Visiting Yellowstone in the Spring: Everything You Need To Know

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.

yellowstone in the spring

We share the services available, things to do, what to pack, and where to stay for a Yellowstone spring vacation.

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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.

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. 

Yellowstone Weather in Spring

Spring can often feel more like a Yellowstone winter vacation compared to other places because it is higher in elevation. Temperatures throughout the day can range from the 30s to the 60s and the nights are still well below freezing that usually dips down into the teens or single digits. 

Be aware the 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. 

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

Yellowstone in March

Yellowstone National Park 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. Temperatures vary throughout the park depending on where you are, but on average the highs will vary between 31 and 41 degrees. The lows will drop all the way down to 2 degrees on average. 

Yellowstone in April

Yellowstone National Park in April is simply incredible. The animals are starting to give birth and start to spend even more time out of their dens where they have spent the winter months.

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. The weather in April typically warms up during the day but still stays pretty cold at night. Daytime highs are around the 50s while the lows are around 27 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to be sure to dress for the weather and prepare for cooler weather as well just in case. 

Yellowstone in May

The park is bustling with baby animals as well as all the other animals roaming about at Yellowstone in May! By mid-May all the roads are open so that you can explore on your own.

Besides the abundance of wildlife, May is the best time to take photos of the green landscape and raging Yellowstone waterfalls!

In May you can:

  • Hike on lower level hiking trails are cleared and ready for you to explore
  • Higher elevation trails are open, but might still have snow.
  • Wildlife bustling to observe and photograph
  • Roads are open to take Yellowstone scenic drives throughout the park
  • At the end of May, the fishing season begins. 

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. The highs within the park hover between 51 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit while the lows are anywhere between 27 degrees and 35 degrees. 

Things to Do In Yellowstone in Spring

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

Biking at Yellowstone 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 Wildlife in the Spring

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

In 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.

In 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 is 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:


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: Canyon Area day hikes, Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Lamar Valley.

You can check the Yellowstone Backcountry Situation Report for all pertinent information about the backcountry.


Photographing Yellowstone in the Spring

While visiting Yellowstone in the spring you will definitely want to take advantage of all the incredible photography opportunities throughout the park. 

Yellowstone in the spring is truly breathtaking. Even with the cooler temperatures, you will be in awe of the beauty of the park and love seeing all the nature has to offer at Yellowstone. 

You’ll want to photograph the waterfalls, rivers and look for reflections when taking pictures at Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:

Yellowstone maps and guides

Camping at Yellowstone 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.  

Where to Stay Near Yellowstone in the Spring

If you would rather stay in a hotel or vacation rental near Yellowstone, we highly recommend these hotels and vacations rentals!

Places to stay in West Yellowstone

Places to stay in Gardiner

Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate

Yellowstone Tours and Day Trips

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