Boondocking in Wyoming

Last updated on January 19th, 2022 at 10:46 am. Originally published on May 10th, 2021

Landlocked and sparsely populated, Wyoming is a boondocker’s dream. This state is rich in well-known wilderness areas — Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park see millions of visitors each year. Beyond the national parks, a wealth of lightly visited wilderness awaits. Boondocking Wyoming takes you to remote campsites on the wide-open grasslands, high into the mountains of the majestic Wind River Range, and deep into the Bighorn and Medicine Bow National Forests. Free campsites are scattered around the state, providing a budget-friendly way to get off the grid and into the action for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, boating, and more.

A camper van and an RV on a dirt road that runs from a grassy meadow to tall, rocky buttes

Boondocking Sites in Wyoming

Lily Lake Camping Area

Stay for free for up to 16 days at the Lily Lake Camping Area. Located in the mountains of northwestern Wyoming, about 65 miles from Cody and 17 miles from Cooke City, Montana, this is a lovely place to escape the crowds. The eight sites are located on the shore of Lily Lake, offering views of the forest and the snowy peaks in the distance. Bring your boat; there’s a ramp in the campground.

Little Sunlight Camping Area

Try boondocking in Wyoming in the summer at the Little Sunlight Camping Area. This free campground offers five sites, each with access to the onsite toilets. Stop in Cody to stock up; the drive into the mountains is long and slow. When you arrive, you’re rewarded with breathtaking views of the mountains and the forest as well as access to the beautiful Sunlight Creek.

Hugh Otte Camping Area

If you’re interested in the world-class hiking around Lander and the Wind River Range, check out the Hugh Otte Camping Area. It’s located just 10 miles from Lander, making it one of the most popular spots for free camping in Wyoming. You’ll have the best luck snagging a spot on the weekdays. Nearby, hike to Bruce’s Bridge, and explore the Popo Agie Falls Trail.

Spread Creek / Toppings Dispersed Camping Area

Explore Grand Teton National Park from your free campsite in the Spread Creek/Toppings Dispersed Camping Area. The Moran Entrance Station is less than 10 miles away. Part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, this spot offers 40 different sites, each with spectacular views. The Forest Service allows you to stay for up to five days. Drive 17 miles to reach the town of Moose and 29 miles to reach Jackson.

Deer Creek Campground

Hike into the Washakie Wilderness from your free site at the Deer Creek Campground. This lightly used Forest Service campground offers vault toilets and enables you to stay for up to 16 days. The nearest town is Cody, which sits about 44 miles to the northeast.

Shell Reservoir Camping Area

If you have an RV with high clearance and four-wheel drive, head to Shell Reservoir Camping Area to enjoy the Wyoming wilderness in solitude. Here, a few campsites sit close to Shell reservoir, which offers fantastic trout fishing year round. The campground offers vault toilets, and you can stay for up to 14 days. The nearest town is Shell, which sits a slow, bumpy 28 miles away.

Where to Boondock in Wyoming

You’ll rarely need to wonder where to boondock in Wyoming; the state’s public lands have plenty of sites. Start with the Wyoming national forests: Shoshone, Bridger Teton, Bighorn, and Medicine Bow-Routt. Parts of the Black Hills and Wasatch-Cache National Forests also extend into Wyoming. Each one allows free dispersed camping. In northeastern Wyoming, experience a change of scenery in the Thunder Basin National Grassland.

If you’re hoping to explore Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest is your best bet. To protect the wilderness in the Jackson Ranger District and Moran area, the Forest Service allows dry camping only in designated spots and sets strict stay limits. In addition to the areas around Spread Creek and Toppings Lakes, the forest offers five additional dispersed camping areas near Jackson. Elsewhere in the forest, you can camp for up to 14 days as long as you’re 100 feet from water.

Free Camping in Wyoming

When preparing for your boondocking trip, remember that Wyoming is a wild and rugged place. It’s also the least-populated state, which means that you can go days without seeing another person. For a safe and comfortable trip, bring plenty of water, fuel, and groceries. It’s also a good idea to keep a satellite phone on hand because cell signals can be spotty or non-existent in the wilderness.

Bears are another factor when you’re camping in Wyoming — they’re plentiful, and they can be dangerous. Discourage them from hanging out near your campsite by keeping it clean and storing food in bear-proof containers. Consider keeping a can of bear spray (and learning how to use it safely) when you’re hiking.

With careful preparation and education, Wyoming offers some of the best boondocking in the United States. Free campsites here come with spectacular views and easy access to rugged mountains, alpine lakes, and rivers that offer fantastic fishing. From your site, you can join visitors from around the world on a tour of America’s favorite national parks. If you want to soak in the views on your own, simply head into the hills and enjoy the sunrise over the peaks in complete solitude. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about boondocking.

Whether you’re interested in the wide-open plains or the rugged mountains, Wyoming offers a wealth of dispersed camping opportunities. An RV is a great way to escape the weather and stay safe. If you don’t have a motorhome, renting an RV from RVshare is an easy way to experience the joy of boondocking in this wild and unpredictable landscape.

Looking for more camping in Wyoming? See the top campgrounds in Wyoming!

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