Yellowstone Backcountry

The majority of land in Yellowstone National Park is backcountry and is not accessible by road. It takes considerable effort to visit areas away from roads, and there are inherent dangers, but the rewards are great. Some of the park's most spectacular scenery is located in the backcountry.

Much of the park is rugged, including deep canyons, steep ridges, raging rivers and thick forest. Add the thermal features - the mud pots, scalding hot springs and geysers - and you get some feel for the unique dangers found in this unusual landscape. And don't forget the wildlife � the large animals like bears, bison and moose that can be aggressive and dangerous. Any backcountry area is potentially dangerous and the Yellowstone backcountry carries dangers not found in other areas. But that's part of the park's appeal...

Learn backcountry safety skills before trekking in Yellowstone. Never hike alone. Carry first aid and emergency equipment. Tell someone about your itinerary so people will know where to look if you get into trouble.

Yellowstone uses a designated backcountry campsite system. People interested in backcountry camping are encouraged to obtain reservations in advance. Requests for reservations may be submitted by mail or in person. They cannot be made over the phone or by fax. Reservations are booked on a first come, first served basis. A confirmation notice, not a permit, is given or mailed to the camper. This confirmation notice must then be converted to an actual backcountry permit not more than 48 hours in advance of the first camping date.

Backcountry Use Permits may be obtained in person at visitor centers and ranger stations up to 48 hours in advance of your trip. Each designated campsite has a maximum limit for the number of people and stock animals allowed per night. Campfires are permitted only in established fire pits. Wood fires are not allowed in some backcountry areas. A food storage pole is provided at most designated campsites so that food and attractants may be secured from bears.

See the park website's Backcountry Trip Planner for additional information and to download reservation forms. Forms can also be obtained by writing to:

Backcountry Office
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

Or call: 307-344-2160.

All refuse must be carried out of the backcountry. Human waste must be buried 6 to 8 inches (15 - 20 centimeters) below the ground and a minimum of 100 feet (30 meters) from a watercourse. Waste water should be disposed of at least 100 feet (30 meters) from a watercourse or campsite. Do not pollute lakes, ponds, rivers or streams by washing yourself, clothing or dishes in them.

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