Best fall camping near Bozeman

The Bozeman area has no shortage of dreamy fall camping destinations.

Looking for a quick overnighter close to town? Or maybe a quiet weekend getaway of the beaten path? Southwest Montana has it all! 

At Montana Gift Corral, we love nothing more than to take off for the weekend and explore the Big Sky Country that we call home. Here's our top six campgrounds and everything you need to know about them!

 

Hyalite Canyon | Hood Creek Campground

Hood Creek Campground

Image courtesy of Friends of Hyalite.

 

Campsites: 25, plus one group site and three picnic sites

Cost: $15/night

Distance from Bozeman: 18.5 miles

Getting there: From Main Street in Bozeman, travel south on 19th Avenue for 7 miles, to the paved Hyalite Canyon Road. Turn left and continue 10 miles to the campground.

Between stunning rock outcroppings and trout fill waters of Hyalite Creek, take the winding mountain road all the way to Hyalite Reservoir, which provides over one-third of Bozeman's drinking water. Continue across the dam, and hit the dirt road. Hood Creek Campground is one of three beautiful campsites in Hyalite Canyon - Bozeman's mountain gem. With the campground bordering the reservoir, Hood Creek makes a great base camp for your weekend adventure!

Learn more about recreating in Hyalite here!

 

Gallatin Canyon | Red Cliff Campground

Red Cliff Campground

Image courtesy of This Montana Life.

 

Campsites: 65 total, 27 have electric hookups

Cost: $15/night

Distance from Bozeman: 46 miles south of town on Highway 191

Getting there: From Bozeman, travel south on Highway 191 for 46 miles to the campground. From West Yellowstone, take Highway 191 north for 45 miles. 

Named after the stunning red cliffs that fortify the campground, Red Cliff Campground is a great base camp for adventures in Gallatin Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy fly fishing on the Gallatin River, rock climbing at the red cliffs, or take a hike from one of the countless trailheads along the canyon. Choose your own adventure!

 

 

Gallatin Canyon | Spire Rock Campground

Storm Castle Peak near Spire Rock Campground

Image courtesy of Zach Altman.

 

Campsites: 19

Cost: $11/night

Distance from Bozeman: 26 miles south of town off Highway 191

Getting there: From Bozeman, travel south on Highway 191 for 23 miles to the Storm Castle turnoff. Turn left and go 3 miles to the campground. The last 3 miles are on a gravel road. 

Spire Rock Campground is a hidden gem, nestled up Storm Castle Creek, which drains into the Gallatin Canyon. This is a great spot if your trying to escape the crowds, but get there early - Spire Rock has only 19 camp spots, keeping the noise and traffic down. Enjoy endless adventures with a scenic hike to the summit of Storm Castle Peak, or check out the Garnet Mountain Lookout!

 

 

Paradise Valley | Pine Creek Campground

Pine Creek lake near Pine Creek Campground

Image courtesy of CR8T.

 

Campsites: 25

Cost: $15/night

Distance from Bozeman: 38 miles via I-90

Getting there: Take I-90 E towards Livingston. From Livingston, head south on Highway 89 for 9 miles. Turn left onto East Side Road and continue 6 miles. Go a quarter-mile past the town of Pine Creek and turn onto Forest Road 202. Continue 3 miles south to the campground. 

Looking to explore someplace new, but don't want to drive too far? Check out Pine Creek Campground. Nestled at the base of the impressive Absaroka Mountains, this campground is a great base camp for exploration. Wake up early for a rugged hike to the stunning Pine Creek Lake, and maybe take a summit bid for on nearby Black Mountain if you're feeling good!

 

Bridger Range | Fairy Lake Campground

Fairy Lake near the campground in the Bridgers of Montana

 

Campsites: 9

Cost: Free! (First come first served)

Distance from Bozeman: 27 miles north of Bozeman

Getting there: Drive 22 miles north of Bozeman on MT 86, then turn right onto Fairy lake Rd (steep Gravel). Continue west for 5 miles. 

Fairy Lake is a Bozeman classic. Take a short hike to this lake (less than one mile from the campground!) for breathtaking views of this mountain lake with the proud Sacajawea Peak looming overhead. Do some fishing on the lake or hike up to the peak for a real adventure! Be warned, Fairy Lake Road is steep and slippery when wet, making it difficult for large RVs or trailers. This road is rocky and steep, high clearance vehicles are recommended.


 

Crazy Mountains | Half Moon Campground

Crazy Mountains in Montana

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

 

Campsites: 12 (first come first served)

Cost: $5/night

Distance from Bozeman: 85 miles 

Getting there: From Bozeman, take I-90 E towards Big Timber. From Big Timber, head north for 11 miles on US 191, then continue west for 12 miles on Big Timber Canyon Road.

If you're looking to get off the beaten path, Half Moon Campground is for you. Come prepared and sufficient - aside from flat ground and pit toilets, you have what you bring to survive. Take a day and explore the trails on the east side of the epic Crazy Mountains - and be sure to bring your fly rod!

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