Yellowstone National Park Spring Activities

Here’s a list of our favorite Yellowstone National Park spring activities plus travel tips for exploring this stunning park!

Use this Yellowstone National Park travel guide to plan an amazing itinerary full of fun spring activities! We also share tips for things to pack, where to stay and more!

Yellowstone spring activities

Usually from mid-March to mid-April all Yellowstone roads are closed to prepare them for vehicle travel. The road from Gardiner in the North to Cooke City in the Northeast is open all year.

Yellowstone in the spring can often feel more like winter. It’s not until late spring when you can explore the park’s scenic drives, hiking, wildlife-viewing, and photography.

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Yellowstone National Park in the Spring

It’s important to know the Yellowstone National Park weather for the times you’ll visit in the spring. Temperatures throughout the day can range from the 30s to the 60s Fahrenheit. The nights are still well below freezing near the teens or single digits. 

If you’re Yellowstone National Park packing list doesn’t include right clothing for the conditions, then you won’t enjoy outdoor activities! 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. 

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.

Yellowstone National Park Spring Activities

Here’s a list of the Yellowstone National Park activities you can do in the spring!

Visitor Centers the Spring at Yellowstone

We recommend visiting the various Visitor Centers in the park to get updated information on the points of interest, hiking trails, and other activities to do in each area.

  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center – open daily between April and early November)
  • Canyon Visitor Education Center – open daily between May and mid-October)
  • Fishing Bridge Museum and Visitor Center – open daily between late May and late September
  • Grant Village Visitor Center – open daily between late May and late September
  • Madison Information Station – open daily between late May and late September
  • Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth – open daily, year-round at Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Norris Area Museums – The Norris Geyser Basin Museum and the Museum of the National Park Ranger are open daily between late May and late September
  • West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center – open daily, year-round and located in the town of West Yellowstone

Many of these visitor centers also contain park stores that sell a variety of different souvenirs: books, artwork, and educational materials.

Spring Biking at Yellowstone

Biking in the spring is a popular activity 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. 

RV driving in Yellowstone
RV driving in Yellowstone

Spring Scenic Drives in Yellowstone

Mid-April the West Entrance road opens so you can drive to Madison, Mammoth, Old Faithful, Norris and Canyon. By mid-May all the rest of the park roads are open so you can all of the beautiful Yellowstone scenic drives.

You’ll find the most crowds along the 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):

  • Madison
  • Old Faithful
  • Lake
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Grant Village
  • Canyon
  • Norris

There are two entrances with direct access to the Yellowstone National Park Northern Loop: North (Gardiner) and Northeast (Cooke City).

There are four areas in the northern loop of Yellowstone:

  • Mammoth
  • Tower-Roosevelt
  • Lamar Valley
  • Canyon
  • Norris

If you are looking to drive through Yellowstone yourself, but want to hear all the fun and educational information about this National Park, we recommend the the GyPSy App Guide. It will automatically tell you stories, tips and directions as you drive that will help enrich your Yellowstone National Park experience. There’s no need for cell service or wifi signal while touring. Tours are downloaded to your device for easy offline use.

Lower Falls at Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Lower Falls at Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Spring Hiking in Yellowstone

Early spring most of the Yellowstone hiking trails are still wet and muddy – many of them stay this way until early July! By May, the lower elevation hiking trails are usually cleared and ready for you to explore!

Spring means bear activity and some areas may be closed for bear management. Be sure to carry bear spray and be alert!!

Here are some tips for hiking in the spring at Yellowstone:

Here’s a list of hikes in Yellowstone by region:

grand prismatic yellowstone
Grand Prismatic

Geysers and Hot Springs in Yellowstone

There are five types of hydrothermal features you’ll see 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 places to see these wonders:

Firehole Falls in Yellowstone
Firehole Falls

Waterfalls in the Spring at Yellowstone

Most of the Yellowstone waterfalls don’t require hiking to see them. In the spring the water is running high so it’s a good time to photograph waterfalls.

Here’s a list of the main waterfall attractions:

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

Wildlife in the Spring at Yellowstone

Animals can be found throughout the park at any time. Check out our detailed guide for the best places to see Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park!

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

March – 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.

Remember the parameters 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. You may need to use a spotting scope to see wildlife in Yellowstone.
  • 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’s a list of camera gear we recommend if you’re serious about photographing wildlife at Yellowstone.

Elk and fawns at Yellowstone
Elk in the spring

Spring Photography in Yellowstone

We recommend you have your camera ready to go because the wildlife you may see as you drive through the park won’t wait for you to find the camera in your car.

You’ll also want to photograph the geysers, hot pools, waterfalls and rivers. Here are some tips for taking pictures at Yellowstone.

Yellowstone maps and guides

Where to Stay Near Yellowstone

Places to stay in West Yellowstone

Places to stay in Gardiner

Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate

plan your dream vacation to yellowstone

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