Know Before You Go.
Whether your trip to Wyoming involves trying something new or planning around your favorite activities, it’s always a good idea to know some basics before starting an epic adventure. Familiarize yourself with this important information around camping, reservations, permits and more so your Wyoming vacation goes off without a hitch.
Wyoming’s national parks attract millions of visitors each year. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your visit.
●The entrance fee for each of Wyoming’s national parks (Yellowstone and Grand Teton) is $35 per vehicle to visit for one to seven days. Entrance fees for other National Park Service sites, such as Devils Tower National Monument, vary.
●Reservations are required to camp anywhere within Grand Teton National Park and open 6 months prior to the date you wish to camp. Book early to reserve a spot. Learn more.
●Reservations are required within certain campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park. Plan ahead and reserve campsites early.
●Backcountry permits are required to backpack within national park boundaries.
●Pets are only allowed where vehicles are allowed in national parks and must be kept on a 6-foot leash. Pets are prohibited on trails, pathways, and swimming in any park waters. For more information, go here.
●The wildlife is wild. Do not approach, chase or feed animals, and stay in your vehicle if you’re stuck in a wildlife jam.
●Grizzly bears reside in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Stay safe by carrying bear spray, being alert, making noise and traveling in groups of three or more.
Wyoming has 12 state parks offering a variety of outdoor activities and stunning scenery. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your trip.
●Day-use fees are required at most Wyoming State Parks and historic sites and can be purchased at park entrances.
●From May 1 through September 30, reservations are required for a majority of state park campsites.
●From January 1 through April 30 and October 1 through December 31, all campsites are walk-up only.
●Reservable campsites and lodging within state parks can be booked up to 120 days in advance for in-state residents and up to 113 days in advance for out-of-state residents.
●Full refunds (minus the reservation fee) are offered for cancellations made on or before the day of arrival.
●Snowmobile and off road vehicle permits may be purchased through Wyoming State Parks.
A trip to Wyoming wouldn’t be complete without spending at least one night under the stars. A little know-how — like where to poop and how to care for your fire — can go a long way to keep these areas beautiful.
●Pay attention to which lands you are camping on and make sure you understand the regulations for where you choose to camp. This includes knowing the stay limit, which is usually 14 days.
●While grizzly bears are only prominent in Wyoming’s northwest corner, black bears reside across the state. Practice proper storage by keeping food in a vehicle, hard-sided camper, bear canister or bear box.
●Restrooms and water fountains may be closed or limited so bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and trash bags. To properly dispose of waste, bring a small hand shovel and dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water.
●If you plan to have a fire while camping, choose a campsite with a pre-existing ring (if available).
●Never leave a fire unattended, have plenty of water available to put out your fire and completely extinguish your fire at night and before you leave camp.
●Check for fire restrictions in your area regularly and follow any requirements put into place. Have a backup plan in case the availability of amenities or facilities becomes impacted by fire restrictions.
●To prevent the spread of invasive species, do not use firewood from home. Plan to purchase or, where permitted, gather local firewood instead.
●Avoid parking in areas of tall grass. The exhaust and undercarriage can easily ignite a wildfire.
●Make sure all RVs and trailers are ready for the road by performing regular maintenance checks to ensure tires are not worn and nothing is dragging on the ground.
●Don’t overload your RV or trailer. Keep an eye on tires to make sure they do not blow, causing dragging and sparks.
The National Forest System manages over 9 million acres of land in Wyoming, spread across 8 National Forests and a National Grassland. Each national forest has a wide range of year-round outdoor recreation opportunities that range from snowmobiling to fishing, hiking and more. Take a moment to learn what to expect when recreating in Wyoming’s national forests.
●When camping in national forest, be sure to plan ahead. Reservations for campgrounds and cabins can be made at recreation.gov.
●Paid campgrounds in national forests vary in fees and amenities and most require advance reservations. Many do not offer RV hookups, showers or electricity but do have potable water and flush or vault toilets.
●Many visitors choose to camp in dispersed areas that are not located within a developed campground, meaning there is no potable water, restroom facilities, trash removal or other services and amenities that would normally be found within a designated campground.
●When camping in national forests, the stay limit is generally 14 days, but visitors should check individual forest websites for local information.
●Some Wyoming national forests offer primitive cabins as an alternative to camping. Amenities vary, but some cabins do not have potable water, electricity or other general services and amenities you might expect at typical lodges. Reservations should be made well in advance, as these cabins tend to book quickly.
●Be sure to check local recreation conditions before making your trip. More information specific to your destination can be found on each national forest’s respective website.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 18.4 million acres of public lands in Wyoming, including national historic trails, national scenic trails, wilderness study areas and more. Here’s what you can expect when recreating on this type of land.
●Most BLM campgrounds require a fee and are selected on a first come, first serve basis.
●Campsite fees should be paid within the first 30 minutes of occupying a site, and a site is only considered rented once it has been paid in full with the pay stub properly filled out and displayed.
●Dispersed camping is also available on BLM. This type of camping is not within a developed campground and does not offer potable water, restroom facilities, trash removal or other services and amenities that would normally be found within a designated campground.
●When camping on BLM, the stay limit is generally 14 days.
●Reservations for campsites not operating on a first come, first serve basis can be made at recreation.gov.
While traveling through Wyoming with your furry loved ones, there are a few things you should know. Keep this information in mind when traveling with your dog or other fuzzy friends.
●Pets are welcome in Wyoming State Parks; however, they are not allowed in public eating places, public buildings, on some designated beaches and in some campgrounds. Your pet must be kept on a leash. For more information on pets in Wyoming state parks, go here.
●Where you can travel with pets in national parks is limited. Dogs must be kept on leashes and are not permitted on trails, boardwalks, in the backcountry, in thermal areas or in facilities such as visitor centers. A good rule of thumb for national parks and monuments? Pets can only go where cars can go.
●When recreating with pets in Wyoming, be prepared to encounter traps. The height of the trapping season is October – March.
Here are some tips that can help pet owners reduce conflicts with traps:
• Leash your pet whenever you can.
• Learn how to release your pet from traps and snares and carry the needed release tools when your pet is off-leash.
• Train your dog to sit or stay calm when restrained (train them not to pull or tug).
• NEVER allow your dog onto private property and teach your dog to stay close when walking off-leash.
• Follow all laws, ordinances, and regulations for the area and for the type of recreation you are participating in.
Wyoming has thousands of lakes, rivers and reservoirs perfect for paddling along or catching that prized trout. Here’s what to keep in mind before setting sail.
●Clean your vehicle, watercraft and gear before entering and when leaving the area to prevent the spread of invasive species.
●Carry a properly-sized U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket for each person on your boat or watercraft.
●Depending on your watercraft and where you previously boated, you might need an aquatic invasive species decal from Wyoming Game & Fish and a watercraft inspection.
●A Wyoming fishing license is required for any type of fishing in Wyoming. You can purchase the appropriate fishing licenses through the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. Kids under 14 fish for free; nonresidents must be with a licensed adult.
●If you plan to fish on the Wind River Indian Reservation, you will need to purchase a Wind River Tribal Fishing/Trespass Permit or a Yellowstone permit.
●Local guides and outfitters are valuable resources for any fishing trip to heighten your experience and increase your chances of success.
Ice Fishing Safety
With ice conditions around the state changing each week, a top priority when enjoying the outdoors is safety. The safest way to ice fish is with another person. But if you are heading out on the ice alone, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department recommends the following precautions to keep you safe and fishing this winter.
●Tell someone where you’re headed and when you plan to be back.
●Consider going to a lake that has other anglers, just in case you need assistance.
●Have your cell phone with you, fully charged, and stored in a waterproof pouch (Ziploc bag works fine).
●Make sure you are fishing on safe ice, which is at least 4 inches in depth. Never fish on ice that has been broken and refrozen.
●Wear a life jacket and carry ice picks in case of an emergency.
●Carry an emergency blanket and a set of extra clothes with your gear pack.
●Never drive a vehicle onto the ice.
Wyoming’s expansive lands are home to a variety of wildlife ranging from big game to small game and everything in between. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your dream hunt in Wyoming.
●A Wyoming hunting license is required for any type of hunting in Wyoming. You can purchase the appropriate hunting licenses through the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
●Nonresident big and trophy game hunters must use a professional outfitter or resident guide while hunting in any federally designated wilderness area.
●Local guides and outfitters are valuable resources for any hunting trip to heighten your experience and increase your chances of a successful hunt.
Off road trails can be found throughout Wyoming’s varied landscapes. Here is some key information to keep in mind if you plan to enjoy some off road adventures.
●Wyoming off road vehicle (ORV) permits are required for all enrolled roads, routes and designated ORV trails and can be purchased for $15 online or at one of several locations throughout the state.
●Drivers under the age of 16 or without a drivers’ license may only operate off-road vehicles on enrolled trails, designated riding areas or private property with permission.
●Offroading season in Wyoming is typically April 1 through mid-December.
●ATV and offroading rentals and guides are available to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Wyoming features thousands of miles of top-rated groomed and ungroomed snowmobile trails. Here’s what you need to know about snowmobile permits in Wyoming.
●Snowmobiling permits are required to snowmobile in Wyoming and may be purchased for $35 online or at one of several locations throughout the state, including Wyoming State Parks.
●All snowmobiles in the state of Wyoming must have either a current Wyoming resident or nonresident user fee decal prominently displayed on the outside of each snowmobile.
●Snowmobile season in Wyoming is typically mid-December through April 1.
●Snowmobiling is permitted in Yellowstone National Park with the proper guides and/or permits from November through April.
●Local snowmobile guides are available throughout Wyoming to help you have a safe, enjoyable trip.
Exploring Wyoming trails and backcountry areas in the winter can lead to some unique adventures. But winter recreation, such as snomobiling, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing, require extra precaution.
●Tell a family or friend has a detailed itinerary of your trip, and never deviate from it.
●Make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for your trip. You should have an emergency plan in place in the case of hypothermia and frostbite.
●In some cases, it can be difficult to receive help in a quick manner if something happens. Make necessary preparations and rely on sound judgment while you travel. Traveling alone can be especially dangerous.
●Familiarize yourself with avalanch risks and safety precautions.
• More prevalent drought conditions, such as less consistent snowfall, make avalanches more likely
• To stay safe in the backcountry, avoid known avalanche paths.
• All skiers, snowboarders, snomobilers and climbers traveling in avalanche terrain should be equipped with and know how to use an
avalanche beacon, probe pole, and shovel.
• Know the local places to contact for information about avalanches in the area you are recreating.
• Learn about current conditions here.
●Understand what facilities are available in the winter.
• From November through April, all campgrounds, most facilities and some roads are closed.
• Some ranger stations close during the winter season and re-open in March-May.
●Familiarize yourself with how to drive safely in the winter.
The Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments manages 3.5 million acres of state trust lands to produce income to support public schools and other public institutions. The public is extended the privilege of hunting, fishing and general recreational use on this type of land. Here’s what to know when recreating on state trust lands.
●Off-road vehicle use, overnight camping and open fires are prohibited on state trust lands.
●Activities that would damage state lands, roads, improvements or lessees’ property are prohibited.
●Cultivated croplands are not open to public use.
●To learn which lands are accessible to the public, reference the state lands access map viewer.
Working Together to Keep Wyoming Safe
The helpful tips featured on this page come to you with insights from the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game & Fish, Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources, Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation, Wyoming State Forestry Division, Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments, Wyoming Business Council and Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Keep our lands legendary. Join us in caring for the health of our natural spaces and the well-being of our communities.