Visiting Yellowstone in the Spring

Wondering what it’s like to visit Yellowstone in the Spring? It’s important to know the roads that will be open and the services that will be available for the months you’ll be visiting.

Check out this Yellowstone National Park travel guide to plan your spring trip: services available, things to do, what to pack, and where to stay.

visiting yellowstone in the spring

From geysers to hot springs, bison to elk, and stunning views of mountains, meadows, waterfalls, and rivers – Yellowstone in the spring offers an unforgettable experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

There are a variety of Yellowstone National Park spring activities to help you explore the stunning and unique points of interest in the park!

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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!

What to Expect at Yellowstone in the Spring

At the beginning of the spring season, you are almost guaranteed to see snow at lower levels. As the season progresses these snowy areas will turn into lush green fields that seem to change overnight. 

During the spring the rivers run high and the Yellowstone waterfalls are powerful. There’s snow on the mountains in the distance for the most incredible views and pictures.

Meanwhile, you will start to see nature all around you with the baby animals all about. Everywhere you look you will be in awe at Yellowstone in the spring. 

How to Get to Yellowstone in the Spring

The West Yellowstone entrance opens mid-April. The East entrance near Cody opens the first part of May. The South entrance from Jackson opens mid-May.

Yellowstone Weather in Spring

Spring can often feel more like a Yellowstone winter vacation compared to other places because it is higher in elevation.  

Be aware the Yellowstone National Park weather can change almost instantly so you want to be sure you come prepared with the right clothes especially for those very cold days and nights. 

It is not unusual to get snowfall in May so watch the weather and pack a winter coatwinter hat, and winter gloves when going to Yellowstone during all the spring months. 

Yellowstone in March: the snowmobile and snowcoach travel begins to stop. Be sure to check the NPS website for specific Yellowstone closure dates. All roads usually close by mid-March except the road from Gardiner to Cooke City. March is still very cold and snowy: Highs 35 | Lows 2 degrees F.

Yellowstone in April: mid-April the West Entrance road opens so you can drive to Madison, Mammoth, Old Faithful, Norris and Canyon. The other roads on the east side of park don’t usually open until May. Since the weather is still pretty cold, the crowds typically have not arrived quite yet at the park: Highs 50 | Lows 27 degrees F.

Yellowstone in May: the park is bustling with baby animals as well as all the other animals roaming about! By mid-May all the roads are open so that you can explore on your own. May is a terrific time to take photos of the green landscape and raging Yellowstone waterfalls! Although typically you don’t think of snow in May, there is a chance that you might still see snow on your trip so you will want to plan accordingly: Highs 55 | Lows 30 degrees F.

Road Closures at Yellowstone in the 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 the Yellowstone summer vacation crowds (except for the road from Gardiner to Cooke City that’s open year-round).

Lamar Valley Yellowstone in the spring
Lamar Valley in the spring

Things to Do In Yellowstone in the Spring

Here’s a list of things to do at Yellowstone National Park while visiting in the spring.

Yellowstone Biking in the Spring

Biking in the spring is a popular choice to get around the park once roads are cleared and the park determines that they are “open” for bike riders. This usually happens towards the end of March. 

Yellowstone Scenic Drives in the Spring

Yellowstone covers over 2 million acres of land! It’s divided into 2 main sections and 9 areas.

Yellowstone National Park Southern Loop: 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: 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

We HIGHLY recommend the Yellowstone GyPSy Guide App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.

Yellowstone Wildlife in the Spring

We find late spring is one of the best times to visit yellowstone for wildlife!

March: the male bears begin to emerge from their dens searching for carcasses. Bison once again return to the Blacktail Ponds area. Sandhill cranes, ducks, robins, swans, geese, red-tailed hawks, bluebirds, and meadowlarks also begin to return to Yellowstone this time of year.

April: you’ll begin to see bison calves along the northern end of the park. These calves are also called ‘red dogs’ because of their bright rusty orange coats. Male bears are also out and about. More birds begin to return: warblers, flycatchers, tanagers, swallows, loons, peregrine falcons, and osprey.

May: it’s an amazing time for wildlife babies: bear cubs, elk calves, and wolf pups begin to be seen throughout the park in the vibrant green meadows.

Here are some helpful resources for watching and photographing wildlife in Yellowstone:

Two Ribbons Trail Yellowstone
Two Ribbons Trail

Yellowstone Hiking in the Spring

The Yellowstone hiking trails will probably be wet and muddy, and many might still have snow or ice. Check with the rangers at the Visitor Center to get current conditions.

There will still be a lot of snow in March and April, and maybe even in May for higher elevations. You may need more than your hiking boots so check with the Visitor Center to see if showshoeing is the best way to experience the trails when you visit.

Check out these fun hiking trails:

Lower Falls at Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Lower Falls

Yellowstone Waterfalls in the Spring

Experiencing and photographing the various Yellowstone waterfalls is always at the top of our must-do list. Spring is an amazing time to see the raging waterfalls at the park!! Here’s a list of the main waterfall attractions in Yellowstone:

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

Yellowstone Geysers and Hot Pools in the Spring

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:

Yellowstone Camping in the Spring

There are so many great places to stay at Yellowstone National Park in the spring.

If you want to truly experience the park there are 12 Yellowstone campgrounds with over 2000 sites.

Each of these offer different amenities so you will want to reserve the one that is best for you if available. The campgrounds all open at different times throughout the spring, so check their opening dates prior to arriving.  

Yellowstone maps and guides

Yellowstone Tours and Day Trips

plan your dream vacation to yellowstone

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