Road construction in Yellowstone continues... check out the park's website:
Grand Teton Campgrounds now require Reservations and 3 more in Yellowstone
Beginning in the 2021 season, all campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park will require an advance reservation through recreation.gov. This includes Gros Ventre, Colter Bay, Jenny Lake, Lizard Creek, Headwaters, and Signal Mountain. In Yellowstone, reservations are now required in Mammoth, Slough Creek, and part of Pebble Creek. Go to www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com for more information.
Yellowstone Visitor Centers
If you haven't been to Yellowstone in awhile, check out the new visitor center at Old Faithful. Aside from a gift shop and auditorium with different park films, there is also a staffed ranger desk where a board shows eruption times for several popular geysers. This is a great place to have kids finish the Junior Ranger program and earn the park badge or patch. The Visitor Education Center at Canyon is also a great place to stop. Aside from animal and geologic exhibits, you'll find an auditorium, a "Young Scientists" room for kids, a gift shop, and staffed ranger desk.
Grizzly Bear activity at Brooks Lake and Turpin Meadows
Due to grizzly bear activity, the Shoshone National Forest now requires hard-sided camper units for the Brooks Lake and Pinnacles campgrounds (and nearby dispersed campsites). Tents or canvas pop-up trailers are not permitted. Likewise, tents are not permitted in the Bridger-Teton National Forest's Turpin Meadows campground east of Grand Teton National Park. Bear activity has also been very high around the Colter Bay area.
Forest Campgrounds (North Unit)
Campground, a Forest Service camp west of Cody, was renovated with electric service at some sites. Fox
Creek Campground also received a massive overhaul. It now includes
34 long parking spurs and electric hookups for $20, but it is currently closed as of this writing in 2020 and may be for the next few years as it's being used to house road construction crews. Nearby Lake Creek Campground is also closed as of the 2020 season with no known re-opening date.
Custer Gallatin National Forest (Montana)
The small Chief Joseph campground formerly located along the Montana-Wyoming border near Cooke City is permanently closed.
Grand Teton National
If you haven't been to Jackson Hole in the last several years, be sure to stop at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center located in Moose (near
the grand aerial tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is operating
- go take a ride!
National Forest Campgrounds (South Unit)
Some of the camps in the Shoshone National Forest (as well as the
BLM camps between Pinedale and Lander) are being effected by the pine
bark beetle. You'll find that the forests have been thinned (or will be
thinned). Fortunately, many of these camps have a diverse forest of aspen,
spruce, and fir, so they shade can still be found.
Fremont Lake Campground
This campground near Pinedale received a recent renovation. You'll find more accessible sites, including longer pull-throughs.
Campground converted to day-use only
The tiny Bridge Campground along the Greys River in the Bridger-Teton National Forest (near the town of Alpine) is now a day-use/picnic area.
I-80 camping at Rock Springs
A common question is "Where can we camp along Interstate 80?" On the east side of the state, many choose Curt Gowdy State Park. On the west side, campers are heading to the 1200-site Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs (formerly called the Sweetwater Fairgrounds). The open lots include cell service, showers, full hookups for $30, or dry camping for $10. Common routes from here include heading north to the national parks (through Pinedale) or going south to the Flaming Gorge.
Changes at Guernsey State Park
If you have a First or Second Edition of the
camping book, take note that
Spring Creek Cove campground is permanently closed and Sitting Bull
Campground was converted to a day use-only area. The Sandy Beach Campground now has a row of campsites with water and electric hookups. Guernsey State Park now offers rentable yurts (sleeps 8). These are situated on a scenic overlook, have decks, and a shared vault toilet.
Changes at Glendo State Park
If you haven't been to Glendo in a few years, it's worth going back. There are new trails (foot and mountain bike) that are worth checking out, such as the one pictured below that is off the Wetlands Trail. Overall, the park has been working toward a safer, more family-friendly atmosphere, and after a recent three-day stay, I'd say it seems to be working.
South Pass City
South Pass City near Lander features a historic restored mining town, two excellent BLM campgrounds, and a newer 1.6-mile intrepretive trail. This footpath highlights some of the equipment used in the area, such as a 9-ton stamp mill, a water-wheel grinding machine, and a kiln that was used to make the local bricks. Some of the old mining equipment in the nearby Carissa Mine is started up for demonstrations.
Our Guidebook for
the Black Hills
One thing learned over the years is that a lot of Wyoming campers
incorporate the Black Hills into their trip. Our 180-page
guidebook focuses on the dozens of public campgrounds in northeastern
Wyoming and western South Dakota. While a lot of free Black Hills campground
info can be found on the web, you'll discover that it's incomplete, inaccurate,
and just spotty. This book is an answer to that. http://www.campingblackhills.com
Burgess Junction Visitor Center Re-opening
The Burgess Junction Visitor Center in the northern Bighorn National Forest (interesection of HWY 14 and 14A) was closed for years, but a new partnership with Arrowhead Lodge will allow the center to open again in the near future.
In the northern Bighorns, Upper Paintrock Lake is closed for good--not
a big loss considering there are two other camps right next to it.
the southern Bighorns, Bull Creek (near Meadowlark Reservoir) and Crazy
Woman Campground are now permanently closed. Sitting Bull (also near Meadowlark Reservoir), has been thinned enough that it no longer offers the private sites that it once did. But that isn't keeping visitation down; in fact, many of the camps in the southern Bighorns now fill during the main summer months.
Gowdy State Park Campgrounds
Improvements continue at Curt Gowdy! Tumbleweeds campground, along the north shore of Granite Reservoir,
now has paved parking spurs and water hydrants at each site. A newer visitor center was built on the south side of the highway (at the park's main entrance) in 2014. The park is also working toward upgrading campsites with longer pull-throughs, adding electric to group sites, and creating walk-in sites. A number of rentable cabins are also being constructed.
Madre Campground Changes
The segment leading
from HWY 130 to North Fork Campground on FR 101 is now mostly paved. This
greatly improves access along a stretch that was often heavily washboarded.
Some of the campgrounds along Barber Lake Road are now open again after years of being closed for tree clearing.
The campgrounds in
the Medicine Bow National forest have suffered from extensive bark beetle
damage and the trees are now prone to falling or blowing over. The Forest
Service response is to either clear out the trees or just permanently
close the camp altogether. Popular camps that have been cleared include
South Brush Creek, Nash Fork (still closed, but recently cleared), Sugarloaf, Brooklyn Lake,
North Fork, Ryan Park, Bottle Creek, Hog Park, and
Rob Roy Reservoir (partially open). Boswell
Creek and Haskins Creek Campground have been permanently closed. Lake Owen and Pelton Creek are closed for unknown reasons as of July, 2020. Bobbie Thompson may be closed. Miller Lake is now re-opened as a dispersed camping area.
Silver Lake Campground is open again after crews cleared and re-planted trees. This used to be one of the most popular
camps in the Snowy Range before it was hit hard by the spruce beetle. Though
it now looks like a much different place than it did years ago, campers are slowly returning to this high hilltop to take
advantage of the fun fishing that the nearby lake offers.
Tree seeding at Silver
Even though many
of the trees are now gone, it's good to see the campgrounds at least being
re-opened. Grasses, shrubs, and aspen are taking off quickly in many of
these camps, turning dirt patches into mountain meadows. As one camper
from Kansas told me, "A day up here, even without the trees,
is better than a day back home."
Edition only): The driving directions for Silver Lake (now closed),
Ryan Park, Brush Creek, and Lincoln Park Campgrounds (pages 353-356) falsely
state to drive west on HWY 130 from Saratoga. The directions should read