Internet and Cell Service in National Parks


Mikayla Rivera
Aug 10, 2023
bullet10 min read

How to get cell service in remote areas?

The best way to get cell service in remote areas is either by finding pockets of good cell reception (we’ve gathered the best ones in your favorite National Parks below) or using a cell phone booster. In fact, we recommend both.

See, you can’t guarantee cell service in remote areas like National Parks or other beautiful wildernesses (we’re dreaming of you, Alaska), but you can significantly better your chances with a cell phone booster. These special antennas attach to your RV, car, or cabin and help stretch your cell signal to increase your chances of getting LTE, 4G, or even 5G internet while exploring.

Of course, to make the most of a booster, you’ll want a good mobile provider in the first place—preferably one with as much coverage as possible in the places you want to explore.

Best phone carriers

Mobile provider
Price
Data
Get it
$25.00–$45.00/mo.Unlimited
$60.00–$85.00/mo.Unlimited
$65.00–$85.00/mo.Unlimited
$15.00–$30.00/mo. 4 GB–Unlimited
$25.00–$40.00/mo.Unlimited

Your chances of getting cell service in certain national parks depends on your provider. We consider Verizon and T-Mobile your best options, as they have the largest coverage maps across the United States. And Verizon is aggressively trying to make itself available, with 4G LTE and 5G speeds, in as many parks as possible.

But that all said, let’s get into the nitty gritty of cell service in national parks.

Cell Phone Service In Yosemite California | Satelliteinternet.com

Is there cell service in Yosemite?

Yosemite, like most national parks, is filled mostly with dead zones. However, there are three major places where Yosemite campers and explorers report good cell signals: Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and Yosemite Village, located near the Visitors center. Of course, there’s bad weather, which could interfere with your reception even in these locations.

Here’s a breakdown of cell service in Yosemite by mobile provider.

Verizon Wireless cell service in Yosemite

Verizon Wireless offers the best cell coverage in Yosemite.

The National Park Service found it functions in Yosemite Valley, Foresta, Crane Flat, El Portal, Wawona, and Tuolumne Meadows—though Tuolumne Meadows has the least reliable Verizon connection.

AT&T cell service in Yosemite

AT&T has the second-best cell coverage in Yosemite. You can access at least some level of internet data in Yosemite Valley (the eastern part, mostly) and Tuolumne Meadows. However, keep in mind the speeds aren’t very fast.

T-Mobile cell service in Yosemite

T-Mobile has the least amount of cell coverage in Yosemite National Park. You can only get a T-Mobile signal in Yosemite Valley, though it’s worth noting you can get 4G signals, whereas AT&T can get only 3G.

Still, we’d suggest going with Verizon instead if you can swing it. It’ll be safer for you and your family to have as many cell service pockets as possible.

Yosemite Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi access in Yosemite is restricted to the hotels surrounding the park and in Mariposa County library branches, not in the park itself. But if you suddenly need Wi-Fi while you’re in, around, or near Yosemite, you might be able to use these networks.

We’d first recommend hopping over to Degnan’s Kitchen, both a good place to eat and a free Wi-Fi access point. But if you’re in need of a computer as well, your best bet is one of the Mariposa County library branches in either Yosemite Valley or Wawona.

Yosemite Valley Lodge, The Ahwawhnee, Curry Village, and Wawona Hotel also have Wi-Fi available to their overnight guests. However, if you’re not a guest at one of these places, you’ll want to try some aforementioned public internet access points instead.

Do Yosemite campgrounds have Wi-Fi? (PAA)

There are certain campsites around Yosemite that offer Wi-Fi access, but remember it’s likely to be a satellite connection. Because of the connection type, they’re bound to be a bit slower than you’re used to at home.

That said, Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging offers Wi-Fi at its cabin, RV, and tent sites, and also in retro trailers, Conestoga wagons, and yurts near Yosemite National Park. Unfortunately, this Wi-Fi access isn’t free. You’ll need to pay the following (fairly low) fees to get Wi-Fi at Yosemite campgrounds.

  • Full day: $2.95
  • Three days: $4.95
  • Seven days: $8.95

Those costs are also per device, so if it’s just you, it’s not too expensive. But if you’re trying to get your whole family connected, we suggested just picking one phone and one tablet (to keep the kids entertained, of course) between your group to keep costs down.

Joshua Tree Cell Service

You can find cell service in Joshua Tree National park, but it’s more of a hunt. The vast majority of Joshua Tree will have no signal, but we’ve collected the handful of spots experienced hikers1 found to carry cell signal.

You’ll notice in the following lists that the best place for cell phone service across the board is the Oasis Visitor Desert Institute. So if something goes awry and you need to make a call, you should head there.

Verizon cell service at Joshua Tree

  • Oasis Visitor Desert Institute
  • Keys View
  • Boy Scout Trailhead
  • Indian Cove
  • Jumbo Rocks section
  • Park Boulevard

Verizon has the best coverage in Joshua Tree, with reception in more areas than its competitors. Any mobile phone service provider is going to lack stable service in wilderness areas like these.

We always recommend taking a satellite phone with you, especially if you’re looking to climb rocks or do some deep adventuring. Sadly, motor vehicle crashes and falls cause 800+ deaths per year in national parks.2

AT&T coverage at Joshua Tree

  • Oasis Visitor Desert Institute
  • Indian Cove
  • Park Boulevard (to the west of Hidden Valley Campground)
  • Jumbo Rocks section (the area including Sky King Rock along the campground)

AT&T has the second-best coverage in Joshua Tree, so you should be alright if this is your provider. Verizon has it beat by two more locations, but if you’re planning on staying in the Jumbo Rocks section of the park, you won’t need to worry about service.

T-Mobile cell service at Joshua Tree

  • Oasis Visitor Desert Institute
  • Keys View
  • Park Boulevard

T-Mobile has the least cell coverage in Joshua Tree, even after its acquisition of Sprint’s network. You can expect to get a signal in these three locations across Joshua Tree, but you’d be better off with Verizon in this national park.

Is there cell reception at Indian Cove Campground?

Any cell service at Indian Cove Campground will be spotty and unreliable, but Verizon and AT&T users may catch a cell signal. Indian Cove Campground does not provide Wi-Fi, for the record.

Is there cell service at Jumbo Rocks Campground?

Both Verizon and AT&T customers can often receive cell signals around the Jumbo Rocks section of Joshua Tree and its local campground. But remember that the cell signal isn’t stable across all of Joshua Tree, so don’t depend on having a cell signal here.

If you have an iPhone 14, using your satellite phone service would be a more dependable backup in the Jumbo Rocks Campground and everywhere else in Joshua Tree National Park.

Is there cell service in the Grand Canyon?

You can get Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T cell coverage in the Grand Canyon, but it’s more stable in the south rim areas. You can access all three carriers in the south rim area, especially in the Grand Canyon Village area, where there’s more infrastructure.

The north rim of the Grand Canyon, however, is where most carriers’ signals cut out and become spotty, if you can get them at all. Verizon and AT&T are the most likely to get you a cell signal in this area, but we wouldn’t depend on it. If you’re a T-Mobile user, we’d be surprised if you got any signal at all.

If you’re planning on hiking down in the Grand Canyon itself, we highly suggest leaving your cell phone behind and bringing a satellite phone instead. A satellite phone doesn’t rely on cell service, so you can stay connected to loved ones for their peace of mind, as well as GPS to stay safe during exploration.

Yavapai Lodge Wi-Fi

There is no Wi-Fi in the Yavapai Lodge’s rooms (though we can attest first-hand that they are very comfortable rooms). However, the Yavapai Lodge itself, where guests check in, offers satellite internet service—but it’s not very good.

When we were staying there a few years ago, we needed internet access to send reports, but once connected, the service acted as if it weren’t. We worked with the woman at the front desk, but the Wi-Fi at Yavapai is known to be spotty and unreliable.

Fortunately, our reports could wait, so we were okay—but if you know you have a deadline, don’t go in expecting easy Wi-Fi to answer emails and the like. Instead, use it as an excuse to truly disconnect and enjoy the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

Is there cell service in Yellowstone?

As with all national parks, any cell service you get in Yellowstone will be unreliable—that’s part of the splendor. But worry not, cell phone service is available in over 50%3 of Yellowstone National Park, thanks to the six cell towers set up in the surrounding areas.

You should be able to get Verizon and AT&T cellular service in the following areas of Yellowstone National Park, with Verizon beating out AT&T for best signal in most:

  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • West Yellowstone
  • Old Faithful
  • Grant Village
  • Lake Village
  • Mount Washburn
  • North and West entrances

You may also find other areas with cell service in Yellowstone, beyond those confirmed above, as cell service continues to expand. But it’s important to be ready to find large areas with spotty, unreliable, or nonexistent service.

Wi-Fi in Yellowstone National Park

You can technically get Wi-Fi in Yellowstone National Park, but it only in Yellowstone National Park Lodges and similar places to stay.

Important note: in these rural areas, access to the internet is “limited to one device at a time, per room,”4 according to the Yellowstone National Park Lodge’s website. We suggest downloading any movies you’re hoping to watch after a day’s adventuring before you arrive.

Here’s a list of places in Yellowstone where you can rely on getting an internet connection, though not all have Wi-Fi:

  • Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel
  • Canyon Lodge
  • Washburn Lodge
  • Grant Village
  • Guest room lodges
  • Lake Lodge
  • Lake Yellowstone Hotel (no Wi-Fi, wired only)
  • Old Faithful Lodge
  • Old Faithful Snow Lodge

Some of the above places have Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections available in guest cabins and public areas, while others only offer internet in public areas. We recommend double checking your desired stay’s website before heading out.

Is there cell service in Grand Teton National Park?

Grand Teton National Park has two cell towers, meaning cell service is available in the more developed areas of the park like Jackson Hole Valley, Jenny Lake, and Flagg Ranch. You won’t find much reliable cell service outside of that since Grand Teton’s backcountry is incredibly remote. In fact, the cell service blackout on the mountain range is what a lot of people come for. But it might not be that way forever.

The national park is considering a telecom proposal that would build nine new cell towers across the mountain range,5 aiming to make cell phone service available across the entirety of Grand Teton National Park. The proposal isn’t approved yet and no official announcement about it has been made for years.

For future Grand Teton National Park visitors, this could mean cell service from Verizon and AT&T easily covering you wherever you are in the park (except probably the caves—cell signals don’t penetrate stone well). It could also mean urbanization and overdevelopment that wilderness adventurers would grieve.

We’ll have to wait a few more years before we know which way this one will go.

Cell service in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, nestled in the far reaches of Montana, has some of the most limited reception of the national parks.

You’ll find somewhat reliable cell service in Glacier in only two areas:

  • West Glacier to Apgar Village
  • Mary (limited)

A lack of cell service is exactly what some people are looking for when they travel up this way. If you’re used to a more connected way of life, we suggest reminding your loved ones they’re unlikely to reach you while you’re adventuring. Another option is to get a satellite phone (or using your iPhone 14’s satellite capabilities) to make sure you can still update them as needed.

Wi-Fi in Glacier National Park

Wi-Fi is available in the public lobby areas of all Glacier National Park lodges and in Glacier’s two visitor centers, including these locations:

  • Apgar Visitor Center
  • Mary Visitor Center
  • Many Glacier Hotel
  • Swiftcurrent Motor Inn & Cabins
  • Rising Sun Motor Inn & Cabins
  • Lake McDonald Lodge
  • Village Inn at Apgar

Remember that because of the location, Wi-Fi will be slow and spotty even when it’s available. We suggest downloading any entertainment you’re hoping to access onto your devices before you head out on your adventure.

Is there cell service in Arches National Park?

You should be able to get Verizon 4G LTE service in most of Arches National Park. However, the farther northwest into the park you go (away from the entrance and where cell towers exist outside the park), the weaker and spottier your signal is likely to be from any carrier.

Here are some places you can usually get a signal from most mobile carriers:6

  • Arches Visitor Center
  • Balanced Rock
  • Panorama Point
  • Delicate Arch
  • Salt Valley Overlook
  • Fiery Furnace Viewpoint

Is there Wi-Fi in Arches National Park?

There is no public Wi-Fi offered at Arches National Park, but you can get public Wi-Fi in public facilities in Moab (like the library or in local hotels), just down the road from the park’s entrance.

Is there cell service in Moab?

You’ll surely have better cell service in Moab than in Arches, particularly if you have Verizon, which offers 4G LTE in the area. Speeds will likely be slower with any mobile carrier, so don’t expect 5G lightning-fast speeds in a more remote town like Moab.

Is there cell service in Zion National Park?

You can get solid cell reception (for a national park) in Zion, particularly toward the front of the park. It’s also possible to get a signal in the surrounding town of Springdale, and in the Zion Lodge, where many adventurers stay the night. You’ll even get Verizon 5G speeds the closer to Springdale you get. But once you get to the backcountry of Zion, wave your cell service goodbye.

The best places to get cell service in Zion National Park are the rugged terrain’s natural high points:7

  • Angels Landing
  • Observation Point
  • Upper East Canyon peaks
  • Left Fork Trailhead
  • Hop Valley Trailhead

Zion National Park has deep canyons, and with canyons come solid stone walls that block out all cell service. We recommend a satellite phone to stay connected, particularly if you’re hiking in dangerous areas.

Is there Wi-Fi in Zion National Park?

The Zion National Park Lodge, Zion Canyon Visitor Center, and the Human History Museum all offer free public Wi-Fi. Well, the Zion Lodge offers its Wi-Fi only to guests, but it’s free for those overnight visitors.

Again, Wi-Fi in remote locations like this exists, but that doesn’t make it the high-speed internet connection you’re used to. Sometimes it’ll cut out, be so spotty you can’t connect, or so slow you’ll suddenly understand the pain early internet users experienced.

If you want to binge Netflix in your hotel room after a hard hike, we suggest downloading content to your device ahead of time.

Is there cell service in Bryce Canyon?

Bryce Canyon does have cell service, but it’s limited throughout the park. Bryce Amphitheater and the Visitor Center have the most reliable signal.

Verizon offers 5G and 4G LTE speeds in the Bryce Canyon area (where the signal is present). But even better speeds and wider coverage in Bryce are on the horizon. Verizon Wireless, South Central Utah Telephone Association, and Garkane Energy Cooperative plan to install a 60-foot cell tower disguised as a pine tree in Bryce’s Science Hill area.7

If you go hiking down into the canyon itself, expect your signal to cut out and become either spotty or nonexistent. Cell signals have a hard time piercing through the solid towers and walls of stone you’ll be exploring.

Why is there no cell service in national parks?

There is cell service in national parks, but the coverage is spotty because mobile service comes from cell towers. These towers are typically outside of national park acreage. But the limitation on cell towers—and therefore distanced cell signal—is part of what keeps the parks pristine and beautiful.

Fortunately, you can also replace many safety features of cell phone coverage with satellite phones, since they don’t need cell tower signals to function.

More cell service is coming to many of the most popular national parks. For instance, Bryce Canyon and Grand Teton National Park, are allowing (or considering) cell tower and fiber optics installs in the park, under specific conditions. So if you’re worried about having no cell service in national parks, you might just need to wait out the construction to support it.

Endnotes

  1. Cairn, “Cell coverage at Joshua Tree National Park,” January 2017. Accessed February 2023.
  2. PANISH, SHEA, BOYLE, RAVIPUDI LLP, “An Analysis of Deaths in U.S. National Parks,” October 2022. Accessed February 2023.
  3. Yellowstone National Park Trips, Gloria Wadzinski, “Do Cell Phones Work in Yellowstone? Is There WiFi?” December 2019. Accessed February 2023.
  4. Yellowstone National Park Lodges, “In-Park Internet Service.” Accessed February 2023.
  5. Associated Press, Mead Gruver, “Grand Teton National Park pursuing disputed cell-tower build,” March 2019. Accessed 2023.
  6. National Park Service, “Goods & Services,” July 2021. Accessed February 2023.
  7. NPS, Vanessa Lacayo, “Bryce Canyon New Cell Tower Decision Signed,” July 2020. Accessed February 2023.
Mikayla Rivera
Written by
Mikayla Rivera
Mikayla Rivera has worked as an editor for nine years on websites like Reviews.org, HowtoWatch.com, and CableTV.com. As someone who grew up with little to no internet access, she knows how vital it is for education, work, and even play. She’s now determined to help readers get reliable internet speeds, wherever they live. Her passion for internet accessibility, memes, and ethical marketing is rivaled only by her dedication to The Chicago Manual of Style. When Mikayla isn’t managing SatelliteInternet.com, she’s writing novels of her own.