Gallatin National Forest
picnic table and bear locker amidst flowers, grass and pines
Colter Campground

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Important: As of June 23, 2011, Colter Campground is only open to those who plan to camp with hard-sided vehicles. It is closed to tents.

Colter Campground is a decent-sized patch of land in-between the breathtaking Bearooth and Absaroka Ranges. The campground is a nice mix of open land and pine, with views of the mountains. However, the campground is quite close to Highway 212, so exepct road noise.

Colter Campground is located 2 miles east of Cooke City on Highway 212. The Forest Service recommends vehicles no longer than 48' due to the narrow access road. The largest parking spur is 22' x 66'.

So why camp at Colter when you can keep cruising down into the park? Well, there are a few answers to that. First, there may not be any campgrounds open in Yellowstone. The two northeast campgrounds (Pebble Creek and Slough ) fill quickly. You can forget about Slough if it's after 1 p.m. Aim for Pebble Creek if you plan to head right into the park. If you miss Pebble and Slough, your next campground is Tower, and that also fills quickly during the summer (and it's not that great to be honest, and perhaps this tag fits most of the Yellowstone campgrounds). So if it's late afternoon, and you have a hard-sided camper, you'll want to stay at Colter, Soda Butte, or Chief Joseph. This way you can get an early start and have much higher odds in securing a campground in Yellowstone

The second part of that answer is that the Beartooths and Absaroka's are beautiful, and you're "in the mountains" in this location, with numerous trails leading to waterfalls and mountain lakes. If you enjoy the mountains, you'll probably be more impressed with the awesome mountain rangers that surround Yellowstone such as the Beartooths, Absarokas, Tetons, and Wind Rivers.

gravel road, do not enter sign, pines trees and hills

If for some reason Colter Campground is full, there are other options in the immediate area, such as Soda Butte Campground, Chief Joseph Campground and Crazy Creek Campground.

dark-stained log information booth for campground


picnic table, bear locker and gravel apron for campsite


Colter campground facts:

Video Tour available: No.
Open: July 15 to September 30
Sites: 23
Laundry: No
Showers: No
Dump Station: No
Store: No (2 miles west to Cooke City)
Fee: $8, $3 per extra vehicle
Parking apron: 22x66 is largest
Ranger District: Gardiner
Handicapped Accessible: Yes (grates, tables, toilet)
Toilets: Yes(vault) | Tables: Yes | Fire rings: Yes
Water: Yes
Elevation: 7,600 feet
Fishing: Yes (Clarks Fork Yellowstone, Kersey Lake)
Generator: Yes
Gas: No(2 miles west to Cooke City)
Repairs: No(54 miles west to Gardiner)
Gardiner Office
P.O. Box 5; 805 Scott St.
Gardiner, MT 59030
(406) 848-7375

broken brown and creme colter campground sign



NEW! Gallatin National Forest campground tours are now available! Our universal files work on any iPod or computer. Those interested in less crowded campgrounds near Yellowstone will want to view this pack. Click the iPod to order.

Parkcamper: Northern Rocky
Mountains Edition features
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Yellowstone, Grand Teton,
Badlands and Theodore
Roosevelt National Parks.
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