Yellowstone in October – Is It A Good Time To Visit?

We really like visiting Yellowstone in October because there are fewer people, cooler temperatures for hiking and greater wildlife activity. It’s a stark contrast to the crowds of summer.

Located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, this vast wilderness area boasts some of the most stunning natural scenery in the United States.

Use this Yellowstone National Park travel guide to plan a trip in October: services available, weather, and things to do.

things to do in Yellowstone in October

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.

We live only hours away and visit Yellowstone often. October is one of our favorite times to go! The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the park this time of year, and specifically in October.

Use our Yellowstone National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in October! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Yellowstone packing list Optin box
This site contains affiliate links which means WE may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. We only provide links to products we actually use and/or wholeheartedly recommend! As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full Disclosure Policy.

Visiting Yellowstone National Park in October

Visiting Yellowstone in mid-October is so nice because tour buses are few and you often have the roadways and trails to yourselves. It’s one of the best times to visit Yellowstone National Park.

As nature and wildlife enthusiasts, we spend our days searching for new photographic opportunities of the park’s mountains, lakes, rivers, and volcanic hot spots.

Yellowstone Weather in October

The Yellowstone National Park weather and temperatures in October are highs around 56 and lows around 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Be prepared for rain or snow at any time in October. Layers are key when exploring Yellowstone in October. Reference our winter clothing guide so you can enjoy the outdoors, even when it’s cold! We recommend at the minimum:

Yellowstone Roads in October

In October you may find road closures due to inclement weather and dangerous driving conditions. For up-to-date information on roads call (307) 344-2117 for recorded information, or sign up to receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone by texting “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions). 

Yellowstone roads will close the end of October or beginning of November each year to prepare for winter. Be sure to check the Yellowstone Fall Closing Dates for the most current information.

The road from the north entrance in Gardiner to the northeast entrance in Cooke City remains open year-round.

Buffalo and landscape scene at Lamar Valley in Yellowstone in the fall

Yellowstone Services and Lodging in October

Here’s a list of services and lodging available in October at Yellowstone:

Canyon Village and the Grand Canyon:

  • Canyon Lodges and Cabins: close early to mid-October
  • Canyon Visitor Education Center: closes the end of October
  • Canyon General Store and Post Office: close early October
  • Canyon Service Station: closes the end of October – credit card fueling available 24-hours

Fishing Bridge:

  • Fishing Bridge RV Park: closes early October
  • Fishing Bridge Visitor Center & Trailside Museum: closes early October
  • Fishing Bridge Service Station: closes early October – credit card fueling available 24-hours

Lake Village:

  • All Lake hotels, cabins, dining, and post office close early October

Madison and the West:

Mammoth Hot Springs and the North:

  • Albright Visitor Center: open year-round
  • Mammoth Hot Springs General Store and Post Office: open year-round
  • Mammoth Campground: open year-round
  • Mammoth Clinic: open all year, weekdays only in October
  • Mammoth Hot Springs Cabins and Terrace Grill: close mid-October
  • Mammoth Service Station: closes early October – credit card fueling available 24-hours

Norris Geyser Basin:

  • Norris Geyser Basin Museum, Information Station, and Bookstore: close mid-October

Old Faithful:

  • Old Faithful General Store and Post Office: close mid-October
  • Old Faithful Clinic: closes early October
  • Old Faithful Inn, dining, and gift shop: close mid-October
  • Old Faithful Lodge Cabins, cafeteria, and gift shop: close early October
  • Old Faithful Snow Lodge, dining, and gift shop: close the end of October
  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center: closes the end of October
  • Old Faithful Service Station: closes late October – credit card fueling available 24-hours

Tower-Roosevelt and the Northwest:

  • Slough Creek Campground: closes mid-October
  • Roosevelt Service Station: credit card fueling available 24-hours

West Thumb, Grant, and the South:

  • Grant Village Lodge, dining, and gift shop: close early October
  • Grant Visitor Center: closes early October
  • Grant Village Service Station: credit card fueling available 24-hours
  • Lewis Lake Campground: closes mid-October
  • West Thumb Information Station: closes early October

Always check the Yellowstone operating hours and seasons for the most updated information.

How Long Should I Plan My Yellowstone Vacation?

We suggest you plan to go for at least 4-5 days to really experience Yellowstone. This way you are not rushed and you can be a little more patient with the crowds of people knowing you have time to see everything. 

Not only that, but 4-5 days gives you time to relax, fish, hike, and really experience Yellowstone for everything it has to offer! Here’s our favorite Yellowstone 4 day itinerary!

Things to Do at Yellowstone in October

While all the roads are still open, here’s a list of Yellowstone National Park fall activities you can do in October.

Yellowstone Scenic Drives in October

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, as well as other stunning Yellowstone scenic drives outside 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).

There are seven areas in the southern loop of Yellowstone:

  • Madison
  • Old Faithful
  • Lake
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Grant Village
  • Canyon
  • Norris

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 four areas in the northern loop of Yellowstone:

  • Mammoth
  • Tower-Roosevelt
  • Canyon
  • Norris

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!

Hiking at Yellowstone in October

Before exploring any Yellowstone hiking trails in October, 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.

What to Bring on a Day Hike: at a minimum, carry water, a raincoat or poncho, a warm hat, an insulating (non cotton) layer of clothing, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a first aid kit.

Click this link for a list of Yellowstone National Park Easy fall hikes to add to your list! Check out the Yellowstone hikes by region:

Yellowstone Waterfalls in October

Experiencing and photographing the various Yellowstone waterfalls is always at the top of our must-do list. Most of the time we were able to enjoy the sounds and serenity of the waterfalls at Yellowstone in October with no other people around.

Here’s a list of the main waterfall attractions in the park:

  • Canyon: Lower and Upper Falls, Brink of Upper Falls
  • Firehole Falls
  • Gibbon Falls
  • Kepler Cascades
  • Lewis Falls
  • Moose Falls
  • Tower Fall
  • Undine Falls

The one drawback for an October visit to Yellowstone is the waterfalls aren’t as full as they are in the spring, but they are still amazing nonetheless.


Yellowstone Geysers and Hot Springs in October

Any time of year is a good time to see the hydrothermal features in Yellowstone: geysers, hot springs, mudpots, travertine terraces and fumaroles. Check out the NPS website for the latest geyser eruption predictions!

Here’s a list of the best locations to see these these unique features:

grizzly bear at Yellowstone in the fall
Grizzly bear at Yellowstone

Yellowstone Wildlife in October

As snow begins to fall, male grizzlies are eating what they can before denning season, and female grizzlies are looking for possible den locations. Bison, elk, deer and other mammals build up coats of fur for the winter.

In October we find Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley, and the Madison areas some of the best places to see wildlife in Yellowstone National Park!

We’ve put together this resource of the best time to visit yellowstone for wildlife in case you want to see a specific animal in the park.

Remember the parameters to keep you and the animals safe!

  • Never approach animals. The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be.
  • The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk.
  • Stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas. Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature. Keep your children close and don’t let them run.
  • Never feed wildlife. Animals that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed. Keep all food, garbage, or other smelly items packed away when not in use.
  • Never park in the road or block traffic. Use pullouts to watch wildlife and let other cars pass. Stay with your vehicle if you encounter a wildlife jam.

In order to keep your distance from wildlife, it’s important to have the right camera gear for photographing wildlife:

Yellowstone Photography in October

We recommend you have your camera ready to go because the wildlife you may see as you drive through the park won’t wait for you to find the camera in your car.

In October you’ll also want to photograph the geysers, hot pools, waterfalls and rivers. Here are some tips for taking pictures at Yellowstone.

RV in Yellowstone

Yellowstone Camping in October

In October there are only a two places to camp at Yellowstone National Park: Fishing Bridge and Lewis Lake. They close in early October so be sure to check closing dates!

There might be RV Parks Near Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone, Gardiner, Cody, or Jackson that are still open in October.

Yellowstone maps and guides

Where to Stay in Yellowstone in October

Places to stay in West Yellowstone

Places to stay in Gardiner

plan your dream vacation to yellowstone

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *