Campground choices at Yellowstone

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of June 5-11, 1997
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Campground choices at Yellowstone
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Campground choices at Yellowstone
Question: Help! Eight indecisive people (four from the U.K.) need campsite reservations in Madison or Grant Campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park in August. We've heard good things about Grant, but know next to nothing about Madison. Which would you recommend for 10 campers with kids who would rather not be right next to RVs? Thanks.

Malcolm Costello
Wilsonville, OR
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Unfortunately, you'll run into RVs no matter where you camp in Yellowstone; they're just part of the scenery. But the following information should give you a bit more insight into where you plan to park your tent. One warning: Both campgrounds are on the banks of wildly rushing rivers, so you'll need to keep a close eye on your kids. Call 307-344-8500 for reservations at either campground.

Grant Campground: On the banks of the Yellowstone River, Grant is located 22 miles inside of the south entrance to the park. Situated at 7,800 feet, Grant doesn't open until June 21 due to the snowpack surrounding it. It has 406 sites, both tent and RV, as well as eight group sites for groups of 20 or more. The campground was built in the 1960s and has 17 public restrooms, with showers. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire rings. If fishing is a priority, consider Grant because it has a boat launch into Lake Yellowstone nearby.

On the banks of the Madison River, Madison Campground is located 14 miles inside the west entrance of the park in a lush mountain valley. Madison's elevation is 1,000 feet lower — 6,800 feet — and it has 286 sites plus four group sites, with half of the sites in the shade and half in the sun. The one drawback — or benefit, depending on your point of view — is that there are no showers. If you can handle a showerless couple of days, you may find that Madison's smaller size and lack of showers keep the RV crowds away. For hikers, Madison is near a dozen or so trailheads that wind through geyser country.

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