Visiting Yellowstone National Park in April
Wondering what it’s like to visit Yellowstone National Park in April? Use this Yellowstone National Park travel guide to help you decide if April is the right time for you to visit the park.
We share fun things to do, what to pack, where to stay and services available at Yellowstone in April.
April is a transition time at Yellowstone so it’s important to know what services and roads are open at this time. You also need to know that you’ll still find winter weather and temperatures in April at Yellowstone.
Use our Yellowstone National Park packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in April! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
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Yellowstone Winter Packing List
READ all about packing for a winter vacation in Yellowstone!
- Insulted boots – Baffin winter boots are amazing!!
- Darn Tough heavy wool socks
- Wicking and quick-drying base layers
- Columbia fleece jackets are our favorite!
- Insulated winter jacket – to layer atop the fleece jacket for the cold mornings and evenings, trust us!
- Winter hat
- Winter gloves
- Rechargeable hand warmers
- Fleece neck gaiter
Visiting Yellowstone National Park in April
A trip to Yellowstone in April is terrific for wildlife viewing in Lamar Valley. Bison are calving and black bears begin to emerge from their dens.
Yellowstone in the early spring will still be cold so pack accordingly. The snowy landscape with steaming geysers is beautiful.
The biggest drawback to visiting Yellowstone in April is that many roads are still closed to vehicles.
The road going from the north entrance in Gardiner to the northeast entrance in Cooke City is open year round.
Mid-April the West Entrance usually opens to provide access to Madison, Mammoth, Old Faithful and Norris.
Be sure to keep current on the Yellowstone road closure status and check current park conditions.
Yellowstone Weather in April
The Yellowstone National Park weather in April is still cold and snowy. Average temperatures: high 46 and low 19 degrees Fahrenheit.
Layers are key when exploring the park in the early spring. Reference our winter clothing guide so you can enjoy the outdoors, even when it’s cold!
You’ll want base layers like thermals, mid layers like fleece, and insulated outer layers:
Yellowstone Services in April
Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance is the only part of the park open to wheeled vehicles year-round. The road is open up to Cooke City, Montana, after which the road is closed (no through-traffic to Red Lodge, Montana or Cody, Wyoming). Services are very limited between Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City, Montana.
Usually toward the end of April the West Entrance road will open to provide access to Madison Junction, Old Faithful, Norris, Canyon, and Mammoth Hot Springs. Be sure to check the website for the spring opening dates for the Yellowstone roads.
Here are the services available when the roads are open to provide access to these areas. Always check the Yellowstone operating hours and seasons for the most updated information:
Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt areas:
- Albright Visitor Center
- General Store
- Mammoth Campground
- Mammoth Clinic
- Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Grill, Gift Shop – opens the end of April
- Post Office
- Mammoth and Tower-Roosevelt Service Stations – opens the end of April – credit card fueling only 24-hours
Old Faithful area:
- Old Faithful Visitor Education Center
- Old Faithful Lodge, Grill, Gift Shop – opens the end of April
- Old Faithful General Store – opens the end of April
- Old Faithful Clinic – opens the end of April
- Old Faithful Service Station – opens the end of April – credit card fueling only 24-hours
- Canyon Visitor Education Center – opens the end of April
- Canyon Service Station – opens the end of April – credit card fueling only 24-hours
Madison and the West:
- West Yellowstone Visitor Center
Things to Do at Yellowstone National Park in April
Early spring in Yellowstone means fewer crowds, still very cold temperatures, and stunning landscape scenes with steaming geyser basins.
Drive the North Entrance Road in April
The first part of April the only road open to cars is from the north entrance by Gardiner to just past the northeast entrance at Cooke City. This route is a nice day trip.
As you drive through Lamar Valley, look for bison, elk and black bears. If you’re lucky, you’ll see wolves, fox or moose!
The Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth remains open year-round and is a great resource for information about the park.
In mid to late April the road from West Yellowstone will open to provide access to the other parts of the park!
Hiking in April in Yellowstone
There will still be a lot of snow in April so may need showshoes. There are fun day hiking trails in 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.
Waterfalls to See in April at Yellowstone
We love to visit and take pictures of all the Yellowstone waterfalls. In early April, there are 3 waterfalls you can access along on the northern road:
- Undine Falls
- Wraith Falls – short hike
- Lost Falls – short hike
When the other roads open, be sure to visit:
- Firehole Falls
- Gibbon Falls
- Lower Falls
Yellowstone Geysers in April
The geysers and hot pools are fantastic to see and photograph in April. It’s fun to see the steam rising from the hot pools and geysers and the snowy blanket of white surrounding these hot spots. Also be sure to look for the hoarfrost on the trees.
Wildlife in April to See in Yellowstone
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.
Remember these guidelines while viewing wildlife 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.
- 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.
Here are some helpful resources for watching and photographing wildlife in Yellowstone:
- Best time to visit Yellowstone for wildlife
- Best cameras for wildlife photography
- Best tripods for wildlife photography
- Best lenses for wildlife photography
Yellowstone Photography in April
Our number one photo tip is: be prepared for anything so you can capture the moment when it happens.
In April the weather can change from day to day. There may be sun, snow, clouds, fog, and frost that will create mood. Also look for reflections when taking pictures of Yellowstone.
And we always have our camera ready to go because the wildlife you may see won’t wait for you to find the camera in your car.
Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:
Yellowstone Tours and Day Trips
- Yellowstone Tours
- Yellowstone Summer Tours
- Yellowstone National Park Winter Tours
- Day Trips at Yellowstone
- Outdoor Activities at Yellowstone
- Attractions at Yellowstone
Places to stay in West Yellowstone
- Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone
- ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone
- Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone
- West Yellowstone hotels!
Places to stay in Gardiner
- 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!
- Gardiner hotels!
Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate
- 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!
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