Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park

We get a lot of questions asking about the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park and what to expect each month of the year.

When planning an Yellowstone National Park vacation, figuring out the best time of year to visit is a big deal.

Use our Yellowstone National Park travel guide and the list below to learn more about what it’s like to visit Yellowstone during each season and month to help you plan your vacation.

We share a general travel guide, list of things to do, packing checklist, travel tips and weather information for the different seasons and months at the park.

When is the Best Time to Visit Yellowstone

Yellowstone seasons range from warm summers to extremely cold winters, with unpredictable spring and fall weather.

Below you’ll find articles with detailed information on what to expect when visiting Yellowstone in the spring, summer, fall or winter… and various months of the year.

Our favorite times to go are May, October and winter! Be sure you wear winter clothing if you plan to go during that time.

Yellowstone National Park by Season

There are important things to know about visiting Yellowstone during each season. Check out these lists of the things to do and what to expect at the park during the spring, summer, fall and winter.

Yellowstone National Park by Month

Check out these articles to know all about planning a trip to Yellowstone during a specific month so you know in advance what to expect. You’ll find general travel information, list of things to do, packing checklist, travel tips and weather information for each month at the park.

January and February

  • Visitation: Low
  • Weather: High 28° / Low 3°
  • Services: Limited
  • Roads: Winter travel restrictions for all areas except Mammoth to northeast entrance
  • Activities: Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snowcoach tours, overnight at Old Faithful, ranger-led programs, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Coyotes and foxes hunting (snow-covered meadows throughout the park), rime ice and steam inversions (thermal areas), trumpeter swans (rivers with open water), and wolves (Lamar Valley)

March

  • Visitation: Low
  • Weather: High 31° / Low 4°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Winter travel restrictions for all areas except Mammoth to northeast entrance.
  • Activities: Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snowcoach tours, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Grizzly bears emerge from dens, migrants begin to arrive (bluebirds, meadowlarks, osprey, robins), and wolves (Lamar Valley)
  • Interior roads close for spring plowing (check the website for the exact dates)

April

  • Visitation: Low to moderate
  • Weather: High 39° / Low 10°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Roads begin opening to regular vehicles
  • Activities: Hiking (lower elevations), skiing and snowshoeing (higher elevations), and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Bison calving (Lamar Valley), black bears emerge from dens (Lamar Valley), bull elk antlers in velvet (Northern Range), chorus frogs (wetlands throughout the park), grizzly bears (roadside meadows), and wildflowers (buttercups, shooting stars, pasqueflower)

May

  • Visitation: Moderate (Memorial Day is very busy)
  • Weather: High 53° / Low 28°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: All roads open by Memorial Day weekend
  • Activities: Hiking and backpacking (lower elevations), guided trips, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Black bears (Lamar Valley), bison calving (Lamar Valley), campgrounds begin to open, chorus frogs (wetlands throughout the park), elk calving (Mammoth Hot Springs), grizzly bears (roadside meadows), moose calving (Lamar Valley), pronghorn calving (Lamar Valley), wildflowers (glacier lilies, bitterroot), and wolf pups emerge from dens (Lamar Valley)
  • All roads open, fishing season opens, and some bear-management closures lifted (Memorial Day Weekend)

June

  • Visitation: Moderate to high
  • Weather: High 63° / Low 34°
  • Services: Limited to full
  • Access: All roads open
  • Activities: Boating, camping, fishing (lakes), hiking and backpacking (lower elevations), ranger-led programs, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Bears less visible as they move to higher elevations, bighorn sheep calving (Lamar Valley, Calcite Springs Overlook), elk calving (Mammoth Hot Springs), mountain goats calving (northeast entrance), wildflowers (arrowleaf balsamroot), songbirds in full song, waterfalls flowing at full volume, and high water limits access to backcountry campsites and popular swimming areas

Moose Falls at Yellowstone

July

  • Visitation: High
  • Weather: High 73° / Low 39°
  • Services: Full
  • Access: All roads open
  • Activities: Boating, camping, fishing (lakes, rivers, and streams), guided trips, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, ranger-led programs, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Bison rut (Lamar & Hayden valleys), mosquitos, wildflowers (at higher elevations), and river levels drop (opening up many backcountry campsites)

August

  • Visitation: High
  • Weather: High 71° / Low 37°
  • Services: Full
  • Access: All roads open
  • Activities: Hiking, backpacking, boating, camping, fishing, guided trips, horseback riding, ranger-led programs, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Wildfire smoke can obscure views and bison rut (Lamar & Hayden valleys)

September

  • Visitation: High to moderate
  • Weather: High 62° / Low 31°
  • Services: Full to limited
  • Access: All roads open (weather may cause temporary closures)
  • Activities: Camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, guided trips, ranger-led programs, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Campgrounds begin to close for season, elk rut (Mammoth Hot Springs, Grant Village), black and grizzly bears (roadside meadows), raptor migration (Hayden Valley), fall color (above 7,000 feet), and fewer mosquitos
  • Significant Dates: Boating services close for season on Yellowstone Lake (Mid-September)

October

  • Visitation: Moderate to low
  • Weather: High 48° / Low 24°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Roads begin closing for winter season (and weather causes many temporary closures)
  • Activities: Hiking, backpacking, fishing, ranger-led programs, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Bears return to lower elevations and are more visible along roads, elk rut (Mammoth Hot Springs, Grant Village), raptor migration (Hayden Valley), fall color (below 7,000 feet), and snow begins to accumulate (above 7,000 feet)
  • Significant Dates: Dunraven Pass and Beartooth Highway (outside northeast entrance) close (Mid-October)

November

  • Visitation: Low
  • Weather: High 34° / Low 13°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Winter travel restrictions for all areas except Mammoth to northeast entrance
  • Activities: Hiking and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Bighorn sheep rut (north entrance), bison begin migrating to lower elevations, snow begins to accumulate (below 7,000 feet), wolves (Lamar Valley)
  • Significant Dates: Interior roads close to vehicles and fishing season ends (Early November)

December

  • Visitation: Low
  • Weather: High 26° / Low 4°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Winter travel restrictions for all areas except Mammoth to northeast entrance
  • Activities: Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snowcoach tours, overnight at Old Faithful, and wildlife watching
  • Highlights: Bighorn sheep rut (north entrance), rime ice and steam inversions (thermal areas), trumpeter swans (rivers with open water), and wolves (Lamar Valley)
  • Significant Dates: Interior roads open to oversnow travel (Mid-December)

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Plan a Yellowstone Vacation

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