Great Glen Way Accommodation Guide

The Great Glen Way is one of Scotland’s most cherished walks. Tracing a series of spectacular lochs and Caledonian Canal, this beautiful walk takes in stunning Highland scenery, quaint villages,…

The Great Glen Way is one of Scotland’s most cherished walks. Tracing a series of spectacular lochs and Caledonian Canal, this beautiful walk takes in stunning Highland scenery, quaint villages, and brings walkers to the famous city of Inverness. While walking the route you’ll have plenty of accommodation options to suit every budget and style.

This includes the quintessential Scottish B&Bs, hotels, campgrounds, bunkhouses, and everything in between!

To help you sort through all of your options we’ve created this Great Glen Way Accommodation Guide to help you pick the best option for your trip. We’ve organized the guide to include options at each of the common stopping points along the Great Glen Way to help you pick accommodation for any itinerary you choose.

Bridge in Inverness, Scotland

 

In This Great Glen Way Accommodation Guide

 

Should I reserve my Great Glen Way accommodation in advance?

We highly recommend reserving as much of your Great Glen Way accommodation in advance as you can. While this may cut down a bit on your flexibility during the walk, it also ensures you’ll have a bed at the end of the day.

This area of Scotland is a quite popular holiday destination during the summer months, and there are many stops along the Great Glen Way that only have a few options to choose from. Although it is possible to walk the entire route without any advance reservations, we think having the peace of mind and assurance of a booking is well worth the trade-off.

As for timing, it is best to reserve your accommodation for the Great Glen Way as far in advance as you can. Generally speaking you’ll want to make a booking at least 4 – 5 months out for the more popular destinations on the route, especially Fort William and Inverness. Reservations for some of the less popular stops need not be made that far in advance, but a couple of months ahead is still recommended.

Scottish breakfast

A proper Scottish breakfast will be on the menu at many of the B&Bs along the Great Glen Way.

 

Great Glen Way Accommodation Cost

Great Glen Way accommodation cost is influenced by a number of factors. These include the time of year, day of the week, holidays, etc. You can expect to pay more for weekends during the summer and prices will be at their highest on summer holidays.

Additionally, the number of days you plan to walk the Great Glen Way in will also impact your accommodation budget for the walk. Most hikers will take between 5 – 8 days to walk the entire route. For more information on the walk, including an itinerary be sure check out this post.

Given all of these factors we think the range below provides a good, general estimate of what you can expect to spend for accommodation on the Great Glen Way:

  • B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: £70+ (per person/per night)
  • Bunkhouse/Hostel: £40+ (per person/per night)
  • Camping: £10+ (per person/per night)

Note: For those looking for campsites along the Great Glen Way, but sure to check out our complete guide here.

In our accommodation directory, we’ve provided our recommendations for high-end, mid-range, and budget options at all of the common stopping points along the Great Glen Way. We’ve defined those categories as follows:

  • High-End: £80+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: £40-80 (per person/per night)
  • Budget:<£40 (per person/per night)

Note that not every stop along the walk will feature accommodation that fits neatly into each of the categories above. In those cases we’ve included multiple options in a specific price point based on what is available.

 

Great Glen Way Accommodation Directory

In the following section we’ve created a comprehensive guide to accommodation options at each of the stops along the Great Glen Way. Choosing your accommodation isn’t always an easy task, so we’ve distilled your options into an easy to read format with key details and recommendations for every budget.

The directory has been organized to follow the standard route along the Great Glen Way from Fort William to Inverness. 

Read the directory in its entirety or jump to a specific stopping point from the list below:

 

Fort William Accommodation

High-End: Gowan Brae Bed and Breakfast

Gowan Brea B&B has it all: welcoming hosts, a central location, beautiful views, and plush rooms. Plus, the breakfast is divine. There isn’t a better place to stay before starting you walk.

Mid-Range: Myrtle Bank Guest House

Everything about this guest house is truly magical. Set inside an 1890’s Victorian on the banks of Loch Linnhe, there’s no shortage of great views and ambiance. The service is top-notch and the price is right.

Budget: Fort William Backpackers

This friendly hostel has good facilities and tons of quirky charm. It’s set in a cozy historic house, which means that some features are a bit dated (such as the very limited number of outlets in the rooms). The hostel has a lovely lounge and communal kitchen, a very affordable continental breakfast option, and linens are provided.

 

Gairlochy Accommodation

There aren’t a ton of hotels or guesthouses to choose from in Gairlochy, but there are several excellent holiday home rentals. These can be a great option for Great Glen Way walkers as you’ll have access to a kitchen and more space than a small hotel room!

Mid-Range: Dalcomera Holiday Home

Enjoy a fully equipped kitchen, lovely garden, and great WiFi at this lovely holiday home. Located just a short distance off the Great Glen Way, this is one of our top picks for Gairlochy.

Mid-Range: Little Tigh Clovelly Holiday Home

Another excellent holiday home option in Gairlochy is the Little Tigh Clovelly house. Situated just up the main road from the Great Glen Way, this quaint home provides privacy in a quiet setting. Guests love the friendly owners and perfect location.

Budget: Dreamweavers B&B

A good budget option, one of the only B&Bs in the Gairlochy area is the Dreamweavers B&B. You’ll enjoy clean and comfortable rooms along with an excellent breakfast to set your day of right. They host tons of Great Glen Way walkers here so you’ll feel right at home!

 

Loch Lochy Accommodation

For those planning to continue on past Gairlochy on their first stage you’ll have several excellent accommodation options along the shores of Loch Lochy. You’ll enjoy peace, tranquility, and stunning views at each of the accommodation options below!

High-End: Invergloy Riverside Lodges

The beautifully design Invergloy Riverside Lodges are one of the most unique accommodation options on the Great Glen Way. Comfortable beds, helpful staff, and a great location earn these lodges high marks from guests. There is often a minimum stay requirement during the summer, but a few nights here is well worth it!

Mid-Range: Whispering Pine Lodge

A lovely and cozy small hotel on the shores of Loch Lochy, the Whispering Pine Lodge is a favorite among Great Glen Way walkers. The hospitality of the staff goes a long way to ensure that guests are comfortable and well taken care of. The deck overlooking the loch is simply stunning!

Mid-Range: Corriegour Lodge Hotel

A simple and well-appointed hotel further along the loch, the Corriegour Lodge Hotel makes a comfortable place to spend the night without breaking the bank. A private beach on Loch Lochy and incredible food are hallmarks of this wonderful hotel.

 

Laggan Accommodation

Mid-Range: Forest Lodge Guesthouse

The lovely Forest Lodge Guesthouse is ideally situated between Loch Lochy and Loch Oich along the Caledonian Canal. This is a great stopping point as you’ll have just completed the long walk along Loch Lochy. The owners are superbly friendly and the breakfast exceptions. Our top pick in Laggan.

Budget: Great Glen Hostel

For budget minded walkers or those who just appreciate a good hostel, look no further than the Great Glen Hostel when staying in Laggan. Enjoy access to a self-catering kitchen, plenty of common spaces, and even a small shop. There is also a lovely garden to sit in when the weather is good.

 

Invergarry Accommodation

High-End: Glengarry Castle Hotel

If there was ever a hotel to splurge on along the Great Glen Way, the Glengarry Castle Hotel is certainly it! This stately hotel sits adjacent to the Glengarry Castle ruins and features wonderfully appointed rooms and exquisite dining.

Mid-Range: Invergarry Hotel

The Invergarry Hotel is a wonderful place to spend the night along your walk. Located along the banks of the River Garry, here you’ll experience top notch hospitality along with beautiful grounds. The on-site restaurant has an excellent selection of local real ales perfect for the end of a long day’s walk!

Mid-Range: The North Lodge Holiday Home

For those interested in a holiday home in Invergarry, the North Lodge is your best bet. This quaint, two-bedroom home offers great value for the money in an excellent location. A full kitchen is perfect for cooking up a big post-walk meal and afterwards be sure to enjoy warm up around a roaring fire.

Invergarry, Scotland

 

Fort Augustus Accommodation

High-End: The Lovat, Loch Ness

Enjoy stunning views across Loch Ness from your room at the Lovat. Set in an old Victorian building, this family run hotel offers thoughtfully designed rooms and a great restaurant. The hotel is quiet and staff goes out of their way to ensure your comfort.

Mid-Range: Lorien House B&B

The Lorien House is a stylish B&B that is perfect for Great Glen Way walkers. As you’d expect the breakfast is excellent, the rooms clean and quiet, but what most guests rave about are the welcoming and friendly owners.

Budget: White House B&B

Comfortable beds and a good breakfast buffet are the hallmarks of the White House B&B in Fort Augustus. Combined with great free Wi-Fi and a helpful owner and you can’t go wrong for a solid budget option along the walk here.

 

Invermoriston Accommodation

Mid-Range: Craik Na Dav B&B

For an excellent B&B in Invermoriston look no further than the Craik Na Dav B&B. Extremely helpful hosts along with great breakfast and comfortable rooms make this a favorite for Great Glen Way walkers. The garden attracts a variety of beautiful wildlife as well!

Mid-Range: Glenmoriston Arms Hotel

A classic Highlands hotel, the Glenmoriston Arms will leave you feeling refreshed and like you got a true Scottish experience. Enjoy one of the hundreds of malt whiskeys available in the pub before retiring to your comfortable room.

Budget: Darroch View B&B

A great budget option, the Darroch View B&B is well located in the heart of Invermoriston. Although rooms are on the smaller side you’ll still enjoy a great breakfast and helpful hosts.

 

Alltsigh Accommodation

Budget: Lochside Hostel

Set in a secluded location on the shores of Loch Ness, the Lochside Hostel is a great option for budget conscious Great Glen Way walkers. While certainly not glamorous, you’ll find the hostel to be well-appointed with great common spaces, comfortable rooms, and you can’t beat the view!

 

Drumnadrochit Accommodation

High-End: The Loch Ness Inn

Clean, well-designed rooms and a highly-regarded restaurant make the Loch Ness Inn a top pick for hotel accommodation in Drumnadrochit. Cozier than your average hotel, there are also a wide variety of room types available making this a great option for groups walking the Great Glen Way.

Mid-Range: Woodlands Bed & Breakfast

The Woodlands B&B is one of the top bed and breakfasts in Drumnadrochit and our top pick for Great Glen Way walkers. A beautiful garden and immaculate rooms are just a few of the reasons this is a great option. Don’t forget the incredible breakfast either!

Budget: Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge

For a great budget option in the popular Loch Ness village of Drumnadrochit look no further than the Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge. The owner is incredibly friendly, the bar well-stocked, and the common spaces well cared for. There are a variety of room types to choose from as well. Highly recommended.

Loch Ness

 

 

Loch Ness (between Drumnadrochit and Inverness)

Mid-Range: Loch Ness Lodge

For those looking to split up the long stage between Drumnadrochit and Inverness look no further than the Loch Ness Lodge. Elegant rooms and and stunning views will have you wanting to stay a bit longer before heading to Inverness! The Loch Ness Lodge is truly a classic Highlands hotel that we can’t recommend highly enough.

 

Inverness Accommodation

High-End: Dionard Guest House

If you’re after one of the best breakfasts in Inverness, the Dionard Guest House might just be the perfect place for you. A warm and thoughtfully cared for guest house, you’ll feel right at home here. The lovely owners are happy to make recommendations for anything you may want to do in Inverness.

Mid-Range: Bluebell House

The Bluebell House is located in a charming old building close to all the main attractions in Inverness. Clean rooms and the friendly owner, Kenny, make this a place you’ll certainly remember. Highly recommended!

Budget: Acer Glen B&B

For a great location without breaking the bank, the Acer Glen B&B in Inverness provides a great option. Guests love the comfortable rooms, great hosts, and excellent breakfast. What else could you want?

View of Inverness, Scotland

 

What’s Next?

Check out our other Great Glen Way Resources:

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Wicklow Way | Maps & Routes

The Wicklow Way is Ireland’s most famous long-distance walk. Starting on the outskirts of Dublin in Marlay Park, the Wicklow Way covers 130 km over the course of 5 –…

The Wicklow Way is Ireland’s most famous long-distance walk. Starting on the outskirts of Dublin in Marlay Park, the Wicklow Way covers 130 km over the course of 5 – 10 days walking. Finishing in the village of Clonegal, the walk takes in the best of the Wicklow mountains while visiting countless small villages and providing some of the best walking in all of Ireland.

We’ve created this Wicklow Way map guide to help provide an overview and introduction to walking the Wicklow Way. Included you’ll find in-depth maps and navigational resources to help you understand the basics of this incredible walk.

Let’s get started.

Lough Tay on the Wicklow Way

Lough Tay, one of the many highlights of the Wicklow Way.

 

In this Wicklow Way Map Guide

 

Where is the Wicklow Way?

The Wicklow Way is located in Ireland’s Wicklow mountains, which begin just south of the capitol city of Dublin. Officially beginning in Marlay Park on Dublin’s southern edge, the walk is very convenient to get to given it’s relatively urban beginning.

From Marlay Park the route immediately begins to climb and descend through the Wicklow mountains as it makes it’s way to Clonegal. As the route progresses, the terrain shifts from the mountainous beginning to a flatter and more pastoral feel in the south. The route is traditionally walked north to south, although there is nothing to stop you from walking in the opposite direction.

The Wicklow Way is exceptionally easy to access from the rest of Ireland as well as from international destinations. Given that the route starts on the edge of Ireland’s largest city, Dublin, you’ll have no trouble reaching the start at Marlay Park. On the southern terminus of the route in Clonegal it is a bit harder to return to Dublin, although you’ll still have plenty of options.

There are busses to Dublin available in Kern and Kildavin as well as the train from Bagenalstown. All of these options will require a taxi from Clonegal to reach them.

 

Map showing the location of the Wicklow Way

Overview of the Wicklow Way. Click to enlarge.

 

Along the walk, the Wicklow Way has some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in all of the Ireland. You’ll take in beautiful mountain views and views of Lough Tay, visit the historic monastic village of Glendalough, and take in the Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s tallest waterfall.

Most hikers with some experience and reasonable fitness will find the Wicklow Way to be quite manageable in terms of difficulty. There are some long days walking as well as mountainous terrain to cross, yet you are always reasonably close to civilization and never encounter extremely difficult days.

 

Glendalough

The small village of Glendalough on the Wicklow Way.

 

In general, most walkers will take between 5 – 10 days to walk the Wicklow Way. The number of days will depend on physical ability, time available, the weather, and your personal preference. The most common itinerary covers the route in 7 days, and that is what we’ve chosen to include in the Wicklow Way maps included in this guide.

Below is a common 7-stage itinerary for the Wicklow Way:

  • Stage 1: Marlay Park to Knockree
  • Stage 2: Knockree to Oldbridge
  • Stage 3: Oldbridge to Glendalough
  • Stage 4: Glendalough to Glenmalure
  • Stage 5: Glenmalure to Moyne
  • Stage 6: Moyne to Shillelagh (Boley Bridge)
  • Stage 7: Shillelagh to Clonegal

 

Interactive Wicklow Way map

The interactive Wicklow Way Way map below will allow you to zoom in on the various stages as well as view the traditional stops along the route.

 

How long is the Wicklow Way?

Most sources list the Wicklow Way as being 131 kilometers or 81 miles long. When we measure via GPS mapping we find the entire route to be just shy of that number at 128 kilometers from Marlay Park to Clonegal.

However, the exact distance of the walk will have very little practical value for the average walkers. You’ll certainly end up walking quite a bit further than the 128 km we measure, and many of the accommodation options are a short ways off the main trail. Combine that with the option to detour to attractive pubs with fresh Guinness on tap and you’ll surely end up walking well over 130 kilometers!

However, while it may not be important to know the exact distance of the walk down the last kilometer, it is a good idea of have a sense of the distance of each stage on the Wicklow Way. This will help you prepare for the walk, plan your itinerary, and provide valuable information to all walkers.

The Wicklow Way map below does just that, showing the distance in kilometers for each of the standard seven stages it takes to complete the walk. Use this map to help plan your own route and remember that the distances listed don’t include any detours or side trips!

 

Wicklow Way map with stage distances

Stage distances on the Wicklow Way. Click to enlarge.

 

Wicklow Way Elevation Profile

The Wicklow Way has approximately 4,700 meters (or  15,400 feet) of elevation gain as the walk makes its way from Marlay Park to Clonegal. Over the course of the typical seven stage itinerary that averages out to approximately 670 meters of elevation gain per stage. While certainly nothing to sneeze at, this amount of elevation gain should be manageable for the majority of walkers.

However, it is important to remember that all of that elevation gain isn’t perfectly spread out across the entire walk. The northern, more mountainous sections contain much of the total elevation, although the southern stages shouldn’t be underestimated. The most difficult day in terms of elevation gain is likely to be the second stage, from Knockree to Oldbridge which entails climbing to White Hill, the high point on the Wicklow Way.

Other notable stages for their total amount of elevation include Stage 4 from Glendalough to Glenmalure which entails a climb up a steep saddle as well as Stage 5 from Glenmalure to Moyne, which contains lots of elevation spread out over undulating hills.

 

 

For more information on what each stage is like in terms of total elevation gain and loss, take a look at the Wicklow Way elevation profile below. You’ll be able to get a sense of what the various climbs on the route are like, and how they compare to other stages on the walk.

For those not familiar with reading an elevation profile, you’ll find elevation on the left (y-axis), and distance on the bottom (x-axis). Each blue dot on the route corresponds with a stop along the walk, with the stop name listed at the top.

The steepness of the line between any two points reflects the steepness of the trail for that particular stage. The distance between the two points shows the length of the stage.

For example, you can see that the stage from Moyne to Shillelagh is rather long in terms of distance, while the walk from Knockree to Oldbridge has lots of elevation gain.

Wicklow Way Elevation Profile

Wicklow Way Elevation Profile. Click to enlarge.

 

Which maps should I carry on the Wicklow Way?

Overall the Wicklow Way is a very well marked route. You’ll find handy directional signage at most trail junctions and there is rarely a time the actual trail is difficult to follow. However, as with all long-distance hikes, it is best to prepared with a map or some sort of navigation.

This is especially true for sections of the Wicklow Way that intersect with other trails such as the Dublin Mountains Way which shares a short section towards the start of the hike.

We generally prefer to use a GPS map downloaded to our smartphone to navigate on trails like the Wicklow Way. This works well for trails like the Wicklow Way where it is nice to have some context of the surrounding towns and villages, especially given that your accommodation is likely to be off the track a bit in many places.

As far as apps go, we like to use Gaia GPS, although any good navigation app will work just fine.

Additionally, we highly recommend bringing a paper map for the route given that a bit of unplanned rain or sudden drop can render your smartphone useless.

There are several excellent Wicklow Way maps out there, with a few of your best bets listed below:

Ordnance Survey Ireland Maps
The Ordnance Survey Ireland Maps provide the most comprehensive set of physical maps for the Wicklow Way. You’ll need to carry three maps with you (50, 56, and 62) to cover the route at a 1:50,000 scale. Note that these maps don’t include the final kilometer of the walk into Clonegal, but we think you’ll be just fine navigating that section!

Walking the Wicklow Way: Cicerone Guidebook
Although not a formal map, this excellent guidebook from Cicerone guides is a must bring. It includes basic maps as well as detailed descriptions of the entire walk. It also features helpful accommodation lists and some interesting adjacent trails worth a walk.

Stream in the Wicklow Mountains

Have a great Wicklow Way adventure!

We hope this post has given you all the information you need to get a basic overview of the Wicklow Way. Let us know your questions or comments below. Happy trails!

1 Comment on Wicklow Way | Maps & Routes

Pennine Way | Maps & Routes

The Pennine Way is surely the greatest of all of the UK’s National Trails. This notoriously difficult trail runs up the spine of Britain and is typically completed in 15…

The Pennine Way is surely the greatest of all of the UK’s National Trails. This notoriously difficult trail runs up the spine of Britain and is typically completed in 15 – 21 days walking. The route begins in Edale in the south and meanders its way north to the village of Kirk Yetholm. Along the way you’ll encounter lovely villages, stunning views, and of course the Pennine Way’s famous bogs.

This Pennine Way map guide has been designed to provide your with an introduction to the Pennine Way by providing in-depth maps, navigational resources, and more!

Let’s get started.

 

In Pennine Way Map Guide

 

Where is the Pennine Way?

The Pennine Way runs through the heart of England and even reaches into Scotland at its northern end. The walk crosses through three national parks: Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, and Northumberland. The route is traditionally walked from south to north, although it is possible to walk in the opposite direction as well.

The walk is easily reached from the rest of the UK, with Edale having good rail access from both nearby Manchester as well as Sheffield. On the northern end, Kirk Yetholm is a bit harder to reach although there is access to Edinburgh to the north as well as plenty of rail connections available in Berwick-upon-Tweed, to the east of Kirk Yetholm on the coast.

 

Pennine Way Overview Map

The Pennine Way connects Edale in the south with Kirk Yetholm in thed north. (Click to enlarge)

 

Along the route, the Pennine Way has some of the most beautiful and difficult walking of any of the National Trails. You’ll cross seemingly endless bog ridden terrain as you make your way north. However, don’t let that dissuade you from a walk along the Pennine Way!

There are nearly endless highlights along the walk including beautiful villages such as Hebden Bridge, stunning scenery such as Malham Cove and High Cup Nick, in addition to enjoying the quintessential pint upon finishing at the Border Hotel!

View of High Cup Nick on the Pennine Way

High Cup Nick is a highlight of the Pennine Way.

 

The time it takes to walk the Pennine Way varies greatly depending on your fitness, desire for long days, weather, and countless other factors. That being said, it is typically completed in 15 – 21 days, with most walker’s opting for somewhere in the middle.

Below is a common 19-stage itinerary for the Pennine Way:

  • Stage 1: Edale to Crowden
  • Stage 2: Crowden to Standedge
  • Stage 3: Standedge to Hebden Bridge
  • Stage 4: Hebden Bridge to Ickornshaw or Cowling
  • Stage 5: Ickornshaw or Cowling to Gargrave
  • Stage 6: Gargrave to Malham
  • Stage 7: Malham to Horton in Ribblesdale
  • Stage 8: Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes
  • Stage 9: Hawes to Keld
  • Stage 10: Keld to the Tan Hill Inn
  • Stage 11: Tan Hill Inn to Middleton in Teesdale
  • Stage 12: Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton
  • Stage 13: Dufton to Garrigill
  • Stage 14: Garrigill to Alston
  • Stage 15: Alston to Greenhead
  • Stage 16: Greenhead to Once Brewed
  • Stage 17: Once Brewed to Bellingham
  • Stage 18: Bellingham to Byrness
  • Stage 19: Byrness to Kirk Yetholm

 

Pennine Way Map

Map of the Pennine Way. (Click to enlarge)

 

Interactive Pennine Way Map

The interactive Pennine Way Way map below will allow you to zoom in on the various stages as well as view the traditional stops along the route.

 

How long is the Pennine Way?

The Pennine Way is officially listed as being 268 miles long. However, in our estimation (using GPS!) we get closer to 255 miles along the route from Edale to Kirk Yetholm. Regardless, the Pennine Way is well over 250 miles and your certain to need a sturdy pair of boots to walk the entire length!

Most walker’s will agree that measuring the exact distance of the Pennine Way has little practical value. Given the number of days you’re likely to spend walking the route, you will certainly end up covering more miles than any guidebook provides. This is due to the fact that many of the accommodation options along the walk are located slightly off the trail requiring you to add a bit of distance. That combined with the countless side trips to local pubs and interesting attractions will have you adding up the miles in no time!

Regardless, we still find it helpful for itinerary planning to have a sense of the distances each stage of the walk entails. The two maps below show the distance of individual stages on the Pennine Way in both miles and kilometers. Be sure to consult them when planning your own route, just remember that these distance don’t include any side trips.

Map of the Pennine Way with distances

Map of the Pennine Way with distances in miles.

 

Map of the Pennine Way with distances in kilometers.

Stage distances on the Pennine Way in kilometers.

 

Pennine Way Elevation Profile

As the Pennine Way meanders from Edale to Kirk Yetholm the walk has approximately 40,000 feet or 12,000 meters of elevation gain! That averages out to be just over 2,000 feet of elevation gain per stage on the 19-day itinerary we presented above.

Of course, all of that elevation isn’t perfectly spaced out across the walk, although you will find that most stages do have some climbing. Some of the most notable climbs on the Pennine Way include the climb up Knock Fell out of Dufton, the steep ascent up Great Shunner Fell just outside of Hawes, and the long day of climbing from Malham to Horton in Ribblesdale.

Malham, UK

 

The high  point of the Pennine Way Way sits at Cross Fell, 2,930 feet above sea-level. You’ll reach this point between Dufton and Garrigill.

Check out the Pennine Way elevation profile below to get a sense of what each stage of the walk entails in terms of elevation gain and loss.

Elevation is shown on the left side while distance is shown on the bottom. Each blue dot represents a stop along the traditional 19-stage walk, with the stop name shown at the top.

The steepness of the line between any two points reflects the steepness of the trail for that particular stage. The distance between the two points shows the length of the stage.

 

Pennine Way Elevation Profile

Elevation profile of the Pennine Way. Click to enlarge.

 

Which Pennine Way maps should I carry?

Given that the Pennine Way is a National Trail you’ll find the route to be relatively well marked. The familiar white acorn associated with National Trails will grace signs at many trail junctions, pointing you in the correct direction. However, the sheer length and number of trail junctions you’ll encounter on the Pennine Way make having a reliable form of navigation essential.

For this reason, we always recommend that walkers bring a few map resources when walking the Pennine Way.

When we’re out on a long distance path, our general preference is to rely on GPS maps on our smartphones, and highly recommend this method for most walkers. All you need is a GPX file for the route, which is easily accessed on the National Trails website for the Pennine Way.

As far as apps go, we like to use Gaia GPS, although any good navigation app will work just fine.

In addition to digital navigation methods, we also recommend you bring a paper map or map booklet along. There is simply no replacement for a physical map, after all you never know when you may find yourself with a dead battery rendering your GPS app useless!

There are several excellent physical maps available for the Pennine Way, outlined below:

The Pennine Way Map Booklet – Cicerone Guides
In our opinion, your best bet will be to pack this excellent resource from Cicerone Guides. Their Pennine Way map booklet contains Ordnance Survey Explorer maps for the entire route, neatly organized into a small and portable booklet.

 

Pennine Way Way South & North Adventure Atlas
The Pennine Way Adventure Atlas’ are a great option for those looking for a more traditional style of map. These handy guides use OS Explorer maps, a proven navigational resource. You’ll need to pick up both the south and north versions to cover the entire Pennine Way, but it is certainly much easier than assembling all of the Ordnance Survey maps yourself.

Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps
Finally, no article on walking in England would be complete without including the required Ordnance Survey maps. These detailed maps are the quintessential maps for a detailed view of the Pennine Way. However, you’ll need to carry no less than seven individual maps to cover the length of the walk.

We’d recommend picking up one of the options above instead.

For those who insist on carrying all of the OS maps, you can pick up a complete set here.

 

Pennine Way Maps | GPS/GPX

If you are interested in getting access to the GPS data for the Pennine Way head on over to the National Trails website. Here you’ll find free downloads for the walking route.

Click here to access the free GPS data for the Pennine Way

You’ll be able to load the GPX file into the mapping software or GPS phone app of your choice!

Map of the Pennine Way on a cell phone

 

Apps and offline mapping

As mentioned above we highly recommend utilizing offline downloadable GPS maps on our smartphones to navigate while walking the Pennine Way. This is a great way to navigate on the trail as it allows you to see your progress for the day and also doesn’t require a cell phone signal (which you may not have) to display the map.

Our How to Navigate on the Tour du Mont Blanc post has all the information you need to get set up using an app for your map. Although written for a different hike, this step-by-step article will teach you how to quickly and easily turn your phone into a GPS device for the Pennine Way.

 

Have a great Pennine Way adventure!

We hope this post has given you all the information you need to get a basic overview of the Pennine Way. Let us know your questions or comments below. Happy trails!

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The Complete Guide to Camping at Carter Lake, CO

Carter Lake, a 1,100-acre reservoir near Loveland, Colorado, truly has something for everyone. It is easily accessible from the Front Range, but thanks to its 1,000 acres of surrounding wilderness,…

Carter Lake, a 1,100-acre reservoir near Loveland, Colorado, truly has something for everyone. It is easily accessible from the Front Range, but thanks to its 1,000 acres of surrounding wilderness, it feels peaceful and remote. This beautiful area is popular with families, water lovers, and adventure seekers alike. Planning a Carter Lake camping trip is the perfect way to experience this incredible landscape.

The reservoir features tons of camping options including five developed campgrounds located all along the nearly 8-mile length of Carter Lake, nearby RV and car camping sites, and even some free dispersed camping.

In this post…

 

What to Do at Carter Lake

There’s no shortage of fun activities to keep you entertained at Carter Lake. Water enthusiasts will enjoy lots of great boating, fishing, sailing, swimming, and even scuba diving! On dry land, there are great options for hiking, cycling, picnicking, and rock climbing.

Two Kayaks in the sunset at Carter Lake, Colorado

Watersport enthusiasts will love all of the activities at Carter Lake!

 

Carter Lake Campgrounds

Carter Lake stretches three miles long, with its southern end just west of Berthoud, and its northernmost tip closer to Loveland. All along this spectacular shoreline, you’ll find dozens of unique camping opportunities for both tents and RV’s.

Carter Lake’s five developed campgrounds are located along the southern, eastern, and northern shores of the reservoir. Backcountry and dispersed camping are not permitted; you must camp in a designated site at Carter Lake.

The map below shows all of the campgrounds included in this guide.

Campgrounds with a green tent icon are the developed campgrounds at Carter Lake, the blue camper trailer icon represents RV  and car camping campgrounds near the reservoir, and finally the red tent icon represents dispersed car camping options in the surrounding area.

Enjoy!

Reservations & Permits

In addition to a park entrance permit, you’ll also need a separate permit to camp at Carter Lake. Reserving your campsite online or at the Larimer County Administration Office will provide you with a camping permit.  Daily and annual entry permits can be purchased at the entrance stations located at the north and south entrances to the reservoir.

Click here for more information on park entrance permits

If you plan on camping at Carter Lake on a summer weekend, advance reservations are necessary, as the campgrounds are nearly always at capacity. It is possible to reserve a site at all five of the campgrounds through the Larimer County website or by calling 1-800-397-7795.

Reservations can be made anywhere from 180-1 day(s) in advance, but book as early as possible for summer weekends. Additionally, it’s important to note that there’s a two-night minimum for weekend bookings April-September, and a three-night minimum for holidays.

Click here to make a camping reservation at Carter Lake 

It may be possible to find a campsite at Carter Lake without a reservation if you’re camping on a weekday and/or outside of the peak summer months. If you are arriving without a reservation, you’ll need to first go to the Larimer County Administration Office to pay for your campsite and get your camping permit (1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland, CO 80537). You cannot pay for a first-come, first-served campsite at Carter Lake. The Administration Office is typically open from 9:00am-4:00pm, 7 days a week.

The only exception to this rule is if you are camping between November 1st-February 28th. If you want to make a same-day reservation during those months, you can do so online.

Camp chairs set up around a campfire at Carter Lake

Don’t forget your cooler and your camp chairs for your trip to Carter Lake!

 

What to Bring

Preparing for a Carter Lake camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping at Carter Lake:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect cooking up campsite dinners.
  • Pop-up canopy – The sun in Colorado can be extremely strong. We recommend bringing a portable shade structure like this one.
  • Portable water container – These portable water containers are a lifesaver.
  • Cooler – A good cooler is essential to any camping trip. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Waterproof phone case-Take photos and enjoy the water without worrying about your device!

When to Camp at Carter Lake

Camping is permitted year-round at all five developed campgrounds at Carter Lake. Nighttime temperatures remain well below freezing during the winter months. For that reason, we only recommend winter camping at Carter Lake for the heartiest and most well-prepared campers out there!

Due to its elevation of 5,760 feet, mornings and evenings are routinely quite chilly even in the late spring and early fall. On the other hand, expect very hot temperatures from June-September.

Carter Lake is very popular and get can quite crowded in the peak season (April-September).

A speedboat with autumn trees in the background

It’s possible to camp at Carter Lake all year.

 

Developed Campgrounds

While all of the campgrounds at Carter Lake have plenty of amenities and are easy to get to, each offers its own unique advantages. For example, only some have water views and/or shoreline access, others are closer to the marina, and only a portion of the sites have electrical hookups.

A few important details that apply to all of the campgrounds:

  • There is a maximum group size of six people at the Big Thompson, Carter Knolls, and North Pines Campgrounds and eight people at the Eagle and South Shore Campgrounds.
  • All campgrounds allow for up to two vehicles and one camping vehicle (RV, trailer) per site.
  • RV’s can fill up water and use the dump station at the south entrance to the reservoir.
  • Cell phone service is generally available throughout the area, although there is no wifi at any of the campgrounds.

Keep reading to learn about all of the Carter Lake Campgrounds and find your perfect campsite.

Big Thompson Campground

Number of Sites: 8 sites
Fee: $20/night (weekdays), $26/night (weekends April-Sept), $30/night (holidays April-Sept)
RVs: Yes, no hookups
Reservations: Recommended during summer months. Click here to reserve.
Season: Open year round. Water may only be available from offsite spigots in the winter.

Click here for a map of the Big Thompson Campground

The Big Thompson Campground is located along the northeast shore of Carter Lake. It is close to the marina and the northern entrance to the reservoir.  All sites have beautiful lake views, although they are located high above the beach and require a short hike to reach the water.

With just eight sites, Big Thompson is a small campground with basic facilities. Amenities include a drinking water tap, vault toilets, and trash receptacles. Every site has its own picnic table and fire pit. There are no electrical hookups, but the pull-through sites can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet long. Campers can use the showers at the Eagle Campground, which is conveniently located just down the road from the Big Thompson Campground. Site T4 is ADA accessible.

It is highly recommended to make an advance reservation during the summer months, and especially so on holiday weekends. Reservations can be made below:

Click here to reserve your campsite at the Big Thompson Campground. 

A view of the Big Thompson Campground from across the road

The Big Thompson Campground.

 

Carter Knolls Campground

Number of Sites: 7 sites
Fee: $20/night (weekdays), $26/night (weekends April-Sept), $30/night (holidays April-Sept)
RVs: Yes, no hookups
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Season: Open year round. Water may only be available from offsite spigots in the winter.

Click here for a map of the Carter Knolls Campground

This small campground is perched on a rocky overlook on the east side of Carter Lake. The Carter Knolls Campground is conveniently located near the swimming beach, and it’s roughly halfway between the northern and southern entrances. Although its lofty position means that it can get extremely windy at times, it also makes for fantastic views of the entire reservoir and surrounding area. It’s possible to hike down a short, steep trail to reach the waterfront from the campground.

Sites C8 and C9 are tent-only and require a short walk from the parking area. Site C5 is best suited for larger RVs, as it can accommodate rigs up to 55 feet long in a pull-through spot. The other sites (with the exception of C8 and C9) can accommodate RVs up to 20 feet long in back-in spots.

Amenities at the Carter Knolls Campground include a drinking water tap, vault toilets, and trash receptacles. All sites have a picnic table and fire pit, and there is a nice picnic pavilion located at the center of the campground. Campers can shower at the Eagle Campground, and RV’s can fill up water at the south entrance to Carter Lake.

It is highly recommended to make an advance reservation during the summer months, and especially so on holiday weekends. Reservations can be made below:

Click here to reserve your campsite at the Carter Knolls Campground

The picnic pavilion with Carter Lake behind it at the Carter Knolls Campground.

The Carter Knolls Campground.

 

Eagle Campground

Number of Sites:  47 sites
Fee: $32/night (weekdays), $42/night (weekends April-Sept), $48/night (holidays April-Sept)
RVs: Yes, 50 amp electric hookups.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Season: Open year round.

Click here for a map of the Eagle Campground

Located across the road from the marina and near the northern entrance to Carter Lake, the Eagle Campground provides easy access to variety of activities.  This is one of the larger and more developed campgrounds at Carter Lake. Although the campground is not adjacent to the water, sites E2-E21 have lake views. The remainder of the sites are located in a lovely meadow below the road. The campground enjoys a wooded setting, which provides shade, privacy, and some shelter from the wind.

All of the sites at the Eagle Campground can accommodate RVs and provide 50 amp electrical hookups. There are back-in and pull-through sites available, and some sites can fit big rigs up to 75 feet long. Sites E23-E25 are ADA accessible pull-through sites.

Amenities at the Eagle Campground include flush toilets, drinking water, coin-operated showers, trailer parking, and a playground. All sites have a picnic table and a fire pit. The marina shop, which sells some snacks and basic items, is directly across the road.

It is highly recommended to make an advance reservation during weekends and summer months. Reservations can be made below:

Click here to reserve your campsite at the Eagle Campground

A picnic table and a campsite at the Eagle Campground, Carter Lake

The Eagle Campground.

 

North Pines Campground

Number of Sites:  4 sites
Fee: $20/night (weekdays), $26/night (weekends April-Sept), $30/night (holidays April-Sept)
RVs: Yes, no hookups.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Season: Open year round.

Click here for a map of the North Pines Campground

The North Pines Campground is tucked away in a quiet, pretty location on the northern edge of Carter Lake. It is next to the private Carter Lake Sailing Club, the North Pines boat ramp, and the Sundance hiking trail. It’s very close to the northern entrance to the reservoir. With just four sites, it is the smallest of all of the Carter Lake campgrounds.

Although there are no electrical hookups, all four sites at the North Pines Campground can accommodate RVs. Big rigs should aim for site N3, as this is the only pull-through site and can fit RV’s up to 50 feet long. All of the sites have at least partial lake views, but site N4 has the best views and water access.

Amenities at the North Pines Campground include a drinking water tap, vault toilets, and trash receptacles. Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit. Campers can use the showers at the Eagle Campground, which is conveniently located just down the road from the Big Thompson Campground.

It is highly recommended to make an advance reservation during the summer months, and especially so on holiday weekends. Reservations can be made below:

Click here to reserve your campsite at the North Pines Campground

 

South Shore Campground

Number of Sites:  51 sites
Fee: $32/night (weekdays), $42/night (weekends April-Sept), $48/night (holidays April-Sept)
RVs: Yes, 50 amp electric hookups.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Season: Open year round.

Click here for a map of the South Shore Campground

The South Shore Campground, located on the very southern tip of Carter Lake, is the largest campsite in the area. However, due to the fact that it is set back from the main road, it has a peaceful and remote feel. The campground is next to the South boat ramp, reservable picnic pavilions, and the Sundance hiking trail.

The campground has 45 standard electric sites and six tent-only sites that are set on a hillside overlooking the lake. The lower sites have closer water access, while the sites higher on the hill may provide better views of the area. RV’s are permitted in the standard electric sites, all of which are pull-though. Some sites can accommodate RV’s up to 60 feet long, while others are much smaller. Sites S1-S3 are ADA accessible, and sites S3, S5, S7, and S17-S21 provide the best water access.

Amenities at the South Shore Campground include drinking water, vault toilets, trash receptacles, and horseshoe pits. All sites have picnic tables and fire pits.

It is highly recommended to make an advance reservation during the summer months, and especially so on holiday weekends. Reservations can be made below:

Click here to reserve your campsite at the South Shore Campground

A dirt road and RVs parked at the South Shore Campground, Carter Lake

The South Shore Campground.

 

 

Camping near Carter Lake

RV campgrounds

North Shore RV Park

Number of Sites:  7 sites
Fee: $25/night (dry site), $45/night (hookups)
RVs: Yes, 20/30/50 amp electric, water, and sewer hookups.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Season: Open year round.

This RV park is located just minutes from the northern edge of Carter Lake, and provides easy access to the marina and the North Pines boat ramp. The facilities are nothing fancy, but it’s a great option for RV campers seeking full hookups, or those unable to score a reservation in one of the Carter Lake campgrounds. There are also cabin rentals available on the property.

Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, laundry facilities, and trash services. There’s a boat/RV storage area and a general store onsite, as well as a restaurant next door. Pets are welcome.

More Information

 

Car camping sites

Flatiron Reservoir Campground

Number of Sites:  36 sites
Fee: $32/night (weekdays), $42/night (weekends April-Sept), $48/night (holidays April-Sept)
RVs: Yes, 50 amp electric hookups.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Season: Open year round.

Click here for a map of Flatiron Reservoir Campground

Flatiron Reservoir is a small reservoir located northwest of Carter Lake. It’s another great option for tent and RV campers looking to enjoy Carter Lake, as it’s less than 10 minutes from the marina. Just like all of the developed campgrounds at Carter Lake, the Flatiron Reservoir Campground is managed by Larimer County, and the same rules apply in terms of reservations, permits, and regulations. You can use the same entry permit to access both Carter Lake and Flatiron Reservoir.

The Flatiron Reservoir Campground runs along the edge of the water and has 33 standard electric sites and three tipis. Sites F10, F12, F13, F14, F16, F18, F20, F21, F24, and F25 have the best proximity to the water. Sites F6, F8, and F19 are ADA accessible.

All of the standard electric sites can accommodate RVs, and all except for two are pull-through. Site sizes vary, so bigger rigs should check to make sure they can fit before reserving.

Amenities at the Flatiron Reservoir Campground include drinking water, vault toilets, a fishing pier, volleyball courts, and horseshoe pits. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit.

Click here to reserve your campsite at Flatiron Reservoir

 

Estes Park KOA

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: Varies
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Season: May 1st-October 15th

Campers willing to travel a bit further afield can reach the Estes Park KOA in less than an hour from Carter Lake. The Estes Park KOA is located east of the town of Estes Park, just above Lake Estes. Of course, the main attraction here is nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, so those looking to explore both RMNP and Carter Lake will appreciate this location.

There are a variety of accommodations at Estes Park KOA, including tent sites, cabins and several options for RV’s.

Amenities include cable tv, wifi, showers, and a dog park.

More Information

An RV in the daytime with trees in the background.

RV’s will have plenty of camping options near Carter Lake.

 

Free dispersed camping

Unfortunately, there is no free dispersed camping in the immediate area surrounding Carter Lake. However, if you’re willing to travel a bit further, there are some good options on the many acres of Forest Service land that are located about an hour west of Carter Lake, near Rocky Mountain National Park.  You can find more information about dispersed camping on USFS land here.

If you have any questions about the dispersed camping options outlined below be sure to reach out to the USF office that oversees that area:

US Forest Service Office: 303-541-2500 or 970-295-6700

Coyote Hill Road

Your first option for free dispersed camping near Carter Lake and RMNP is along Coyote Hill Road, located just outside of Estes Park. Also known as Forest Service Road 119, it is recommend to come with a high clearance 4×4 to reach the campsites. This area is located about an hour’s drive from Carter Lake.

Parachute Hill/Johnny Park Road

Parachute Hill Road and Johnny Park Road are both good options for free dispersed camping, and are about one hour and fifteen minutes from Carter Lake. To access the camping area you’ll take Highway 7, which runs between Estes Park and Allenspark to Boulder County Road 82. From here, head east towards the Johnny Park Trail before turning off on FS Road 329.

Pole Hill Road

The Pole Hill Road dispersed camping area is accessed from Highway 36 just south of Estes Park. Look for the Pole Hill Road intersection just before Highway 36 begins its descent into Estes Park. 4WD is a must here and also be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles as there have been many complaints from surrounding land owners. Keep in mind that your map application may show a shorter, more direct route from Carter Lake on a private road, but you’ll need to take one of the longer routes (either via US34 or US36) to avoid trespassing. Both of these longer routes take about an hour to reach Carter Lake.

A blue and an orange tent with sunlight coming through the trees.

Dispersed camping allows you to find more peace and solitude than at a developed campground.

 

Carter Lake Camping Must Know

Pets

Pets are welcome at Carter Lake, provided you follow a few guidelines:

  • Pets must be kept on a leash at all times (max length 10 feet)
  • Pets may not be left unattended
  • Pets are not allowed at the swim beach

 

Where to get supplies

Preparing for your Carter Lake camping trip involves more than just finding the perfect campground. you’ll also need to be sure you have all the supplies you need before heading out. Luckily, Carter Lake is well served by a few adjacent towns that have all the services you could possibly need.

You’ll find your best options to stock up on camping supplies near Carter Lake below:

  • Berthoud, CO: Located immediately to the east of the Carter Lake, Berthoud is likely your best bet for finding any last minute camping supplies. This lovely town features grocery stores, liquor stores, gas stations and restaurants.
  • Loveland, CO: Located to the northeast of Carter Lake, Loveland is the bigger of the two nearby towns and therefore has a wider range of services. You’ll find grocery stores, gas stations, outdoor shops, medical offices, and anything else you might need here.

Additionally, there is a small shop at the Carter Lake Marina and a general store at the nearby North Shore RV Park, both of which sell snacks and some basic supplies.

 

Fires

Fires are generally permitted. but only in the designated fire pits provided at all of the campsites at Carter Lake. Seasonal fire restrictions are common, however, so be sure to call 970-619-4570 or check this website before your camping trip.

 

A paved road with Carter lake in the background

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope you’ve found all of this post’s information on Carter Lake camping to be helpful, and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or had a great time out camping!

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The Complete Guide to Camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir

The Blue Mesa Reservoir, located in Colorado’s western mountains, is spectacular place to plan a camping trip. Occupying over 9,000 acres, the reservoir is Colorado’s largest body of water. Blue…

The Blue Mesa Reservoir, located in Colorado’s western mountains, is spectacular place to plan a camping trip. Occupying over 9,000 acres, the reservoir is Colorado’s largest body of water. Blue Mesa Reservoir sits within the Curecanti National Recreation Area and is managed by the National Park Service. Planning a Blue Mesa Reservoir camping trip is the perfect way to experience this incredible landscape.

The reservoir features tons of camping options including NPS run campgrounds located all along the nearly 20 mile length of Blue Mesa Reservoir, boat camping options, nearby RV and car camping sites, and even some free dispersed camping.

No matter what kind of camping experience you’re after you’ll be able to find the perfect campground at Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Keep reading to get all the details to plan your perfect camping trip at Blue Mesa Reservoir. 

Blue Mesa Reservoir Camping Guide

 

Blue Mesa Reservoir Campgrounds

The Blue Mesa Reservoir is over 20 miles long starting just west of Gunnison, CO and extending all the way west to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Along this length you’ll find dozens of camping opportunities from the NPS operated sites along the reservoir shores to amenity rich RV campgrounds nearby.

Blue Mesa’s developed campgrounds are located along both the northern and southern shoes of the reservoir, as well as the various tributaries that feed into it. Those who are interested in reaching their campground by boat will have four campgrounds to choose from in addition to backcountry camping sites available along the south shore of Blue Mesa Reservoir.

The map below gives you a general sense of where each of the developed campgrounds are located at Blue Mesa Reservoir as well as their relation to the surrounding area. 

For a map of boat campgrounds at Blue Mesa Reservoir check out this section below. 

 

Blue Mesa Reservoir Campground Map

Map of campgrounds at the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Map credit NPS. Click to enlarge.

 

In addition to the overview map shown above we’ve also created an interactive map with all of the campgrounds included in this guide displayed.

Campgrounds with a green tent icon are the developed campgrounds at Blue Mesa,  the blue camper trailer icon represents RV campgrounds near the reservoir, and finally the red tent icon represents car camping options.

Enjoy!

 

Reservations

Of the ten developed campgrounds at Blue Mesa Reservoir, only the Elk Creek, Lake Fork, Stevens Creek, and the two group campsites are reservable in advance. All other campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  .

To make a reservation at any of the reservable campgrounds at Blue Mesa Reservoir visit Recreation.gov, below.

Make a camping reservation at Blue Mesa Reservoir here.

Camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir and in the Curecanti National Recreation Area is very popular during the summer peak season, so we highly recommend making a reservation well in advance if at all possible. If  you’re hoping to land one of the first-come, first-served campgrounds during peak season be sure to arrive early as they are very difficult to snag!

What to Bring

Preparing for a Blue Mesa Reservoir camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect cooking up campsite dinners.
  • Pop-up canopy – The sun in Colorado can be extremely strong. We recommend bringing a portable shade structure like this one.
  • Portable water container – These portable water containers are a life saver.
  • Cooler – A good cooler is essential to any camping trip. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Blue Mesa Reservoir Map – An essential for any trip, a good map is a must. This excellent National Geographic map includes Blue Mesa Reservoir and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

 

When to Camp at Blue Mesa Reservoir

Only the Elk Creek Campground at Blue Mesa Reservoir is open year round. All other campgrounds are generally open starting in mid to late-May through the end of October. Campers will find that peak season for camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir generally runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, though those who plan a trip just outside of those dates will find great weather as well.

The winter months bring very cold temperatures to this part of Colorado, and nearby Gunnison is often one of the coldest places around! For that reason, we only recommend winter camping at Blue Mesa for the heartiest and well-prepared campers out there!

Keep reading to learn about all of the developed campgrounds at Blue Mesa Reservoir.

 

Developed Campgrounds at Blue Mesa Reservoir

Elk Creek Campground

Number of Sites: 160 sites
Fee: Loop C: $16/night / Loops A & B: $16/night +$3/night if reserved, Loop D (electric sites) $22/night +$3/night if reserved.
RVs: Yes, Loop D features electric hookups
Reservations: Recommended during summer months. Click here to reserve.
Season: Open year round. Most services/facilities only open during summer months.

Elk Creek Campground, Blue Mesa Reservoir

The Elk Creek Campground. Photo credit NPS.

 

The Elk Creek Campground is the largest and most popular campground at Blue Mesa Reservoir. Located near the midpoint of the reservoir along the north shore, Elk Creek is well located for those who value convenience as it is just a short distance from the Elk Creek Visitor Center, Pappy’s Restaurant & Pub, boat ramp, and marina.

The campground is the only one at Blue Mesa that features electric hookups, so it is especially popular with RV campers. There are 160 campsites here, distributed between four loops. The electric sites are all located in Loop D, while Loops A and B feature walk-in tent sites adjacent to the reservoir.

Amenities at the Elk Creek Campground include drinking water, flush toilets, and showers, all of which are available during peak season.

Reservations can be made in advance for site in Loop A, B, and D, with D, while Loop C sites are all available on a first-come, first-served basis. It is highly recommended to make an advance reservation during the summer months, and especially so on holiday weekends. Reservations can be made via Recreation.gov below:

Click here to reserve your campsite at the Elk Creek Campground

 

Map of the Elk Creek Campground at Blue Mesa Reservoir

Elk Creek Campground Map. Map credit NPS.

 

Lake Fork Campground

Number of Sites: 90 sites
Fee: Lower sections: $16/night / Upper & Middle Section: $16/night + $3/night if reserved.
RVs: Yes, but no hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve. 
Season: April through mid-October

Lake Fork Campground

The Lake Fork Campground. Photo credit NPS.

 

The Lake Fork Campgrounds sits on the far western edge of Blue Mesa Reservoir. Situated along the reservoir’s southern shore, this is one of the larger campgrounds at Blue Mesa.

The campground is split into an Upper, Middle, and Lower section, all of which can accommodate RVs. For those tent camping, there are several walk-in tent sites available in in the Upper section of the campground. Lake Fork isn’t the most idyllic campground as it is almost entirely asphalt, but you’ll have great views and great water access here.

Amenities at the Lake Fork Campground include drinking water, flush toilets, showers, and a dump station, all of which are available during peak season.

Reservations can be made in advance for the campground via Recreation.gov below:

Click here to reserve your campsite at the Lake Fork Campground

 

Map of the Lake Fork Campground

Map of the Lake Fork Campground. Map credit NPS.

 

 

Stevens Creek Campground

Number of Sites: 53 sites
Fee: Loops A & C: $16/night +$3/night if reserved / Loop B: $16/night
RVs: Yes, but no hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve. 
Season: Open from late-May through late-September

Stevens Creek Campground

The Stevens Creek Campground. Photo credit NPS.

 

The Stevens Creek Campground is located on the eastern edge of Blue Mesa Reservoir and is the closest campground to the town of Gunnison. Situated on the reservoir’s northern shore, Stevens Creek has 53 individual campsites available.

There are three loops at the Stevens Creek Campground, A, B, and C, all of which are able to accommodate RVs. All of the sites have great views as well as access to water during the summer months, vault toilets, picnic tables, and fire grates. There is also a boat ramp at the campground, making this a popular place to camp for boaters.

Advance reservations are available for Loops A and C, while all of the site in Loop B are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Reservations can be made in advance for the campground via Recreation.gov below:

Click here to reserve your campsite at the Stevens Creek Campground

 

Cimarron Campground

Number of Sites: 21 sites
Fee: $16/night
RVs: Yes, no hookups available. Medium sized RVs recommended.
Reservations: All site first-come, first-served.
Season: May through mid-October

Cimarron Campground, Blue Mesa Reservoir

The Cimarron Campground. Photo credit NPS.

 

The Cimarron Creek Campground does not sit directly on the Blue Mesa Reservoir, but rather is located west of Blue Mesa along Cimarron Creek. The campground sits just off Highway 50, about 30 minutes from the town of Montrose and has 21 campsites.

All of the campsites feature picnic tables, fire grates, and have access to vault toilets. Water is available from late-May through mid-September. This is a great campground for railroad lovers as it is located at the site of an old railroad town and features several informative exhibits.

All campsites at Cimarron Creek are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Ponderosa Campground

Number of Sites: 28 sites
Fee: $16/night
RVs: Yes, no hookups available. Medium sized RVs recommended.
Reservations: All site first-come, first-served.
Season: May through mid-October

Campsite at the Ponderosa Campground

A campsite at the beautiful Ponderosa Campground. Photo credit NPS.

 

The Ponderosa Campground sits on the far northern edge of the Blue Mesa Reservoir along the Soap Creek Arm of the reservoir. The campground has a much more remote feel than other options, as you’re several miles from the main highway here.

You’ll enjoy beautiful views from the campground’s 28 sites, each of which is equipped with a table and fire pit. As with most campgrounds at Blue Mesa, water is available at the campground during the summer months.

Sites at Ponderosa can accommodate both tents and medium size RVs and are all available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Dry Gulch Campground

Number of Sites: 9 sites
Fee: $16/night
RVs: Yes, no hookups available. Medium sized RVs recommended.
Reservations: All site first-come, first-served.
Season: May through mid-October

Dry Gulch Campground

The Dry Gulch Campground. Photo credit NPS.

 

The Dry Gulch Campground is located along Highway 50, just east of the Elk Creek Campground and Visitor Center. With only 9 campsites, Dry Gulch is a great option for those looking for a quieter camping experience near Blue Mesa Reservoir.

The campsites are tucked into a lovely grove of Cottonwood trees which provide some great shade during the warmer summer months. You’ll have access to vault toilets and potable water during the summer here, while each site features a picnic table and fire ring. Tents and medium-size RVs are easily accommodate at Dry Gulch.

All of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis at Dry Gulch. We recommend getting there as early as possible during summer weekends as it does tend to fill up.

 

East Portal Campground

Number of Sites: 15 sites (10 tent-only)
Fee: $16/night
RVs: Not recommended.
Reservations: All sites first-come, first-served.
Season: May through mid-October

East Portal Campground

The East Portal Campground. Photo credit NPS.

 

The East Portal Campground is not a great option for those looking to explore Blue Mesa Reservoir, but it is located within the Curecanti National Recreation Area so is worth including in this guide. Situated along the Gunnison River, this small site features 15 total sites, 10 of which are tent only.

To access the East Portal Campground you’ll have to go through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, so be prepared to pay the entrance fee. All of the sites are first-come, first-served and have access to water and vault toilets.

A great option for those looking to explore both the Blue Mesa Reservoir and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

 

East Elk Creek Group Campground

Number of Sites: 1 group site (up to 50 people)
Fee: $53/night
RVs: Yes, no hookups available.
Reservations: Required. Click here to make a reservation.
Season: May through mid-October

East Elk Creek Group Campsite, Blue Mesa Reservoir

The East Elk Creek Group Campground. Photo credit NPS.

 

The East Elk Creek Campground is a large, group campground located just north of Highway 50 near the Elk Creek Visitor Center. There is a single campsite here that can accommodate groups of up to 50 people.

The campground is situated in a secluded grove of cottonwood trees and makes the perfect spot for a family reunion, birthday camping trip, or any other special occasion. There is a covered picnic pavilion as well as several smaller picnic tables and fire grates.

The campground can accommodate both tents and RVs and has potable water available. Reservations are a must for the East Elk Creek Group Campground and can be made via Recreation.gov below:

Click here to reserve the East Elk Creek Group Campground

 

Red Creek Campground

Number of Sites: 2 sites (1 individual and 1 group site)
Fee: Individual site: $16/night | Group site: $28/night
RVs: Yes, no hookups available. Max length of 22′
Reservations: Individual site is first-come, first-served. Group site requires reservation. Click here to make a reservation.
Season: May through mid-October

Red Creek Campground, Blue Mesa Reservoir

The Red Creek Group Campsite. Photo credit NPS.

 

The Red Creek Campground at Blue Mesa Reservoir is located on the reservoir’s northern shore along Highway 50. Here you’ll be approximately 20 miles west of the town of Gunnison.

The Red Creek Campground features two campsites, an individual site as well as a group site that can accommodate up to 20 campers. The group campsite here is more secluded, while the individual site feels more like just a pull-off on the road. Red Creek can accommodate both tents and RVs, although RVs longer than 22′ are not recommended.

There is potable water available here during the summer months and both sites feature picnic tables and fire grate.

The individual campsite at Red Creek is first-come, first-served, while reservations are required for the group site and can be made below:

Click here to reserve the Red Creek Group Campsite

 

Gateview Campground

Number of Sites: 6 sites
Fee: FREE
RVs: Not recommended.
Reservations: All site are first-come, first-served.
Season: May through mid-October

The perfect campground for those seeking a bit of seclusion during their visit to the Blue Mesa Reservoir, the Gateview Campground features just 6 tent-only campsites at the far southern end of the reservoir. Gateview sits on the Lake Fork Arm of the Blue Mesa and feels far from the main body of water.

The six sites at Gateview are tent-only and have access to vault toilets and potable water.

All sites at the Gateview Campground are first-come, first-served.

 

Boat Camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir

In addition to the developed campgrounds listed in the section above, you are also able to camp along the shores of Blue Mesa Reservoir via boat. There are both established boat-to campground as well as backcountry camping available at Blue Mesa.

Read more about boat camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir in Curecanti National Recreation Area on the NPS website here.

The four established boat-to campgrounds at Blue Mesa Reservoir are shown on the map below and also outlined with brief descriptions.

Map of boat to campsites at Blue Mesa Reservoir

Blue Mesa Reservoir Boat-to campgrounds. Map credit NPS. Click to enlarge.

 

Turtle Rock Campground

Number of Sites: 3 sites
Fee: Free
Amenities: Vault toilets, tables, fire grates

The Turtle Rock Campground is located just east of the Elk Creek area and is a popular boat-to campsite. There are three sites here that all feature picnic tables and fire grates. A vault toilet is also available.

Cebolla Campground

Number of Sites: 2 sites
Fee: Free
Amenities: Vault toilets, tables, fire grates

The Cebolla Campground is located on the south shore of Blue Mesa Reservoir along the Cebolla Arm of the reservoir. There are 2 sites here which include picnic tables, fire grates, and a vault toilet.

West Elk Campground

Number of Sites: 2 sites
Fee: Free
Amenities: Vault toilets, tables, fire grates

The West Elk boat-to campground is located on the northern shores of Blue Mesa near the West Elk Creek inlet. The NPS recommend mooring boats along the western shore here to avoid submerged timber.

Lake Fork Campground

Number of Sites: 2 sites
Fee: Free
Amenities: Vault toilets, tables, fire grates

The Lake Fork Campground sits midway down the Lake Form Arm of the Blue Mesa Reservoir’s southern shore. The campground has two sites with vault toilets, picnic tables, and fire grates.

 

Backcountry Camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir

In addition to the four established boat-to campgrounds listed above, you are also permitted to backcountry camp in specified areas along Blue Mesa Reservoir. Permitted backcountry camping areas include most of the south shore of the reservoir as well as Red Creek Island.

You can view areas where backcountry camping is permitted on the map here.

For those planning to backcountry camp at Blue Mesa, be sure to follow these regulations:

  • Do not camp within 1/2 mile of bridges, public roads, or other campsites.
  • Limit your stay to less than 14 nights.
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles.

 

Camping near Blue Mesa Reservoir

For those who arrive to find all of the campgrounds at Blue Mesa Reservoir full or who are just looking for some different options, there are plenty of nearby campgrounds.

From RV campgrounds with full hookups to great car camping and free dispersed camping on adjacent BLM/USFS land the you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.

 

RV campgrounds near Blue Mesa Reservoir

The following are our recommend RV campgrounds near Blue Mesa Reservoir. Keep reading to find your perfect RV campground.

RV Camping

 

Blue Mesa Recreational Ranch

Number of Sites: 317 sites
Fee: Varies by site and hookups.
RVs: Yes, full and partial hookups available
Reservations: Recommended.
More information

Blue Mesa Recreational Ranch is a massive RV campground located north of Blue Mesa Reservoir along Highway 50. You’ll find over 300 sites here that can accommodate just about any rig and hookup requirements.

The amenities at Blue Mesa Recreational Ranch are top notch and guests will enjoy access to two swimming pools, a fishing pond, WiFi and cable tv, and even a well-equipped game room.

This is a great option for those looking for more to do when compared to a typical NPS campground.

 

Oasis RV Resort

Number of Sites: Plenty!
Fee: $35 – $59/night depending on site and hookups.
RVs: Yes, hookups available
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
More information

The Oasis RV Resort is located along Highway 50 on the north shore of Blue Mesa Reservoir, just west of the Stevens Creek Campground. This popular campground can accommodate all sizes of RVs as well as tent-campers at the sprawling campground.

Guests at Oasis RV Resort can enjoy access to an on-site dog park, laundry facilities, cable tv, and a well-stocked general store.

 

Mesa Campground

Number of Sites: 118 sites
Fee: $29 – $88/night depending on site and hookups.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
More information

The Mesa Campground is located east of Blue Mesa Reservoir, near the town of Gunnison, CO. This is a great campground if you’re planning on exploring Hartman Rocks in addition to the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

The campground features 118 sites and can accommodate large RVs and tent campers alike. Amenities at the Mesa Campground include laundry facilities, WiFi, fire pits, and an excellent clubhouse.

 

Gunnison KOA Journey Campground

Number of Sites: Plenty!
Fee: Varies by site and hookups.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
More information

Located just 10-15 minutes from Blue Mesa Reservoir, the Gunnison KOA Journey Campground is perfect for campers looking for the convenience and amenities that come with KOA campgrounds. This is a smaller KOA compared to many, but that adds to the charm and the amenities are still top notch.

Campers will enjoy access to a shaded pavilion area, WiFi, and small shop selling essentials.

Keep in mind that the Gunnison KOA is located very close to the Gunnison airport so you can expect a bit of noise!

 

Blue Mesa Outpost

Number of Sites: 10 RV sites
Fee: $42 – $52/night depending on site.
RVs: Yes, max length of 45′
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
More information

The Blue Mesa Outpost is your best option for RV camping along the southwest section of Blue Mesa Reservoir. Situated just off Highway 50 on the western end of the reservoir, the campground has incredible water views. Blue Mesa Outpost is a small campground, with just 10 RV sites as well as room to accommodate a few tent campers.

The campground features fire pits, laundry facilities, and BBQ grills.

 

Car camping sites near Blue Mesa Reservoir

If you’re looking for car camping sites near Blue Mesa Reservoir, you’ll have many great options to choose from. We have included your best bets below and you’ll also have good luck at any of the campgrounds included in the RV section above.

Keep reading to learn more.

Blue Mesa Adventure Pods

Number of Sites: 5 ‘Adventure Pods’
Fee: $129/night
RVs: N/A
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
More Information

A unique car camping option at Blue Mesa Reservoir is to stay at the Blue Mesa Adventure Pods. The Adventure Pods are located within the Elk Creek Campground, although aren’t operated by the National Park Service. These simple structures sleep between 2-3 people and a few allow pets.

Your stay in a Blue Mesa Adventure Pod includes two paddle boards, two drink tokens at the Marina, a bundle of firewood, and access to a picnic table and fire ring.

A one of a kind experience!

 

Soap Creek Campground

Number of Sites: 21 sites
Fee: $14/night
RVs: Yes, no hookups available.
Reservations: All sites first-come, first-served.

The Soap Creek Campground is a USFS campground located north of the Blue Mesa Reservoir along Soap Creek Road/Forest Service Rd #824. The campground features 21 campsites that are all available on a first-come, first served basis.

As with most USFS campground you’ll get some basic amenities like vault toilets and hand pump water. There is also a horse corral at the campground for equestrian users.

 

Red Bridge Campground

Number of Sites: 7 sites
Fee: $5/night
RVs: Yes, no hookups available.
Reservations: All sites first-come, first-served.
More Information

The Red Bridge Campground is located south of Blue Mesa Reservoir off of Highway 149. This isn’t the most convenient campground for visiting Blue Mesa Reservoir, but it does sit in a beautiful location along the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River.

There are seven campsites here along with a simple vault toilet. Keep in mind that there is not potable water at the Red Bridge Campground, so we recommend bringing all that you’ll need for your trip.

 

Free dispersed camping near Blue Mesa Reservoir

Your final option for camping near Blue Mesa Reservoir is to find a free, dispersed campsite on adjacent US Forest Service or BLM land. This part of Colorado is full of public lands that offer incredible free camping opportunities.

If you have any questions about the dispersed camping options outlined below be sure to reach out to the BLM offices that oversee the specific areas, shown below:

Red Creek Road

Red Creek Road intersects with Highway 50 on the northside of Blue Mesa Reservoir. Head north along the road until you reach the USFS gate. After this point you’ll find several dispersed campsites as the road weaves its way through the National Forest.

Soap Creek Road

Located on the northern shore of Blue Mesa Reservoir just past the Ponderosa Campground you’ll find a few free dispersed campsites along Soap Creek Road. You’ll pass most of these before getting to the developed Soap Creek Campground described in the section above.

Hartman Rocks

The Hartman Rocks area is located between Gunnison and the Blue Mesa Reservoir. This area is popular with mountain bikes, hikers, and all sorts of other outdoor enthusiasts.

 

Blue Mesa Reservoir Camping Must Know

The following sections contain all the basic information you need to ensure you have a great time camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir. Before we dive in, there are a few important regulations to note:

  • Pets must be leashed at all times.
  • Fires are only permitted in the fire grates provided at the campgrounds.
  • 8 people max per campsite.
  • No more than 14 consecutive nights at a single campground during a 30 day timeframe.
  • Always store your food in your car or in an animal proof container.
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles.

Where to get supplies

Preparing for your Blue Mesa Reservoir camping trip involves more than just finding the perfect campground. you’ll also need to be sure you have all the supplies you need before heading out. Luckily, Blue Mesa Reservoir is well served by a few adjacent towns that have all the services you could possibly need.

You’ll find your best options to stock up on camping supplies near Blue Mesa Reservoir below:

  • Gunnison, CO: Located immediately to the east of the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Gunnison is likely your best bet for finding any last minute camping supplies. This lovely town features grocery stores, liquor stores, plenty of outdoor shops.
  • Montrose, CO: Located to the west of Blue Mesa, Montrose is likely to be the most convenient option for those staying on the west end of the reservoir or who are also exploring Black Canyon of the Gunnison. You’ll find grocery stores, gas stations, outdoor shops, and anything else you might need here.

 

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope you’ve found all of the information on Blue Mesa Reservoir camping in this post helpful and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or had a great time out camping!

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Guide to Camping in Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which encompasses over 1.5 million acres of beaches, mountains, canyons, and forests, is truly an oasis like no other. The western entrance is located just…

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which encompasses over 1.5 million acres of beaches, mountains, canyons, and forests, is truly an oasis like no other. The western entrance is located just minutes from the Las Vegas metropolitan area, but the vast open spaces and natural wonders make it feel worlds away. The National Recreation Area includes Lake Mead and its 750+ miles of shoreline, Lake Mohave to the south, and the Colorado River stretching all the way east to the edge of Grand Canyon National Park.

So what’s the best way to escape the daily grind and fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Mead National Recreation Area? Spending a night (or many nights) under the stars in your tent or RV! Camping allows you to make the most of your visit to Lake Mead National Recreation Area. And with over 900 campsites within the park boundaries and even more in the surrounding area, there’s a perfect site for every style of camper.

In this guide we’ll break down all of your options, from the 14 developed campgrounds and backcountry camping areas in the park, to campgrounds and free camping in the nearby area.

Lake Mead with bluffs in the background under a blue sky.

Lake Mead Recreation Area Campgrounds

The first step in planning your perfect camping trip in Lake Mead National Recreation Area is to understand a bit about the geography of the park. Lake Mead and Lake Mohave straddle the border between Nevada and Arizona along the Colorado River.

The most popular way to access the recreation area is from the Las Vegas metro area, which is near the northwest edge of the park. The campgrounds in this part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Las Vegas Bay and Boulder Beach) tend to be the busiest, but also the most convenient to access.

Lake Mohave is located in the southern portion of Lake Mead NRA, and can be accessed from Bullhead, AZ. Those wishing to camp along Lake Mohave can choose from two different campgrounds and numerous backcountry sites.

The Overton Arm area encompasses the northern section of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It’s bordered by Valley of Fire State Park. It takes a bit effort to get to this part of the park, meaning the campgrounds tend to be less crowded. The Overton Arm area has camping for RVs and tents at Echo Bay, and there are plenty of backcountry options as well.

Finally, the eastern side of Lake Mead NRA feels quite remote and is a good option for those seeking peace and quiet. There’s a developed campground suitable for tents and smaller RVs, as well as many backcountry options.

Check out the map below to get a general sense of where the developed campgrounds in Lake Mead National Recreation Area are located.

Reservations & Permits

Advance reservations can be made for all of the RV parks in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. For the NPS-operated campsites that are first-come, first served, plan to arrive early, as they fill up quickly on weekends, holidays, and other peak times. Most campgrounds require that you pay in cash upon arrival. This table provides reservation information for every campground in Lake Mead NRA:

CampgroundReservations Possible?How to Reserve
Boulder Beach CampgroundOnly for group sites. First-come, first-served for all other sites.Recreation.gov
Lake Mead RV Village (Boulder Beach)Yes.Visit Lake Mead Mohave Adventures or call (702) 293-2540
Las Vegas Bay CampgroundNo. First-come, first-served for all sites.n/a
Callville Bay CampgroundYes.Recreation.gov
Callville Bay RV ParkYes (Only 5 sites available).Call Callville Bay Full-Service Marina: (702) 565-8958
Echo Bay CampgroundNo. First-come, first-served for all sites.n/a
Echo Bay RV VillageYes.Visit Lake Mead Mohave Adventures or call (702) 394-4000
Temple Bar CampgroundNo. First-come, first-served for all sites.n/a
Temple Bar Marina RV ParkYes.Call Temple Bar Resort Marina: (928) 767-3211
Cottonwood Cove CampgroundNo. First-come, first-served for all sites.n/a
Cottonwood Cove Resort RV ParkYes.Visit Cottonwood Cove Resort Marina or call (855) 918-5253
Katherine Landing Campground and RV ParkOnly for full-hookup RV sites. All other sites are first-come, first-served.Visit Katherine Landing or call (928) 754-3245
Willow Beach Campground and RV ParkYes.Visit Willow Beach or call (928) 767-4747

Permits are NOT required for camping in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, including for backcountry camping. However, you will need to pay an entrance fee ($25 for vehicles, $15 for walkers/bikers) and a nightly fee if you plan to camp at any of the campgrounds.

Sunset over Cottonwood Cove, Lake Mead
Sunset views from Cottonwood Cove. Photo courtesy of NPS.

What to Bring

Preparing for your Lake Mead camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping in Lake Mead NRA:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This classic piece of gear is perfect for cooking up deluxe campsite dinners.
  • Portable water container – These portable water containers are a lifesaver, especially as some camping areas do not have water available.
  • Cooler – Keeping food and drinks cool is essential when camping, particularly in the hot temps that are common at Lake Mead. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Shade Structure – The sun can be intense in Lake Mead NRA and not all of the campsites have reliable shade. A pop-up canopy like this one is easy to pack and can be moved around to maximize shade at any time of day.
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area Map – Essential for any trip, a good map is a must.
  • Books – This book provides a fascinating look at Lake Mead’s history, and this is a good guidebook of the area.
  • Cash: Be prepared to pay in cash for your campsite, as many of the fee stations do not accept credit/debit cards.

If you plan on backpacking in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, be sure to check out this great packing list.

Swimmers on Boulder Beach at Lake Mead
It’s a good idea to bring a shade structure for your campsite and it can also be handy for the beach! Photo courtesy of NPS.

When to Camp in Lake Mead National Recreation Area

All of the campgrounds in Lake Mead National Recreation Area are open year-round. However, the desert climate makes it so that camping is quite difficult in the summer months (July-September) when temperatures routinely climb above 100 degrees. Also, keep in mind that some popular hiking trails are closed in the summertime.

Spring (April-June) and fall (October-December) are the best months to camp in Lake Mead NRA. Expect warm, sunny days and cool nights with very little rain. Springtime brings out beautiful wildflowers, as well. These are also the most popular seasons for camping at Lake Mead, so plan to arrive early and/or make reservations, if possible.

Winter (January-March) can be a wonderful time to camp in Lake Mead NRA. There are typically fewer crowds than in the peak seasons, and the cooler weather is great for hiking and biking. Nighttime lows can dip into the 30’s, so campers should make sure to pack warm clothing and a good sleeping bag.

Yellow Las Vegas Bearpoppies blooming at Lake Mead
Springtime brings an array of colorful wildflowers to Lake Mead NRA. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Developed Campgrounds on Lake Mead

There are nine unique developed campgrounds and RV Parks along the shore of Lake Mead . These campgrounds vary in their size and proximity to different areas of the park. Details for all nine campgrounds are below.

Boulder Beach Campground

Number of Sites: 148 sites
Fee: $20/night
RVs: Yes. No hookups
Reservations: First-come, first-served
Season: Open all year

A campsite at the Boulder Beach Campground in Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Most of the sites at Boulder Beach have great views and some shade. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir

The Boulder Beach campground is arranged into one large camping area flanked by four additional loops on one side. The campground has lots of lush vegetation, which provides shade and privacy for many sites. Nearly all sites have great views of Lake Mead and/or the River Mountains.

The campground is located near the mile-long Boulder Beach, a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. There are several easy, family-friendly trails in the area, and the Hoover Dam is just a short drive away.

Every site at the Boulder Beach campground has a picnic table and firepit. Most sites can accommodate large RVs and there is a dump station, although there are no hookups. WIFI, bathrooms, and drinking water are available at the campground, but there are no showers.

There are five group sites at the Boulder Beach Campground. Each site accommodates 12-30 people and costs $80/night. Only tent camping is permitted at the group sites. You must reserve group sites in advance. Reservations can be made at recreation.gov

Boulder Beach Campground Map
Map of the Boulder Beach Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Lake Mead RV Village

Number of Sites: 115 sites
Fee: $45-60/night
RVs: Yes (no tents).
Reservations: Call (702) 293-2540
Season: Open all year

RV campers looking for full hookup accommodation in the Boulder Beach area will love Lake Mead RV Village. This friendly RV park is easy to get to, but it has a quiet and peaceful feel. It is situated near Boulder Beach and all of its great activities.

All sites offer full hookups, including cable and WIFI. There are back-in and pull-through sites available. Lakeside sites are more expensive, but many campers report that the views are worth the premium rate. Pets are welcome.

Amenities include restrooms, showers, outdoor games, laundry, propane for purchase, and a convenience store.

An RV Parked at Lake Mead RV Village, Boulder Beach
Lake Mead RV Village. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Las Vegas Bay Campground

Number of Sites: 84 sites
Fee: 
$20/night
RVs:
Yes. No hookups
Reservations: 
First-come, first-served
Season: 
Open all year

A tent under a large tree at the Las Vegas Bay Campground in Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Shade and views from a campsite at the Las Vegas Bay Campground. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

The best part about this campground is its close proximity to the shops, restaurants, amenities, and attractions in Las Vegas. It is located about 40 minutes from The Strip and just 15 minutes from the city of Henderson, which also offers great activities and nightlife. Despite the fact that it’s so close to the city, the Las Vegas Bay Campground feels quiet and close to nature.

The campground does not provide lake access, and it’s about a 20-minute drive to a boat launch, marinas, and other waterfront activities. Closer to Las Vegas Bay, you’ll find great birdwatching and hiking along the 3.9 mile Bluffs Trail. The Las Vegas Bay picnic area has covered picnic tables, potable water, restrooms, and grills. Nearly every site at the Las Vegas Bay campground is well-shaded, and the lush vegetation at the campground gives it the tranquil feel of an oasis.

Each of the campsites at the Las Vegas Bay campground have a picnic table, grill/fire pit, parking space, tent pad, and access to WIFI. There are restrooms (no showers), potable water, and a dump station on site. Most sites can accommodate large RVs, but there are no hookups.

Map of the Las Vegas Bay Campground, Lake Mead Camping
Map of the Las Vegas Bay Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Callville Bay Campground

Number of Sites: 52 sites
Fee: 
$20/night
RVs:
Yes. No hookups
Reservations: 
Can be made HERE
Season: 
Open all year

A picnic table and fire pit at a site at the Callville Bay Campground, Lake Mead
The Callville Bay Campground. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

This campground is perfectly situated for boating and water sport enthusiasts. It is walking distance from the marina, where you can rent a variety of watercraft or launch your own. The Callville Bay Campground is also walking distance from the Fountain Sight Lounge restaurant and nearby snack bar. Additionally, the Callville Summit hiking trail is easily accessed from the campground, and it is highly recommended for its panoramic views of the Lake Mead area.

The NPS-run Callville Bay Campground accommodates tents and RVs, but there are no hookups. RV campers looking for full hookups should consider staying at the nearby Callville Bay RV Park. Campers seeking greater solitude can find great backcountry spots and private coves near the Callville Bay area.

The 52 sites at the Callville Bay Campground are arranged in one large loop. Each site has a parking area, level tent space, picnic table, and firepit. There is WIFI and cell service available. The campground has restrooms, potable water, and a free dump station. Campers can use the pay showers and laundry facilities at the nearby Callville Bay RV Park.

Reservations can be made up to six months in advance. CLICK HERE to reserve your campsite.

Map of the Callville Bay Campground
Map of the Callville Bay Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Callville Bay RV Park

Number of Sites: 5 sites
Fee: $20/night
RVs: Yes (no tents).
Reservations: Call (702) 565-8958
Season: Open all year

This is a very small RV park with just five sites. It is located on the lake next to the Callville Bay Marina, where you can rent watercraft or launch your own. The marina area also has a restaurant and a small shop.

Each site is large enough for big rigs and provides full hookups, WIFI, a picnic table, and a grill. There are showers and laundry facilities on site. Campers can use the dump station and water refill station at the nearby Callville Bay Campground.

Open sites at the Callville Bay RV Park, Lake Mead.
The Callville Bay RV Park has five sites with full hookups. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Echo Bay Campground

Number of Sites: 37 sites (more in the overflow area)
Fee: 
$20/night
RVs:
Yes. No hookups
Reservations: 
First-come, first-served
Season: 
Open all year

A campsite overlooking Echo Bay, Lake Mead National Recreation Area camping
Great views from a campsite at Echo Bay. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Located on the shores of the northern Overton Arm of Lake Mead, the Echo Bay Campground is a great option for those wanting to venture further from civilization and enjoy the peace and solitude of this remote location. The campground is especially perfect for fishing, either from one of the great coves in the area or via the Echo Bay boat launch. Hikers will also enjoy exploring the Redstone Trail or the historic ghost town of St.Thomas.

The campground is divided between a lower and upper loop. The lower loop contains all 37 of the official campsites, open year round. The upper loop is used as overflow during busy periods, and remains closed in quieter seasons.

Each site has a parking space, picnic table, and grill/fire pit. There are flush toilets, sinks, and drinking water taps available throughout the campground (no showers). A fish cleaning station is located on site. The main office sells snacks and fuel. Cell service is unreliable at Echo Bay and there is no WIFI.

RVs are welcome at the Echo Bay campground, although not all sites can accommodate large rigs. There are no hookups, but there is a free dump station on site.

Map of the Echo Bay Campground, Lake Mead
Map of Echo Bay Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Echo Bay RV Village

Number of Sites: 58 sites
Fee: $30/night
RVs: Yes (no tents).
Reservations: Call (702) 394-4000
Season: Open all year

The Echo Bay RV Village offers spacious full hookup back-in sites to accommodate RVs of all types and sizes. It is organized into two loops, with sites on the outer loop priced a bit higher than those on the inner loop. With room for boat parking and a nearby launch, it is especially convenient for those looking to spend time on the water. In addition to nearby fishing opportunities, the location of the Echo Bay RV Village provides easy access to hiking trails and picnic areas.

Amenities include water, sewer, and electric hookups, restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. There is WIFI available on site, although it is a bit spotty. A gas station and small convenience store are located at the main office, and there’s a fish cleaning station nearby.

Vehicles parked at the Echo Bay RV Village at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
The Echo Bay RV Village. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Temple Bar Campground

Number of Sites: 71 sites
Fee: 
$20/night
RVs:
Yes. No hookups
Reservations: 
First-come, first-served
Season: 
Open all year

Campsites at the Temple Bar Campground in Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Campsites at the Temple Bar campground. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Located on the eastern side of Lake Mead, the Temple Bar area is a quiet oasis for hikers, boaters, and anglers. Its remote setting means that it has wide open views and excellent stargazing. The NPS-run Temple Bar Campground provides basic accommodation for tent campers and RVs (no hookups). While it is not situated directly on the lake, it is located near the Temple Bar Marina, which offers boat rentals and launching. The marina also has a restaurant, bar, and convenience shop

The Temple Bar campground is arranged in one large loop, with four roads cutting through the middle. Plentiful trees provide shade and privacy between sites. Each site has a picnic table and grill. Restrooms, sinks, and drinking water taps are located at the campground and there is a dump station on site for RVs. Cell service is unreliable at the Temple Bar campground and there is no WIFI.

In addition to the NPS campground, there are options for RV and backcountry camping in the Temple Bar area.

Temple Bar Campground Map
Map of the Temple Bar Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Temple Bar RV Park

Number of Sites: 10 sites
Fee: $30-35/night
RVs: Yes (no tents).
Reservations: Call (928) 767-3211
Season: Open all year

In addition to their lakeside cabins and motel, the Temple Bar Resort Marina also offers a small RV park with 10 full hookup sites. Sites can be rented on a nightly or monthly basis. The RV park is close to a boat launch, restaurant, trails, and many great coves that can be explored by land or water.

Amenities include full hookups, picnic tables, restrooms, coin-operated showers, laundry and WIFI.

An RV parked at Temple Bar RV Park, Lake Mead
RV sites at Temple Bar RV Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Developed Campgrounds on Lake Mohave

There are four developed campgrounds and RV parks on Lake Mohave. Each unique camping option provides access to great recreational activities, such as hiking, boating, fishing, and scuba diving. Keep reading to learn which campground is right for you.

Cottonwood Cove Campground

Number of Sites: 45 sites
Fee: 
$20/night
RVs:
Yes. No hookups
Reservations: 
First-come, first-served
Season: 
Open all year

Campsites at the Cottonwood Cove Campground, Lake Mohave.
Sites at the Cottonwood Cove Campground (upper loop). Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Beach enthusiasts will love this waterside campground! It is walking distance to a sandy swimming beach and a marina where you can rent a boat or launch your own. The surrounding area is perfect for leisurely strolls along the beaches and coves, or mellow hikes like the Desert Discovery Trail. There’s a café, fuel station, and shop near the campground.

The 45 sites are arranged into two loops, an upper and a lower. The lower loop is easier to access and it is closer to the beach, but it can get pretty noisy and crowded. The sites are quite narrow, and RVs may find this especially challenging. Some sites are shaded by trees, but not all.

Each campsite has a picnic table, fire pit, and parking area. The campground has flush toilets, sinks, drinking water, a fish cleaning station, and a picnic area. RVs are welcome, although spots are narrow and there are no hookups. RVs looking for more amenities should check out the Cottonwood Cove RV Park next door.

Map of Cottonwood Cove Campground, Lake Mohave
Map of Cottonwood Cove Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Cottonwood Cove RV Park

Number of Sites: 72 sites
Fee: 
$41-5$0/night
RVs:
Yes.
Reservations: 
Can be made HERE or by calling (855) 918-5253
Season: 
Open all year

This spacious RV Park is perfectly positioned for enjoying Lake Mohave to the fullest. Located close to the marina, a swimming beach, a café, and a convenience store, there is no shortage of activities and amenities in the area. Views of the lake and the surrounding mountains are gorgeous.

Each of the 72 RV sites at the campground includes a picnic table, grill, and full hookups. Restrooms, showers, and laundry are available on site. Bring a shade structure, as there’s not much shade at the campground.

Cottonwood Cove RV Park Lake Mohave Camping
Cottonwood Cove RV Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Katherine Landing Campground & RV Park

Number of Sites: 157 Tent/RV sites, 25 RV-only sites
Fee: 
$20/night (basic site), $40/night (RV w/hookups)
RVs:
Yes.
Reservations: 
Can be made HERE
Season: 
Open all year

A campsite at Katherine Landing, Lake Mohave
A basic tent/RV site at the Katherine Landing Campground. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Katherine Landing is a lovely destination for RV and tent campers alike. The area is home to a marina, swimming beaches, boat rentals, and plenty of great fishing spots. There are good hiking trails nearby, including the Lake View Trail and the Fisherman’s Trail. Both the tent and RV sites are within walking distance of the marina, swim beach, restaurant, and convenience store.

Amenities at all sites include a picnic table, parking space, and access to restroom, shower, and laundry facilities. Basic campground sites have grills and and are suitable for tents or RVs, but they do not have hookups. These sites have lots of nice vegetation, which provides shade and privacy. The RV sites have full hookups, but offer less shade from trees and shrubs. WIFI and cell phone service are available at the campground.

RV sites at the Katherine Landing RV Park, Lake Mohave
Full hookup sites at the Katherine Landing RV Park. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Willow Beach Campground & RV Park

Number of Sites: 9 Tent sites, 28 RV sites
Fee: 
$35/night (tent site), $60/night (RV w/hookups)
RVs:
Yes.
Reservations: 
Can be made HERE
Season: 
Open all year

The Willow Beach Campground and RV Park enjoys a unique location along the Black Canyon Water Trail and has river, mountain, and desert views throughout. This is a great place to take a paddle tour of some of Lake Mohave’s best sites, or to explore on your own by renting a boat or kayak from the marina. There’s also a nice fishing pier close to the campground. The dramatic Arizona Hot Spring Trail is just a short drive away.

The campground has 28 RV sites with full hookups. There are also 9 tent-only sites, but it is important to note that the tent sites cannot be accessed by vehicle. You’ll need to walk a short distance to reach your campsite.

All sites have a picnic table, fire ring, and access to restroom, shower, and laundry facilities. The RV sites offer water, sewer, and electric hookups. WIFI is available at the campground.

An overhead view of the Willow Beach RV Park and Campground on Lake Mohave
An overhead view of the Willow Beach RV Park and Campground. The walk-in tent sites are in the foreground. Photo courtesy of NPS/Andrew Cattoir.

Backcountry & Dispersed Camping in Lake Mead National Recreation Area

There are endless options for backpacking and dispersed car camping in Lake Mead National Recreation Area for those looking to get off the grid. Whether you want to hike to a secluded spot, overnight with your boat in a private cove, or camp with your vehicle along a quiet backcountry road, you’ll have tons of great places to explore along the shores of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.

Dispersed camping Echo Bay Lake Mead
Dispersed camping in a cove near Echo Bay. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Dispersed Car Camping

The most popular way style of backcountry camping in Lake Mead NRA is dispersed car camping. There are numerous backroads that give you access to off-the-beaten track campsites. There is no fee or permit required for dispersed vehicle camping, but it is important to choose a campsite in an area where camping is permitted.

Additionally, the following guidelines must be followed when car camping in the backcountry:

  • You may only stay at a backcountry campsite for 15 days at a time, and you can camp in Lake Mead NRA for up to 90 days every year.
  • Adhere to seasonal fire bans.
  • Pack out all waste (including human and pet waste).
  • Pets are generally permitted, but pay attention to area signage.
  • Check the weather in advance and prepare for extreme conditions, especially in the summer heat.
  • Vehicles must stay on designated roads. Off-roading is not permitted anywhere in Lake Mead NRA.

The following maps show where dispersed car camping is allowed in Lake Mead NRA.

Hoover Dam Area

The Hoover Dam Area encompasses much of the western side of Lake Mead and extends down to the boundary with Lake Mohave. This is a popular and easy to access area for dispersed car camping.

Lake Mead dispersed camping Hoover Dam area map
(Click to enlarge)

This map shows all of the roads where you can camp for free in the backcountry. Recommended dispersed camping areas in the Hoover Dam area include Crawdad Cove (Road #90) and Government Wash (Road #87).

Lake Mohave Area

The Lake Mohave Area encompasses the entire shoreline of Lake Mohave and reaches down to the southern tip of Lake Mead NRA near Bullhead City, NV. Some of the best backcountry camping in this area can be found in the many secluded coves along the shore of Lake Mohave. Several coves are accessible by dirt road, and backcountry toilets are available at Nine Mile Cove and Cottonwood Cove East.

Map of Lake Mohave dispersed camping areas.
(Click to enlarge)

This map shows all of the roads where you can camp for free in the backcountry. Recommended dispersed camping areas in the Lake Mohave area include 6 Mile Cove (Road #31 is a good option for 2WD vehicles) and Nellis Cove (Road #24). Keep in mind that camping is NOT allowed at Telephone Cove, Placer Cove, Cabinside Point, and Princess Cove.

Overton Arm Area

The Overton Arm area encompasses the northern branch of Lake Mohave and is bordered on the west by Valley of Fire State Park. Some parts of the Overton Arm area are quite remote, so make sure you prepare accordingly. Remember to bring plenty of drinking water, as refill points are scarce.

Map of dispersed camping areas in Overton Arm area, Lake Mead
(Click to enlarge)

This map shows all of the roads where you can camp for free in the Overton Arm area backcountry. The most highly recommended dispersed car camping location in this area is Stewart’s Point (Road #103 and Road #108). This is the only camping spot remaining on Overton Arm that provides lake access, due to low water levels.

Temple Bar Area

The Temple Bar area encompasses the eastern section of Lake Mead, and it is bordered on its eastern edge by Grand Canyon National Park.

Map of dispersed camping areas in Temple Bar area of Lake Mead
(Click to enlarge)

This map shows all of the roads where you can camp for free in the backcountry. The most highly recommended dispersed car camping locations in the Temple Bar Area are Bonelli Bay (Road #69) and Pearce Ferry. Keep in mind that many of the roads in this area, particularly north of the lake, are very rugged and should not be attempted without a good 4WD vehicle.

A cove in the Temple Bar area of Lake Mead NRA
A cove in the Temple Bar area. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Backpacking in Lake Mead NRA

If you prefer to travel by foot, there are limitless hike-in backcountry options in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Although there are no official multi-day hiking routes in Lake Mead NRA, you can start your backpacking adventure on one of the park’s great day hikes. From the trail, you can find a secluded cove or scenic canyon and pitch your tent.

Arizona Hot Springs is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in Lake Mead NRA, but keep in mind the hot springs are closed in the summer months.

Backcountry camping is generally permitted anywhere in the park, provided you adhere to the guidelines below.

  • NO camping within 1/2 mile of a road (unless car camping on approved roads).
  • You must camp at least 100 feet away from springs and watering holes
  • If you are camping within 1/4 mile of the shoreline or hot springs, you must use a bag or container to pack out all solid human waste (and TP!)
  • Pay attention to seasonal fire restrictions

Make sure to take the proper precautions to stay safe in the backcountry. In addition to the appropriate backpacking gear, bring plenty of water (1 gallon per person, per day), sun protection, a topographic map, and a GPS device.

Arizona Hot Springs Backpacking Lake Mead
The Arizona Hot Springs Trail. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area Must Know

The following sections contain all the basic information you need to ensure you have a great time camping in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Before we dive in, there are a few important regulations to note:

  • Camping is allowed for up to 90 days out of every consecutive 12 months.
  • You cannot camp for more than 30 days in any developed campground.
  • You cannot stay in any backcountry site for more than 15 days at a time.
  • No more than eight people per campsite.
  • Always store your food so that it cannot be accessed by wildlife.
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles.

Detailed information on fires, pets, wildlife, and more can be found in the sections below.

Fires

Outside of seasonal fire restrictions (which are typically May-September), fires are permitted at campgrounds and in the backcountry at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Below we’ve outline the most important considerations for fires in both the developed campgrounds and in the backcountry.

Fires at Developed Campgrounds

  • Fires must be less than 3 feet in diameter.
  • Fires are only permitted in designated grills, fire rings, or portable fireplaces.
  • Do not cut wood from nearby trees or bushes for fires.
  • Completely extinguish all fires with water. Do not cover with sand.

Fires in the Backcountry

  • Fires must be less than 3 feet in diameter.
  • Fires must be above ground. Clear all rock rings, charcoal, and ash before you leave.
  • Do not cut wood from nearby trees or bushes for fires.
  • Do not make a fire within 10 feet of the nearest beach logs or vegetation (100 feet when fire restrictions are in place).
  • Completely extinguish all fires with water. Do not cover with sand.
Silhouettes of people around a campfire on the beach at Lake Mead
Backcountry campers enjoying a fire on the beach.

Pets

Pets are generally welcome in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, including on all hiking trails, and in developed areas and campgrounds. You can also bring your pet on beaches and into the backcountry, unless otherwise stated (check area signage or ask a ranger).

If you bring your furry friend along on your Lake Mead camping trip, please remember these regulations:

  • Pets must be on a leash at all times.
  • Do not leave your pet unattended in your vehicle.
  • Always properly dispose of pet waste.

Where to Get Supplies

Many areas in Lake Mead NRA provide easy access to food, water, and fuel. In addition to the park’s many restaurants, fuel stations and convenience stores are located at all of the major marinas, including Callville Bay, Las Vegas Bay, Boulder Beach, Willow Beach, Temple Bar, and Echo Bay.

Outside of the park, there are plenty of services available regardless of which direction you’re traveling from.

On the west side of Lake Mead NRA, you can find tons of restaurants, lodging, entertainment, and shopping in either Henderson, NV or Boulder City, NV.

Bullhead City, AZ is the closest town on the southern edge of the park, just south of the Davis Dam. Here you’ll find lodging, grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants.

To the north of Lake Mead NRA, the closest place to resupply is Overton, NV. The town has options for dining, lodging, groceries, fuel, and outdoor retailers.

Hikers on the Railroad Trail Lake Mead
The Historic Railroad Trail is one of many great pet-friendly hikes in Lake Mead NRA. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Camping Near Lake Mead National Recreation Area

With so many great camping options within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you may never feel the need to venture beyond its boundaries in search of a campsite. However, if the campgrounds are full or you want to be closer to town, there are plenty of great campsites just outside Lake Mead NRA.

Check out your best options for RV camping and tent camping, and free dispersed camping near Lake Mead National Recreation Area below:

Kayakers enjoying the Black Canyon Water Trail, Lake Mead.
Kayakers enjoying the Black Canyon Water Trail. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Campgrounds Near Lake Mead NRA

Those camping in an RV or tent will have plenty of options just outside of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The best option for you will depend on which side of the park you’re planning to explore. We’ve provided RV and car campgrounds near the west, south, and north sides of Lake Mead NRA. Pay attention to the details provided for each campground, as some do not allow tents.

Campgrounds on the West Side of Lake Mead NRA

Las Vegas KOA Journey at Sam’s Town

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $30-60/night
Capacity: None stated.
Type: RV, full hookups available. NO TENTS.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Not only does this RV park offer all of the great amenities you’d expect from a KOA, but its location makes it the perfect basecamp for exploring both Las Vegas and Lake Mead. It is just steps from Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino, where you can enjoy the hotel’s facilities or catch a shuttle to the Las Vegas Strip. It’s also just 30 minutes from the Lake Mead Visitor Center.

Amenities include WIFI, a pool, and a dog park.

Canyon Trail RV Park

Number of sites: 145
Fee: $48/night (RV sites), $20/night (tent sites)
Capacity: 2 people (extra fee for additional people)
Type: RV, full hookups available. Tents.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Located just ten minutes from the Lake Mead Visitor Center, this friendly RV park is a quiet and convenient option for those looking to enjoy the surrounding area. It is also situated close to the shops, restaurants, and services in Boulder City. The campground welcomes everyone from tent campers to big rigs and the facilities are clean and well-kept.

Amenities include showers, laundry, a pool, and free WIFI.

Campgrounds on the South Side of Lake Mead NRA

Davis Camp

Number of sites: 170
Fee: $40/night (RV sites), $20/night (tent or dry RV sites)
Capacity: 4 people (extra fee for additional people)
Type: RV, full hookups available. Tents.
Reservations: Recommended for RVs. Tent sites are first-come, first-served. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

This Mohave Country Parks Campground enjoys a lovely setting along the banks of the Colorado River. It’s just a ten-minute drive from gas stations and restaurants in the small town of Laughlin, NV, and it is also about ten minutes from the Katherine Landing Marina on Lake Mohave. Many campsites are right on the beach, making it easy to cool off with a dip in the river! The area can get very crowded in the summer, so get there early to score a first-come, first-served tent site.

Amenities include restrooms, showers, picnic areas, laundry, a dump station, a fishing pier, and a boat launch. Cell phone reception is typically strong in the area.

There are full and partial hookup sites available for RVs. Click here to view a map of the campground.

Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort RV Park

Number of sites: 740
Fee: $28/night
Capacity: Not stated.
Type: RV, full hookups. NO TENTS.
Reservations: Recommended. Call 1-800-227-3849 or Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

This massive RV park is attached to Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort and Casino. This means that RV campers get access to the many amenities at the hotel, including the pool, fitness center, and business center. Additionally, there’s a shuttle that will take you to nearby casinos. The location gives you easy proximity to Lake Mohave, as the Katherine Landing Marina is less than 10 minutes away.

Amenities at the RV park include restrooms, showers, laundry, propane sales, and a dump station. Click here to view a map of the RV park.

Campgrounds on the North Side of Lake Mead NRA

Valley of Fire State Park

Number of sites: 72
Fee: $20/night (NV residents) or $25/night (non-NV residents) +$15 park entrance fee
Capacity: Not stated.
Type: RV with hookups, tent.
Reservations: First-come, first-served.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

This is a great option for campers looking to enjoy both Valley of Fire State Park and Lake Mead NRA. There are campgrounds in the park. They are close to one another and both can be accessed just off Highway 169 and about 30 minutes from Lake Mead NRA. Valley of Fire is a very popular destination and the campgrounds fill up quickly, so get there early to snag a site.

Each campsite has a shaded picnic table and grill. There are showers, restrooms, water taps, and a dump station on site. Click here to view a map of the park.

A rock formation at Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park.

Free Dispersed Camping Near Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Muddy Mountains Wilderness

This BLM land is adjacent to Lake Mead NRA on its northwest side. Because it is a designated wilderness area, you’ll need to hike at least half a mile from the road in order to camp. One exception to this rule is along the Bitter Springs Backcountry Byway, a rugged unpaved road that runs through the foothills of the Muddy Mountains. Adventure seekers and nature lovers will appreciate the pristine beauty, lack of crowds, and dramatic rock formations that characterize this landscape. Come prepared with plenty of water, and don’t attempt it in the summer heat. Make sure to check out the renowned Bowl of Fire while you’re there.

Mohave Trails National Monument

Located close to the southwestern edge of Lake Mohave, this large BLM monument offers plenty of dispersed desert camping. Balancing Rock is a is a good place to camp if you plan on visiting Lake Mead NRA, as you can get from your campsite to the Katherine Landing Marina in less than an hour. Keep in mind that many of the roads are rugged and sandy and should only be attempted with a 4WD vehicle.

Christmas Tree Pass, Spirit Mountain Wilderness

Christmas Tree Road runs through the Newberry Mountains on the Spirit Mountain Wilderness BLM land, just west of Lake Mohave. There are a handful of good campsites near the top of the pass, although they are only suited for tent campers or small RVs. It is located about 45 minutes from the Katherine Landing Marina on Lake Mohave, and the road is typically passable for all vehicle types. The views are spectacular and the atmosphere is peaceful.

Snowbird Mesa-Poverty Flats

This is a convenient and scenic option near the town of Overton on the northern edge of Lake Mead NRA. The large area can accommodate plenty of campers without feeling too cramped. From the camping area, you can reach Stewart’s Point (Lake Mead) in less than twenty minutes and Valley of Fire State Park in less than 10 minutes. The gravel access road is typically passable for all vehicle types and there is decent cell reception. RV campers can use the free dump station at the Echo Bay Campground.

Footsteps in the sand along the Fisherman's Trail in Lake Mead NRA

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope we’ve provided all of the information you need to plan your Lake Mead National Recreation Area camping trip, and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions and be sure to tell us about your trip!

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Mt. Rushmore Camping | The Complete Guide

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial is a spectacular sight to behold. The granite carved faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln gaze down upon South Dakota’s Black Hills, inspiring awe…

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial is a spectacular sight to behold. The granite carved faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln gaze down upon South Dakota’s Black Hills, inspiring awe for those who visit. A trip here is a highlight for many summer road trips, providing visitors with a sense of history, stunning scenery, and one of the most unique memorials in the world.

A visit to Mt. Rushmore is also a great way to see some of the surrounding area which includes beautiful national parks, Custer State Park, and the Black Hills National Forest. Given all that the area has to offer, we think planning a Mt. Rushmore camping trip is the perfect way to experience this part of the country.

Although there are no campgrounds at Mt. Rushmore, the surrounding area is full of excellent camping options. You’ll find everything from full-service RV campgrounds, to lovely car-camping area, and even some great free dispersed camping in the Black Hills.

No matter your preference, you’re sure to find the perfect campsite near Mt. Rushmore National Memorial.

Keeping reading to get all the details on camping near Mt. Rushmore.

Mt. Rushmore through clouds

 

Mt. Rushmore Camping Guide

 

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial Overview

The idea for Mt. Rushmore National Memorial was born from a desire to generate more tourism in the region all the way back in the 1920s. It took over 20 years from that initial conception until the carving of the memorial was completed in 1941. The creation was overseen by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum, whos vision helped create the stunning memorial you see today.

On any visit to Mt. Rushmore it is also important to understand that the memorial is constructed on the historic lands of the Lakota Sioux. The Lakota were originally granted the lands that encompass much of the Black Hills, including Mt. Rushmore, in 1868. However, that was quickly abandoned by the US Government when gold was discovered in the region. Today, many Lakota Sioux find Mt. Rushmore to be a symbol of the injustices they’ve endured at the hands of white settlers and the US Government.

Read more about the history and impacts of Mt. Rushmore on Native Americans here.

Today, over 2 million people visit Mt. Rushmore each year. These visitors are heavily concentrated in the summer months, although the spring and fall can also be a nice time to visit.

Keep reading to learn more about planning you visit, what to bring, and camping near Mt. Rushmore.

Flags at Mt. Rushmore

 

Visiting Mt. Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore is open to visitors 365 days per year making a visit during any season possible. The visitor center is open every day with the exception of Christmas. Below you’ll find some tips and information to make the most of your visit to Mt. Rushmore:

What to do at Mt. Rushmore

 

What to Bring

Heading out on a Mt. Rushmore camping trip involves more than simply deciding on the best campground for your needs. You’ll also have the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping near Mt. Rushmore:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect cooking up campsite dinners.
  • Portable water container – These portable water containers are a lifesaver.
  • Cooler – A good cooler makes any camping trip better. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Black Hills Map Pack – This excellent set of maps from National Geographic covers Mt. Rushmore and the surrounding Black Hills area. Perfect for a summer road trip.
  • Black Hills Guidebook – A good guidebook will provide insights and information to help you plan your perfect trip. We like this Moon Guide to Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands.

What to do at Mt. Rushmore

A visit to Mt. Rushmore will of course include a good amount of awe-struck viewing of the Memorial itself. The beautifully carved faces are truly a sight to behold. However, in addition to viewing the Memorial there are plenty of additional activities to round out your visit to Mt. Rushmore. Check out some of your best options below:

  • Hiking: There are several short hiking trails in the Mt. Rushmore area. This includes the Blackberry Trail which connects visitors with the Black Elk Wilderness area and Black Hills National Forest. The hike to Horsethief Lake also comes highly recommended.
  • Self-guided audio tour: For those looking to gain a deeper appreciation of Mt. Rushmore, we highly recommend taking the self-guided audio or multimedia tour.
  • Explore the visitor center: A stop by the visitor center will connect you with details on any special events that may be happening during your visit. This can include a ranger led talk, the evening light ceremony, and more.

Check out the full list of things to do at Mt. Rushmore on the NPS website here.

 

Hiking trail near Mt. Rushmore

Taking a hike to the nearby Black Hills is a great activity when visiting Mt. Rushmore.

 

Mt. Rushmore Camping

There are no campgrounds located at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, however there are more than enough to suit your needs in the surrounding area.

Mt. Rushmore is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, an incredible part of the country that is a camper’s dream with official park service campgrounds available at Badlands National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Wind Cave National Park and more.

In addition, Custer State Park offers excellent camping just a short drive from Mt. Rushmore. You’ll also find plenty of RV campgrounds, car camping sites, and dispersed camping in the Black Hills National Forest.

The map below gives you a general sense of your campground options near Mt. Rushmore.

Campgrounds with a a blue camper trailer icon represents RV campgrounds near the Mount Rushmore while the red tent icon represents car camping options.

For those looking to explore some of the other highlights of South Dakota and the Black Hills, check out our other camping guides below:

RV campgrounds near Mt. Rushmore

RV camping trips to Mt. Rushmore are very popular and you’ll have tons of excellent options to choose from in the surrounding area. There are several RV campgrounds near Mt Rushmore and even more options if you’re willing to drive a bit. Either way, you’re sure to find the perfect campground for your needs.

Keep reading to learn more.

RV Campgrounds near Mt. Rushmore

 

Rushmore View RV Park

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: Varies
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Rushmore View RV Park is located just north of Mt. Rushmore and is the closest RV campground to the Memorial. This is a great campground for those interested in also exploring Custer State Park.  The campsites at Rushmore View are generally better for smaller RVs, although they do have a few sites that can accommodate larger rigs.

Amenities include easy access to a variety of services in the town of Keystone, including gas stations, a convenience store, laundry facilities and more. Rushmore View RV Park is your best bet if you value location more than anything else.

 

Mount Rushmore KOA Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $75 – $125/night
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Located due west from Mt. Rushmore along State Highway 214, the Mount Rushmore KOA offers tons of amenities in close proximity to the Memorial. You can expect the full slate of KOA style amenities here, including a pool, cable tv, WiFi, and small shop. This is an excellent location for exploring not only Mt. Rushmore, but also everything the Black Hills have to offer.

We don’t recommend KOAs for those in search of quiet, but you certainly can’t beat all the amenities if that is what you’re after!

 

Holy Smoke Resort

Number of sites: 21 sites
Fee: $45/night for 2 people. Additional people $2.50/night.
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Holy Smoke Resort Campground is located on State Highway 16A, just north of Mt. Rushmore and the town of Keystone. The campground is part of a larger resort complex that includes vacation homes, cabins, and more. At Holy Smoke you’ll find 21 tightly spaced campsites that feature picnic tables, WiFi, and plenty of big shade trees.

Keep in mind that there are no bathroom or shower facilities at the campground!

 

Spokane Creek Campground

Number of sites: 46 sites
Fee: $25 – $45/night
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, electric available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Spokane Creek Campground is well located just south of Mt. Rushmore. Situated just a short drive from Custer State Park, this is a good place to stay for those hoping to explore more than just Mt. Rushmore on their trip. This is a quiet campground set in a beautiful location.

Amenities at Spokane Creek include an outdoor pool, basketball court, mini-golf, and a small coffee shop.

 

Black Elk Resort

Number of sites: 8 sites
Fee: $49 – $55/night
Capacity: Max of 6 people per campsite.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Black Elk Resort is a small RV campground with just eight campsites available. Located north of Mt. Rushmore, Black Elk is popular for its cozy feel and friendly staff. Amenities here include the Palmer Creek Tap Room, a playground, nightly campfires, showers, and laundry facilities.

Those staying at Black Elk are also sure to enjoy the immaculately maintained grounds!

 

Buffalo Ridge Camp Resort

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: Varies
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Buffalo Ridge Camp Resort is perfect for those looking to stay somewhere with tons of amenities and things to do. Located near the town of Custer, SD this isn’t the closest campground to Mt. Rushmore, but it more than makes up for it with so much to do. Amenities include multiple pools, a small general store selling essentials, kids playground, shower facilities, and more.

 

Big Pine Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $44 – $50/night
Capacity: Prices based on 4 people per campsite. Max of 6 per site.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Call (605) 673-4054 to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Big Pine Campground is located the furthest from Mt. Rushmore of all the options included in this guide. However, it still makes a great place to camp, especially when other campgrounds are full. The campsites at Big Pine are nicely shaded and the location provides convenient access to the town of Custer, SD.

You’ll find excellent amenities at Big Pine, including a game room, hot showers, free WiFi, and more.

 

Car camping sites near Mt. Rushmore

If you’re looking for car camping sites near Mt. Rushmore, you’ll have many great options to choose from. We have included your best bets below and you’ll also have good luck at any of the campgrounds included in the RV section above.

Keep reading to learn more.

 

Car camping near Mt. Rushmore

 

Horsethief Lake Campground

Number of sites: 36 campsites
Fee: $26/night
RVs: Yes, but no hookups. Smaller rigs are recommended.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit Recreation.gov to reserve
Pets: Allowed

The Horsethief Lake campground is located just two miles from Mt. Rushmore and sits adjacent to the beautiful Horsethief Lake. This Forest Service campground has 36 individual campsites with easy access to drinking water and restrooms. The sites are set among towering pine trees and there is a camp host on-site during the busy summer months.

This is the most convenient car camping site near Mt. Rushmore so be sure to secure your reservation as far in advance as possible!

 

Kemp’s Kamp

Number of sites: 20 campsites
Fee: $30 – $50/night depending on the site.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available
Reservations: Recommended. Call (605) 666-4654 to make a reservation.
Pets: Allowed

Kemp’s Kamp is large campground located north of Mt. Rushmore along Old Hill City Road. This sprawling campground can accommodate RVs with full hookups, basic tent campers, and everything in between. You’ll be only five minutes from Mt. Rushmore here, making this a great option.

Amenities at Kemp’s Kamp include a heated pool, laundry and shower facilities, and fire pits. This is a good option for families seeking a few more amenities than what you’ll find at a Forest Service campground.

 

Grizzly Creek Primitive Campground

Number of sites: 20 campsites
Fee: $20/night + $7/night for extra vehicles
RVs: Not recommended.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit Recreation.gov to reserve
Pets: Allowed

Located between Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park, the Grizzly Creek Primitive Campground is a great option for car camping. Grizzly Creek is a primitive site and isn’t recommended for those traveling in an RV. The campground is laid out in a large loop with restrooms on each end. Water is also available at the campground, but only during peak camping season.

Some of the campsites at Grizzly Creek are reservable in advance via Recreation.gov.

 

Custer State Park Camping

Number of Sites: Nine developed campgrounds
Fee: $15 – $30/night
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available at most campgrounds.
Reservations: Highly recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Pets: Allowed.
More Information

Custer State Park occupies over 71,000 acres just south of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. The park is famous for its herds of bison, beautiful lakes, and unique rock formations. For those visiting Mt. Rushmore, we highly recommend a visit to Custer State Park as well.

For camping, Custer State Park features nine developed campgrounds located throughout the park. For those who plan to visit Mt. Rushmore, you’ll find the following the most convenient:

  • Sylvan Lake Campground: Sylvan Lake Campground features 39 campsites located in the far northeast portion of Custer State Park. You’ll be just a short drive from Mt. Rushmore here and enjoy one of the most beautiful lakes in the region.
  • Center Lake Campground: Center Lake Campground is situated the closest to Mt. Rushmore and features 71 excellent campsites. This is your best bet in Custer State Park.
  • Game Lodge Campground: The Game Lodge Campground is located just off Highway 16A, making it an easy drive up to Mt. Rushmore. Here you’ll find 59 campsites situated along a lovely creek.

Of course, any of the nine campgrounds in Custer State Park make a great place to camp prior to visiting Mt. Rushmore. Be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Camping in Custer State Park to get all the details you’ll need. 

 

Free dispersed camping near Mt. Rushmore

Your final option for camping near Mount Rushmore is to find a free, dispersed campsite on adjacent US Forest Service land in the Black Hills National Forest. Located to the west of Mt. Rushmore,  this land is overseen by the USFS which manages hundreds of thousands of acres of public land throughout the country and generally allows for free ‘dispersed camping’ on it.

 

Free dispersed camping near Mt. Rushmore

 

If you have any questions about the dispersed camping options outlined below be sure to reach out to the USFS offices that oversee the specific areas, shown below:

Black Hills National Forest Dispersed Camping

Free, dispersed camping is permitted in the Black Hills National Forest near Mt. Rushmore. The best sites are generally located to the north of the Memorial. You’ll find hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forest here and plenty of camping possibilities.

Check out some of your best bets below:

  • Spring Creek: Located due west of Mt. Rushmore, just off Highway 16.
  • Wrinkled Rock: Just a short drive up the highway from Mt. Rushmore. The closest option.
  • Keyrapmore: Located north of Mt. Rushmore just off Highway 16.
  • Centennial Trailhead Samulies: This is a small parking lot just off the highway at the Centennial trailhead. Not the most idyllic, but a good option in a pinch. Located northwest of Mt. Rushmore.

 

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope you’ve found all of the information on Mt. Rushmore camping in this post helpful and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or had a great time out camping!

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The Complete Guide to Camping in Custer State Park

Custer State Park is South Dakota’s largest state park and preserves an incredible diversity of landscapes. Granite bluffs, soaring mountains, deep lakes, and grassland prairies are just a few of…

Custer State Park is South Dakota’s largest state park and preserves an incredible diversity of landscapes. Granite bluffs, soaring mountains, deep lakes, and grassland prairies are just a few of the highlights of this beautiful area. Located in the Black Hills, Custer State Park has miles of hiking trails, fishing, boating, biking, and almost any other outdoor activity you can think of.

To take advantage of everything on offer, we think you’ll be best served by spending a night in your tent or RV. By camping at Custer State Park you’ll get to experience this unique landscape firsthand.

Custer State Park has camping opportunities to suit nearly everyone. The park features nine developed campgrounds as well as the French Creek Natural Area for backpackers. In addition, the surrounding area has a plethora of RV campgrounds, car camping spots, and even some free dispersed campsites. No matter your preference, you’re sure to find the perfect campsite near Custer State Park.

Keeping reading to get all the details on camping in Custer State Park.

Mountain in Custer State Park

 

Custer State Park Camping Guide

 

Custer State Park Campgrounds

Custer State Park is located in southwestern South Dakota and sits firmly in the Black Hills. This is an incredible part of the country and nearby you’ll find multiple national parks, national forests, Mount Rushmore, and more. All of this makes Custer State Park and the surrounding region an incredible road trip destination. If you’re heading out to explore this part of the country, camping should be your first thought for accommodation.

The map below gives you a general sense of the nine campgrounds in Custer State Park and their locations relative to the surrounding area. 

Map of campgrounds in Custer State Park

Map of campgrounds in Custer State Park. Map credit South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks.

 

In addition to the overview map shown above we’ve also created an interactive map with all of the campgrounds included in this guide displayed.

Campgrounds with a green tent icon represent the developed campgrounds within Custer State Park, the blue camper trailer icon represents RV campgrounds near the park, and finally the red tent icon represents car camping options near Custer State Park.

 

Reservations

Of the nine developed campgrounds in Custer State Park, eight offer advance reservations. The lone exception is the Center Lake Campground, which offers same-day reservations. To make a reservation for any of the eight reservable campgrounds in Custer State Park, you’ll need to visit the Camp SD website below:

Make a campsite reservation in Custer State Park here.

Camping in Custer State Park is incredibly popular during the peak summer season. As such, we highly recommend making your reservation as soon as possible to ensure you get the campsite you want. 

For backcountry camping in the French Creek Natural Area there are no advance reservations or permits required. You will need to register the day of your trip so that park staff know you are in the backcountry, but nothing is required in advance of your trip.

 

What to Bring

Preparing for your Custer State Park camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping at Custer State Park:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect cooking up campsite dinners.
  • Portable water container – These portable water containers are a lifesaver.
  • Cooler – A good cooler makes any camping trip better. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Black Hills Map Pack – This excellent set of maps from National Geographic cover Custer State Park and the surrounding area.
  • Black Hills Guidebook – A good guidebook will provide insights and information to help you plan your perfect trip to Custer State Park. We like this Moon Guide to Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands.

 

When to Camp at Custer State Park

The majority of the campgrounds in Custer State Park are open seasonally from May – October. The Game Lodge Campground is open year round, however the full facilities are not available outside of the warmer months.

Peak camping season in Custer State Park generally aligns with summer in this part of the world, and most visitors camp in Custer between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you’re looking for a bit of solitude during your visit, it is best to try and plan your camping trip just outside of these dates.

You’ll encounter some cooler weather, but will have the place to yourself.

Winter in Custer State Park

 

Developed Campgrounds in Custer State Park

There are nine developed campgrounds in Custer State Park. These campgrounds vary in size and proximity to different areas of the park and are sure to provide plenty of options for your perfect camping trip. Details for all nine campgrounds are below.

Blue Bell Campground

Number of Sites: 31 sites
Fee: $15/night for tents, $30/night for electric site
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Season: Open seasonally from May 1st – October 14th

Hiking trail in Custer State Park

 

The Blue Bell Campground is located on the western side of Custer State Park, just north of the Blue Bell Entrance Station. This is a popular entry point into the park and makes a convenient place to camp. The campground features 31 campsites and can accommodate RVs with electric hookups.

You’ll be right next to French Creek, so this is a great campground for any anglers out there!

In addition, you’ll be just up the road from the Blue Bell Lodge which features a small restaurant, laundromat, small shop, and gas station.

The campground features flush toilets, showers, and potable water. Blue Bell is open seasonally during the summer months from May 1st – October 14th. Reservations are recommended for anyone hoping to camp at the Blue Bell Campground, as it is typically full throughout the summer.

Click here to make a reservation at the Blue Bell Campground

 

Center Lake Campground

Number of Sites: 71 sites
Fee: $19/night
RVs: Yes, smaller size recommended. No hookups available.
Reservations: Same day reservations available. Learn more here.
Season: Open seasonally from May 1st – September 30th.

The Center Lake Campground is located in the northern section of Custer State Park, and is very convenient if you also plan to visit Mt. Rushmore on your trip. Center Lake itself is beautiful and provides ample opportunities for swimming, fishing, and boating. The campground is large, and includes 71 campsites that can accommodate tents and small RVs.

The amenities at the Custer Lake Campground are basic and include vault toilets and potable water. The campground is open from May – September, and is the only campground in Custer State Park that accepts same day reservations. This allows you to call or go online starting at 6am MT the day of your trip to reserve a campsite. The benefit here is that if you haven’t been able to secure an advance reservation at any other campground in Custer, you’ll still have a shot at securing one Center Lake Campground.

Click here to make a same-day reservation at the Center Lake Campground

 

French Creek Horse Camp

Number of Sites: 28 campsites
Fee: $40/night. Includes two corrals
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Season: Open year round. Full facilities including electricity from May 1st – October 31st.

As the name suggests, the French Creek Horse Camp is a campground specifically for those camping with horses. The campground is located just east of the Blue Bell Campground along North Lame Johnny Road. This location lends some solitude as it is off the main park roads.

The campgrounds features 28 individual campsites that each include two corral spaces for your equestrian friends. French Creek Horse Camp features a dump station, flush toilets, and drinking water for both you and your horses.

French Creek is open year round, although you’ll only have access to the full facilities from May – October. Advance reservations are highly recommended, and can be made below.

Click here to make a reservation at the French Creek Horse Camp

French Creek Horse Camp

 

Game Lodge Campground

Number of Sites: 59 campsites
Fee: $26/night for tents, $30/night for electric site
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Season: Open year round. Full facilities open from April 1st – November 15th.

Game Lodge Campground

 

The Game Lodge Campground is located just off of Highway 16A, the main east-west road through Custer State Park. Campers here are just a short distance from the main Visitors Center as well as the eastern entrance to the park. Game Lodge features 59 campsites and can accommodate RVs with electric hookups.

The Grace Coolidge Creek flows through the campground, making this a particularly tranquil campground. In addition, you’ll be close to the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center and State Game Lodge, both popular places to visit in Custer State Park.

The campground features flush toilets, showers, and an RV dump station. Game Lodge Campground is open year round, with full facilities available from April – November 15th. We recommend making an advance reservation here, which can be completed at the link below:

Click here to make a reservation at the Game Lodge Campground

 

Grace Coolidge Campground

Number of Sites: 26 sites, including six tent-only
Fee: $15/night for tents, $30/night for electric site
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Season: Open seasonally from May 17th – October 13th

The Grace Coolidge Campground is centrally located in Custer State Park, just off Highway 16A. The campground is conveniently located near the main Visitor Center in the park and the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center. Grace Coolidge has 26 campsites, six of which are tent-only that sit on the opposite side of the highway from the main campground.

The campground features flush toilets and showers and is only a mile from the Coolidge General Store. Grace Coolidge campground is open seasonally from May 17th – October 13th, and advance reservations are essential.

Click here to make a reservation at the Grace Coolidge Campground

 

Legion Lake Campground

Number of Sites: 26 sites
Fee: $15/night for tents, $30/night for electric site
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Season: Open seasonally from May 1st – October 13th

The Legion Lake Campground sits just across Highway 16A from the famous Legion Lake and Lenker Rock. You’ll find 26 campsites here with a mix of tent-only sites as well as those that can accommodate RVs and feature electric hookups.

From the campground you’ll enjoy easy access to the Badger Clark Memorial as well as to Legion Lake. The lake features fishing, boating, and swimming. You can also enjoy access to the Legion Lake Lodge, which features a small restaurant and basic shop.

The campground features flush toilets, showers, and potable water. Legion Lake Campground is open from May – mid October and advance reservations are highly recommended.

Click here to make a reservation at the Legion Lake Campground

 

Stockade North Campground

Number of Sites: 42 sites
Fee: $26/night for tents, $30/night for electric site
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Season: Open seasonally from May 17th – October 7th

Stockade Lake Campground

 

There are two campgrounds located at Stockade Lake in Custer State Park. The first, and larger of the two is the Stockade North Campground. Located just off the main highway, the Stockade North Campground has 42 campsites that can accommodate all sizes of RVs.

Stockade Lake North is a popular campground given its pristine location on the largest lake in the park and easy access to the highway. You can enjoy fishing, boating, and hiking all within close proximity to the campground.

Amenities include electric hookups for RVs, flush toilets, and showers. You’re not far from the Legion Lake Lodge which has a restaurant and small shop. Stockade North is open from mid-May through mid-October and reservations can be made through Camp SD at the link below.

Click here to make a reservation at the Stockade North Campground

 

Stockade South Campground

Number of Sites: 23 sites
Fee: $15/night for tents, $30/night for electric site
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Season: Open seasonally from May 17th – October 7th

The smaller of the two campgrounds at Stockade Lake, the Stockade South Campground is a bit quieter and more secluded. Situated on the south end of the lake, acces is from Lower French Creek Road. Here you’ll find 23 campsites that can accommodate tents as well as smaller RVs. There are also several camping cabins available.

Lake access is easy from the campground and you can also visit the Gordon Stockade, where gold was initially discovered back in the 1800s.

The campground features flush toilets, showers, and potable water. Stockade South Campground is open from May – early-October and advance reservations are a must.

Click here to make a reservation at the Stockade South Campground

 

Sylvan Lake Campground

Number of Sites: 39 sites
Fee: $15/night for tents, $30/night for electric site
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit CampSD.com to reserve.
Season: Open seasonally from May 17th – September 30th

Sylvan Lake Camping

 

The final developed campground in Custer State Park is Sylvan Lake Campground, located in the far northwest corner of the park. Sylvan Lake is one of the most popular areas of Custer State Park, and a night spent camping here is a highlight for many.

The Sylvan Lake Campground has 39 campsites that can accommodate tents as well as RVs and has electric hookups available. The campground is located across the famous Needles Highway from the lake, although access is still quite convenient.

The campground features flush toilets, showers, and potable water. The Sylvan Lake lodge is less than a mile from the campground and we highly recommend a visit. Here you’ll find a restaurant, shop selling basic supplies, boat rentals, and more. Reservations are essential and often difficult to come by at the Sylvan Lake Campground and can be made at the link below.

Click here to make a reservation at the Sylvan Lake Campground

 

Backcountry Campsites in Custer State Park

French Creek Natural Area

Fee: $7/night
Reservations: Not required, but registration is mandatory for camping.
Season: Year round

French Creek Natural Area

The French Creek Natural Area provides a beautiful setting for a backcountry camping trip.

 

For those looking for a more adventurous camping trip in Custer State Park, backpacking in the French Creek Natural Area might be just the ticket. This section of the park was set aside to preserve its incredible natural beauty and to offer visitors the opportunity to experience the rugged side of Custer State Park.

The French Creek Natural Area sits in the center of Custer State Park can be accessed from both the west and east. On the east edge of the park, you’ll utilize Wildlife Loop Road with trail access starting just south of the airstrip. From the west, French Creek Natural Area is accessed via North Lame Johnny Rd a few miles from the Blue Bell entrance near the French Creek Horse Camp.

The entire trail runs for approximately 12 miles, although keep in mind this is not a formal trail and does not have any trail markers. Those seeking to hike the entire route should be experienced in backcountry navigation and have a good understanding of the area. This is especially true for a section known as “the Narrows” which requires backpackers to either climb the 60′ cliff or swim across the 100′ river!

Camping is permitted in the French Creek Natural Area with the following regulations:

  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles
  • Campsites must be at least 50′ from the creek
  • No campfires are permitted
  • Bury all human waste at least 200′ from a water source
  • Plan to bring all of your own water as the creek is not suitable for drinking

 

Camping near Custer State Park

Given the popularity of camping in Custer State Park it can be difficult to secure a campsite at one of the nine developed campgrounds in the park. However, don’t give up hope as there are plenty of great camping options just outside of Custer State Park that are sure to meet your needs.

Check out your best options for RV campingcar camping, and free dispersed camping near Custer State Park below. For those looking to explore some of the other highlights of South Dakota and the Black Hills, check out our other camping guides:

RV campgrounds near Custer State Park

Those camping in an RV will have plenty of options just outside Custer State Park. Check out your best bets below.

RV camping near Custer State Park

 

French Creek RV Park

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $32 – $41/night
Capacity: Prices based on 4ppl per campsite
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The French Creek RV Park is located immediately west of Custer State Park in the town of Custer, SD. This is a convenient camping option as you’ll have easy access to the town of Custer, while still camping in a beautiful setting. The state park is just a short drive away as well.

Campsites feature full hookups and picnic tables. There is also a grassy area for tent campers. Amenities at the French Creek RV Park include free WiFi, free Friday night potlucks, and easy access to the Mickelson Trail.

 

Wheels West RV Park

Number of sites: 60 sites
Fee: $37 – $50/night
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Wheels West RV Park is located right off Highway 16A, just a stone’s throw from the west entrance to Custer State Park. The campground features full-hookup RV sites as well as tent-only sites and bunkhouse style rooms. The campground recently got new owners and the reviews couldn’t be better.

Amenities at Wheels West include a small souvenir shop that sells shakes, plenty of lawn games, and even occasional live music.

 

Custer Mountain Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $25 – $48/night depending on site.
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Custer Mountain Campground is located west of the state park, just before reaching the town of Custer. The campsites here are tucked in a beautiful forest of pine trees and give a sense of tranquility and calm. Sites can be a bit close together, but the facilities are spotless and the staff friendly.

Amenities include showers, laundry, and a playground.

 

Custer’s Gulch RV Campground

Number of sites: 60 sites
Fee: $59 – $69/night
Capacity: Prices based on 2 adults & 2 children
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Located about 1 mile south of Highway 16A just west of Custer State Park, Custer’s Gulch RV Campground makes a convenient place to spend the night. This quiet RV park features full hookups, WiFi, hot showers, and even provides on-site car rentals to explore the Black Hills.

 

Echo Valley RV Park

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $35/night
Capacity: Prices based on 2ppl per campsite
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Call 1-605-673-3368 to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Echo Valley RV Park is situated west of Custer State Park and is well located for those hoping to visit Sylvan Lake or the Crazy Horse Memorial. This is a basic campground that is set in a stunning location. Campsites all feature a picnic table and are more secluded than many campgrounds in the area.

Amenities at Echo Valley include hot showers, laundry, and incredibly friendly staff.

 

Big Pine Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $44 – $50/night
Capacity: Prices based on 4 people per campsite. Max of 6 per site.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Call (605) 673-4054 to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Big Pine Campground is located a bit further from Custer State Park compared to other options, but still makes a great place to camp. The campsites at Big Pine are nicely shaded and the location provides convenient access to the town of Custer, SD.

You’ll find excellent amenities at Big Pine, including a game room, hot showers, free WiFi, and more. Highly recommended!

 

Rushmore View RV Park

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: Varies
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Rushmore View RV Park is located north of Custer State Park, adjacent to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This is a great location for those looking to explore both Custer State Park as well as Mt. Rushmore.  The campsites at Rushmore View are generally better for smaller RVs, although they do have a few sites that can accommodate larger rigs.

Amenities include easy access to a variety of services in the town of Keystone, including gas stations, a convenience store, laundry facilities and more.

 

Mount Rushmore KOA Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $75 – $125/night
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Situated north of Custer State Park on Highway 244, the Mount Rushmore KOA Campground offers a great RV campground for those exploring the Black Hills. You can expect the full slate of KOA style amenities here, including a pool, cable tv, WiFi, and small shop.

We don’t recommend KOAs for those in search of quiet, but you certainly can’t beat all the amenities if that is what you’re after!

 

Spokane Creek Campground

Number of sites: 46 sites
Fee: $25 – $45/night
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, electric available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Spokane Creek Campground is perfectly situated for those hoping to explore the northern section of Custer State Park. Located near the intersection of Highway 16A and Playhouse Rd, you’ll have easy access to the Center Lake area from here. This is a quiet campground set in a beautiful location.

Amenities at Spokane Creek include an outdoor pool, basketball court, mini-golf, and a small coffee shop.

 

Custer / Mount Rushmore / Black Hills KOA

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $50 – $125/night
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed

Located west of Custer State Park and the town of Custer, SD, the Custer/Mount Rushmore/Black Hills KOA is well situated to visit the surrounding area. While certainly more expensive than some of your other options, this KOA has great amenities. These include a dog park, WiFi, playground, and an on-site store selling camping essentials.

 

Car camping sites near Custer State Park

If you’re looking for car camping sites near Custer State Park, you’ll have several excellent options.  

In addition to the options listed below, most of the campgrounds included in the RV section above welcome car campers. Keep reading below to see what your best bets are for car camping near Custer State Park.

Car camping near Custer State Park

 

Bismark Lake Campground

Number of sites: 23 campsites
Fee: $20/night + $7/night for extra vehicles
RVs: Yes, no hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit Recreation.gov to reserve
Pets: Allowed

The Bismark Lake Campground is about as convenient as it gets for car camping near Custer State Park. Located just across the highway from Stockade Lake, you’ll be just minutes from the state park. There are 23 campsites at Bismark Lake along with restrooms, a picnic area, and potable water. Note that drinking water is generally only available during the summer months.

Reservations are accepted and recommended for camping at Bismark Lake and can be made through Recreation.gov here.

 

Oreville Campground

Number of sites: 26 campsites
Fee: $20/night
RVs: Yes, no hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit Recreation.gov to reserve
Pets: Allowed

The Oreville Campground is located northwest of Custer State Park and makes a great place to camp before exploring Sylvan Lake. The campground has 26 campsites organized in two loops. You’ll find two sets of bathrooms along with potable water here.

Advance reservations for the Oreville Campground can be made via Recreation.gov.

 

Grizzly Creek Primitive Campground

Number of sites: 20 campsites
Fee: $20/night + $7/night for extra vehicles
RVs: Not recommended.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit Recreation.gov to reserve
Pets: Allowed

Located between Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park, the Grizzly Creek Primitive Campground is a great option for car camping. Grizzly Creek is a primitive site and isn’t recommended for those traveling in an RV. The campground is laid out in a large loop with restrooms on each end. Water is also available at the campground, but only during peak camping season.

Some of the campsites at Grizzly Creek are reservable in advance via Recreation.gov.

 

Comanche Park Campground

Number of sites: 34 campsites
Fee: $16/night + $7/night for extra vehicles
RVs: Yes, but no hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Visit Recreation.gov to reserve
Pets: Allowed

The Comanche Park Campground is located west of Custer, SD along Highway 16. This is a larger campground with 34 sites and can accommodate both tent campers and smaller RVs. You’ll be close to Jewel Cave National Monument and away from some of the hustle and bustle in the Mt. Rushmore area.

Reservations are available via Recreation.gov.

 

Wind Cave National Park – Elk Mountain Campground

Number of sites: 62 campsites
Fee: $16/night + $7/night for extra vehicles
RVs: Yes, but no hookups available.
Reservations: First-come, first-served.
Pets: Allowed

Your final option for car camping near Custer State Park is to stay at the Elk Mountain Campground in the adjacent Wind Cave National Park. The campground has 62 campsites, all of which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This is a great option as it allows you to explore both Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park from one convenient location.

 

Free dispersed camping near Custer State Park

Your final option for camping near Custer State Park is to find a free, dispersed campsite on adjacent US Forest Service land in the Black Hills National Forest. Located to the west of Custer State Park,  this land is overseen by the USFS which manages hundreds of thousands of acres of public land throughout the country and generally allows for free ‘dispersed camping’ on it.

Free Dispersed campsite near Custer State Park

 

If you have any questions about the dispersed camping options outlined below be sure to reach out to the USFS offices that oversee the specific areas, shown below:

Black Hills National Forest Dispersed Camping

Free, dispersed camping is permitted in the Black Hills National Forest near Custer State Park. The best sites are generally located to the north and west of the park. You’ll find hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forest here and plenty of camping possibilities.

Check out some of your best bets below:

  • Spring Creek: Located northwest of Custer State Park, just off Highway 16.
  • Wrinkled Rock: North of Custer State Park, near Mt. Rushmore.
  • Keyrapmore: This area is located north of Custer, just off Highway 16.

 

Custer State Park Camping Must Know

The following sections contain all the basic information you need to ensure you have a great time camping in Custer State Park. Before we dive in, there are a few important regulations to note:

  • Park entrance fees are available for daily, weekly, or annual rates. Check out the current fees here.
  • Only camp in designated sites, with the exception of the French Creek Natural Area.
  • Always store your food in your car or in an animal proof container.
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles.

Where to get supplies

Custer State Park is surrounded by a plethora of outdoor attractions including the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, and Wind Cave National Park. This makes the area a popular road trip destination which is well served by small towns. You’ll find plenty of options to stock up on camping supplies around Custer State Park, with your best bets outlined below:

  • Custer, SD: The town of Custer, SD is the main stopping off point for most visitors to Custer State Park. Located just west of the park along Highway 16A, you’ll find everything you need to prepare for your camping trip here. This includes gas stations, grocery stores, and several excellent outdoor shops.
  • Keystone, SD: Keystone is the best place to stock up on supplies for those heading to Custer State Park from the north. Located between the park and Mt. Rushmore, Keystone has all the essentials you may need prior to spending a few nights in your tent.
  • Rapid City, SD: The largest city in the vicinity of Custer State Park is Rapid City, SD. The gateway to the Black Hills, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park, Rapid City has any major service you could need.

 

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope you’ve found all of the information on Custer State Park camping in this post helpful and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or had a great time out camping!

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Walker’s Haute Route Accommodation and Refuge Guide

Trekking the Walker’s Haute Route is an unforgettable adventure. Of course, the alpine beauty along this rugged trail from Chamonix to Zermatt is an obvious highlight, but the charming villages…

Trekking the Walker’s Haute Route is an unforgettable adventure. Of course, the alpine beauty along this rugged trail from Chamonix to Zermatt is an obvious highlight, but the charming villages and mountain refuges you’ll experience on your trek are equally as wonderful. From luxurious hotels in posh mountain towns to rustic refuges perched in remote locales, there are so many incredible ways to experience the rich culture and camaraderie found along the Walker’s Haute Route.

If you want to make the most of your self-guided Walker’s Haute Route experience, it is essential to do a little advance planning when it comes to accommodation. Many places book up early in the season, and some options are much better than others.

In this guide, we’ll cover the need-to-know information on Haute Route refuges and other accommodations. We’ve also included an excellent directory of the best accommodation and refuges for every style, budget, and itinerary.

In This Post

Looking for an all-in-one Haute Route planning resource? Check out our awesome guide!

LEARN MORE

Types of Haute Route Accommodation

There are accommodation options along the Walker’s Haute Route to suit every budget and travel style. While not all of these options are available at every stage of the route, you can certainly customize your itinerary to fit your needs.

We’ve provided a brief explanation of each of the options below:

Hotels

Typically small and independently owned, the hotels along the Haute Route provide a welcome dose of luxury to weary hikers. Unless otherwise noted by the hotel, expect all of the usual amenities (hot shower, private bathroom, breakfast offered, linens and towels provided, etc). Hotels typically cost upwards of €60 per person (with an extra supplement for singles). For an additional fee, many hotels offer half-pension (AKA half-board or demi-pension) which includes dinner and breakfast. A few hotels along the route have dortoirs in addition to private rooms. Dortoirs are dormitories that offer a good budget option.

Gites d’Etape and Auberges

These are simple guest houses offering basic, dorm-style accommodation. Half-pension (dinner and breakfast) is typically included in the price. There are shared bathroom facilities with hot showers. Bed linens are usually provided. These are a good option for those who want to stick to a smaller budget, but don’t want to carry camping gear. Expect to pay around €50 per person for half-pension. 

Cabane du Mont Fort on a sunny day along the Walker's Haute Route

Mountain Refuges

We consider a stay in a mountain refuge (aka mountain huts or rifugios) to be a highlight of any Walker’s Haute Route trek. Set in stunning and remote locations, the ambiance at the refuges can’t be beat. Half-pension gets you a bed in a dorm (linens not provided), a delicious communal dinner, and a basic breakfast. Some refuges also offer private rooms (with shared bathrooms). Expect to pay around €45 per person for half-board in a dorm. 

A campground along the Walker's Haute Route

Campgrounds

Although they are the cheapest accommodation option along the route, WHR campgrounds can still be quite luxurious. All provide sinks and toilets, and many offer hot showers and even WiFi! Expect to pay around €12 per person to camp. Note: you cannot camp on every stage of the Walker’s Haute Route

Want to know more about camping on the WHR? Check out this in-depth post!

Approaching the Trient Glacier while hiking up the Fenetre d'Arpette trail along the Walker's Haute Route
Fantastic views of the Trient Glacier from the Fenêtre d’Arpette segment.

Should I Reserve My Walker’s Haute Route Accommodation in Advance?

This is a question that creates stress and anxiety for many hikers as they are planning for their Haute Route adventure. The short answer is, yes, you should try to book your accommodation as early as possible. However, the longer answer is a bit more nuancedWe’ve broken it down for you here, so you can plan with more confidence and less worry.

When is your trek?

If you plan to complete your trek in peak season (July-August), it’s likely that most of the refuges and guesthouses will fill up in advance. Book 3-6 months in advance.

If you’re hiking in June or September, things will probably be sold out on the weekends, but you might be okay without advance reservations during the week. However, keep in mind that some refuges are closed in June and/or September.

Where do you plan on staying?

Mountain refuges are the most important to book ahead of time. Many of these huts are quite small, so they fill up quickly. Several refuges accept reservations year-round, typically allowing you to book up to 12 months in advance. Some, however, do not respond to reservation requests during the winter months (September-March, typically). You should still try to email or call the refuge to reserve your spot as soon as you know your itinerary, even if it’s prior to March. When they finally get around to responding in the springtime, they often fill requests in the order in which they received them.

Gites, auberges, and guesthouses should be your next priority when it comes to advance bookings. This is especially true in the smaller villages where accommodation options are limited, and/or if you have specific preferences for your lodging (ex; private room, linens provided, etc). In terms of when you should make your bookings, the rules are similar to refuges. As soon as you’ve made your travel plans, reach out to the gite/guesthouse (or book online). For peak summer months, it’s optimal to have these bookings made by the end of March.

For larger hotels, you have a bit more wiggle room when it comes to making reservations. You should definitely still try to do it as early as possible, but they have more rooms and are often located in places with greater availability of lodging options.

You do not need to make advance reservations for any of the campgrounds on the Walker’s Haute Route. In fact, we recommend that you don’t. This will allow you to maximize the freedom and flexibility that camping provides, and it will make it much less complicated to check-in at the campgrounds.

I waited until the last minute…Am I doomed?

Certainly not! You can still have an amazing Haute Route trek, but you may need to be a bit more flexible and creative when it comes to finding places to stay. The first thing you should do is contact all of the places you would like to stay to check if they still have availability. If some key stops are sold out, it’s always possible to make some tweaks to your itinerary.

I’m more of the spontaneous type…Can I do the Walker’s Haute Route without booking ahead?

Yes you can, and we admire your free spirit! The easiest way to hike the WHR without a set itinerary is to camp. For those who prefer to stay indoors, if you plan your trek for mid-week in June or September and you arrive at your accommodation early in the day, you will likely be just fine. If you’re hiking during peak times, get familiar with the transportation options and nearby villages so you have back-ups if your first choice of accommodation is full.

Cascades spill into Lac Bleu on the Walker's Haute Route
Lac Bleu.

Walker’s Haute Route Accommodation Cost

Prices vary greatly from place to place, but generally speaking, here’s what you can expect to pay for accommodation along the Walker’s Haute Route.

  • B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: €65+ (per person/per night)
  • Gite d’Etape/Auberge: €50 (per person/per night w/half pension)
  • Mountain Refuge: €45 (per person/per night w/half pension)
  • Camping: €12 (per person/per night)

In our accommodation directory, we’ve provided our recommendations for high-end, mid-range, and budget options at all of the typical Walker’s Haute Route stops. We’ve defined those categories as follows:

  • High-End: €85+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: €40-85(per person/per night)
  • Budget: <€40 (per person/per night)

Read more: How Much it Cost Us to Hike the Walker’s Haute Route

Cooking a meal on a camp stove outside Cabane de Moiry on the Walker's Haute Route
Self-catering is a great way to keep your accommodation costs low on the Walker’s Haute Route.

Walker’s Haute Route Refuges: What You Need to Know

What to Expect

Mountain refuges on the Walker’s Haute Route are rustic and communal at heart. Many are set in remote locations that can only be reached by foot or pack mule, making resupply an impressive endeavor.

Due to their off-the-grid nature, they are relatively basic. Luxuries like hot water and electronics charging are limited and will likely come at an additional cost. Wifi and cell service are virtually non-existent at mountain refuges. Most refuges are cash-only, so make sure you bring enough!

While a few refuges have a small number of private rooms available, by and large you will be sleeping in a dormitory with anywhere from 4-16 beds (mostly bunk beds stacked two or three high). You’ll be provided with a mattress, pillow, and blanket, but you will need you bring or rent your own sleep sheet.

Unfortunately, bed bugs have been an issue at some of the Haute Route refuges in the past few years. It’s a good idea to check ahead for outbreaks and/or closures and pack some bed bug spray.

Bathrooms are also shared and typically (but not always) separated by gender. You can’t drink the water at some refuges, so check to see if you’ll need to purchase or filter your drinking water.

Staying in a mountain refuge is a magical and memorable experience. There is nothing like swapping stories with fellow hikers over a shared meal and watching a sunset in some of the world’s most stunning mountain scenery. Mountain refuges truly are one of the very best parts of the Walker’s Haute Route!

What’s Included

Most WHR refuges provide half-pension (AKA demi-pension or half board). This includes your bed for the night, as well as dinner and breakfast. Dinner is often a lavish, multi-course affair. They can typically cater to vegetarians (notify them in advance), although other special diets might not fare as well. Breakfast is very simple and typically consists of cold cereal, bread, jam, and tea/coffee.

Alcohol and snacks can be purchased a-la-carte, and a packed lunch can usually be ordered for the next day (additional fee applies).

Expect to pay extra for a hot shower and if you’d like to rent a sleep sheet. Some refuges ask a small fee for electronics charging.

What to Pack

All refuges on the Haute Route require you to use a sleeping bag, sleep sheet, or sleeping bag liner. While you can rent them in some places, if you plan on staying in several refuges, it is a good idea to bring your own. Additionally, if you want to shower, you will need to bring your own towel.

In our opinion, good earplugs and an eye mask are essential for dormitory sleeping. There’s nothing more frustrating than being kept up by a loud snorer when you’re exhausted from a big day on the trail!

Boots are not allowed inside the refuges, so many provide slippers for you to wear while indoors. If you’d prefer to wear your own pair, make sure to pack them.

For a complete list of refuge-specific gear, be sure to check out our Walker’s Haute Route Packing List.

The terrace at Cabane de Moiry.
The terrace at Cabane de Moiry.

Walker’s Haute Route Accommodation Directory

This directory is organized to follow the typical west-east route from Chamonix to Zermatt. For each place, we’ve provided our most highly recommended options, sorted by budget category. We’ve also included key details and linked to contact information.

Our budget categories are as follows:

  • High-End: €85+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: €40-85(per person/per night)
  • Budget: <€40 (per person/per night)

The directory includes recommendations for these places:

A busy street with outdoor cafes in Chamonix
A sunny afternoon in Chamonix.

Chamonix

High-End: Hotel le Morgane

Just minutes from shops, restaurants, and the bus terminal, Hotel le Morgane’s location is perfect for those starting the Walker’s Haute Route. Furthermore, the rooms are spacious and well-equipped, the staff is friendly, and they have great amenities like free luggage storage and a heated pool and spa.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: None, breakfast for an additional fee

Mid-Range: Chamonix Lodge

This hotel isn’t fancy, but it is an excellent value for your money. There are a variety of room types available, many with ensuite bathrooms. A good breakfast, luggage storage, and access to the communal kitchen and hot tub are all included with your stay. The hotel is located about a mile from the city center, but they loan bikes for you to use during your stay.

Room type(s): Private, some ensuite, dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Budget: Le Chamoniard Volent

Le Chamoniard is the best place to find a cheap bed in pricey Chamonix. It’s not luxurious, but this well-run hostel is consistently clean and they are friendly to Haute Route walkers. Guests have access to a communal kitchen and lounge area, plenty of bathrooms and showers, and free wifi. The hostel is located a little over a mile from the city center, but it is also conveniently near a bus stop.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: None. Breakfast, packed lunch, and/or evening meal available for an extra fee. 

Argentiere

High-End: Les Grands Montets

Start your Haute Route adventure in style at this cozy chalet. Pamper yourself in the pool, jacuzzi, and spa, or take in the views while relaxing on the wonderful terrace. This is a great way to ease into the demands of your trek, especially as you’re still adjusting to long days on the trail.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast available for an extra fee

Mid-Range: Gite le Belvedere

This is a friendly and affordable option in the center of Argentiere. There are a variety of rooms types to suit every budget and preference. The gite has a cozy sitting area, lovely terrace, and good wifi. The on-site restaurant serves up delicious meals and snacks.

Room type(s): Private,some ensuite, dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast available for an extra fee

Budget: Hotel les Randonneurs

This traditional hotel is conveniently located just steps off the Walker’s Haute Route trail. The rooms are a bit dated, but the hosts are friendly and the hotel caters specifically to hikers. There are a variety of room options, all of which are quite affordable. Guests can order breakfast and/or an evening meal for an additional fee. The nearby road can be a bit noisy, so make sure you pack your earplugs!

Room type(s): Dorm, Private,some ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast and dinner available for an extra fee

Trient/Le Peuty

High-End/Mid-Range: Auberge du Mont Blanc

Located near Trient’s iconic pink church, the Auberge du Mont Blanc is a great value. There are private rooms and dorm beds available, and many of the rooms have lovely views. The auberge also offers a spacious sauna and cozy lounge for guests to enjoy. The bus stop is just steps away, convenient for those who may need to detour or exit the trail early.

Room type(s): Private w/shared bathrooms, Dormitory, studio apartments
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast or Half-Board available (extra fee may apply)

Mid-Range: La Grande Ourse

This friendly family-run establishment offers a variety of room types, including dorms, private rooms, and even studio apartments. Though the rooms are basic, they have been recently renovated to feel clean and fresh. The top floor apartments have great views of the surrounding area. Breakfast, dinner, and/or picnic lunches can be purchased for an additional fee.

Room type(s): Private w/shared bathrooms, Dormitory, studio apartments
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast or half-board available 

Budget: Refuge du Le Peuty

The low-maintenance types will love this rustic bunkhouse with bohemian vibes. The refuge is located directly on the WHR route and offers a good, affordable option with plenty of opportunities to get to know fellow hikers. There are shared unisex bathrooms and snacks and drinks can be purchased in the yurt lounge next door.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-board
The pink church in Trient, Switzerland, on the Walker's Haute Route
The lovely village of Trient.

Champex

High-End: Hotel Splendide

Hotel Splendide has a lot going for it, like the rich breakfast spread and gorgeous vintage furnishings, but all of that pales in comparison to its million-dollar views! Soak in the phenomenal Alpine vistas from the sweeping terrace or from the comfort of your own room (book a south-facing room for the best views).

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Hotel Ptarmigan

This lovely B&B is a scenic and relaxing option for Haute Route walkers. There are just three rooms, two of which have balconies and lake views. All of the rooms share a bathroom. There’s a spacious terrace that makes the most of the B&B’s superb lakefront location.

Room type(s): Private, shared bathroom
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Budget: Pension en Plein Air

Champex, like most Swiss resort towns, is very expensive. Budget accommodation in Champex is very limited, and Pension en Plein Air is your best bet for cheap lodging. Don’t expect anything beyond the basics and you won’t be disappointed.

Room type(s): Private, Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-Board

Le Chable

High-End: B&B Les Acacias

This lovely bed and breakfast is located about a mile outside of the village of Le Chable, but it’s worth the extra walk. The service is excellent, the rooms are well-appointed, and the breakfast is ridiculously good. Pets are welcome, and you can expect to be greeted by the resident cat during your stay. The large terrace is a great place to savor the peaceful atmosphere and mountain views.

Room type(s): Private w/ private bathrooms
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: B&B de la Poste

If you are looking for a convenient location, friendly service, and an overall great value, look no further than B&B de la Poste. This little gem is located in the center of the village, very close to the train station and cable car (which is a great option for those looking to reduce the climbing to reach Mont Fort). The rooms are basic, but they are clean and functional. Guests enjoy the generous breakfast spread.

Room type(s): Private, some ensuite 
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast (extra fee)

Budget: B&B Claudy and Elizabeth Michellod-Duthiel

Staying in this cozy B&B feels like staying with family-you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and the chalet is traditional and homey. The rooms are small and basic with shared bathrooms, but there are thoughtful touches throughout (like the tea/coffee station in each room). Breakfast is simple, although the homemade bread and local ingredients make it feel special. This is a unique and charming option for budget travelers.

Room type(s): Private w/shared bathrooms
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast and option for half-board (extra fee)

Cabane du Mont Fort

Mid-Range: Cabane du Mont Fort

Upon reaching Mont Fort, you’ll have your first opportunity to experience a night in an alpine mountain hut. You’re in for a treat! Due to its remote location, Cabane du Mont Fort enjoys spectacular mountain views in every direction. The traditional building is bursting with cozy charm, and the food is tasty. Hot showers are available (5 CHF for 5 minutes) and there is free wifi in the common areas. If you want to save money, skip the half board option and self-cater in the well-stocked communal kitchenette.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-Board
Views from Cabane du Mont Fort on the Walker's Haute Route
Views from Cabane du Mont Fort.

Cabane de Louvie

Mid-Range: Cabane de Louvie

Being located midway between typical Haute Route stops, Cabane de Louvie won’t make sense for most WHR itineraries. That being said, it presents a lovely option for those wishing to push on past Cabane du Mont Fort (which is very possible if you take the Ruinettes cable car at the start of your day). There’s a steep climb to reach the Cabane, which as a result enjoys spectacular views of Lac de Louvie and the surrounding mountains. In addition to the large dorms, there are two private rooms available.

Room type(s): Private w/shared bathroom, Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-Board

Cabane de Prafleuri (and nearby options)

NOTE: Cabane de Prafleuri is the typical stop on this stage of the Walker’s Haute Route, and it will likely be the most convenient for the majority of walkers. However, the refuge tends to get poor reviews for cleanliness and service, so some hikers may want to consider alternatives. Additionally, there are many great accommodation options spread between Mont Fort and Arolla, making it easy to customize your itinerary to fit your interests and needs. This section describes all of the possible options so you can decide what will work best for you.

High-End/Mid-Range: Hotel du Barrage

Those seeking a slightly more comfort and privacy than can be found at any of the mountain refuges in the area should continue about an hour downhill past Cabane de Prafleuri to reach the Hotel du Barrage. This large, rather unattractive building stands on its own near the Dix Barrage and offers great views of the surrounding area. The accommodation is simple, but friendly and functional. Depending on your timing, there may be the option of taking the cable car to and from the main Haute Route trail.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast, option for half-board

Mid-Range: Cabane de Prafleuri

This is the typical stop along the traditional Walker’s Haute Route. Cabane de Prafleuri has a pretty dismal reputation amongst WHR walkers, due to claims of unfriendly service, bed bugs, and poor facilities. Despite all of that, given the right expectations, you can enjoy your stay at this mountain refuge. It is basic, but the location is ideal for most walkers, and the mountain scenery is wonderful. Keep in mind that there is no drinking water available at the refuge, so you’ll need to filter or purchase it. It can be difficult to get in touch with the refuge to make reservations, so be prepared to try calling and emailing them a few times in order to receive a response.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-Board

Mid-Range: Refuge des Ecoulais

This very basic mountain refuge has 22 beds and is located about an hour past Cabane de Prafleuri. The refuge is owned by the Ski Club des Pyramides, and it is typically only manned on the weekends. It’s a good idea to call ahead and reserve a bed before arriving. There are no services here, so be prepared to self-cater and plan ahead for your water supply.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: None

Mid-Range: Refuge de la Barma

Refuge de la Barma is another rustic option located between Cabane de Prafleuri and Arolla. The buildings, renovated from an old dairy farm, enjoy beautiful views from their perch above Lac des Dix. To reach the refuge, you’ll need to continue another two hours past Cabane de Prafleuri. We don’t recommend trying to make it all the way from Cabane du Mont Fort to Refuge de la Barma in one day, but stopping here allows for more flexible itinerary options overall. The refuge is always open, but it is only manned during certain days and times. Be prepared to bring your own stove to self-cater. Call ahead for reservations and more information.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: None

Mid-Range: Cabane des Dix

Reaching Cabane des Dix requires a pretty significant and adventurous detour, which many hikers find to be a very worthwhile endeavor. The journey up to the cabane is filled with marvelous scenery, but the views at the destination are undoubtedly the best. Upon descending to rejoin the main WHR, you’ll need to cross the Glacier de Cheilon. This crossing doesn’t require any special mountaineering gear, but make sure to use care and follow the marked route. Cabane des Dix is a lively and atmospheric place to spend an evening, and the food is delicious and plentiful. It’s one of the most popular refuges on the Haute Route, so make sure to reserve your bed well in advance. There is no drinking water available at Cabane des Dix, so be prepared to purchase or filter what you need.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Credit Card or Cash
Meals included: Half-board

Read More: Walker’s Haute Route Logistics

A hotel terrace with flower boxes overlooking the Arolla valley along the Walker's Haute Route.
Views from a terrace in the village of Arolla.

Arolla

High-End: Grand Hotel & Kurhaus

If by this point in your trip you’re looking for a bit of luxury, the Grand Hotel & Kurhaus is your best bet. This beautiful historic gem offers the perfect blend of old-world charm and modern comfort. All of the rooms have attached bathrooms and amazing views. A continental breakfast is included, and you can even arrange for an on-site massage to soothe tired muscles.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Hotel Aiguille de la Tza

This friendly hotel is located a bit further downhill from Arolla, meaning you’ll need to walk about 15-20 minutes past the village to reach it. There’s a nice path located behind the Hotel du Glacier that leads down to Hotel Aiguille de la Tza. The hotel offers a good mix of rooms, ranging from suites to dormitories, making it a good option for hikers of every budget. The attached restaurant serves up regional cuisine and good pizza. If needed, there’s a bus stop located just outside the hotel. Rooms are a bit dated, but clean and functional.

Room type(s): Private, some rooms w/shared bathrooms, dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast, option for half-board

Budget: Camping Arolla

Even if traditional camping isn’t your thing, this unique accommodation might be worth consideration. Typical budget options usually involve sharing a dorm with several other people, but Camping Arolla’s glamorous cocoon tents offer comfort and privacy at a reasonable price. Each tent has a real bed with linens provided, wood stove, cooking stove, and outdoor terrace. Showers are available for an additional fee and you can purchase fresh bread for the morning. There’s also a small shop on site that sells beer and snacks.

Room type(s): Private tent
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: None

Les Hauderes/La Sage

High-End: Hotel Dents de Veisivi

Hotel dents de Veisvi strikes the perfect balance between traditional chalet charm and modern luxury. It is located in the center of Les Hauderes, making it easy to access shops, restaurants, and public transportation. The cozy building boasts great views of the surrounding valley, particularly from the rooms on the top floor. All rooms are beautifully furnished and include plenty of thoughtful touches. The terrace makes a great place to unwind after a long day on your feet, and the restaurant is top-notch.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast available for an extra fee

High-End: Hotel de la Sage

This is the best option for those looking to stay in La Sage instead of Les Hauderes. La Sage is a smaller village with no services, and it is located uphill past Les Hauderes. Its location affords it a tranquil atmosphere and close proximity to nature, and Hotel de la Sage makes the most of those features. This excellent hotel offers cozy and well-appointed guest rooms with beautiful views. Plus, with free wifi and breakfast included, it’s a great value.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast 

Mid-Range: Hotel des Hauderes

While there’s nothing luxurious about this hotel, it is a practical and convenient stop for WHR hikers. The service is very friendly, the breakfast is good, and most rooms have balconies. The hotel is located on the main square, just steps from cafes, a bakery, and a bus stop. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms, which is a rare find at this price point.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Budget: Restaurant Gite L’Ecureuil

It can be challenging to find affordable lodging in many of the pricey Swiss villages along the Haute Route, but fortunately this friendly gite in La Sage offers a decent budget option. Accommodation at L’Ecureuil is simple: dormitories with a mixed-gender shared bathroom and a very sparse breakfast. However, the dinner is quite good and the rooms have just 4-6 beds, unlike some of the larger dormitories along the route. The location is ideal for Haute Route walkers.

Room type(s): Dormitory, shared bathroom
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast 
A wooden cafe building in Les Hauderes along the Walker's Haute Route
The main square of Les Hauderes has shops, cafes, services, and a handful of hotels.

Cabane de Moiry

Mid-Range: Cabane de Moiry

While there are a couple of alternate options on this stage of the Haute Route trek, we highly recommend spending a night at Cabane de Moiry, weather and availability permitting. This is one of the most unique and atmospheric accommodations on the entire route. Cabane de Moiry enjoys dramatic views of the nearby glacier, and the classic old refuge building blends wonderfully with the sleek new addition. If you are on a tight budget, you can save money by self-catering (although you’ll need to cook outside and bring your own stove). Those looking for slightly nicer dorm accommodations should book a bed in the new building.

Room type(s): Dormitory, shared bathroom
Payment: Cash
Meals included: Option for half-board

Grimentz & Barrage de Moiry

NOTE: Hikers must detour from the main WHR route to reach the town of Grimentz. Upon reaching Barrage de Moiry, you can take the postbus or follow a trail to the town of Grimentz. To continue onwards the next day, you can take the bus back to Barrage de Moiry, hike to Zinal to rejoin the main WHR, or take the alternate trail to Hotel Weisshorn.

High-End: Hotel Meleze

The only downside to staying at Hotel Meleze is that you won’t want to leave! This charming chalet has just five rooms, meaning that the friendly hosts are very attentive and available to help. Each of the spacious rooms has a balcony and mountain views. The on-site sauna is the perfect remedy for sore muscles, and the breakfast is excellent.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card or cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Hotel Cristal

This hotel’s amenities, location, and cleanliness make it an excellent value. Haute Route hikers will appreciate the lovely sauna, generous breakfast, and in-room tea/coffee. Additionally, the hotel is next to the bus stop and grocery store, making it a convenient place to resupply before rejoining the main Haute Route trail.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card or cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Gite de Moiry

Besides Cabane de Moiry, this is the only other accommodation option for this stage that is situated directly on the WHR trail. Located at the Barrage de Moiry, hikers will have access to multiple route options and public transport. The gite offers simple, dorm-style accommodations, but they are a step up from a typical mountain hut. Advance reservations are required.

Room type(s): Dormitory, shared bathroom
Payment: Cash
Meals included: Half-Board
Lac de Moiry and its dam
Lac de Moiry.

Zinal

High-End: Pension de la Poste

This recently-renovated hotel offers clean, modern rooms and excellent service. It’s centrally located near shops and restaurants. The beds are incredibly comfortable, the showers have great water pressure, and the breakfast features homemade and regional specialties. You’ll leave here feeling energized and rejuvenated!

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Hotel-Restaurant Le Trift

This is an excellent option for those looking for a clean, convenient, and friendly accommodation at a great price. The rooms are quite basic, but they are bright and welcoming. All of the rooms share a bathroom, which can be a bit tight at times. Guests rave about the exceptional croissants provided as part of the continental breakfast, and the restaurant is very good as well.

Room type(s): Private, shared bathroom
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Budget: Auberge Alpina

Other than camping, this is the cheapest accommodation available in Zinal. The 12-bed dormitory will be most appealing for budget hikers, although there are also private rooms available. The auberge is located on the edge of town, so you’ll need to walk about 20 minutes to reach the shops and services in the center. The friendly hosts make Auberge Alpina a wonderful choice. There is also a small chalet apartment available for rent on the property.

Room type(s): Apartment, private room w/ shared bathroom, dormitory
Payment: Cash
Meals included: Breakfast, option for half-board

Hotel Weisshorn & Cabane Bella Tola

NOTE: Reaching either of these accommodations requires a full day detour from the main Walker’s Haute Route trail. However, both are spectacular and iconic destinations that are well worth the journey, if you’ve got some extra time in your itinerary. The next day, it’s just an easy half-day walk to reach Gruben and rejoin the main WHR.

High-End: Hotel Weisshorn

Experience a true taste of Alpine history when you spend a night at this classic hotel. The Hotel Weisshorn was constructed in the late 1800’s and maintains all of its original charm, while still providing comfortable amenities. Although you won’t get a private bathroom or elevator, luxury abounds in the service, food, and fixtures. Of course, the hotel’s location is what really makes it unforgettable. Enjoy spectacular sunsets from the terrace and take in the incredible mountain vistas in every direction.

Room type(s): Private rooms w/ shared bathrooms
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Half-board

Mid-Range: Cabane Bella Tola

Those willing to hike the additional 2.5 hours past Hotel Weisshorn to reach Cabane Bella Tola will be rewarded with some of the best views of the entire trek. The refuge is set on pastureland and looks out across the Rhone Valley all the way to the Bernese Alps. Given its off-the-beaten-path location, it is typically much less crowded than other Haute Route refuges. Guests will enjoy simple facilities, free wifi, and hearty meals.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Half-board

Gruben

Budget/Mid-Range: Hotel Schwarzhorn

Hikers following the main Walker’s Haute Route trail will only have one option for accommodation at this stage of the trek. Fortunately, the Hotel Schwarzhorn offers both private rooms and dormitory beds to suit a variety of budgets. The facilities are pretty basic, but the hotel is clean and well-kept. The outdoor beer garden is a perfect place to unwind after a day of hiking. Breakfast is included and generous dinners and/or packed lunches are available for purchase. Given that this is the only place in town, it’s important to make reservatuions well in advance.

Room type(s): Private rooms w/shared bathroom, dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast, option for half-board and picnic lunch
Views from Hotel Schwarzhorn in Gruben, along the Walker's Haute Route
Views from the Hotel Schwarzhorn in Gruben.

Gasenried/Grachen

NOTE: If you plan to continue on to Zermatt via the Europaweg Trail, you should plan on stopping in either St. Niklaus, Gasenried, or Grachen before starting the Europaweg. Many hikers choose to take the bus from St. Niklaus to Gasenried and spend the night in Gasenried in order to skip a two-hour uphill walk to start the next day. From Gasenried, there is also the option of taking the detour to the resort village of Grachen. If you plan on taking the valley route to Zermatt, you can stay in St. Niklaus, Randa, or Tasch on this stage (see next section).

High-End: Hotel Gadi

While the breakfast is superb and the rooms are spotless, the excellent service is what really makes Hotel Gadi stand out. The friendly staff go out of their way to make your visit as smooth and comfortable as possible. The hotel is conveniently located in the center of Grachen, near shops, restaurants, a bus stop, and the cable car. Hikers seeking some pampering will enjoy the luxurious spa treatments and amenities.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Hotel Alpenrosli (027 956 17 81)

With the exception of a few AirBnB’s, this is the only accommodation available in Gasenried. The hotel offers private rooms and dormitory beds, all at a very reasonable price. That being said, expect basic rooms and amenities. Since the hotel doesn’t have a website, you’ll need to call ahead to verify that they’ll be open and to make your reservation. The demi-pension is a good option since there are few other places to get a meal nearby.

Room type(s): Private rooms w/ shared bathroom, dormitory
Payment: Cash
Meals included: Breakfast, option for half-board 

Budget: Ferienhaus Allalin

Budget travelers will appreciate this no-frills hostel in the heart of Grachen. There are a variety of room types to suit many different group sizes and styles. The hostel has a lovely patio and great mountain views. The shared kitchen provides an additional layer of cost-saving opportunities. Be advised that you’ll either need to pay extra to rent bedding or provide your own.

Room type(s): Private rooms w/ shared bathroom, dormitory
Payment: Credit card or cash
Meals included: None 

St.Niklaus/Randa/Tasch

NOTE: St. Niklaus is a practical overnight stop for hikers taking both the the Europaweg Trail and the valley route option. Those taking the valley trail to Zermatt can also stay in Randa or Tasch, which are further down the valley past St. Niklaus. We recommend taking public transit to reach Randa and Tasch, as the alternative requires a very long day of walking.

High-End: Hotel La Reserve (St. Niklaus)

This hotel gets rave reviews for its beautifully-appointed rooms, delicious food, and excellent service. Every guest room has a recently-renovated ensuite bathroom and spacious balcony with mountain views. The restaurant serves up fantastic pizzas, pastas, and regional wines. The hotel is located near the train station, providing easy access to Zermatt and other towns in the area, should detours or shortcuts be desired.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite 
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast 

Mid-Range: B&B Matterhorn Golf (Randa)

The village of Randa is located about midway down the valley between St.Niklaus and Zermatt, and it is a practical stop for many Haute Route hikers. Not only does it have a train station and a grocery store, but there’s also trail access to the Europaweg. If you are looking to stay in Randa, this B&B is a comfortable and convenient option. The friendly accommodation offers functional ensuite rooms with mini-fridges, kettles, and coffee machines. The generous and delicious breakfast is the perfect way to fuel your final day on the WHR.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite 
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast 

Budget: Easy Room St. Niklaus

Budget travelers love this affordable and convenient option in St. Niklaus. The Easy Room can sleep up to four people in two single beds and one large double bed. There’s a shared bathroom, a mini-fridge, an electric kettle, and free wifi in the room, making it a great value. The friendly host provides helpful information and thoughtful touches to ensure your stay is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Book early, as this popular accommodation fills up fast.

Room type(s): Private 
Payment: Cash
Meals included: None
Looking down the Mattertal Valley towards Zermatt along the Walker's Haute Route.
Looking down the Mattertal Valley towards St. Niklaus, Randa, Tasch, and eventually to Zermatt far in the distance.

Europa Hut

Mid-Range: Europa Hut

If you intend to follow the entire Europaweg section of the WHR, you’ll need to spend a night at the Europa Hut. Fortunately, this comfortable and cozy accommodation is a perfect place to celebrate your final evening on the trail. Most of the rooms at the Europa Hut contain just four or six beds, and they feel a bit more spacious than others along the route. Views from the large terrace are magnificent. Dinner is a hearty affair, although you can expect the typical continental breakfast. As this is the primary option for not only Haute Route hikers, but others as well, it is imperative to reserve your bed well in advance.

Room type(s): Dormitory 
Payment: Cash
Meals included: Option for breakfast or half-board

Zermatt

High-End: Hotel Walliserhof Zermatt 1896

If you are ready to treat yourself after roughing it on the trail, Hotel Walliserhof is the place to do it. This hotel boasts a convenient central location and traditional Alpine charm. The spacious guest rooms are cozy, yet luxurious, and the breakfast is top-notch. The beautiful sauna and hot tub are welcome indulgences for sore muscles!

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Hotel Alpina

This clean, comfortable hotel is an excellent value in pricey Zermatt. It is located just minutes from the town center, yet it enjoys a peaceful, quiet setting. There are a variety of room sizes and types available, making it a good option for groups, couples, and solo travelers. A tasty breakfast is included with your stay.The lovely indoor and outdoor common spaces offer plenty of great places to relax.

Room type(s): Private, some with shared bathrooms
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Budget: Zermatt Youth Hostel

When it comes to budget accommodation, this hostel is an excellent option. Dorms and private rooms are available, all of which are clean and comfortable. Your rate includes a very good breakfast buffet. As an added bonus, there is laundry available onsite. The hostel is located on the edge of town, about ten minutes from the center.

Room type(s): Private, some with shared bathrooms, Dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast
A cyclist on a street in Zermatt
Zermatt is the perfect place to celebrate the completion of your Walker’s Haute Route adventure!

Everything you need to to plan your Haute Route trek – all in one place.

Whether you prefer mountain huts or tents, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Walker’s Haute Route adventure!

Our downloadable Guide to the Walker’s Haute Route is ultimate resource to help you plan your perfect trip.

Walker's Haute Route

LEARN MORE

Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Walker’s Haute Route adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for trekking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete 11-day, 13-day, and 14-day Haute Route itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire route & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the Haute Route
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

Get your digital guide today and start planning!

Additional Resources

Cicerone Guidebook: This guidebook is an indispensable resource that we recommend to all Haute Route hikers. It has detailed notes on accommodation options, as well as practical information for all aspects of the hike. Lightweight trekkers can download an e-book version on their phone or tablet.

Chamonix.net: This site has a helpful list of WHR huts and contact information.

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The Complete Guide to Camping at Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument is America’s first National Monument and an incredible sight to behold. The stunning butte that rises above the Black Hills is sacred to many of the…

Devils Tower National Monument is America’s first National Monument and an incredible sight to behold. The stunning butte that rises above the Black Hills is sacred to many of the Native American tribes that call the Great Plains home and is sure to inspire visitors to this beautiful place. Climbing, hiking, and taking in the night sky are all quintessential experiences at Devils Tower.

We think the best way to experience Devils Tower is to spend a few nights in your tent or RV taking in this unique landscape.

Devils Tower and the surrounding areas have camping options to suit any style. From the national monuments lone developed campground, to nearby RV campgrounds, and the surrounding Black Hills National Forest, you’ll have plenty of options to find the perfect campsite.

Keeping reading to get all the details to plan your perfect camping trip to Devils Tower National Monument.

Road next to Devils Tower

Camping is the perfect way to experience all that Devils Tower has to offer.

 

In this Devils Tower Camping Guide

 

Devils Tower National Monument Campgrounds

Devils Tower National Monument sits in northeast Wyoming at the edge of the Black Hills and adjacent to the Belle Fourche River. The main attraction of the monument is of course the tower itself, which rises 867 feet from its base to the summit. The entire area of the monument emcompasses over 1,300 acres and features a variety of hiking trails that showcase the beauty of this pristine environment.

There is only a single developed campground at Devils Tower, known as the Belle Fourche River Campground. However, there are several nearby campgrounds that provide additional accommodation options for visitors.

The map below gives you a general sense of where Belle Fourche River Campground is located as well as its relation to the surrounding area. 

Map of the campground in Devils Tower National Monument

Map showing the Belle Fourche River Campground in Devils Tower National Monument. Map credit NPS.

 

In addition to the overview map shown above we’ve also created an interactive map with all of the campgrounds included in this guide displayed.

Campgrounds with a green tent icon are the developed campgrounds within the Monument, the blue camper trailer icon represents RV campgrounds near the park, and finally the red tent icon represents car camping options near Devils Tower National Monument.

 

 

Reservations & Permits

It is not possible to make an advance reservation at the the Belle Fourche Campground at Devils Tower National Monument. This can be both a blessing and a curse as it provides a level playing field for campers, but also prevents you from making advance plans for your trip.

You’ll have the best luck at securing a spot during peak season here by showing up early and being patient. Weekdays are also always better than weekends for campsite availability.

For those who prefer to have a reservation before making what will likely be a long drive to Devils Tower, we recommend checking out one of the nearby campgrounds that accepts reservations.

Camping near Devils Tower at dusk

 

What to Bring

Preparing for your Devils Tower camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping at Devils Tower National Monument:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect cooking up campsite dinners.
  • Portable water container – These portable water containers are a lifesaver.
  • Cooler – A good cooler makes any camping trip better. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Black Hills Family Fun Guide – A good guidebook will provide insights and information to help you plan your perfect trip to Devils Tower. We like this family-friendly guide that covers Devils Tower, the Black Hills, and Badlands.

When to Camp at Devils Tower

The Belle Fourche River Campground is open seasonally from mid-May through mid-October.

Peak camping season in Devils Tower generally aligns with summer in this part of the world, with most visitors coming between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you’re looking for a bit of solitude during your visit, it is best to try and plan your camping trip just outside of these dates.

Find more information on the weather conditions you can expect to encounter in Devils Tower National Monument here. 

Devils Tower National Monument generally is closed for the winter months, although it does open for 10 days or so around Spring Break. This is typically from about March 19th – April 1st. If you plan to visit in winter, you can always enjoy the outstanding views from Highway 24, which runs adjacent to Devils Tower.

Find more information on opening hours and seasons in Devils Tower National Monument here. 

Snow on Devils Tower

Winter brings cold temperatures and snow to Devils Tower. Photo credit NPS/S. Carter

 

Developed Campgrounds at Devils Tower National Monument

There is a single developed campground in Devils Tower National Monument. For those interested in seeing additional camping options, check out the next section on campgrounds near Devils Tower.

There is a 14-day stay limit for all campers at the Belle Fourche River Campground.

Belle Fourche River Campground

Number of Sites: 46 sites (including 3 tent-only group sites)
Fee: $20/night for individual sites, $30/night for group sites
RVs: Yes, max length of approximately 35′. No hookups available.
Reservations: All sites are first-come, first-served.
Season: Open seasonally from May 15th – October 15th
More Information

Belle Fourche River Campground in Devils Tower.

Beautifuls views of Devils Tower from the Belle Fourche River Campground. Photo credit NPS/Avery Locklear

 

The Belle Fourche River Campground is the lone campground in Devils Tower National Monument and is located just off the main park road to the south of the tower itself.

Belle Fourche features 46 campsites organized into two loops, known as Loop A and Loop B. Of the 46 total sites, three are designed as tent-only group campsites that can accommodate up to 20 people each. Additionally, the campground features four accessible sites.

RVs and trailers up to 35′ are welcome at the campground, although you won’t find any hookups available. Individual sites can accommodate up to 8 people, and no more than four cars per campsite are allowed.

The campground is set in a beautiful location adjacent to the Belle Fourche River and many of the sites have stunning views of Devils Tower through the trees. Campsites feature fire rings, picnic tables, and all have access to potable water. Campfires are permitted at the campground, but must be fully contained within the provided fire ring.

Check out the NPS map below to get a better sense of the layout of the Belle Fourche River Campground in Devils Tower National Monument.

Map of the Belle Fourche River Campground

Map of the Belle Fourche River Campground. Map credit NPS/Joe Bruce

 

Camping near Devils Tower National Monument

Given that there is just a single NPS run campground at Devils Tower, it is always possible (and even likely) that you won’t be able to find a campsite in Devils Tower National Monument. However, don’t give up just yet as there are plenty of option in the surrounding area to meet your needs.

Check out your best options for RV campingcar camping, and free dispersed camping near Devils Tower National Monument below.

For those looking to explore some of the other highlights of South Dakota and the Black Hills, check out our other camping guides:

 

RV campgrounds near Devils Tower

Those camping in an RV will have several options just outside of Devils Tower. From the KOA campground located just steps from the monument to full service campgrounds in nearby towns, we’re sure you’ll find an RV campground that fits your needs.

Keep reading to learn more.

RV camping at Devils Tower

 

Devils Tower KOA Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $30 – $100/night depending on site, hookups, etc.
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, full hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Devils Tower KOA Campground is the most convenient option for RV camping near Devils Tower National Monument. The campground is located just outside the monument, providing for incredibly easy access. Many RV campers may prefer the KOA to the Belle Fourche Campground given the amenities you’ll have access to here.

Campsites feature electric hookups and many have unobstructed views of Devils Tower. In addition, you’ll be able to enjoy the on-site restaurant, heated pool, playground, and more.

 

Devils Tower View Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: Varies depending on site.
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Click here to reserve.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Located just a few miles south of Devils Tower National Monument on Highway 24, the Devils Tower View Campground is a great option for RV campers. The campground features sites with 30/50 amp service as well as plenty of space for tent campers. You’ll enjoy great views of the Tower from your campsite as well.

On-site amenities include a popular restaurant, gift shop selling local artisan products, and an outdoor gazebo. We recommend Mountain View for anyone looking for a quieter experience than what the KOA offers.

 

Mountain View RV Park & Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $29 – $46/night
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Call 307-283-2270
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Mountain View RV Park & Campground is located approximately 30 minutes from Devils Tower in the town of Sundance, Wyoming. The campground features plenty of RV campsites with electric hookups as well as a huge, 2-acre field to accommodate tent campers. You’ll be a just a few minutes from Sundance, which has bars, restaurants, and other services available.

On-site amenities at Mountain View include a small shop selling necessities, a heated pool, and a snack bar.

 

Car camping sites near Devils Tower

A tent near Devils Tower

 

Devils Tower Tipi Camping

Number of sites: Six tipis available
Fee: $50 – $75/night
Capacity: 4 – 8 people depending on size of tipi
RVs: Not permitted.
Reservations: Required. Contact via website
Pets: Allowed
More Information

A unique car camping option just minutes from Devils Tower is the Devils Tower Tipi Campground. Here you’ll find six traditional Sioux teepees available for rent with beautiful views of the Tower. All teepees come with a camp stove, three gallons of water, a lantern, and coffee, setting you up for a lovely trip.

Devils Tower Tipi gets rave reviews for the friendly and helpful owner. Highly recommended!

 

Black Hills National Forest Campgrounds

Number of Sites: Reuter Campground (24 sites) / Sundance Campground (10 sites) / Cook Lake Campground (32 sites) / Bearlodge Campground (8 sites)
Fee: $14 – $24/night
Capacity: Varies depending on campground
RVs: Most sites have space, but good to check in advance.
Reservations: Recommended for Reuter, Sundance, & Cook Lake. Visit Recreation.gov to reserve
Pets: Allowed.
More Information

The Black Hills National Forest encompasses over 1.2 million acres of land in South Dakota and Wyoming. The National Forest is not contiguous, and a smaller enclave is located just east of Devils Tower. Here, you’ll find several excellent car camping options to suit your needs, outlined below:

  • Reuter Campground (24 sites): The Reuter Campground is located just north of Sundance, WY and is very convenient for visiting Devils Tower. There are 24 campsites here, which can be reserved via Recreation.gov.
  • Sundance Horse Campground (10 sites): The Sundance Horse camp is located north of Sundance and provides 10 campsites specifically designed to accommodate campers with horses.
  • Cook Lake Campground (32 sites): The Cook Lake Campground is located right in the middle of the Black Hills National Forest. Expect a further drive to get to Devils Tower from here, but you’ll enjoy lake access and a bit more seclusion.
  • Bearlodge Campground (8 sites): The Bear Lodge Campground is located in the northern section of Black Hills National Forest, just off Highway 24. You’ll be just a short drive from Devils Tower here, making this a great option for nearby car camping.

Camping in Black Hills National Forest

Black Hills National Forest offers plenty of camping near Devils Tower.

 

Screaming Eagle Campground

Number of sites: Plenty!
Fee: $29 – $46/night
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes, electric hookups available.
Reservations: Recommended. Call 307-283-2270
Pets: Allowed
More Information

A great car camping option near Devils Tower National Monument is the Screaming Eagle Campground located in the town of Hulett, WY. Situated just nine miles north of Devils Tower, this is a great place to pitch your tent. The Screaming Eagle gets great reviews for its grassy pitches, shady trees, and very friendly owner.

You’re also walking distance to the town of Hulett here, making it easy to grab a bite to eat or pick up a few supplies.

 

Free dispersed camping near Devils Tower

Your final option for camping near Devils Tower National Monument is to find a free, dispersed campsite on adjacent US Forest Service land in the Black Hills National Forest. Located to the east of Devils Tower,  this land is overseen by the USFS which manages hundreds of thousands of acres of public land throughout the country and generally allows for free ‘dispersed camping’ on it.

Free dispersed camping near Devils Tower National Monument.

 

If you have any questions about the dispersed camping options outlined below be sure to reach out to the USFS offices that oversee the specific areas, shown below:

Black Hills National Forest Dispersed Camping

Free, dispersed camping is permitted in the Black Hills National Forest near Devils Tower. The best sites seems to be located in the northern section of the Black Hills, just off of State Highway 24. Here you’ll find some gravel and two-track roads that have plenty of pull outs perfect for dispersed camping.

It is also possible to find a free campsites north of the town of Sundance in the Black Hills, but these seem to get worse reviews compared to other options. Check out some of your best bets below:

 

Devils Tower National Monument Camping Must Know

Where to get supplies

There a few good options close to Devils Tower where you can stock up on food, gas, and any other camping supplies you might need. Check out your best options below:

  • Hulett: Hulett, WY is located approximately nine miles north of Devils Tower along State Highway 24. This small town has plenty of services that campers may want to take advantage of, including a small grocery store, gas station, and hardware store.
  • Sundance: Sundance, WY is the largest town near Devils Tower and your best bet to find any last minute camping supplies. Located 30 minutes south of Devils Tower you’ll find a full service grocery store, gas stations, and a popular outdoor store here.

Pets

Pets are permitted at Devils Tower National Monument, but are only allowed in specific areas of the monument. This includes the Belle Fourche River Campground, picnic areas, and in parking areas/along roadways.

Pets are not allowed on any hiking trails at Devils Tower or in any park service buildings.

We generally recommend against bringing you pet to Devils Tower, but if you do please follow these regulations:

  • Pets must be on a leash at all times.
  • Pets are not allowed in park buildings or on trails.
  • Do not leave your pet unattended in your vehicle.
  • Always properly dispose of pet waste.

For a complete list of regulations related to pets check out the Devils Tower National Monument  website here.

Devils Tower from a nearby road

 

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope you’ve found all of the information on Devils Tower National Monument camping in this post helpful and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or had a great time out camping!

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