel times due to increased visitation, wildlife jams, and construction projects. Depart early—even as early as 6 a.m., which is better for viewing wildlife anyway—or later in the evening to avoid heavy traffic. Wildlife likes to use roads to travel on, so keep your eyes open.  And finally, between the peak travel hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. try to be off the road and out of your car adventuring. (You can purchase a park pass online if the kiosk is closed.) 

Expect the unexpected. Yellowstone is known for unpredictable weather year-round. We recommend packing layers to add or remove as weather changes and bring essentials like extra water, food/snacks, bug spray and a first aid kit as sporadic road closures due to weather are common.

Prepare for delays. If you are traveling to Gardiner from the north, on HWY 89 through Livingston, MT, be prepared for an unavoidable construction delay of up to twenty minutes, learn more about this project, please visit here. In Yellowstone National Park learn about major road construction projects, some of which warranting overnight road closures, please visit here.  

Know fire restrictions & proper practices. According to a recent report from the Montana Drought and Water Advisory Committee, Montana is experiencing the most severe drought in over 20 years. Extreme drought combined with the current forest health crisis has created a significant risk for wildfires. Help Montanans reduce the risk by recreating responsibly.  

  • Always put out your campfire: dump lots of water on it, stir it with a shovel, then dump more water on it. Make sure it is COLD before leaving the campsite. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave!
  • Know current Montana fire restriction information by area at MTFireInfo.org
  • Know current Yellowstone National Park fire restriction information, please visit here
  • Know Montana air quality conditions, please visit here

PLAY IT SAFE

Give wildlife room. Montana and the GYE is home to bears, mountain goats, mountain lions, elk, deer and more. Give wildlife their space, always maintain a minimum of 25 yards (23 m) from all wildlife and 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves. Do not approach or feed any animals you may encounter.

          Wildlife-distance-v2_2_1.jpg

Carry bear spray and know how to use it! If you plan to hike, be sure to go with a friend (a group is even better), make noise on the trail (talking or clapping), carry bear spray, be alert, and do not run. and know how to use it.Learn more about traveling safely in bear country, please click here.

LEAVE NO TRACE

It’s simple, follow the Seven Principles. When recreating on public lands, be sure to take care of them by staying on trails. If you plan to camp while you’re here, be sure to keep a clean bear safe camp site, and only camp in an existing site or pick a site where vegetation is absent. It’s important to respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities when travel to our area and beyond. 

  1. Pack out garbage and waste (including human)
  2. Respect Wildlife
  3. Leave What You Find
  4. Travel & Camp only in designated areas on durable surfaces
  5. Plan & Prepare
  6. Minimize Campfire Impacts – know fire restrictions in your area – do not start a wildfire
  7. Be Considerate of Others

We hope you have a fun time visiting Gardiner, Montana, Nature’s Favorite Entrance to Yellowstone National Park™, and make lasting memories to carry home with you. To purchase a Yellowstone National Park pass online, please visit here. For a real-time map of Yellowstone’s road conditions, including closures and construction, please visit here. For updated conditions and regulations in Park County, Montana, in response to the coronavirus,  please visit here.

To learn more about responsible recreation in Montana, go to visitmt.com/montana-matters or recreateresponsibly.org.

Published in Content
Thursday, 27 May 2021 16:35

Camping

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Where do I camp in Gardiner? What should I know about camping in Yellowstone National  Park? If you find yourself asking these questions you are not alone. With the increased interest in tent, dispersed, and RV camping, and too few campsites to keep up with this surge in demand, it is more critical than ever to plan ahead and do your research. 

Whether you are scrambling to find a campsite at the moment, or planning out months in advance, in order to help us provide a safe and enjoyable guest experience we encourage you to read the following – you are essential in maintaining the pristine conditions that make this area special to travelers and locals alike.

campsite in Yellowstone National park

To keep it simple, we have provided answers to some  frequently asked questions, Do’s and Don’ts, critical tips, and resources to remember when  camping inside and outside of Yellowstone National Park:

Where do I camp in Gardiner? 

  • DO: Camp only in designated areas. The Custer-Gallatin National Forest provides information for developed and dispersed camping outside Yellowstone. RV parks outside Yellowstone are few and far between and tend to fill quite quickly, so have backup plans. If you plan to camp but have not yet made a reservation it will be difficult to find a site at the last minute. See table below for Custer-Gallatin National Forest campground information 

  • DON’T: Arrive without a plan to find a campsite. If all campsites are full, be prepared to make lodging reservations. Please see “What are my lodging options?” below for more information on how to book a room.  

  • DO: Remember you are camping in bear country.  Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Keep all food, toiletries, trash, and other attractants in an enclosed vehicle, windows up, or better yet, in an approved bearproof storage container. 

  • REMEMBER: It is illegal to camp in pullouts, parking lots, on the streets of Gardiner (or other towns), public parks, alleyways, trailheads, and fishing accesses. Camping is illegal in these areas and will result in the removal of your vehicle by law enforcement park rangers and possibly result in being cited and fined. 

Custer-Gallatin National Forest Gardiner Area Ranger District Campgrounds
CAMPGROUNDS*DATES OPEN (APPRX)FEES**HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE FACILITIESTRAILER / RV SITES

Bear Creek Campground
4 Sites

6/1 - 10/31NoneNoneOpen Parking

Canyon Campground
15 Sites

All Year$10 -- $5

Fire Grates
Tables
Toilet

12' x 50'

Eagle Creek Campground
17 Sites
Reservation only 5/26 - 10/2 Click Here

All Year$15 -- $5Toilets12 x 40' N

Timber Camp Campground
3 Sites

6/1 - 10/31NoneNoneOpen Parking

*No campgrounds offer potable water 
** Covers 1st camping vehicle + extra car / truck -- 3rd car / truck (if space is sufficient) 

Where do I camp in Yellowstone National Park? 

Similar to Gardiner, if you plan to camp but have not yet made a reservation do not be surprised to see full campgrounds. As of 2022, all campgrounds in Yellowstone are reservation only. If all sites are full, you will need to make lodging reservations outside of Yellowstone. Yellowstone offers campgrounds with over 2,000 sites.

Additionally, Yellowstone offers backcountry campsites for people who prefer to explore and camp along less traveled routes.

Yellowstone National Park  Lodges (Xanterra) takes reservations for five of these campgrounds, see below. 

Yellowstone National Park Lodges (Xanterra) Campgrounds
CAMPGROUNDS2022 DATESNIGHTLY FEE*SITESAMENITIESRESERVATION LINK

Bridge Bay

5/20 – 9/5$29432A,B,F,NS,D,Gn,Gs

CLICK HERE
RESERVATION LINK 

Canyon

5/27 – 9/18$34273A,B,F,S/L,2S,D,Gn

Fishing Bridge RV Park 

5/27 – 10/8310A,B,F,S/L,2S,D,Gn

Grant Village 

6/3 – 9/11$34430A,B,F,S/L,2S,D,Gn,Gs

Madison

$29278A,B,F,NS,D,Gn,Gs

A - Accessible sites available
B - Limited number of campsites set aside for bicyclists and hikers; check availability at campground
F - Flush toilets
D - Dump station (may close when temperatures are below freezing)
Gn - Generators allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit)
Gs - Group site available (reservation required)
H - Full hookups
NS - Showers not included
S/L - Pay showers/laundry onsite
2S - Two showers included each night

The National Park Service (NPS) manages the other seven campgrounds. Beginning in 2022,  all campgrounds managed by the NPS can be done through Recreation.gov, see specific links below.  * - Listed fee does not include taxes or utility fees

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE (NPS) CAMPGROUNDS
CAMPGROUNDS2022 DATESNIGHTLY FEENUMBER OF SITESAMENITIESRV INFORMATIONRESERVATION LINK

Indian Creek

6/10 – 9/11$2070A,B,V10 @ 35' (10.7 m) and 35 @ 30' (9.1 m)

Click here

Lewis Lake 

6/15 - 10/14$4084B,V,Total length limit is 25 feet (7.6 m)

Click here

Mammoth

Year-round$2585A,B,F,Gn40 feet (12.2 m) or more sites are limited.

Click here

Norris 

Closed for 2022111A,B,F,Gn2 @ 50' (15.2 m) and 5 @ 30' (9.1 m)Closed

Pebble Creek

6/15 - 9/25$2027A,B,VSome long pull-throughs

Click here

Slough Creek 

6/15 - 10/10$2016A,V14 @ 30' (9.1 m) / Walk through first to assess

Click here

Tower Fall

TBD31B,V30' (9.1 m) or less / Loop has hairpin curveTBD

1 - Reservation-only 4/1–10/15
§ - mid-October through April
A - Accessible sites available
B - Limited number of campsites set aside for bicyclists and hikers; check availability at campground
F - Flush toilets
Gn - Generators allowed from 8 am to 8 pm (60db limit)
V - Vault toilet
** - Sizes are for total length of vehicle and towed equipment

Find more information on camping in Yellowstone National Park including a map, current  status, and fill times by visiting: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm 

Yellowstone offers backcountry campsites for people who prefer to explore and camp along less traveled routes. When planning a backcountry trip, remember that many of Yellowstone’s trails are more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Most areas retain snow until late May or early June, and some (especially mountain passes) are snow-covered until late July. Also, many routes require fording rivers that can be 25 feet wide, 3 to 5  feet deep, extremely cold, and swift currents during the late spring runoff. You are responsible for your safety. Having knowledge of the area you are traveling through and being prepared with the proper camping gear and supplies is essential to your survival,  as cell phone reception is little to none in the backcountry. Permits are required for all overnight stays. To find more information on backcountry camping in Yellowstone National Park, visit: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/backcountryhiking.htm

What is dispersed camping? 

Dispersed camping is the term used for camping in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground. It also means no services (such as trash removal), and little or no facilities (such as tables, fire pits, or toilets). The Gardiner Ranger Station has created an essential  guide for your reference on how to do dispersed camp right – to download a copy of the guide please visit here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd915000.pdf 

Camper in Yellowstone National Park

How do I camp in Gardiner, Yellowstone, and the surrounding area? 

  • DO: Respect other visitors and wildlife by packing out garbage and waste. Some developed campgrounds provide trash cans, but many don’t. Properly dispose of rubbish, food waste, septic fluids, and solid human waste to keep campsites safe and pristine for future visitors. Proper disposal of your human waste is critical in keeping a safe environment. To dispose of feces, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep at least 200 feet away from any water source. Never defecate or leave toilet paper on top of the ground. Remember your neighbors also enjoy quiet nights, dark skies, and trails and campsites free of trash, wastewater, and human waste. 
  • DON’T: Dump RV septic and greywater outside of designated dumping stations (it’s illegal). Don’t burn food waste in campfire rings or leave garbage at your campsite -- both practices invite bears to the area. There is a public RV dump station located at the Gardiner Sinclair, 375 US Hwy 89 Gardiner, MT 59030.  
  • DO: Remember you are camping in bear country. Keep all food, toiletries, trash, and other attractants in an enclosed vehicle, windows up, or in an approved bearproof storage container. A messy campsite and/or inappropriately stored food creates a safety hazard for both you and the bear you may draw to your tent and surrounding campsite.
  • DO: Enjoy a campfire. Campfires offer light, warmth, comradery, and a fun way to cook outside. For everyone’s safety, use an existing or designated campfire ring and be sure to extinguish the fire completely when done. Ashes should be fully drenched and cool to touch.  Building new campfire rings is dangerous and damages soil and fragile plants. If you don’t completely extinguish ashes, you risk causing an out-of-control wildfire that can hurt you, residents, and wildlife. Keep in mind you can be held financially liable for the cost of fighting the wildfire. Be sure to adhere to local fire restrictions. 

What are my lodging options? 

  • Visit us online: If all sites are full, you can find a comprehensive list of Gardiner, Yellowstone National Park, and the surrounding area options by visiting:  https://www.visitgardinermt.com/plan-your-trip/tourism-directory/lodging
  • Give us a call: The Gardiner Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Information Center keeps an up-to-date lodging availability list Monday – Friday during the summer months. You can reach us at 406-848-7971, Monday – Friday from Memorial Day - September. Please note that with the heightened visitation we are experiencing a higher call volume than ever before. If we are unable to answer, please leave a message and we will get back to you.  

Resources for your trip to Gardiner, Yellowstone, and the surrounding area:  

Happy Camping!

Get in touch with us about any questions you might have about camping in Gardiner, Yellowstone, and the surrounding area.

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Published in Content
Thursday, 06 August 2020 10:09

Keeping the Community Informed on COVID-19

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What to expect when visiting 

Due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, some services in and around Gardiner and Yellowstone National Park are reduced. Businesses are operating at reduced capacity, and others may have limited or unpredictable hours of operation. 

Yellowstone National Park

What to Expect in Gardiner, MT & Park County

 Masks are required

All individuals ages five and older must wear a mask or face covering in the following locations: 

  • All indoor spaces open to the public
    • Including, but is not limited to, retail stores, grocery stores, food and beverage establishments, public lodging, personal care providers, medical providers, pharmacies, gyms, pools, fitness services, museums and theaters, indoor recreational or entertainment facilities, gas stations, repair and service providers, non-profit organizations, realty services, legal services, transportation services, and ride sharing services. 
  • Certain organized outdoor activity where physical distancing is not possible
    • Organized Outdoor Activity means any gathering of 250 or more. This includes, but is not limited to, outdoor theatrical or music performances, fairs, markets, festivals, parades, carnivals, rodeos, sporting or athletic events, beer gardens, weddings and receptions, or parties.
  • Exceptions: Persons consuming food or drink and persons attempting to comminicate with someone who is hearing impaired.

Group Size 

The current group size is limited to 250 individuals in Park County, Montana.

Occupancy 

The current occupancy standards in Park County for bars, restaurants, distilleries, and breweries is limited to 75% capacity.

Park County Emergency Health Rule/Order EHR 2020-04 remains in place. To read the full order please click here.

What to Expect in Montana

 Masks requirements vary

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte lifted the statewide mask mandate Friday, February 12, 2021. This was announced during a ceremony where he signed legislation aimed at creating a liability shield for businesses, nonprofits, churches and other organizations over exposure to COVID-19. However, local counties and school districts can place their own more restrictive measures regarding masks if they choose. 

If you’re planning to travel through Montana,  it is important to:

  • Know the local public health guidelines before arriving to your destination
  • Understand some services & destinations may be limited
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Maintain social distance (at least 6 ft. apart)
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cover coughs and sneezes

Yellowstone National Park

What to Expect in Yellowstone 

 Masks are required

All individuals over the age of two must wear a mask in the following locations: 

  • All common areas within Yellowstone National Park.
    • Including, but not limited to shared workspaces, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants.
  • Outdoor areas where physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot be maintained.
    • Including, but not limited to narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and historic homes

Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face.  Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement. 

If you have further questions you can call the park at 307.344.7381 or visit the National Park Service Public Health update here.

Ways to Explore Responsibly

Plan Ahead

  • Check for closures or limited services before arriving.
  • Pack your own water, food, trash bags, masks and soap or sanitizer.
  • If you destination is too crowded, have a backup plan.

Keep Space

  • Keep six feet away from others. In crowded spaces, indoors or out, please wear a mask.
  • Explore with you family or household and avoid big groups.

Be Respectful

  • Respect guidelines to help keep yourself and others healthy.
  • Respect the land and help preserve our natural wonders for everyone to enjoy.
  • Respect people and local communities by helping protect their public health.

Explore Locally

  • Pick a basecamp and choose local adventures.
  • Support local businesses.

Protect the Outdoors

  • When giving people space, watch where you step and stay close to the trail.
  • Pack up any trash and minimize your impact.
  • Keep a safe distance from wildlife, too.

COVID-19 News Updates

  • A Message from the Park County Health Department

  • Local Restaurant Update

    Many of our kitchens are receiving reduced or late deliveries this week. Some restaurants are operating with very reduced menus, and some may close early because they don't have enough inventory. Please be patient with them as they work with disrupted supply chains, and thanks for your understanding!

Published in Content
Monday, 05 August 2019 15:38

Thank You!

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Thank you for your message. We will do our best to respond to within 7 days. If you would like a digital copy of the Gardiner, MT Visitor Guide, you can download it here.

Published in Content
Monday, 18 June 2018 11:22

Chamber Member Resources

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The Gardiner Chamber of Commerce is proud to serve over 160 area businesses in the Gardiner community. This page offers helpful resources for our current and prospective business members. If there is anything we can do to enhance your membership experience, please contact the Executive Director, at [email protected].

Membership Form and Information

Join the Chamber! Members receive perks such as business referrals, marketing and advertising support, business listings on this website, and more. Click here to learn more, send us an email, or simply stop in to the Visitor Center to say hello. We look forward to working with you!

Chamber Member Directory

To access a list of all current Gardiner Chamber of Commerce business members and their business contact information please contact Executive Director Terese Petcoff at [email protected].

Advertise in the Gardiner Community Newsletter

Chamber members receive discounts on community newsletter advertisements. To submit an ad, email [email protected] or click here for our ad submissions reference guide.

Event Advertising Request

Interested in advertising a local event through the Chamber of Commerce? Please click here or send an email with your event information to [email protected]

Published in Content
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 13:40

Video Gallery

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See what's happening in Gardiner and Yellowstone all year long with these videos!

Nature's Favorite Entrance to Yellowstone

The Four Seasons of Gardiner, Montana

Spring in Gardiner, Montana

Winter in Gardiner, Montana

Fall in Gardiner, Montana

Yellowstone's Northern Range from Speakeasy Studios on Vimeo.

A winter morning in Gardiner

Gardiner Rush Hour Traffic

 
Published in Content
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 19:46

Photo Gallery

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This corner of Montana has long been a sought-after photographic subject. Our region’s best photographers share some of their work here.

 

Published in Content
Monday, 14 November 2016 21:34

Gardiner Chamber of Commerce

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A Resource for Visitors and the Community

Published in Content
Monday, 14 November 2016 21:29

FAQ

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Q: Can you help me find hotel reservations in Gardiner?

A: Our website has a list of area lodging options. Gardiner is proudly home to a variety of options, from luxurious hotel suites to small rustic cabins. Most listings include a link to the property website, where you can easily book online or call to make a reservation.

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