Yellowstone in the Spring is truly an unbelievable experience that you will want to experience at least once in your lifetime.
When you start to plan a Yellowstone vacation you definitely want to consider visiting in the spring with nature literally changing right before your eyes on your visit.
For an unforgettable experience visit Yellowstone in the Spring.
- What to pack for Yellowstone in the Spring
- Where to Stay Near Yellowstone
- Yellowstone Weather
- Things to Do in Yellowstone in Spring
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WHAT TO PACK FOR A NATIONAL PARK TRIP IN THE SPRING
Packing for a trip in the spring means being prepared for any type of weather!
1. US National Parks Pass
- You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas.
- → BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation.
2. Hiking Gear
- Spring hiking at some national parks may mean wet trails, and even some patches of snow! You’ll want waterproof hiking boots or shoes: → Check out our favorite Merrell Moab hiking shoes!
- Hiking socks that breath… and if they prevent blisters, that’s even better: → Check out the BEST SOCKS by Darn Tough!
- Walking stick or trekking poles
3. Clothing – Layers
- Wicking and quick-drying base layers
- Fleece or insulated jacket: → Columbia fleece jackets are our favorite!
- Waterproof rain jacket
- WATER: → Use refillable water bottles or a hydration backpack
- FOOD: → Check out our list of healthy snacks
- Flashlight or headlamp
- National Park maps
- Lip protection with sunscreen
- Polarized sunglasses
- Hand lotion
- Toilet paper (carry out in a bag – do not bury)
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit
- Bags to pack out trash
- Cell phone
- Portable charger
- Guide books
- Camera Gear – DOWNLOAD the free camera gear checklist!
- Photography gear for hiking
Where to Stay when visiting Yellowstone
There are so many great places to stay at Yellowstone in the spring. If you want to truly experience Yellowstone there are 12 campgrounds with over 2000 sites. At 5 of these campgrounds, you can make a reservation prior to arriving, but the rest are first come first serve. The five campgrounds that you can reserve are:
- Bridge Bay
- Fishing Bridge RV Park
- Grant Village
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.
Hotels and Vacation Rentals Near Yellowstone
If you would rather stay in a hotel or vacation rental near Yellowstone, we highly recommend these!
Places to stay in West Yellowstone that we recommend:
- Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone
- ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone
- Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone
- → CHECK OUT more West Yellowstone hotels!
Places to stay in Gardiner that we recommend:
- Yellowstone Gateway Inn, Gardiner – full kitchen and comfy bed, one of our favorite places to stay!
- Park Hotel Yellowstone, Gardiner – charming place to stay and loved by guests!
- Absaroka Lodge, Gardiner – beautiful location with river views!
- → CHECK OUT more Gardiner hotels!
Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate that we recommend:
- Sunny Log Home on the Creek, Silver Gate (VRBO) – the most AMAZING location with an awesome fireplace and comfy bed!
- High Country Motel and Cabins – local owners who love what they do, and make you feel so welcome!
- Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!
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 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 often feels more like Yellowstone in the winter 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 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 road status.
Usually from mid-March to mid-April all roads are closed to prepare for summer at Yellowstone (except for the road from Gardiner to Cooke City that’s open year-round).
Yellowstone in March
In March at Yellowstone, the snowmobile and snowcoach travel begins to stop. Be sure to check the NPS website for specific 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
April in Yellowstone 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
Yellowstone in May is what you have been waiting for! 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.
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 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
There is so much to do and explore while visiting 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.
Wildlife are moving in the spring. You will see bears, bison, elk, and wolves. Of course, you will probably spot other wildlife as well. Watching all the baby animals roam is to truly unforgettable experience you will want to see.
More of the Yellowstone camping sites open throughout the spring. Some you are able to reserve while others are first come first serve.
Hiking the trails in the spring can be filled with snow or even mud at times so you want to be prepared, but the views you see will be unbelievable and well worth it!
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.