Yellowstone trip 17th - 22nd - Camping / fishing info request

Chris Scoones

Staff member
Been around the park numerous times but never camped there or been inside the park. Just doing some last minute dialing in on the plan.

17th - 22nd, two families, both with 28' trailers and setup for dry camping, doing Yellowstone but staying outside the West end of the park... Wanting good proximity to the park yet a good spot to camp, and a bonus to being on the Madison or some creek to play / fish on. Planning on Ruby Creek Campground. Is that an okay plan or do you have any other suggestions? We're okay to consider places like the slide inn, okay to consider something a few more minutes out, just want things to be worth it and enjoyable for the kids, dogs, etc.

While we're at it, planning to stick to the Firehole to get the kids into fish with dries. We're talking six kids between us, all younger, so various dries at the FH is the plan, unless you have any other suggestions? Quantity and wading / fishing ease over size is preferred.




spent spinner
Bakers Hole campground is a good choice. Although there isn't much for fishing in that stretch of the Madison, it does put you in a central location between the Firehole and the upper Madison below Quake.

I've taken out at Ruby Cr many times, its a pretty open plain without much for trees. Its also a bit of a haul for multiple trips to the park. There's closer, more primitive and beautiful camping spots near the river upstream of West Fork on the west bank. Its one of the few areas where the forested hills come down to the river. Limited supplies and shuttles are available at the private West Fork campground. If you're into exploring small water (squiggly blue lines) the West Fork of the Madison is close by. The only thing is, the freestone tribs may still be high this early in the season.

BTW, great timing for hitting the Firehole! Stop by Blue Ribbon Flies in west for the best info and patterns.
Got to 2nd West fork. Crazy amounts of access to the Madison there. Hookups at the campground but lots of dry camping just up the road.
Bit of a drive to the park. But here's one thing to consider. With the weird weather we've been having this spring. You may get snow up in the park. I've seen it dump a foot in July.

Have fun Chris. Take your 2wt. and you can pretend the bows are tuna.


Love vintage graphite!
Chris, my family and I stayed at a campground near Quake Lake, I think it was called Beaver Creek, and it was very nice. Easy access to the Madison and the park. Had deer and moose right in the campground.

Itchy Dog

Some call me Kirk Werner
Chris, can't help with the campground info, but for fishing the Firehole a good place for some slow water (for dries, assuming a hatch comes off) is at Midway Geyser Basin. It's an easy walk to the river from the parking lot there, and the water is flat and slow. Easy to fish right from the bank. Lotsa fish to be had in the riffles, too- don't shy away from dead drifting under the surface without an indicator. It's all the type of fishing kids can handle, and while the fish will have seen a lot of pressure by then, there are still a lot of fish in that river that should be willing to provide some entertainment. PM me if you want some specific intel on a secret weapon fly that gets it done- or at least got it done over Memorial Day weekend. Sounds like a great trip planned for all concerned.:thumb:

The Firehole can be great for the kids, though Firehole trout on dries can sometimes be tough. But small soft hackles swung through the bouncy water about halfway up the Fountain Flat drive, for example, can be almost a sure thing. My kids started out right there in the Park, and it's still an annual stop for my son.

If you want camping close enough to the Park to give easy access, then I second the suggestion of the Bakers Hole campground. Remember, it's 15 to 20 miles from the West entrance to the water you'll likely want to fish on the Firehole, and those miles can be a bit slow.

If you want a camping area that is wooded, quiet, with plenty of wildlife, and a great place for kids to roam around then I second the Beaver Creek suggestion. It's on high ground near the upper end of Quake Lake. Good scenery. Good access to the water between Hebgen Dam and Quake Lake. A favorite with my family for years. It will be a bit of a drive into the Park -- about 40 miles in to the Firehole.

Another 15 miles or so will put you at the West Fork, 20 more or so gets you to Ruby Creek. The drive back to the Park keeps getting longer, and the country more wide open.

Call Blue Ribbon Flies before you get to Yellowstone. They will be able to tell you what the current water conditions are, how the hatches are doing, and can help you decide where you'd like to camp. Good people.


Active Member
Baker's Hole is a good spot. Nice campground, right on the river (lots of braids here) close to town, the park and fairly central to everything else.
You might try Wade Lake campground. It is small, wooded, with a beautiful spring fed lake that creates Carribbean clear waters. Easy rainbows off the shore, but better if you have a float tube or a boat. The guy who runs the cabin rentals has a little fly shop there with the state record brown trout mounted behind the fly case. Impressive sight. He offers late night guided trips for browns and rents boats. Pretty spot, easy rainbows off dry line at dusk, but not sure about dry flies. Not far from Madison or West Yellowstone, but a rough road with slow going up hill from the Madison (287) to get there. I enjoyed it.

Rick Todd

Active Member
While it is a little spendy, the RV Park (I think it's called Grizzly something) right next to the IMAX is really nice. Lots of restaurants closeby, swimming pool if you have kids, very close to the W Yellowstone entrance, and a short drive to the Madison, Henry's Lake, Railroad Ranch etc.

Chris Scoones

Staff member
Thanks guys. I think I'm set with staying at Baker's Hole as WT suggests. Close to the river, close the entrance, etc. I've got a dozen or so other campgrounds mapped out as backups but I'm hoping things won't be too full that's an issue.

Should be a fun trip. Looking forward to it.

Thanks again.

I hope by the time you come the weather will start to cooperate. The Firehole and almost every other river is blown out. Lake fishing is the current trend except for between Quake lake and Hebgen lake. The rains have muddied most everything. Good luck.
Might I suggest the KOA just outside of West Yellowstone, they can accomodate the campers, they have a pool for the kids, it's 10 minutes from the West Entrance to the park, and it's a stones through from Quake lake and Hebgen, and the stretch connecting the lakes below the dam is very kid freindly as well, and so is most of the three dollar bridge area of the Madison. Don't ignore the Madison just inside the West Entrance might stop in the Blue Ribbon Fly Shop and explain your concerns and the fishing abilities of your party...they will help you out..


Royalty of Renton
There's a campground just close to Ennis Lake called Valley Garden that is a pretty good spot for kids - the river breaks up into smaller channels around islands and it's rarely very deep. I'm not sure if RV's can camp there overnight - I've always seen tents there. Check out MRFC - those guys are pretty cool and have always been generous with good info. Also, do yourself a favor and swing by Resvedt's for some jerky and pepperoni - Glenn is a great guy and he gets king crab legs delivered at least once a week, should the mood strike. Tell him Rick and Ida's kids sent you - it might be worth a chunk of sausage on a toothpick to you.

Have a great trip,

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