Is Camping Free In National Parks? An Answer For Every Park


Is camping free in National Parks? Some National Parks do offer plenty of free camping. Some National Parks do not have any free camping. There are 61 total parks with the “National Park” designation and they all have their own rules on camping.

Below you will find all 61 National Parks and some information on if they offer free camping or not. The parks are in alphabetical order so if you are looking for free camping information on a particular National Park then navigate by name of the park.

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Acadia National Park, Maine

Free camping? No.

Acadia National Park has 4 public campgrounds. They are Blackwoods Campground, Seawall Campground, Schoodic Woods Campground, and Duck Harbor Campground on Isle au Haut. All 4 public campgrounds charge a camping fee which can be found here.

There are also many private campgrounds scattered throughout the park, all of which have camping fees. You can find links to these private campgrounds here.

Unfortunately, Acadia National Park does not allow backcountry camping or dispersed camping. The reason they give for this is that the park is too small and the environment is too fragile. So if you are looking for free camping in a national park, look elsewhere.

CampgroundFree?
Blackwoods CampgroundNo
Seawall CampgroundNo
Schoodic Woods Campground,No
Duck Harbor Campground No
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

Arches National Park, Utah

Free camping? No.

Arches National Park has just one campground inside the park. It is known as The Devils Garden Campground and is extremely popular It is not free to camp there, you can find information on Devils Garden Campground here.

There are many campgrounds outside of the park, but not directly inside of the National Park. A lot of them are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). You can find information about Moab campgrounds from the BLM here.

Arches National Park does offer backpacking for a nominal fee. You must get a permit in order to backpack and camp outside of the Devils Garden Campground. You can find information on getting a permit for backpacking here.

CampgroundFree?
Devils Garden CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Free Camping? Yes

Badlands National Park has two campgrounds inside the park. They are Cedar Pass Campground and Sage Creek Campground. Sage Creek Campground camping is free of charge. You can find more information on these two campgrounds here.

Dispersed camping in Badlands National Park is free and has relatively few rules. Permits are currently not required for backcountry camping. You only need to be 0.5 miles away from a road or trail and not visible from a roadway. For more information on backcountry camping in Badlands National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Cedar Pass CampgroundNo
Sage Creek CampgroundYes
Backcountry CampingYes

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Free Camping? No

Big Bend National Park contains 4 campgrounds within its boundaries. They are Chisos Basin Campground, Cottonwood Campground, Rio Grande Village Campground, and Rio Grande Village RV Campground. All of these campgrounds charge a camping fee, you can get more information on these 4 campgrounds here.

Backcountry or dispersed camping in Big Bend National Park requires a permit with a fee. You can read about the permits here. There are a variety of ways that you can disperse camp in Big Bend National Park’s backcountry. For more information on dispersed camping, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
Chisos Basin CampgroundNo
Cottonwood CampgroundNo
Rio Grande Village CampgroundNo
Rio Grande Village RV CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Biscayne National Park, Florida

Free Camping? No

Biscayne National Park has two campgrounds located within the park. They are Boca Chita Key and Elliott Key. Both campgrounds charge a camping fee. You can learn more about these two campgrounds on the National Park Service website here.

There is no backcountry or dispersed camping allowed in Biscayne National Park. That means that there is no free camping in this national park.

CampgroundFree?
Boca Chita KeyNo
Elliot KeyNo
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Free Camping? Yes

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has 3 campgrounds located within the park. They are South Rim Campground, North Rim Campground, and East Portal Campground. All three campgrounds charge a camping fee. You can learn more about these three campgrounds here

Dispersed camping is available via a free wilderness use permit. You can read more about permit requirements and dispersed camping in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park here.

CampgroundFree?
South Rim CampgroundNo
North Rim CampgroundNo
East Portal CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Free Camping? No

Bryce Canyon National Park has two campgrounds within the park. They are North Campground and Sunset Campground. Both campgrounds charge a camping fee. You can learn more about these two campgrounds here.

Dispersed camping is allowed only in designated backcountry campsites. A permit must be obtained prior to any backcountry camping. The overnight permit required has a fee so there is no free camping in Bryce Canyon National Park.

CampgroundFree?
North CampgroundNo
Sunset CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Free Camping? No

Canyonlands National Park offers two campgrounds within the park. They are Island in the Sky (Willow Flat) Campground and The Needles (Squaw Flat) Campground. Both campgrounds in the park charge a camping fee. You can find out more about these two campgrounds here.

Backcountry or Dispersed camping in Canyonlands National Park is permitted but a permit is required for any overnight use. To get these overnight permits you will be charged a fee so there is no free camping in Canyonlands National Park. To learn more about these overnight fees click here.

CampgroundFree?
Island in the Sky (Willow Flat) CampgroundNo
The Needles (Squaw Flat) Campground.No
Backcountry CampingNo

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Free Camping? Yes

Capitol Reef National Park contains 3 campgrounds within the park. The first is a developed campground known as Fruita Campground. Fruita Campground charges a camping fee. The other two campgrounds are primitive campsites known as Cathedral Valley Campground and Cedar Mesa Campground. The two primitive campgrounds are free for camping. For more information on camping in this park, you can click here.

Backcountry camping is allowed in Capitol Reef National Park, you just need to follow some rules and obtain a free backcountry permit. You can get more information on the permit here.

CampgroundFree?
Fruita CampgroundNo
Cathedral Valley CampgroundYes
Cedar Mesa CampgroundYes
Backcountry CampingYes

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Free Camping? Yes

Carlsbad Caverns National Park does not have any established campgrounds within the park. They do however offer free backcountry permits for primitive camping. To learn more about their backcountry overnight camping permits click here.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingYes

Channel Islands National Park, California

Free Camping? No

Channel Islands National Park contains 5 islands, and each one of them has one developed campground each. The campgrounds are Anacapa Island Campground, Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Ranch Campground, Santa Rosa Island Campground, San Miguel Island Campground, and Santa Barbara Island Campground. All 5 of these campgrounds charge a camping fee. You can get more details on these campgrounds here.

Limited backcountry camping is available on Santa Cruz Island and Santa Rosa Island. The backcountry campgrounds in Channel Islands National Park are known as Santa Cruz Island Del Norte Backcountry Campground and Santa Rosa Island Backcountry Beach Camping. Both backcountry campgrounds require a camping fee. There is no free camping in Channel Islands National Park.

CampgroundFree?
Anacapa Island CampgroundNo
Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Ranch CampgroundNo
Santa Rosa Island CampgroundNo
San Miguel Island CampgroundNo
Santa Barbara Island CampgroundNo
Santa Cruz Island Del Norte Backcountry CampgroundNo
Santa Rosa Island Backcountry Beach CampingNo

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Free Camping? Yes

Congaree National Park contains two campgrounds within the park. They are Longleaf Campground and Bluff Campground. Both of these established campgrounds require a camping fee. You can get more information about these two campgrounds here.

Backcountry camping in Congaree National Park is free. A permit must be obtained before camping in the backcountry but there is no fee for the backcountry permit. For more information on backcountry permits, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
Longleaf CampgroundNo
Bluff CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Free Camping? Yes

Crater Lake National Park contains two developed campgrounds. They are Mazama Campground and Lost Creek Campground. Both of these campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these two campgrounds click here.

Camping or overnight parking anywhere else in the park is prohibited unless you get a backcountry permit. Backcountry permits are free at Crater Lake National Park. For more information on backcountry camping and permits in this National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Mazama CampgroundNo
Lost Creek CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Free Camping? No

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has one main “campground known as the Stanford Campsites. It also offers 5 primitive campsites along the Towpath Trail on a limited basis. Campsites require a camping fee. For more information on camping in this park click here.

There is no backcountry camping allowed in Cuyahoga Valley National Park otherwise. If you are looking for free camping, then look elsewhere besides inside of this National Park.

CampgroundFree?
Stanford CampsitesNo
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

Death Valley National Park, California, and Nevada

Free Camping? Yes

Death Valley National Park operates 9 designated campgrounds within the park. 5 of these campgrounds charge a camping fee while 4 of them are free. You can get more information on camping within Death Valley National Park on their website here.

Furnace Creek Campground, Sunset Campground, Texas Springs Campground, Stovepipe Wells Campground, and Mesquite Spring all charge a camping fee.

Emigrant Campground, Wildrose Campground, Thorndike Campground, and Mahogany Flat Campground are free.

There are also 3 privately owned campgrounds that operate within the National Park’s boundaries. They are Stovepipe Wells RV Park, The Ranch at Death Valley, and Panamint Springs Resort.

Backcountry camping in Death Valley National Park is vast. The rules are easy to follow and there are lots of opportunities for dispersed camping. Free voluntary permits are also provided if wanted. For more information on backcountry camping in this park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Furnace Creek CampgroundNo
Sunset CampgroundNo
Texas Springs CampgroundNo
Stovepipe Wells CampgroundNo
Mesquite SpringNo
Emigrant CampgroundYes
Wildrose CampgroundYes
Thorndike CampgroundYes
Mahogany FlatYes
Backcountry CampingYes

Denali National Park, Alaska

Free Camping? Yes

Denali National Park offers 6 campgrounds within the park. They are Riley Creek Campground, Savage River campground, Sanctuary River Campground, Teklanika River Campground, Igloo Creek Campground, and Wonder Lake Campground. These 6 campgrounds all charge a fee during summer. For more information on these campgrounds click here.

However, in winter these campsites become free (mid-Sep through early May). Backpacking is also free in Denali National Park, although it does require getting a free permit first.

CampgroundFree?
Riley Creek CampgroundOnly In Winter (mid-Sep through early May)
Savage River campgroundOnly In Winter (mid-Sep through early May)
Sanctuary River CampgroundOnly In Winter (mid-Sep through early May)
Teklanika River CampgroundOnly In Winter (mid-Sep through early May)
Igloo Creek CampgroundOnly In Winter (mid-Sep through early May)
Wonder Lake CampgroundOnly In Winter (mid-Sep through early May)
Backcountry CampingYes

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Free Camping? No

Dry Tortugas National Park contains just one established campground. It is known as Garden Key Campground. The website states that all arriving campers are guaranteed a camping spot. The campground charges a camping fee. For more information on this campsite, you can click here.

There is no other backcountry camping in Dry Tortugas National Park. So there is no free camping in this National Park.

CampgroundFree?
Garden Key CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

Everglades National Park, Florida

Free Camping? Yes

Everglades National Park has two established campgrounds within the park. They are Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground. Both of these campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these campgrounds click here.

Backcountry camping in Everglades National Park is plentiful. Backcountry permits are required for all wild camping in the park. During the winter season (mid-November through mid-April) there is a charge for backcountry permits. However, during the summer season (mid-April through mid-November) permits are free. For more information on permits, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
Long Pine Key CampgroundNo
Flamingo CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingIn summer (mid-April through mid-November)

Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

Free Camping? Yes

There are no established campsites in Gates of the Arctic National Park. Camping is allowed however almost anywhere in the backcountry provided you follow proper backcountry etiquette. No permits are required, however, it is requested that you first stop into a Visitor’s center for a backcountry orientation first.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingYes

Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri, and Illinois

Free Camping? No

There is no camping in Gateway Arch National Park. For more information on this park, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
There Are NoneNo

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Free Camping? Yes

There is one established campground within the park. The campground is Bartlett Cove Campground. This campground is free of charge. For more information on this campground, you can click here.

Backcountry camping within Glacier Bay National Park is nearly unlimited. While an overnight permit is required and an annual backcountry orientation is required, there are no fees for either of them. This makes Glacier Bay National Park backcountry camping free of charge. You can get more information on backcountry camping here.

CampgroundFree?
Bartlett Cove CampgroundYes
Backcountry CampingYes

Glacier National Park, Montana

Free Camping? Yes

Glacier National Park has 13 established campgrounds within its boundaries. All thirteen campgrounds charge a camping fee. The campgrounds are Apgar Campground, Avalanche Campground, Bowman Lake Campground, Cut Bank Campground, Fish Creek Campground, Kintla Lake Campground, Logging Creek Campground, Many Glacier Campground, Quartz Creek Campground, Rising Sun Campground, Sprague Creek Campground, St. Mary Campground, and Two Medicine Campground. For more information on all of these campgrounds click here.

Backcountry camping in Glacier National Park requires a fee except in winter (November 1 – April 30) where it is free. You must obtain a permit for any overnight backcountry camping. For more information on backcountry camping, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
Apgar CampgroundNo
Avalanche CampgroundNo
Bowman Lake CampgroundNo
Cut Bank CampgroundNo
Fish Creek CampgroundNo
Kintla Lake CampgroundNo
Logging Creek CampgroundNo
Many Glacier CampgroundNo
Quartz Creek CampgroundNo
Rising Sun CampgroundNo
Sprague Creek CampgroundNo
St. Mary CampgroundNo
Two Medicine CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingOnly In Winter (November 1 – April 30)

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Free Camping? No

There are 4 developed campgrounds in Grand Canyon National Park. They are Mather Campground, North Rim Campground, Desert View Campground, and privately owned Trailer Village. All 4 campgrounds charge a camping fee.

Backcountry camping requires a permit. A permit is required for any camping outside of the developed campgrounds above. Backcountry permits are not free. For more information on backcountry permits in Grand Canyon National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Mather CampgroundNo
North Rim CampgroundNo
Desert View CampgroundNo
Trailer VillageNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Free Camping? No

Grand Teton National Park has 8 established campgrounds within the park. They are Colter Bay Campground, Gros Ventre Campground, Headwaters Campground and RV Sites at Flagg Ranch, Jenny Lake Campground, Lizard Creek Campground, Signal Mountain Campground, Colter Bay RV Park, and Headwaters Campground & RV sites. All 8 of these established campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these campgrounds click here.

Backcountry camping in Grand Teton National Park requires a permit. A fee must be paid in order to obtain a backcountry camping permit. For more information on these backcountry permits, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
Colter Bay CampgroundNo
Gros Ventre CampgroundNo
Headwaters Campground and RV Sites at Flagg RanchNo
Jenny Lake CampgroundNo
Lizard Creek CampgroundNo
Signal Mountain CampgroundNo
Colter Bay RV ParkNo
Headwaters Campground & RV sitesNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Free Camping? Yes

Great Basin National Park has 5 developed campgrounds within the park. They are Upper Lehman Creek Campground, Lower Lehman Creek Campground, Baker Creek Campground, Grey Cliffs Campground, and Wheeler Peak Campground. All 5 campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on camping in this park click here.

Backcountry camping in Great Basin National Park is pretty open. Permits are not required for backcountry camping, although it is highly recommended for safety reasons. There are a few simple rules to follow when backcountry camping in Great Basin National Park, but it is free. For more information on backcountry camping, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
Upper Lehman Creek CampgroundNo
Lower Lehman Creek CampgroundNo
Baker Creek CampgroundNo
Grey Cliffs CampgroundNo
Wheeler Peak CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Free Camping? Yes

Great Sand Dunes National Park contains 1 developed campground within the park. It is known as Piñon Flats Campground and there is a camping fee. For more information on this campground and some of the nearby campgrounds outside of the park, you can click here.

Backcountry camping is free in Great Dunes National Park. For any overnight backcountry camping, a permit is required but is free of charge. Backcountry car camping is also available but only designated sites may be used. For information on backcountry camping click here.

CampgroundFree?
Piñon Flats CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, and Tennessee

Free Camping? No

Great Smokey Mountains National Park contains 10 developed campgrounds within the park. They are Abrams Creek Campground, Balsam Mountain Campground, Big Creek Campground, Cades Cove Campground, Cataloochee Campground, Cosby Campground, Deep Creek Campground, Elkmont Campground, Look Rock Campground, and Smokemont Campground.

All ten developed campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park charge a camping fee. If you want more information on these developed campgrounds and their current statuses you can click here.

Backcountry camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park requires a camping permit. These permits must be obtained in advance. These backcountry permits do charge a small fee. For more information on these backcountry permits, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
Abrams Creek Campground,No
Balsam Mountain CampgroundNo
Big Creek CampgroundNo
Cades Cove CampgroundNo
Cataloochee CampgroundNo
Cosby CampgroundNo
Deep Creek CampgroundNo
Elkmont CampgroundNo
Look Rock CampgroundNo
Smokemont CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Free Camping? Yes

Guadalupe Mountains National Park has two developed campgrounds within the park. They are Pine Springs Campground and Dog Canyone Campground. Both of these developed campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these campgrounds, you can click here.

Backcountry camping in Guadalupe Mountains National Park is free. Overnight Backcountry permits are required but are free of charge. There are 10 backcountry campsites to choose from and backcountry camping is only allowed in these 10 backcountry campsites. For more information on backcountry camping in Guadalupe Mountains click here.

CampgroundFree?
Pine Springs CampgroundNo
Dog Canyone CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii

Free Camping? Yes

Haleakalā National Park has two campgrounds within the park. They are Hosmer Grove Campground and Kīpahulu Campground. The campgrounds do not charge a camping fee. You can get more information on these two campgrounds here.

Backcountry camping in Haleakalā National Park is available for free. Overnight backcountry camping does require a permit, but the permit is free of charge. Backcountry camping is limited to only 3 nights within a 30 day period in the park. There are two backcountry campsites known as Hōlua Campsite and Palikū Campsite. For more information on backcountry camping in the park, you can click here.

CampgroundFree?
Hosmer GroveYes
Kīpahulu CampgroundYes
Backcountry CampingYes

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Free Camping? No

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park contains two developed campgrounds within the park. They are Nāmakanipaio Campground and Kulanaokuaiki Campground. Both of these campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these campgrounds click here.

Backcountry camping in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is allowed, but a permit is required for any overnight backcountry camping. There are eight backcountry campsites known as Ka‘aha, Halapē, Keauhou, ‘Āpua Point, Nāpau, Pepeiao Cabin, Red Hill Cabin, and Mauna Loa Cabin. All of these backcountry campsites require a permit. Dispersed backcountry camping is also allowed, but again a permit is required. All permits require a fee. For more information click here.

CampgroundFree?
Nāmakanipaio CampgroundNo
Kulanaokuaiki CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Free Camping? No

Hot Springs National Park contains one campground within the park. It is Gulpha Gorge Campground and a camping fee is required. More more information on this campground you can click here.

There is no backcountry in Hot Springs National Park. So overall there is no free camping in this National Park.

CampgroundFree?
Gulpha Gorge CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

Free Camping? No

Has one developed campground within the park. It is known as Dunewood Campground and the campground charges a camping fee. You can get more information on Dunewood Campground here.

There is no official backcountry camping in Indiana Dunes National Park. If you want free camping you are going to need to look nearby.

CampgroundFree?
Dunewood Campground No
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

Free Camping? Yes

Isle Royale National Park contains 36 campgrounds scattered across the park. All of the campsites must be reached by foot or watercraft so all campgrounds are “backcountry”. All overnight camping stays in the park require a permit.

If your group is 6 or less then the permit is free of charge. For groups above 6, there is a permit fee. For more information on camping in Isle Royale National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingYes (Groups of 6 or less)

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Free Camping? Yes

Joshua Tree National Park contains 8 developed campgrounds within the park. They are Black Rock Campground, Cottonwood Campground, Indian Cove Campground, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Belle Campground, Hidden Valley Campground, Ryan Campground, and White Tank Campground. All 8 of these developed campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on camping in Joshua Tree National Park click here.

Backcountry camping in Joshua Tree National Park is free but requires registration at a backcountry board. Other than registration, no permit is required. There are some basic rules to follow, but overall backcountry camping in Joshua Tree National Park is pretty open. For more information click here.

CampgroundFree?
Black Rock CampgroundNo
Cottonwood CampgroundNo
Indian Cove CampgroundNo
Jumbo Rocks CampgroundNo
Belle CampgroundNo
Hidden Valley CampgroundNo
Ryan CampgroundNo
White Tank CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Katmai National Park, Alaska

Free Camping? Yes

Katmai National Park has one “campground” within the park known as Brooks Camp. It operates a little differently than most campgrounds because there aren’t designated sites. Instead, it just has a maximum people capacity of 60 people. Brooks Camp charges a camping fee. For more information on this campground click here.

Backcountry camping in Katmai National Park is vast. There are no permits required for backcountry use, but a trip planner is recommended to be submitted to the park for safety reasons. There are no fees for backcountry camping in Katmai National Park. For more information on backcountry camping in this park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Brooks CampNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Free Camping? Yes

Kenai Fjords National Park has one Campground at Exit Glacier. There is no camping fee for using the campground. You can find more information on this campground here

Backcountry camping in Kenai Fjords National Park is very open. There are no entrance fees or camping fees. You can learn more about Kenai Fjords National Park backcountry here.

CampgroundFree?
Campground at Exit GlacierYes
Backcountry CampingYes

Kings Canyon National Park, California

Free Camping? Yes

Kings Canyon National Park has 7 established campgrounds within the park. They are Azalea Campground, Crystal Springs Campground, Sunset Campground, Sentinel Campground, Sheep Creek Campground, Moraine Campground, and Canyon View Campground. All 7 developed campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these campgrounds click here.

Backcountry camping in Kings Canyon National Park is free, but a permit must be acquired prior to setting out. Permits are issued for free and there are no quotas. For more information on backcountry camping in Kings Canyon National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Azalea CampgroundNo
Crystal Springs CampgroundNo
Sunset CampgroundNo
Sentinel CampgroundNo
Sheep Creek CampgroundNo
Moraine CampgroundNo
Canyon View CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska

Free Camping? Yes

Kobuk Valley National Park contains no developed campgrounds or any developed facilities. Backcountry camping is allowed and free. No permits are required for backcountry camping in Kobuk Valley National Park. For more information on backcountry camping in Kobuk Valley National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingYes

Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Free Camping? Yes

Lake Clark National Park has no developed campgrounds that are run by the National Park Service. Instead, backcountry camping is extremely prevalent. Backcountry camping is free and there are only a few simple rules to follow. For more information on backcountry camping in Lake Clark National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingYes

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California 

Free Camping? Yes

Lassen Volcanic National park has 7 campgrounds located within the park. They are Butte Lake Campground, Juniper Lake Campground, Manzanita Lake Campground, Summit Lake North Campground, Summit Lake South Campground, Southwest Walk-in Campground, and Warner Valley Campground. All 7 developed campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on the developed campgrounds in Lassen Volcanic National Park click here.

Backcountry camping is available free of charge. A permit is required for backcountry camping in Lassen Volcanic National Park, but they are available for free. For more information on backcountry camping in Lassen Volcanic National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Butte Lake CampgroundNo
Juniper Lake CampgroundNo
Manzanita Lake CampgroundNo
Summit Lake North CampgroundNo
Summit Lake South CampgroundNo
Southwest Walk-in CampgroundNo
Warner Valley CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Free Camping? Yes

Mammoth Cave National Park has 3 developed campgrounds located within the park. They are Mammoth Cave Campground, Maple Springs Group Campground, and Houchin Ferry Campground. All 3 developed campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these developed campgrounds click here.

Mammoth Cave National Park offers several backpacking campsites. All backcountry camping requires a permit. Permits are issued free of charge for backcountry camping in Mammoth Cave National Park. If you want more information on backcountry permits click here and here.

CampgroundFree?
Mammoth Cave CampgroundNo
Maple Springs Group CampgroundNo
Houchin Ferry CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Free Camping? No

Mesa Verde National Park has 1 developed campground known as Morefield Campground. The developed campground charges a camping fee. For more information on this developed campground click here.

Mesa Verde National Park does not offer any backcountry camping. That means there is no free camping in Mesa Verde National Park.

CampgroundFree?
Morefield CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Free Camping? Yes

Mount Rainier National Park has 4 developed campgrounds in the park. They are Cougar Rock Campground, Ohanapecosh Campground, White River Campground, and Mowich Lake Campground. All campgrounds in Mount Rainier National Park charge a camping fee except for Mowich Lake Campground. You can find more information about these campgrounds in the park here.

Backcountry camping is allowed in Mount Rainier National Park but requires a fee. All overnight backcountry camping requires a permit. You can find more information on these backcountry permits here.

CampgroundFree?
Cougar Rock CampgroundNo
Ohanapecosh CampgroundNo
White River CampgroundNo
Mowich Lake CampgroundYes
Backcountry CampingNo

National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa

Free Camping? No.

National Park of American Samoa has no campgrounds. There is no camping allowed according to the National Park Service.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

North Cascades National Park, Washington

Free Camping? Yes

North Cascades National Park has 5 developed campgrounds within the park. They are Goodell Creek Campground, Newhalem Creek Campground, Gorge Lake Campground, Colonial Creek Campground, and Hozomeen Campground. All campgrounds charge a camping fee except for Hozomeen Campground, which is free. For more information on these campgrounds click here.

There is also an abundance of backcountry camping available in North Cascades National Park. Backcountry camping must be done in established backcountry campsites and a permit is required. Permits are free of charge. For more information click here.

CampgroundFree?
Goodell Creek CampgroundNo
Newhalem Creek CampgroundNo
Gorge Lake CampgroundNo
Colonial Creek CampgroundNo
Hozomeen CampgroundYes
Backcountry CampingYes

Olympic National Park, Washington

Free Camping? Yes

Olympic National Park has 14 developed campgrounds. They are Deer Park Campground, Dosewallips Campground, Fairholme Campground, Graves Creek Campground, Heart O’ the Hills Campground, Hoh Campground, Kalaloch Campground, Mora Campground, North Fork Campground, Ozette Campground, Queets Campground, Sol Duc Campground, South Beach Campground, and Staircase Campground.

All developed campgrounds in Olympic National Park charge a fee except for Dosewallips Campground. Dosewallips Campground is free. For more information on these developed campgrounds click here.

Backcountry camping in Olympic National Park requires a permit. Permits require a fee. For more information on backcountry camping in Olympic National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Deer Park CampgroundNo
Dosewallips CampgroundYes
Fairholme CampgroundNo
Graves Creek CampgroundNo
Heart O’ the Hills CampgroundNo
Hoh CampgroundNo
Kalaloch CampgroundNo
Mora CampgroundNo
North Fork CampgroundNo
Ozette CampgroundNo
Queets CampgroundNo
Sol Duc CampgroundNo
South Beach CampgroundNo
Staircase CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Free Camping? Yes

Petrified Forest National Park does not have any developed campgrounds within the park. If you want to go camping in this National Park then it is going to have to be backcountry camping. Backcountry camping is free, but you must obtain a permit. For more information on backcountry camping in Petrified Forest National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingYes

Pinnacles National Park, California

Free Camping? No

Pinnacles National Park has one developed campground. It is known as Pinnacles Campground. The campground charges a camping fee. For more information on Pinnacles Campground click here.

Backcountry camping is not allowed in Pinnacles National Park. So if you are looking for free camping then you are going to look elsewhere besides Pinnacles National Park.

CampgroundFree?
Pinnacles CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNot Allowed

Redwood National Park, California

Free Camping? Yes

There are 4 developed campgrounds in Redwood National Park. They are known as Jedediah Smith Campground, Mill Creek Campground, Elk Prairie Campground, and Gold Bluffs Beach Campground. All 4 of these campgrounds are managed by the California State Park System. All campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these campgrounds click here.

Backcountry camping in Redwood National Park is free but requires a permit. Backcountry camping generally must be done in designated backcountry campsites. For more information on backcountry camping in Redwood National Park, click here.

CampgroundFree?
Jedediah Smith CampgroundNo
Mill Creek CampgroundNo
Elk Prairie CampgroundNo
Gold Bluffs Beach CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Free Camping? No

Rocky Mountain National Park has 5 developed campgrounds within the park. They are Aspenglen Campground, Glacier Basin Campground, Moraine Park Campground, Longs Peak Campground, and Timber Creek Campground. All 5 campgrounds charge a camping fee. For more information on these developed campgrounds click here.

Backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is allowed, but a permit is required. There is a fee for overnight backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. For more information on backcountry camping in the park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Aspenglen CampgroundNo
Glacier Basin CampgroundNo
Moraine Park CampgroundNo
Longs Peak CampgroundNo
Timber Creek CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNo

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Free Camping? No

Saguaro National Park has no developed campgrounds. They do however have 6 designated backcountry campgrounds. Backcountry camping requires a permit. These permits require a camping fee. For more information on backcountry camping in Saguaro National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingNo

Sequoia National Park, California

Free Camping? Yes

Sequoia National Park has 7 developed campgrounds within the park. They are Lodgepole Campground, Dorst Creek Campground, Potwisha Campground, Buckeye Flat Campground, South Fork Campground, Atwell Mill Campground, and Cold Springs Campground. All 7 of these developed campgrounds require a camping fee. For more information on developed campgrounds in Sequoia National Park click here.

Backcountry camping in Sequoia National Park is free during the offseason, but a fee is required in the busier summer season. All backcountry camping requires a permit whether in the busy season or not. For more information on these permits and backcountry camping in Sequoia National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Lodgepole CampgroundNo
Dorst Creek CampgroundNo
Potwisha CampgroundNo
Buckeye Flat CampgroundNo
South Fork CampgroundNo
Atwell Mill CampgroundNo
Cold Springs CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes (In the offseason only)

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Free Camping? Yes

Shenandoah National Park has 5 developed campgrounds within the park. They are Mathews Arm Campground, Big Meadows Campground, Lewis Mountain Campground, Loft Mountain Campground, and Dundo Group Campground. All 5 developed campgrounds in Shenandoah National Park charge a camping fee. For more information on these developed campgrounds click here.

Shenandoah National Park offers backcountry camping for free. Backcountry camping in the park requires a permit, but obtaining a permit is free of charge. For more information on these permits and backcountry camping in Shenandoah National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Mathews Arm CampgroundNo
Big Meadows CampgroundNo
Lewis Mountain CampgroundNo
Loft Mountain CampgroundNo
Dundo Group CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Free Camping? Yes

Theodore Roosevelt National Park has two developed campgrounds within the park. They are Cottonwood Campground and Juniper Campground. Both developed campgrounds require a camping fee. You can find more information on these campgrounds here.

Backcountry camping in Theodore Roosevelt National Park is free of charge but requires a permit. Backcountry permits are issued free of charge. For more information on backcountry camping and permits in Theodore Roosevelt National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Cottonwood CampgroundNo
Juniper CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

Free Camping? No

Virgin Islands National Park has one developed campground associated with Cinnamon Bay Resort & Campground. A camping fee is required. There is no backcountry camping allowed in Virgin Islands National Park. For more information on camping in the park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Cinnamon Bay Resort & CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingNot allowed

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Free Camping? No

Voyageurs National Park’s campgrounds are only accessible by water. All camping in the Voyageurs National Park requires a permit. These permits require a fee. For more information on camping in Voyageurs National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Backcountry CampingNo

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Free Camping? Yes

Wind Cave National Park has one developed campground within the park known as Elk Mountain Campground. The developed campground requires a camping fee. You can find more information on this campground here.

Wind Cave National Park offers Backcountry camping for free. A permit is required for all backcountry camping in Wind Cave National Park, but they are issued free of charge. For more information on backcountry camping and permits click here.

CampgroundFree?
Elk Mountain CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Free Camping? Yes

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park has only one National Park Service campground. It is known as Kendesnii Campground and it is free. For more information on camping within the park click here.

Wrangell-St. Elias National park offers a lot of backcountry camping opportunities. No permits are required, although it is recommended to leave an itinerary with any of the park’s visitors centers. For more information on backcountry camping click here.

CampgroundFree?
Kendesnii Campground Yes
Backcountry CampingYes

Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming

Free Camping? Yes

Yellowstone National Park offers 12 developed campgrounds within the park. They are Bridge Bay Campground, Canyon Campground, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village Campground, Indian Creek Campground, Lewis Lake Campground, Madison Campground, Mammoth Campground, Norris Campground, Pebble Creek Campground, Slough Creek Campground, and Tower Fall Campground.

All 12 developed campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park requires a camping fee. For more information on these campgrounds click here. Backcountry camping in Yellowstone requires a permit. Permits require a fee during the busy season but are free of charge in the offseason. 

For more information on backcountry camping in Yellowstone National Park click here.

CampgroundFree?
Bridge Bay CampgroundNo
Canyon CampgroundNo
Fishing Bridge RV ParkNo
Grant Village CampgroundNo
Indian Creek CampgroundNo
Lewis Lake CampgroundNo
Madison CampgroundNo
Mammoth CampgroundNo
Norris CampgroundNo
Pebble Creek CampgroundNo
Slough Creek CampgroundNo
Tower Fall CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes (Only in the offseason)

Yosemite National Park, California

Free Camping? Yes

Yosemite National Park has 13 developed campgrounds located within the park. They are Upper Pines Campground, Lower Pines Campground, North Pines Campground, Camp 4, Wawona Campground, Bridalveil Creek Campground, Hodgdon Meadow Campground, Crane Flat Campground, Tamarack Flat Campground, White Wolf Campground, Yosemite Creek Campground, Porcupine Flat Campground, and Tuolumne Meadows Campground.

All 13 of the developed campgrounds in Yosemite National Park charge a camping fee. For more information on these campgrounds click here.

Yosemite National Park offers backcountry camping for free, although permits are required. For more information on backcountry camping and permits click here.

CampgroundFree?
Upper Pines CampgroundNo
Lower Pines CampgroundNo
North Pines CampgroundNo
Camp 4No
Wawona CampgroundNo
Bridalveil Creek CampgroundNo
Hodgdon Meadow CampgroundNo
Crane Flat CampgroundNo
Tamarack Flat CampgroundNo
White Wolf CampgroundNo
Yosemite Creek Campground,No
Porcupine Flat CampgroundNo
Tuolumne Meadows CampgroundNo
Backcountry CampingYes

Zion National Park, Utah

Free Camping? Yes

Zion National Park has 3 developed campgrounds located within the park. They are South Campground, Watchman Campground, and Lava Point Campground. South Campground and Watchman Campground require a camping fee while Lava Point Campground is free. For more information on campgrounds, click here.

Zion National Park offers backcountry camping, but a permit is required. There is a fee for each backcountry permit. For more information on these permits click here.

Backcountry camping in Zion National Park requires a permit. Permits are issued free of charge. You can find more information on these here

CampgroundFree?
South CampgroundNo
Watchman CampgroundNo
Lava Point CampgroundYes
Backcountry CampingNo

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Zachary Smith

Zach is an avid outdoorsman that loves going camping with his Prius every chance he gets. He also regularly enjoys hiking and fishing. When he's not outside you can probably find him writing about it on this website. See his full bio here

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