Any time you visit this amazing park it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Here’s what you can expect when you plan a s Yellowstone summer vacation.
This Yellowstone National Park travel guide includes everything you need to know to plan a trip in the summer.
We share weather, services available, things to do, what to pack, and where to stay when you visit Yellowstone in the summer!
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Yellowstone National Park Packing List
FREE DOWNLOAD: Printable Yellowstone Packing Lists
- Merrell Moab hiking shoes or Oboz hiking shoes
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Water – carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack
- Healthy food that’s portable and filling!
- Columbia fleece jacket
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing
- Lip balm with UV protection
- Sun protection – sunscreen (even in the winter) and a sunhat
- UV sunglasses are good for summer and winter
- Travel hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- US National Park travel guides and maps
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera gear – DOWNLOAD the free checklist!
Check out this resource if you’ll be packing for a winter vacation in Yellowstone
Visiting Yellowstone in the Summer
You will definitely see more people at Yellowstone during the summer months.
Our number one Yellowstone vacation tip to avoid the congestion is to enter the park early and head to the popular sites ahead of the crowds.
Be prepared for slow cars and bison or bear jams. Pack your patience and enjoy the scenery!
If you want to be adventurous and really avoid the crowds, you should plan a Yellowstone winter vacation!
Yellowstone Weather in the Summer
A Yellowstone summer vacation is the perfect way to escape the heat. The summers are typically mild and the nights are cooler.
During the summer the temperatures are usually between 70 and 80 degrees during the day, making it the perfect exploring weather and then drop into the 40s or below. On average July is the hottest month of the year, but you don’t really see the temperatures getting into the 90s.
How Long Should I Stay on My Yellowstone Summer Vacation?
In order to really soak in Yellowstone, you will want to be there for more than 2 days, especially in the summertime.
We suggest when vacationing during the summer months at Yellowstone that you plan to go for at least 4-5 days. This way you are not rushed and you can be a little more patient with the crowds of people knowing you have time to see everything.
Not only that, but 4-5 days gives you time to relax, fish, hike, and really experience Yellowstone for everything it has to offer!
Here’s our favorite Yellowstone 4 day itinerary!
Things to See On Your Yellowstone Summer Vacation
Here’s a list of Things to Do at Yellowstone National Park during the summer months.
Yellowstone Waterfalls in the Summer
It’s no secret that we are a huge fan of Yellowstone waterfalls.
During the summer you will need to be a bit more patient to see the waterfalls because of the number of people visiting the park, but it’s still worth the wait.
Be sure to pack your bug spray to avoid getting bit by the mosquitos and bugs that are out in the summer!
Yellowstone & Grand Teton AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
Summer Scenic Drives in Yellowstone
With Yellowstone being over 2.2 million acres you will not be able to see it all while on foot, so thankfully there are some beautiful Yellowstone scenic drives that you can go on to explore this park.
While driving around the park you do not want to miss driving in Firehole Canyon to see Firehole Falls. We also recommend Firehole Lake Drive where you can see hot pools and geysers from the car!
Lower and Midway Geyser Basins
Lower and Midway Geyer Basins are a must on your to-do list while visiting Yellowstone in the summer.
Grand Prismatic Spring is the most popular attraction here. It’s a huge oval pool that has colorful algae bands and travertine terraces.
You can go on a half-mile boardwalk trail that goes part of the way around the spring. You can also hike the 1 mile trail to the overlook that’s accessed by the Fairy Falls trailhead.
Don’t forget all the other hot pools and small geysers to be found as you explore these areas!
Old Faithful Geyser
You can’t go on your Yellowstone summer vacation and not see the Old Faithful Geyser erupt. People travel far and wide to see this magnificent sight.
Luckily it’s easier for you to see this beauty on your vacation because it’s one of six geysers that park rangers can actually predict.
Try watching Old Faithful erupt from the viewing area at the boardwalk that wraps around the geyser.
There are so many things for you to see at Yellowstone while visiting in the summer. So be sure to check out Yellowstone vacation planning guide for more must-see places.
Wildlife to See in the Summer at Yellowstone
Most wildlife heads up to high mountain elevations during the summer. You might need to use a spotting scope to see some of the wildlife this time of year.
In the summer months the best places to see wildlife are Hayden and Lamar Valleys. We recommend you continue past Lamar Valley to Cooke City and even drive along Beartooth Highway. Look for bison, elk, bear, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, coyote, fox, and badgers! Fly fishing is a big draw during this time of year.
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
Activities For Your Yellowstone Summer Vacation
You will find a variety of fun activities for everyone in the family to do on your Yellowstone summer vacation.
CHECK OUT these fun Yellowstone summer tours – the knowledgeable guides make these tours so worth it!
Fishing in the Summer at Yellowstone
During the summer season, you can try fly fishing at Soda Butte Creek for some Cutthroat Trout fish. While fishing at Yellowstone you need to make sure that you follow the regulations in the guide book because you can only keep nonnative fish.
If you love fishing, Yellowstone is a must because nowhere else will you find such a wide variety of fish for you to catch all in one place.
River Rafting in the Summer at Yellowstone
If you are wanting adventure on your Yellowstone vacation then perhaps you should try river rafting in Yellowstone.
Families love exploring Yellowstone this way as they see incredible views, wildlife, and more while going down the river.
You will experience varying sizes of rapids dependent on the water levels so take that into account when deciding who is going to go white water rafting in the family.
Summer Hiking in Yellowstone
No trip to Yellowstone is complete without hiking the trails of Yellowstone. You are guaranteed picturesque views while hiking the trails at Yellowstone as a family.
With over 240 hiking trails in Yellowstone, you are sure to find one that the whole family can do together.
Be sure to check out these favorite hiking spots:
- Canyon North Rim Trail
- Fairy Falls Trail
- Trout Lake
- Mammoth Hot Springs Trail
- Old Faithful Geyser Loop Trail
- Canyon Area Day Hikes at Yellowstone
Your Yellowstone summer vacation will be one your family will never forget with so much to do and see while visiting Yellowstone National Park!
Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:
Plan a Yellowstone Vacation
- Yellowstone National Park Travel Guide
- Things to Do at Yellowstone National Park
- Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park
- Best Time to Visit Yellowstone for Wildlife
- Yellowstone Tours
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!