Yellowstone National Park features stunning geysers, hot springs, canyons and mountain ranges.
As you begin to plan your vacation, you might ask when is the best month to visit Yellowstone National Park? The answer depends on what you’re looking for and what kind of experience you want to have.
Use this Yellowstone National Park travel guide to determine the month that’s best for you to visit for the things you want to see, do, and photograph.
To help you decide the best month to visit Yellowstone, we share a list of activities, things to pack, travel tips, and weather information for each month of the year at the park.
Use our Yellowstone National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear to visit any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
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A Photo Tour of Yellowstone Waterfalls
Take a visual tour through Yellowstone National Park to see the stunning landscape and waterfalls you’ll find in the park!
Best Month to Visit Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is located in the western United States, primarily in Wyoming but also extending into Montana and Idaho.
The park covers an area of over 3,500 square miles (8989 km2), making it larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.
Its diverse ecosystems support a variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk. If there are specific animals you want to see, then you’ll want to know the best month to visit Yellowstone for wildlife.
Visitors come from all over the globe to take part in Yellowstone National Park activities such as camping, hiking or simply taking in the unique scenery that makes this place so special.
It’s important to be up-to-date with the current Yellowstone National Park weather and road conditions, especially in the winter.
Here’s our list of tips for visiting Yellowstone every month of the year: general travel information, list of things to do, items to pack, and weather information!
Spring Months at Yellowstone National Park
The spring months of March, April and May are pretty quiet at Yellowstone. You’ll find limited things to do in early spring:
When visiting Yellowstone in the spring, pay attention to winter closing dates and spring opening dates. Check the NPS website for updated Yellowstone road status.
Usually from mid-March to mid-April all roads are closed to prepare for summer, except for the road from Gardiner to Cooke City that’s open year-round.
It still feels like winter when you visit Yellowstone National Park in March with highs around 39 and lows around 10 degrees F.
The roads will close to oversnow travel by snowmobile and snowcoach around these times in March:
- Early March: Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris
- Early March: Norris to Madison and Norris to Canyon Village
- Mid-March: Canyon Village to Fishing Bridge
- Mid-March: All remaining groomed roads close
April Vacation to Grand Teton
Yellowstone National Park in April will still feel like winter so be prepared for cold and snow. Average highs are around 46 with the lows around 19 degrees F.
April is a transition time at Yellowstone so it’s important to know what services and roads are open at this time. Usually toward the end of April the West Entrance usually opens to provide access to Madison, Mammoth, Old Faithful and Norris.
May Vacation to Grand Teton
You can expect highs near 53 and lows near 28 degrees F at Yellowstone in May.
In May, the Yellowstone roads, services, and lodges are starting to open. The East Entrance opens in early May; the South Entrance opens in mid May; and Dunraven Pass opens at the end of May.
Yellowstone waterfalls are raging this time of year. Most of the waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park don’t require hiking to see them.
Summer Months at Yellowstone National Park
The summer months at Yellowstone are the most popular times to visit because the weather is so nice! But that means you’ll need to navigate the crowds. Check out the fun things you can do during the summer months of June, July, and August:
- Yellowstone National Park Summer Activities
- Yellowstone National Park Easy Summer Hikes
- Yellowstone Summer Tours
Visitation numbers in the summer is high so be prepared for crowds during the day. We always recommend entering the park early in the morning, or even later in the afternoon.
Be prepared for slow cars and bison or bear jams. Pack your patience and enjoy the scenery!
Now for the breakdown of what to expect at Yellowstone each month in the summer.
June Vacation to Yellowstone
The weather at Yellowstone in June is just right for daytime activities with highs near 70 and lows near 41 degrees F.
By mid-June everything should be open, but it’s always good to check in advance the regions of the park that are open for the dates you’ll visit in June.
Reservations are required for camping at Yellowstone National Park at all the campgrounds. You can book campsites on Recreation.gov. Reserving six months in advance is recommended!
If you can’t get a spot in the park, there are some RV Parks near Yellowstone National Park the offer tent, RV, and cabin camping options!
July Vacation to Yellowstone
At Yellowstone National Park in July expect daytime highs near 80 and lows in the high 40s degrees Fahrenheit.
Yellowstone covers over 2 million acres of land! It’s divided into 2 main sections and 9 areas. You’ll find two scenic drive loops within the park:
Yellowstone National Park Southern Loop Scenic Drive: There are three entrances to access the southern loop of Yellowstone: West (West Yellowstone), South (Grand Teton), and East (Cody).
Yellowstone National Park Northern Loop Scenic Drive: There are two entrances with direct access to the north loop of Yellowstone: North (Gardiner) and Northeast (Cooke City).
There are so many points of interest to see along these drives! We HIGHLY recommend downloading the GuideAlong Yellowstone Audio Tour App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location in the park!
August Vacation to Yellowstone
The average temperatures at Yellowstone National Park in August are highs near 80 and lows in the high 40s degrees Fahrenheit.
By August the higher elevation hiking trails should be dried out. Before exploring any hikes in Yellowstone National Park, we recommend you check with the rangers at the Visitor Center to get current trail conditions. Also tell someone your hiking destination, route, and estimated time of return.
Stay on trails: taking shortcuts causes trail erosion and is dangerous. In hydrothermal areas, stepping on thin crust may plunge you into boiling water.
The bison rut happens every August, and it’s exciting to watch. You’ll find big herds in Lamar and Hayden Valley.
Fall Months at Yellowstone National Park
Early fall is still a busy time at the park. By late fall services and roads at Yellowstone begin to close. Check out the fun things you can do during the fall months of September, October, and November:
With the cooler temperatures at night and the early mornings, especially late fall, be sure to dress in layers and carry a fleece jacket, winter hat, and winter gloves.
Now for the breakdown of what to expect at Yellowstone each month in the fall.
September Vacation to Yellowstone
When visiting Yellowstone National Park in September expect daytime highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s.
Visitation numbers in September are high so be prepared for crowds during the day.
Around the second week of September, you’ll begin to hear the high pitched bugle of bull elk signaling the elk rut! The town of Mammoth is a terrific place to watch the male elk exert their dominance.
Bears return to the lower elevations looking for berries and bull bison or elk that perished during the rut. Migratory hawks and eagles begin to travel south and west for the winter.
October Vacation to Yellowstone
Be ready for any type of weather when visiting Yellowstone in October. During the day the highs are around 56 degrees and the lows around 30 degrees F!
In October, the Yellowstone lodges, stores, gas stations, and roads begin to close for the season. Be sure you know in advance what to expect for all park services.
Be prepared for rain or snow at any time in October. Layers are key this time of year and pack your winter clothing essentials “just in case”.
November Vacation to Yellowstone
The temperatures at Yellowstone in November mean daytime highs are near 39 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows are around 20!
For the entire month of November, you are limited to the one single road from the north entrance in Gardiner to the northeast entrance in Cooke City.
Here’s a list of hiking trails open in November:
Driving and hiking through Lamar Valley is an awesome place to see herds of bison, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see wolves and bears. Check out the fun Yellowstone wildlife tours available this time of year!
Winter Months at Yellowstone National Park
Check out the fun things you can do during the winter months of December, January, and February:
- Yellowstone Winter Activities
- Yellowstone National Park Winter Tours
- Yellowstone National Park Winter Pictures
In the winter all roads except from the north entrance in Gardiner to the northeast entrance in Cooke City are closed.
Now for the breakdown of what to expect at Yellowstone each month in the winter.
December Vacation to Grand Teton
When you visit Yellowstone in December you can expect cold temperatures. Daytime highs are in the 30s and lows in the teens!
Bundle up and wear winter clothing so you can enjoy the outdoors, even when it’s cold!
We enjoyed traveling along Yellowstone’s snow-covered roads in a bomardier snowcoach. It’s a unique experience you can’t get anywhere else to see steaming geysers amid a snowy landscape.
January Vacation to Grand Teton
The weather at Yellowstone in January is COLD: highs in the upper 20s and lows near 0 degrees F!
If you’re looking for an intimate winter experience, check out the Yellowstone winter lodging options: Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins!
February Vacation to Yellowstone
The average highs at Yellowstone National Park in February in February are near 30 degrees with the lows around 0 degrees F.
Be aware there will be a lot of snow in January so you’ll need more than your hiking boots. Showshoeing and cross country skiing are the best ways to experience the trails at Yellowstone in the winter.
Be ready with your WINTER camera gear to capture images of the landscape, waterfalls, geysers, hot pools, and wildlife as you venture through the park’s roads and trails!
Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:
Where to Stay Near Yellowstone
Places to stay in West Yellowstone
- Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone
- ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone
- Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone
- West Yellowstone hotels!
Places to stay in Gardiner
- Yellowstone Gateway Inn, Gardiner – full kitchen and comfy bed, one of our favorite places to stay!
- Park Hotel Yellowstone, Gardiner – charming place to stay and loved by guests!
- Absaroka Lodge, Gardiner – beautiful location with river views!
- Gardiner hotels!