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.

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.

yellowstone national park best time to visit

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

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.

Yellowstone packing list Optin box

FREE DOWNLOAD: Printable Yellowstone Packing Lists

Packing for a winter vacation in Yellowstone

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Read the full Disclosure Policy.

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!

When is the Best Time to Visit Yellowstone

Determining the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park all depends on what you want to see, do, and photograph! 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. It’s important to know what the Yellowstone National Park weather is like for the time of year you’ll visit.

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

If you’re interested in seeing and photographing wildlife, we’ve detailed everything you need to know here: best time to visit Yellowstone for wildlife!

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.

Man with camera in a snowcoach at Yellowstone in the winter

Yellowstone in January and February

  • Visitation: Low
  • Weather: High 28° / Low 3°
  • Services: Limited
  • Roads: Yellowstone 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)

Yellowstone in March

  • Visitation: Low
  • Weather: High 31° / Low 4°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Yellowstone 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 Yellowstone roads close for spring plowing (check the website for the exact dates)

Yellowstone in April

  • Visitation: Low to moderate
  • Weather: High 39° / Low 10°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Yellowstone 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)
two-bison-lock-horns-during-the-bison-rut-at-yellowstone-by-photo-jeepers

Yellowstone in May

  • Visitation: Moderate (Memorial Day is very busy)
  • Weather: High 53° / Low 28°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: All Yellowstone 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)

Yellowstone in 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

Yellowstone in 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)
Moose Falls at Yellowstone

Yellowstone in 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)

Yellowstone in 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)

Yellowstone in October

  • Visitation: Moderate to low
  • Weather: High 48° / Low 24°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Yellowstone 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)

Yellowstone in November

  • Visitation: Low
  • Weather: High 34° / Low 13°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Yellowstone 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)

Yellowstone in December

  • Visitation: Low
  • Weather: High 26° / Low 4°
  • Services: Limited
  • Access: Yellowstone 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)

Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:

Yellowstone maps and guides

Plan a Yellowstone Vacation

Places to stay in West Yellowstone

Places to stay in Gardiner

Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate

plan your dream vacation to yellowstone

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.