If you want to sleep in the Yellowstone or Grand Teton backcountry, you must get a permit, follow limits for length of stay and campfires, and stay in a designated area. The permit costs $3 per person per night in Yellowstone (with a maximum group fee of $15) and $35 total in Grand Teton. Alternatively, you can reserve a site by paying a $45 fee to Grand Teton or $25 to Yellowstone. At Yellowstone, reservations must be made through fax, mail, or in person; at Grand Teton, they go through the site www.recreation.gov. Even when you get reservations, you still need to pick up your permit in person upon your arrival in the park. Yellowstone begins processing reservations for the current year starting on April 1, but accepts requests from January 1 to October 31. In Grand Teton, you can reserve a permit only from mid-February to May 15; thereafter all permits are first-come, first-served. If you’re going during the parks’ busy season, you’d be wise to make a reservation.

In Yellowstone, permits can be obtained at any ranger station (most of which are open 8am–4:30pm during the summer) and most visitor centers, no more than 2 days before embarking on a trip. To make a reservation by mail, send an application (available at www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/backcountryhiking.htm) to the Backcountry Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190. Phone reservations are not accepted, but if you want information about the system, call tel. 307/344-2160.

Boating Permits

For motorized craft in Yellowstone, the cost is $20 for annual permits, $10 for 7-day permits. Fees for nonmotorized boats are $10 for annual permits, $5 for 7-day permits. Boating permits are required for all vessels. Motorized boating is restricted to designated areas. Boating is prohibited on Yellowstone’s rivers and streams except for the Lewis River Channel, where hand-propelled vessels are permitted. In Grand Teton, the fees are $40 for motorized boats, $12 for nonmotorized. Powerboats are permitted on Jenny and Jackson Lakes; nonmotorized boats are allowed on most park lakes and the Snake River. Sailboats, windsurfers, and jet skis are allowed only on Jackson Lake. U.S. Coast Guard–approved personal flotation devices are required for each person.

Fishing Permits

In Yellowstone, park permits are required for anglers ages 16 and over; the permit costs $18 for 3 days, $25 for 7 days, and $40 for the season. Children 15 and under don’t need a permit if they are fishing with an adult, but they need a free permit if they’re fishing without supervision. Permits are available at any ranger station, any visitor center, Yellowstone Park General Store, and most fishing shops in the gateways. The season usually begins on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and continues through the first Sunday in November. Yellowstone Lake, its tributaries, and sections of the Yellowstone River have shorter seasons.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.