Yellowstone National Park

Going to Yellowstone National park this summer to paddle on Yellowstone Lake for 19 days. Camping along the shore at backcountry camp sites. Any body been there-done that? would like info on particulars.

I paddle it often and live an hour north of the park so I have a lot of info…more or less.

19days sounds awesome…you should have a great time.

Let me know the specific questions and we’ll go from there.

Yes, but not for 19 days

– Last Updated: May-01-11 1:10 AM EST –

Sounds like a long time for that lake. Camping is allowed only at designated sites, even in the backcountry.

There are lots of regs to comply with. Check with NPS on the entrance pass regulations, as the normal park pass is valid for only one week. You will also need to get a boating permit (sticker) for a small additional fee.

Backcountry sites must be reserved, either well in advance by mail, or within a day or two of the start of your trip in person at the backcountry office. You are not allowed to just occupy a site--you MUST have and display the permit for that site. To obtain the permit, you must first go through their backcountry orientation, which is done in person at one of the backcountry offices. When you have completed the orientation (which lasts less than half an hour), they give you the actual permit.

If this sounds like a lot of paperwork, it is (but not compared with trying to get river permits elsewhere). In return for your efforts, you know that you will have campsites, and nobody else is allowed to squat there. The sites usually have a bear crossbar and pit toilet. Generally, you will not be able to camp on Yellowstone Lake till mid- to late July due to bear considerations.

Bring bug juice and/or bugsuits.

I'm not going to tell you which sites are best, as that is extremely subjective, and the choices depend on how many miles per day and other schedule variables.

There is one guidebook to paddling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton, a good one. Pnet sells it, or at least used to.

more info
Good info above.

Heres more:

I haven’t paddled there, but I bought the paddling guidebook last time I was out that way. I still pull it out and dream about a trip around the lake. If you haven’t bought it here’s the link to ‘Paddling Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks’ on Amazon:

Good luck and have a great time! I’m jealous.

the book
Hi Brian, I see your name on other kayak sites quite often. I have the book you mention. It is interesting, and yes we are really excited! Going in August.

Thanks for the info. Wife was wondering about the pit toilets. That’s good. We got our campsite choices back from the park a couple weeks ago. We’re putting-in at Sedge Bay, traveling south, and exploring all three fingers. Then coming back to Sedge Bay. Staying at a few sights for two nights to really relax. Thanks again for your input.

august is good.
the end of august the bugs will die.

email me i got a lot more info for you

Did you get my emails? I sent you my new address.


are you sure that is the correct email??? I sent two replys and they came back as “undeliverable”…let me know if you never got any reply from me and we’ll go from there.


heres some info
i cut and pasted the first response into the new email addy you gave…if its not there…check your spam box

Got it! Sent you one too.

make sure your food containers will
lock up the smells and plan your campsite food storage. It’s not a minor issue when in potential bear country.


I’d recommend the book “Death in Yellowstone” and “Hawks Rest”.

Death In Yellowstone is a must read for anyone going to the park, with some useful insights about Yellowstone Lake in particular.

Hawks Rest is an excellent read about the back country from a ranger’s perspective.

with there still being a lot of snow in yellowstone and wet spring…

the bugs will be biblical!!! be ready for them

Yellowstone National Park
The greatest cause of death in Yellowstone Park is not the bears or hot water or lightning or avalanches………it’s Yellowstone Lake according to the book “Death in Yellowstone”.

The water is COLD (40-50 degrees midsummer) and after a few minutes in the water hypothermia sets in rapidly. Prevailing southwesterly winds each afternoon can produce waves 5-6 feet high. The park even had a park ranger die of hypothermia after his kayak capsized in 1994.

I’ve paddled Yellowstone Lake, Lewis and Shoshone Lakes……gorgeous paddling!!! Just be prepared……do your research!!!


Should I expect to see other parties?
I am also considering Yellowstone for a trip in the 2-3 week category. Tell me, when you have traveled the area by canoe or kayak, do you see other parties or are you buy yourself?

You will see other parties in summer

– Last Updated: Nov-03-11 2:53 PM EST –

Might have better chances of avoiding people during the off-season. At least then you won't have the big outfitter groups that book the best sites way ahead of time.

The catch is that backcountry camping permits may not be issued at certain times due to bear encounter potential. For instance, NPS won't allow camping at Yellowstone Lake before mid- to late-July many years. Maybe you could go while the bears are still denning. Just plan on being very, very cold. Water might not be open yet.

Designated sites
The fact that camping is permitted only in designated sites is a problem in bear country. Bear/human contact is significantly reduced, and bears are less likely to become habituated if you travel in areas with fewer people and no designated sites where bears find food. A trip in Yellowstone is interesting, but I think I’ll keep leaning to trips in areas were few people travel and the bears are not habituated.

Lake yellowstone is a.great destination. I spent 9 days paddling the roadless part of the lake. It is one of the remotest part of the.lower 48. We hardly saw a human the whole time. Never had a bear encounter since most are up high.eatting the good.berry crop this.year. thud are not agitated much in that part either. Don’t limit such.a.great location…elk., moose, wolves, eagles, landfill.cranes, plenty of 5- lb cuthroat trout, solitude, awesome camps and great hiking and paddling.