Visiting Yellowstone National Park in April

Wondering what it’s like to visit Yellowstone National Park in April? There are limited services, open roads, and things to do when visiting Yellowstone in the spring, but it’s an experience you’ll never forget!

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.

visiting Yellowstone National Park in April

We live only hours away and visit Yellowstone often. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the park. Use this Yellowstone National Park travel guide to help you decide if April is the right time for you to visit the park. The guide includes things to do, what to pack, where to stay and services available at Yellowstone in April.

Our number one tip is to pack and wear winter clothes when visiting in April so you can enjoy your time in the park!! Use our Yellowstone National Park packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Yellowstone packing list Optin box
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Yellowstone Packing List for April

In April you’ll experience cold temperatures and snowy conditions so it’s like packing for a winter vacation in Yellowstone!

winter hiking gear

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.

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.

In mid-April, part of the Yellowstone National Park Northern Loop will be open from West Yellowstone to Madison, Norris, Mammoth, Tower-Roosevelt, and Lamar Valley. The section from Tower to Canyon opens in late May.

Most of the Yellowstone National Park Southern Loop doesn’t open until May. In mid-April you can access Old Faithful and Canyon.

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!

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 Area:

  • 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

Best Time to Visit Yellowstone

If early spring seems too snowy and cold for you, check out our guide for finding the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park. Each season and month of the year will have different activities and services available.

There are also best times to visit Yellowstone for wildlife. You’ll find a list of the animals you’ll see each month of the year at the park.

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.

road through Lamar Valley at Yellowstone in March
Northeast road through Yellowstone

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. Be sure to carry bear spray when hiking in the spring at Yellowstone!

There are fun day hiking trails you can access during the month:

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

Firehole Falls with snow

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.

bison in the winter at yellowstone
Bison in the snow

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:

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

Yellowstone Lodging in April

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins and Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins are the two lodging options open in the park during the winter, but they close in early March. They don’t open again until the end of April.

The only options for lodging in April are found in West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cooke City:

Yellowstone Vacation Planning Guide

Plan your dream vacation to Yellowstone! Click the graphic below to get your Yellowstone planner includes a 4-day itinerary of things to see, do, and photograph in all the regions around the park!

plan your dream vacation to yellowstone
Things to do at Yellowstone in April

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  1. What a fantastic website! I looked for the longest time for information and became so frustrated. This site is absolutely perfect! Thank you!!!!

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