Free Camping Near Yellowstone – Fish Creek Rd Review & Info

We stayed at Fish Creek Road, Island Park Idaho in June 2020.

Our Previous Stop: Palisades Idaho Forest Road 281 – Camping Review & Info

Our Next Stop: Free Camping By The Water At Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana

Campground Info

Location: 44.485090, -111.281810
Cost: Free
Camping Limit: 14 Day
Amenities: None

Related: Save 50% On Campgrounds All Over The United States With Passport America

Essentials Nearby

Town: Macks Inn/Island Park, ID – 3 miles
Gas Station: Stage Stop Sinclare – 3 miles
Dump Station & Potable Water: Henry’s Fork RV Dump Station – 14 miles (Pay by Donation: Potable Water)
Grocery Store: Robin’s Roost – 5 miles

Cell Phone Service

Verizon – OK (2 Bars)
AT&T – Bad (1 Bar)

Nearby Attractions

Johnny Sack’s Cabin/Big Springs – 2 miles
Big Springs Boat Launch/River Trail – 1 mile
Island Park Reservoir Dam  – 10 miles
Harriman State Park – 18 miles
Henrys Lake State Park – 13 miles
West Yellowstone – 26 miles
Yellowstone National Park – 27 miles
Virginia City Montana – 85 miles
Big Sky Montana – 77 miles
Grand Teton National Park – 102 miles
Jackson Wyoming – 107 miles

Drone shot of our free campsite at Fish Creek Road near Yellowstone.

Fish Creek Road – Island Park Idaho

The main thing you need to know about camping at Fish Creek Road in Island Park Idaho is there are more campsites than you think hidden in the trees so don’t give up on trying to find a campsite even if the main ones by the road are taken.

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When you first turn off South Big Springs Loop Road and onto fish creek road you will see a few sights to the right and a road that heads to the left. There are about two large sites on the right but the road that goes to the left has 4-5 campsites along it and ends with a loop. If you keep driving straight across the bridge that goes over Lucky Dog Creek there are a few large sites to the right hand side and a road with camping that heads left.

This pic shows the many hidden campsites at Fish Creek Road.

We crossed the creek and turned onto the first road to the left then left again. Down this road there is one large site followed by 3 smaller sites along a narrow loop tucked into the trees. Just as a warning this area we camped in is very narrow and the trees make it really tight for large rigs. We scratched the side of our trailer a few times trying to turn around and both of the large sites were taken when we got there so we had to back into a very small area between two groups of trees.

Our tiny campsite at Fish Creek Road near Yellowstone.

While we were camping there a large 5th-wheel that was parked in the loop meant for turning around tried to drive out and ended up getting stuck in the trees. The owners of the 5th-wheel had to cut down trees to get out.

Narrow road on the loop we were camping by. Not recommended for big RVs and trailers.

If you have a big rig I would suggest camping on any of the sites before you cross the creek or one of the campsites to the right just as you cross the bridge. I wouldn’t even try going down the road across the creek to the left as it is super narrow and hard to get in and out of.

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If we could do it again we would have gone down the road that goes left before the bridge and taken one of the more open sites that wasn’t in the trees.

What It’s Like Camping At Fish Creek Road

We camped there in early June 2020 and it actually snowed two of the days we were there. The rest of the time it was fairly warm but the mosquitoes were so thick we could barely leave the trailer.

Lucky Dog Creek which flows through the Fish Creek Road Campground.

The creek was absolutely beautiful and the crystal clear water was cold and wonderful. When we got there a ton of sucker fish were spawning and the creek was so full of them you could hardly see the bottom. On the day we left all the sucker fish suddenly disappeared and the creek was left with a few carp and some trout. There are few small trails that follow the creek so you can walk along it easily and enjoy the scenery.

The campground is located near a series of ATV trails that are super popular so expect lots of campers and vehicles on the weekend. During the week it wasn’t so bad but there were lots of side-by-sides and dirt bikes on the weekend.

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Lucky Dog Creek is very close to the Henry Fork River and Big Springs. You can ride bikes or drive to the Johnny Sack’s Cabin which is by Big Springs. Big Springs is a huge collection of mountain springs that is home to some huge trout and a must-see for anyone camping at Island Park.

People floating the river trail stopping for a break near a good swimming hole on the Henrys Fork River.

There’s also a 4 mile river trail you can paddle board, kayak, and even float down. You can access the river at the boat launch or this trail I’ll link to here.

Start of the short trail that leads to the Henrys Fork River where you can swim, float, or fish.

It’s not even a half a mile from Big Springs Road and it leads to the area where fishing becomes legal on the Henrys Fork River. We were able to fish and even swim there. I highly recommend checking it out if you have the time. The trail can be very muddy in the spring but it isn’t far to the river and the water is crystal clear.

Fishing on the Henrys Fork River near our campsite. A moose stopped by for a visit.

Yellowstone National Park isn’t far from Fish Creek Road and it’s a great place to camp for free if you are planning on visiting the park. There’s lots to do in the area and you don’t even have to visit Yellowstone to have a good time there. There’s even a lot of wildlife. We saw a moose while we were fishing, tons of bald eagles, lots of deer, and even a porcupine in a tree.

Like many places around Yellowstone, there’s warning for bears all over the place and it’s recommended to store food inside and to hike in large groups or carry bear spray. (click here to view on Amazon)

We didn't know porcupines climbed trees but this little guy was watching us from up high while we fished.

My Camping Review Of Fish Creek Road

Despite the snow, mosquitoes, and high weekend traffic we enjoyed our camping experience at Fish Creek Road. There are quite a few campsites and now that we know which road is better to camp on for our large trailer we will probably be able to find a better, larger campsite next time.

When we were there the Island Park RV Dump Station was closed but we were able to use the Henrys Fork Dump Station which was only 14 miles south.

Island Park is its own special place not far from Yellowstone and there’s lots of hiking, ATV trails, fishing, and the river trailer you can have fun on while camping there. If you can get there on a weekday and you don’t mind lots of ATV traffic then Fish Creek Road isn’t a bad camping area.

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There are a few restaurants, fly fishing shops, small grocery stores, and even a hardware store nearby which is pretty rare for a free campground in the middle of the forest.

We will probably try another free camping area next time we go to Island Park Idaho but I would still recommend Fish Creek Road to people looking for some great camping near a creek and the Henrys Fork River.

Have any questions about free camping near Yellowstone National Park or Fish Creek Road? Leave a comment below.

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

4 thoughts on “Free Camping Near Yellowstone – Fish Creek Rd Review & Info”

    • Hey Liz,

      It’s been a few months since we’ve been to Island Park and after some quick research, we found that the Island Park Dump Station is actually closed. It can be hard to find dumpsters in areas like that and we did stay in a Passport America RV Park nearby and were able to throw some trash away there. Henry’s Lake State Park is a good place to throw trash away as well if you don’t want to spend the night in an RV park.

  1. If you are heading south after leaving the Island Park area, there is a dump station and trash cans in the little town of Ashton.


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