January 23, 2018

Madison Campground, Yellowstone National Park

Madison River, Madison Campground, Yellowstone National Park

The Madison Campground has become one of my favorite spots in Yellowstone National Park.  Conveniently located near the west entrance, this campground offers easy access to the Tower Junction, Old Faithful, and West Yellowstone.  I highly recommend staying here if you are looking for a camping spot during your stay in Yellowstone.

There are so many good things to say about this campground.

The number one reason I suggest this campsite is its proximity to the Madison River.  From all of the campsites, it is only a two minute walk down to the river.  This river offers world-class trout fishing.  When you stay at this campground, you will feel like you are living in the wilderness, on the prettiest river you have possibly ever seen.  It does not have a “village” area (like in the Canyon and Old Faithful areas) — which provides more welcomed solitude.

Madison River from the Madison Campground, Yellowstone National ParkThis is one of the best places in Yellowstone National Park to see animals.  The elk and bison (or buffalo, whatever you prefer to call them) meander through the campsites and graze next the river like the humans there don’t exist.  While bison are easily found in several parts of the park, elk that don’t run from people are harder to find.  The drive from Madison Campground to West Yellowstone is one of the best places for viewing elk.

When we stay at this campground, I have a hard time leaving.  Even just for the day, to see other parts of Yellowstone.  I could spend all day sitting by the river, watching the water, taking a dip, and enjoying the animals.  I suggest getting up early to hear the elk bugle.

Madison Campground, Yellowstone National ParkThe campground offers both tent-only sites, as well as sites for camper trailers.  The campsites are mostly level and of good size.  Yes, you will be close to your neighbors.  The campsites are right next to each other, but I don’t mind this at all.  Being closer to people makes me feel safer with the animals at night (there are sometimes bears trying to get into the dumpsters at night), and you can usually make a few friends during your stay!  I have not had any problem with noise — you cannot even run generators at night.

You can wash dishes in a small room between the restrooms.

If you need groceries, West Yellowstone is only 14 miles away, and Old Faithful is only 16 miles south.  This campground is just around the corner from the Firehole River, a lesser-known spot that where I suggest stopping for a swim.

This campground is open from early May until late October.  This camping site (unlike some of the Yellowstone camping sites) allows you to book reservations in advance.  You will want to book ahead, especially during July and August.  From June through September you will want to catch the evening ranger program offered for free.

Madison River, Yellowstone National ParkThis campground does not offer showers or utility hook-ups, but there is a sanitary dump station and restrooms located near each site.  If you need to shower, you can pay to take a shower at Old Faithful.

For just over $20 dollars a night, the Madison Campground in Yellowstone National Park cannot be beat!!


Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country,

Alex M. Neill

Montana Vacation Blog



TIP:  When you stay in the first camp sites, you can walk right out to the river and see animals.  But if you continue walking along the river (north), up and over the small hill, not only will you find a lot more animals, but you will also find a small natural hot springs along your side of the Madison River, just at the base of the hill on the other side.  You will smell the sulphur, and although it is shallow and unmarked, this is a nice place to dip your feet in.

ALSO, you don’t have to stay in this campsite to view the animals.  There is parking available for visitors along the river.  So just pull in, find a parking spot, and enjoy the day!

Madison Campground, Madison River, Yellowstone National Park

Hiking over the small hill to go back down to the river

Madison River, Yellowstone National Park

Pointing at the elk across the river

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