Wyoming Dispersed Camping: The Complete Guide

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Wyoming offers something truly unique for every outdoor lover. From the stunning heights of the Grand Tetons, to awe inspiring Devils Tower, and the beautiful expanse of Yellowstone there is something for everyone here. These public lands are much less than crowded than some neighboring states, making Wyoming the perfect place to explore if you’re truly looking to get out there.

For the adventurous, all of these public lands make dispersed camping in Wyoming a great way to experience these landscapes. Regardless of which part of the state you’re hoping to pitch your tent, there is likely some free, dispersed camping nearby.

We’ve created this guide to help you navigate the various rules and regulations to help you plan your perfect Wyoming dispersed camping adventure.

Let’s get started.

Wyoming Dispersed Camping Guide

Download Our FREE Dispersed Camping Cheat Sheet

Our free printable cheat sheet outlines how to find the perfect dispersed campsite for your next trip.

The Basics

The introductory sections that follow set out the basic information you’ll need prior to heading out on your dispersed camping trip. This includes the various public lands in Wyoming that permit dispersed camping, what to bring, how to minimize your impact, and more.

This is the essential information before you head out!

Where is dispersed camping allowed in Wyoming?

The two primary places that dispersed camping is permitted in Wyoming is on public land managed by the United States National Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Generally speaking both of these public agencies permit dispersed camping in Wyoming, unless a specific area explicitly prohibits it.

Find additional details on dispersed camping in National Forests and on BLM land in Wyoming in the sections below:

US Forest Service Dispersed Camping in Wyoming (USFS)

There are eight National Forests managed by the USFS in Wyoming, with several of them crossing into adjacent states. Many of these forests offer great dispersed camping opportunities, and often near some of Wyoming’s top attractions and National Parks.

These National Forests should be your first stop when looking for dispersed camping Wyoming, and we’ve provided links to each forests dispersed camping rules below:

The map below shows where each of Wyoming’s National Forests are located and is a helpful resource when planning your trip:

Map of National Forests in Wyoming
Map of National Forests in Wyoming. Map credit USFS.

Bureau of Land Management Dispersed Camping in Wyoming (BLM)

In addition to the USFS, the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM for short, is the other large public land owner in Wyoming that permits dispersed camping. This is a little hit or miss as much of the BLM land in Wyoming is used for oil and gas leases, which leads us to much prefer the National Forests. However, there are still plenty of great dispersed camping areas on BLM land in Wyoming that are worth checking out.

BLM land can be a bit harder to determine whether or not dispersed camping is permitted, so we recommend reaching out to the relevant district offices for Wyoming listed below:

In addition, you can find a good overview of BLM dispersed camping rules here. The map below gives you a sense of where BLM managed land is located in Wyoming:

Map of BLM land in Wyoming.
Map of BLM land (shown in yellow) in Wyoming. Map credit BLM.

How to find dispersed camping in Wyoming

Fining a good dispersed campsite in Wyoming isn’t too difficult with a little knowledge of where to look. There are numerous resources available from online apps, USFS resources, and of course this guide! You’ll also want to be prepared to navigate forest service roads and read USFS maps, both of which should be fairly straightforward.

When searching for a good campsite ourselves, we prefer to use a combination of several online apps/websites along with publically available USFS/BLM maps.

Our favorite resources are below:

  • Freecampsites.net – Our go to resource for finding free camping in the US. Simply enter your desired location and filter through the results.
  • The Dyrt – An app that let’s you filter for free and dispersed campsites.
  • Campendium – A website and app that allows you to see user reviews for campsites and campgrounds across the country.

Check out our Dispersed Camping App guide here.

While these apps and websites are a good starting place for finding dispersed campsites in Wyoming, we always cross reference the information with public agencies maps and resources. The best resource for this is often reaching out directly to the relevant USFS Ranger District or BLM Office in the area you’d like to camp to inquire on camping locations.

Finally, one of the best resources, specifically for national forest dispersed camping, is to utilize Motor Vehicle Use Maps or MVUMs for short. These maps are published by the Forest Service and display the entire network of forest service roads in a given National Forest.

Many of these MVUMs also display where dispersed camping is permitted, typically indicated by two dots on either side of a given road.

The complete list of MVUMs for all Wyoming National Forests can be found at the links below:

We often have a motor vehicle use map open in one tab and Google Maps satellite view in the other to help find dispersed campsites. You can cross reference the two and often see areas that have established campsites in Google Maps.

Bridger-Teton National Forest MVUM showing dispersed campsites in Wyoming.
MVUM for the Pinedale Ranger District in Bridger-Teton National Forest. You can see where dispersed camping is permitted by the two dots alongside a given road.

Dispersed Camping Rules & Regulations

One of our favorite things about dispersed camping is the lack of permits, reservations, and other requirements you’ll often find at developed campgrounds. However, there are some basic guidelines you’ll need to adhere to.

It is best to check current regulations with the relevant USFS or BLM office, but you should plan on adhering to the following as outlined by the USFS:

  • Do not camp in areas near trailheads, picnic areas, or developed campgrounds.
  • Keep your campsite small.
  • Use existing sites and fire rings when available.
  • Pick a site where vegetation is absent.
  • Do not camp within 200 feet of a water source.
  • Dispersed camping is generally limited to 14 days within any continuous 30 day period.
  • Only have a campfire if it is permitted, and always be sure it is completely extinguished.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles – more on that below!

Leave No Trace Principles & Dispersed Camping

One of the most important considerations when dispersed camping in Wyoming is to follow Leave No Trace principles. This will minimize your impact and ensure your campsite can be enjoyed by future visitors. Here are the seven principles of Leave No Trace camping:

  • Plan Ahead & Prepare: Have an idea of where you’d like to camp and always be sure you are camping in an area that permits dispersed camping.
  • Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces: Never camp on fragile ground or create a new campsite.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack out all of your trash and bury human waste away from water sources. Ideally, carry out human waste or use a portable toilet.
  • Leave what you find: Never take anything from your campsite. Other than trash of course!
  • Minimize campfire impacts: Never create new fire rings and only have fires if permitted.
  • Respect Wildlife: Properly store food at all times and be aware of the area’s wildlife.
  • Be considerate of Other Visitors: Pack out your trash, don’t be loud, and leave your campsite in better condition than you found it.

You can read more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace camping here.

Dispersed Camping Checklist

Our dispersed camping checklist has everything you need.

Want to know the essentials for your next camping trip?

Our dispersed camping checklist has all the camping essentials plus specific items for dispersed camping.

The Best Dispersed Camping in Wyoming

Now the fun part! You should now be familiar with the what, where, and how of dispersed camping in Wyoming and its time to share some of our favorite campsites in the state. The section below includes our top 9 Wyoming dispersed camping areas.

In addition, the Wyoming Dispersed camping map below shows all of the campsite locations, with detailed descriptions following.

Looking to find more dispersed campsites? Check out The Dyrt PRO to get campsite reviews, offline maps, and the best map layers for finding public dispersed camping!

Our Top Camping App – The Dyrt PRO

The Dyrt PRO

Looking to find more free, dispersed camping?

The Dyrt PRO is our favorite resource for planning your trip. Use the custom map layers to find public land, download offline maps, and navigate to your perfect dispersed campsite. Highly recommended!

Shadow Mountain Dispersed Camping

Restrooms: No
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Busy
Map

The Shadow Mountain dispersed camping area is a popular option for those looking for free, dispersed camping near Jackson and Grand Teton National Park. Located just east of Moose, WY and the Tetons, this is a designated dispersed camping area in Bridger-Teton National Forest. There are approximately 45 designated sites here, with many of them clustered at the bottom of the hill.

You must camp in a designated site at Shadow Mountain and the rangers do enforce this. It is highly recommended to camp lower down if you are in any type of RV or pulling a trailer as the road to the further back campsites get quite rough.

As you might expect, this area is extremely popular for dispersed camping during the summer months so you’ll need to get there early to secure a site. There is a 5-day camping limit at Shadow Mountain from May 1st through Labor Day as well.

Bridger-Teton National Forest publishes this helpful guide to dispersed camping near Jackson and the Grand Tetons as well.

Shadow Mountain dispersed camping near the Tetons.
If you’re looking to dispersed camp near the Tetons, Shadow Mountain is a great option.

Vedauwoo Dispersed Camping

Restrooms: Vault toilets available at Nautilus Rock and on FSR 700D
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Busy
Map

The Vedauwoo dispersed camping area is situated just of Interstate 80 approximately half way between Laramie and Cheyenne, WY. This is a popular destination for climbers and hikers as there are tons of recreational opportunities in the area. Vedauwoo features 97 designated dispersed sites all tucked back on Forest Service Roads. The sites can accommodate a variety of camping setups from tents all the way up to RVs.

The USFS published this helpful guide on the dispersed camping at Vedauwoo.

There are some basic vault toilets located at the Nautilus Rock trailhead as well as along forest service road 700D, but there is no water source here. This is a popular camping destination, and given the limited services here it is incredibly important to practice Leave No Trace principles.

Vedauwoo dispersed camping in Wyoming.

Lily Lake Dispersed Camping Area

Restrooms: Vault toilet available
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Moderate
Map

Lily Lake dispersed camping area is located in northwest Wyoming near Yellowstone National Park along the Beartooth Scenic Byway. One of the most spectacular drives in the United States, the Beartooth area is an incredible place to dispersed camp in Wyoming and Lily Lake is our favorite option.

There are several dispersed camping opportunities here, with the first being the eight designated sites at Lily Lake. These all have access to a vault toilet, but no other services. In addition, there are several dispersed sites along the road that leads to Lily Lake as well as further into the forest.

Finally, a popular site just off the Highway sits a bit further north and has a stunning location above the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River.

Hugh Otte Dispersed Camping Area

Restrooms: Vault toilet
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Moderate
Map

If you’re looking for dispersed camping near Lander, WY it is worth checking out the Huge Otte Dispersed Camping Area in Shoshone National Forest. Located adjacent to the Middle Popo Agie River, there are approximately eight campsites here that are all close to some of the best hiking in the region.

The Middle Fork trail and Popo Agie Falls trail are both within a few minutes from the dispersed campsites and you’re only about a 15 minute drive from Lander.

There is a basic vault toilet at Hugh Otte, but no water source or trash collection. Given this, please come prepared with everything you need for your trip and pack out all of your waste. Keep in mind that the road to the camping area can be quite rocky, so plan to take it slow and you’ll have the best luck in a high-clearance vehicle.

White Mountain Road Dispersed Camping

Restrooms: No
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Light
Map

White Mountain Road is located north of Green River and offers a classic Wyoming dispersed camping experience. Situated on BLM land, there are nearly endless pullouts and campsites as you head further back on White Mountain Road from the town of Green River. Many of these campsites have the incredible, wide open views that the American West and Wyoming are known for.

This is a fairly remote part of the state, so don’t count on any services when camping here and be prepared to be self-sufficient. It can get incredibly windy along White Mountain Rd (and really in all of Wyoming) so you’ll want to be sure you’re campsite is secured!

The road is steep, but most campers report being able to do it when towing a fifth wheel so most rigs should be able to navigate it. If you’re lucky you’ll get to see some of the wild horses that call this part of Wyoming home.

Spirit Mountain Road

Restrooms: No
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Light
Map

Spirit Mountain Road is a great dispersed camping near the town of Cody, WY and just east of Yellowstone. This isn’t a remote national forest camping area, but rather is perfect for those looking to have easy access to a town or just a nice place to spend the night on your way to Yellowstone. The road climbs up away from the highway and there are campsites starting almost immediately.

If you’re looking to avoid the highway noise, we recommend heading a bit further back where you’ll enjoy some solitude and quiet. Keep in mind that the road does get rougher, so a high-clearance vehicle is recommended if that’s your plan.

There are no services and no water along Spirit Mountain Road, although it is easy to stock up on camping supplies in Cody. Regardless, please try to limit your impact here and leave your campsite in better shape than you found it.

Tongue River Dispersed Camping

Restrooms: Vault toilets
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Light
Map

Tongue River dispersed camping area is located outside of Sheridan, WY on the edge of Bighorn National Forest. These sites blur the line between dispersed camping and a developed campground but are free and have some very basic services available. There are approximately seven campsites here and most have easy access to the river for fishing or other opportunities.

The road here is passable by most vehicles and a few of the sites can accommodate larger rigs. As you head up Tongue Canyon there will eventually be a posted sign saying “No Camping” so if you reach that you know you’ve gone to far.

One of the benefits of dispersed camping along the Tongue River is that you’re close to both the small town of Dayton and not far from Sheridan. That makes stocking up on camping supplies a breeze and you won’t be too far from civilization.

Dispersed camping on the Tongue River in Wyoming

Twin Buttes Dispersed Camping

Restrooms: Vault toilet
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Moderate
Map

The Twin Buttes Reservoir is located southwest of Laramie and is a great option for dispersed camping in this part of Wyoming. Easy to access with large sites that can accommodate a variety of camp setups make this a popular spot to spend a night or two. You can fish in the reservoir and there are great views of Sheep Mountain to the west.

There aren’t many trees at Twin Buttes so expect the wind to really whip through here (it is Wyoming after all), but if you can tolerate that you’re likely to enjoy a peaceful and quiet night camping here.

There are some basic vault toilets around the lake, but no dedicated water source or trash removal. Given that, please be sure to come prepared to be self-sufficient and pack you all of your trash.

Grayrocks Reservoir

Restrooms: Vault toilets
Water: 
No
Crowds:
 Busy
Map

A great dispersed camping spot in eastern Wyoming near the Fort Laramie National Historic Site is Grayrocks Reservoir. This public reservoir has several campsites right on the water and a few have some basic fire rings you can use. There are some restroom facilities at the lake as well.

Grayrocks is a popular dispersed camping area so be prepared to have some neighbors camping near you. That being said every site is lakeside and there are tremendous views from here.

Fishing is permitted in the reservoir so be sure to bring your fishing pole and see if you can snag a trout. The campsites are easy to access and can accommodate most camping setups so this is a great option of you’re pulling a larger trailer or in an RV.

Looking to find more dispersed campsites? Check out The Dyrt PRO to get campsite reviews, offline maps, and the best map layers for finding public dispersed camping!

Our Top Camping App – The Dyrt PRO

The Dyrt PRO

Looking to find more free, dispersed camping?

The Dyrt PRO is our favorite resource for planning your trip. Use the custom map layers to find public land, download offline maps, and navigate to your perfect dispersed campsite. Highly recommended!

Have a great trip!

That’s it! We hope we’ve provided all of the information you need to plan a great dispersed camping trip in Wyoming.

Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions and be sure to tell us about your trip!

Looking for more dispersed camping content? Don’t forget to check out our other state specific dispersed camping guides:

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