Best Time To Visit Yellowstone | Good Time For Tours & Holidays

Best Time To Visit Yellowstone | Good Time For Tours & Holidays

Best time to visit Yellowstone: Interested in visiting Yellowstone National Park, but unsure about the ideal time to go?

When should I go to Yellowstone? You can discover information about what to anticipate throughout each season in this guide.

The very ideal time of year to visit Yellowstone, according to our straightforward advice. Learn more!

The four different seasons of Yellowstone National Park range from very frigid winters to summers that are delightfully warm. 

Although every season is distinct and wonderful, there are also various benefits and drawbacks to visiting Yellowstone at different times of the year.

Another well-known fact is that one of the most popular US national parks is Yellowstone. 

And Yellowstone is quite crowded in the summer since the ideal time to visit is just for a brief period of time.

This also implies that planning your trip to Yellowstone in advance is crucial. You may discover comprehensive details on what to anticipate while visiting this page.

spring, summer, autumn, or winter in Yellowstone. When the roads and lodging are open, what to do and see throughout each season, when to view animals, and what to know before visiting Yellowstone in each season.

You may find a brief overview of the information and our recommendations about when to visit Yellowstone National Park at the bottom of the post. Learn more!

Spring Time In Yellowstone (April – May)

Yellowstone’s transitional spring is perhaps the most uncertain time of year to visit the park. Everything becomes incredibly muddy when the snow melts. 

You’ll need to be quite flexible and open-minded if you want to visit Yellowstone in the spring. Also, there are significant differences between visiting Yellowstone in April and May. 

In comparison to mid-April, when it’s just beginning to wake up after a long winter, you will discover a drastically different place if you arrive by the end of May, when the roads and lodges are open.

So, the second half of May may be one of the finest times to visit Yellowstone if you want to avoid the crowds.

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Sprouting Season

Yellowstone is still a very wintery place in the spring, and snow is possible. Temperatures are often at or slightly above freezing, and the weather is quite changeable.

You may anticipate chilly evenings and daytime temperatures in the 30-60 °F (0-15 °C) range.

Roads And Accommodations In Spring

It’s crucial to be aware that all lodgings in Yellowstone are closed in March and April. May is when Yellowstone lodges and cabins begin to open, but some don’t start until the very end of the month. 

Check hotels around Yellowstone if you want to visit the park in the spring. Mammoth Campsite is available in the spring if you want to go camping.

Some campsites don’t open until the end of June, while others begin to open gradually in early May.

In April, several of the park’s roads are still blocked. West Entrance often opens first, weather permitting, around the middle of April. 

East Entrance will then open, which often happens around the start of May. The remaining highways open during the third week of May, while the South Entrance opens around the second week of May.

In Yellowstone, non-motorized travel (jogging, walking, rollerblading, etc.) is often allowed starting in early April (weather permitting).

The park between the West Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs may then be explored.

Spring Time Wildlife In Yellowstone

The increased animal activity coincides with springtime. It’s undoubtedly the ideal season to witness newborn animals, making it one of the best times of the year to see wildlife in Yellowstone.

Back from the Gardiner area, bison move into the park. Along with their young offspring, bears awaken from their winter slumber.

Bears are also more hostile at this time since food is limited and they wish to defend their food sources from alleged rivals. 

All of this indicates that you should drive carefully, as well as while biking, skiing, and hiking.

Spring Time Tours In Yellowstone

Taking a guided trip is among the greatest ways to see Yellowstone in the early spring.

Both this 2-day/1 night trip and the well-liked 4-day/3 night tour begin operating in mid-April.

The most well-liked choice is this acclaimed day trip from Jackson, which departs every day beginning in the middle of April.

Summer Time In Yellowstone (June – August)

What time of year is the very best to visit Yellowstone? If you want to take advantage of everything that Yellowstone has to offer, summer is by far the greatest season to come. 

Throughout the summer, all park roads and amenities are accessible, although certain activities, like rafting or accompanied hiking excursions, don’t begin until the end of June.

Naturally, the summer season is also the busiest and attracts the most visitors to Yellowstone.

Yellowstone receives around 2.5 million visitors throughout the three summer months! The cost of lodging in and around Yellowstone during this period is also the highest. skyrocket. Details are provided below.

Mid-June to mid-September is really the finest time of year to visit Yellowstone National Park, despite the fact that summer is the busiest season, despite the crowds and higher fees!

You may read more about what to anticipate and why now is the ideal time to visit Yellowstone below. Look at this!

Summer Climate

In the summer, particularly during the day, the temperature in Yellowstone may rise significantly.

High daytime temperatures typically range from 68 to 78 °F (20 to 25 °C), although they may drop as low as 36 to 40 °F (2-4 °C), particularly at night or at higher altitudes.

Even though the summer is the driest season, you should always be ready for some rain.

Even in the summer, afternoon storms and lightning are rather frequent. 

Fortunately, they often disappear as swiftly as they appeared. Our personal experience: Mt. Washburn had snow on top two days before to our arrival when we visited Yellowstone at the end of July and the beginning of August.

Even a snowman photo was uploaded online by someone. In contrast, we saw very warm days with highs of 80 °F (27 °C), making it uncomfortable in certain locations to go on hikes.

One day, we also experienced heavy rain that seemed to come out of nowhere, swiftly soaked us, and then abruptly ceased.

After 30 minutes, the sun came out once again, and we were entirely dry. As you can see, Yellowstone may have gorgeous warm weather, but it can also snow in the summer. Thus, be ready for everything!

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Summer Travel & Accommodations

In June, July, and August, all routes in Yellowstone are accessible. But, it is also the time of year when any necessary road maintenance and repairs must be made, so there may be some localised delays and closures.

Summer hours for all Yellowstone hotels and camping vary, with some opening just in the second part of June.

However…Know this: If you’re thinking about visiting Yellowstone in the summer, you should be aware that reservations for lodging within the park must be made more than a year in advance. 

You must act quickly since reservations for the next year typically go on sale in May of the current year.

Hence, you really need to prepare in advance or be ready to stay outside the park if you want to visit Yellowstone in the summer. 

Even so, if you want to get the greatest offers at the nicest places close by, you’ll need to make your reservations well in advance. 

Since all the best price/quality alternatives are taken first, the longer you wait to book, the farther away you’ll have to stay and the more costly it will get.

Summer Time Geothermal Features

The ideal environment for seeing Yellowstone’s vibrant geothermal characteristics is one with a clear sky, mild temperatures, and colourful scenery.

For instance, a bright, warm summer day is excellent for seeing the hues of the Grand Prismatic Spring.

It’s exactly as vibrant and spectacular in person as it is in the images if you are fortunate enough to witness it under ideal lighting. 

Absolutely amazing! But, if you visit on a chilly day, the spring will often be covered with steam, and if there isn’t any sunlight, the colours will typically seem drab.

Animal In The Summer

At Yellowstone, summer is the best season for animal viewing. Yellowstone is a true paradise for wildlife watching, home to 67 distinct kinds of animals and numerous more species.

Yet many animals relocate to higher altitudes when the summer heat rises. There is also plenty of food, so animals don’t need to go closer to the roads or humans and may safely remain in the woods.

The bison is the most accessible animal in Yellowstone. They are all around us! The roads in Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley often have hundreds of bison grazing beside them.

When preparing to travel through these two valleys, account for bison congestion delays since they often disrupt traffic and cause lengthy backups.

Elk and deer are often seen near the roadways as well, particularly in the early morning or around dusk.

If you want to go hiking in Yellowstone, bear sightings are regular as well, so it’s a good idea to have bear spray with you.

Yellowstone During The Summer Months

Yellowstone has its busiest times from June and September, with July and August being the biggest travel months during this time.

We also went to Yellowstone during this season (end of July – beginning of August).

While the big Yellowstone attractions were crowded (particularly Old Faithful), we discovered that it was generally simple to avoid the crowds in Yellowstone.

You barely ever encounter somebody if you merely walk more than 20 to 30 minutes from the automobile.

Summer Activities In Yellowstone

The finest time to experience everything that Yellowstone has to offer is in the summer. 

Yellowstone is a true paradise for individuals who like magnificent landscapes and outdoor activities, whether they be hiking, swimming, rafting, or sightseeing.

Here are some suggestions if you’re unsure about how to organize your time at the park

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Summer Yellowstone Tours

Yellowstone is often visited by excursions throughout the summer. Get Your Guide, our top pick for booking all tours worldwide, as well as Viator provides a broad variety of tours, ranging from day tours and rafting excursions to multi-day trips.

Fall Season In Yellowstone (September – October)

One of the finest seasons to visit Yellowstone is in the fall since the weather is still pleasant, the lodgings are open (and more reasonable), there are plenty of possibilities to see animals, and there are also fewer visitors. The autumnal season also delivers stunning fall hues.

TIP: The autumn foliage in the adjacent Grand Teton National Park is really breathtaking!

Unfortunately, Yellowstone’s fall is also incredibly brief, and before you know it, winter has here.

If you visit Yellowstone in the autumn, be ready for everything since the weather may be erratic as well.

Roads And Lodging In The Fall

By the end of October, several Yellowstone facilities had already begun to progressively shut. During the third week of September, the majority of campsites shut, and many Park

Lodges go dark shortly after that. Check out the lodging options in the communities around Yellowstone if you want to come in October.

Several routes shut down as early as the middle of October. The majority of Yellowstone roads shut for the winter season by the first week of November.

Autumnal Climate

Autumn weather in Yellowstone is quite erratic and may change drastically from day to day. 

There is a tremendous variation in temperature between 20 and 65 °F (-6 to 18 °C), isn’t there? Also, as the days become shorter, the temperature drops much faster after sunset.

Wildlife InThe Fall

In the autumn, many animals return to the valleys when the temperature cools. So, autumn is a great time to watch animals in Yellowstone.

Rutting season is now in full swing. When male elk compete for female attention before to mating season, you should anticipate hearing noisy bugling (a sound that alternates between low and high pitches) and even seeing some duels.

Seeing animals is always enjoyable, but be sure to stay your distance at all times.

Things To Do In The Autumn

Autumn is a fantastic time to go sightseeing. You may visit all of Yellowstone’s most stunning locations as long as the roads are open, just as in the summer.

Yellowstone’s autumn is a fantastic time to go biking and hiking. The finest time of year to go fishing is now.

Autumn Yellowstone Tours most of the day trips and multi-day excursions to Yellowstone that are offered during the summer also take place in September and the first week of October.

Winter In Yellowstone (November To March)

The coldest months in Yellowstone are from November through March. The most difficult time of year to go to Yellowstone, despite the fact that it may be a magnificent time to go. 

Why Winter Conditions Yellowstone’s winters may be quite severe. There is a lot of snow and the temperatures are often quite low, far below freezing. 

Yellowstone’s winter highs seldom exceed 32 °F (0 °C), while the typical lows in January and February rarely fall below 0 °F (-17 °C).

Make sure you are ready if you want to visit Yellowstone in the winter. Like a warm winter coat, wool and fleece sweaters, thermal underwear, insulated winter leggings (or ski pants), 

Wool socks, waterproof winter gloves, and a warm winter cap, good winter boots are a need.

Winter Travel & Accommodations

Just a limited portion of Yellowstone is accessible during the winter because of the snow.

In the winter, only the North and Northeast exits to Yellowstone are accessible to normal automobiles. 

The majority of park roads shut in the middle of October or around the start of November and are closed throughout winter.

If you’re going alone in the winter, the northern region of Yellowstone (the Mammoth Hot Springs area) is the ideal spot to go. 

The park’s administrative centre is located near Mammoth Springs and is accessible all year round.

The only campground that is available all year round is Mammoth Campground, however, I wouldn’t recommend camping in Yellowstone during the winter.

Throughout the winter, the majority of lodgings in Yellowstone are closed. But today there is also a “Winter Recreation Season” in Yellowstone, which runs from the middle of December until the end of February.

There are just two lodging options within Yellowstone that are open at that time, and they are Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins and Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins.

Instead, stay at a hotel in a town close to Yellowstone; there are many fantastic winter activities nearby, and you can take a tour to see Yellowstone for a day.

Several park routes are accessible at this time for over-the-snow travel by snow coach or snowmobile.

Here you may get the more detailed information regarding Yellowstone roads in winter as well as useful information.

Wintertime wildlife In Yellowstone

At Yellowstone, winter is a fantastic season to view animals. The majority of animals go to lower altitudes in search of food. They are often seen close to hot springs or geysers.

Many bison are to be expected, and winter is the ideal season to watch wolves. Early winter is when bighorn sheep go into a rut. 

Elk often appear in large herds in the northern region of Yellowstone and the area around Gardiner during their annual migration north.

Best Time To Visit Yellowstone

You won’t see any bears throughout the winter since they are hibernating at this time of year.

Wintertime Recreation The greatest time to go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, or ice climbing is during the winter recreation season. 

Seeing frozen waterfalls and geothermal phenomena against a wintry backdrop is always entertaining. In Yellowstone, winter is also a fantastic season to watch animals!

Winter Tours In Yellowstone

If you want to visit Yellowstone in the winter, you should strongly consider joining one of the planned groups that have already visited the park during this season. 

As was previously established, the only way to go about the park is via a snow bus or snowmobile.

There are multi-day excursions available that, during the winter, mostly focus on visiting the Mammoth Springs and Old Faithful regions and focusing on bison and wolf watching.

You may take a snow bus or a snowmobile on one of the winter day tours that depart from Jackson Hole. 

But if they aren’t available right away, make sure to check back a few weeks before your trip since you can normally only schedule these trips closer to the winter season.


As you can see, there is no clear-cut recommendation for the ideal time to visit Yellowstone.

The latter part of June, July, August, and early September is the finest times to visit Yellowstone if you want to take advantage of all the park has to offer.

Yet, this is also the most costly and crowded time of year to visit the end of May and the end of September to the beginning of October are slower travel times with many of the same benefits as summer, but with little fewer tourists.

The ideal time to visit Yellowstone is probably within this brief window of time.

There are fewer visitors, lodging costs are cheaper, the weather is suitable, and almost everything in the park is accessible.

Do not, however, believe that you will have the park to yourself. While August gets almost 50% more tourists than May, September is practically as busy as August, with just 10% fewer visits.

If you want to enjoy Yellowstone in the winter, mid-December to the end of February is the greatest time to go.

Of course, the off-peak seasons of autumn and spring are the ideal times to visit Yellowstone if you want to avoid crowds. 

You won’t be able to enjoy everything that the park has to offer since a lot of the amenities and routes are blocked.

TIP: Visit Yellowstone towards the end of May or the end of September or the beginning of October to escape the busiest times of the year and still get the greatest views.

Instead, just go to the busiest sights very early in the day. 

The greatest strategy for avoiding crowds in Yellowstone is to get up early, and this is true year-round.


What time of year is ideal for visiting Yellowstone National Park?

The summer months, from mid-June to mid-September, are by far the greatest for visiting Yellowstone.

When the weather is at its finest, all the amenities and roads are open, and you may fully enjoy Yellowstone National Park. Yet this is also when things are busiest.

When can you visit Yellowstone with the least amount of tourists and yet see everything?

Yellowstone has a relatively short season during which it is completely accessible, therefore the park is always crowded.

In light of this, your best chance is to come towards the end of May or from the end of September to the beginning of October to take advantage of everything that Yellowstone has to offer with fewer visitors.

What time of year is ideal for seeing animals in Yellowstone?

All year long, animals may be seen at Yellowstone. The most obvious animals to look for are bison, which you may see at any time of the year. 

The ideal time to watch wolves is in the winter. The ideal time to see bears along the side of the road is in the spring, from late March to early April through May; during the summer, they usually go to higher altitudes.

Is Yellowstone accessible in the winter?

It is possible to visit Yellowstone National Park in the winter, but you should be aware that many of the routes are blocked. 

The greatest time to visit Yellowstone during the winter is from mid-December through February when the park’s “Winter Recreation Season” is in full swing.

But, even today, much of Yellowstone can only be reached by over-snow vehicles (so you need to book a tour).

Which time of year is the worst to visit Yellowstone?

At Yellowstone, there is always something to view, and the Mammoth Hot Springs region is accessible all year. 

The least desirable months to visit Yellowstone are, however, November through mid-December and March through April. You won’t be able to see or do much since the majority of facilities and roads are shut down.

So here is our guide to seeing Yellowstone at its finest. Want to ask a question or share your Yellowstone travel tales? Post a comment below.

  • February 23, 2023