Best time to travel
What's the Best Time to Travel to Wyoming?
We recommend traveling in Wyoming literally at any time of year! After all, two of our world’s most beautiful national parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, beg to be explored year round. Whatever time of year you decide to travel, your experience will be one you won’t soon forget!
Wyoming By the Seasons
Wyoming has four distinct seasons and to the keen spectator, the changes in the environment, wildlife and weather are fascinating to observe. Photographers worldwide salivate at the thought of shooting a fiery summer sunset over the Teton Range while wildlife lovers congregate to view the elk and bison migrations in the fall. Read on for a breakdown of the seasons and why any time of the year is the perfect time for a Wyoming Vacation.
- Spring (March – May)
It’s absolutely mesmerizing to witness Wyoming thaw out in the spring time. While in March and April, there will still be snow on the ground (perfect for a Ski and Snowshoe Vacation in Yellowstone!), May is a time we look forward to every year when the grasses green up and the bears emerge from a long hibernation. It can be quite cold still in March and April, but you’ll see more blue bird days than earlier in the winter. In May, expect high temperatures in the 50° to 60°F range with promises (and hopes!) of spring showers most days…the more rain Wyoming gets at this point in time, the less chance of a crazy wildfire season later on down the road.
- Summer (June – August)
Summertime is when our trips run in full force. School is out, the weather cooperates and families flock to the national parks. The months of June, July and August in Wyoming are each beautiful and different in their own ways. Throughout the summer, as the snow melts up the hillsides, you’ll spot a riot of colorful wildflowers pop their heads out toward the sun. The 70 to 80°F days keep the wildlife in the trees where they can enjoy the shade, so we get up early at sunrise to catch the wolves, bison, elk, moose, and bears when they’re most active. Afternoon thunderstorms are common, bringing with them some rain. However, by the time they hit (usually around 3:00 or 4:00), we’ve already completed our activities for the day and are checking into our hotel – perfect timing!
- Autumn (September – November)
While we like summer in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, we love autumn!! As kids return to school for the holidays, the national parks empty out of tourists bringing with them a peaceful lull before winter hits. Often the wildlife are most active as the mating season heats up and the temperatures cool down – the elk bugle, bison lock horns in fights for dominance, and the predators make showy debuts throughout the day, both roadside and on the trail. Throughout September and often into early October, the temperatures hold onto their highs in the 60’s and 70’s, the thunderstorms disappear and blue skies take hold until the snow hits. While most of the trees you’ll see in northern Wyoming are conifers (like pines, spruces and firs), you’ll also spot the occasional stand of aspens and cottonwoods, their leaves turning gold and orange in the turn of the seasons.
- Winter (December – February)
We can’t emphasize how much of a treat visiting Wyoming in the winter is. Yellowstone and the Tetons are devoid of crowds, the wildlife are out and about, and the landscapes look completely surreal under an endless blanket of fluffy snow. While temperatures can fluctuate greatly (anywhere from the negatives to the lower 30’s), as long as you dress warmly in layers that can peel off as you get active, you won’t even notice the cold! Snow sports are abundant in the Yellowstone and Tetons regions: downhill and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, ice skating, the list keeps going. Plus, all the lodges promise crackling fireplaces where you can spend an afternoon getting toasty, drinking a hot cup of cocoa and reading your favorite book (does it get much better than that?)
How to Prepare
Wondering How to Prepare for your Wyoming Adventure Vacation?
Don’t worry, you don’t need to pack your formal wear for a vacation out west, so you’ll have plenty of room for all the layers you’ll want to have on hand for the different types of weather that may arise on your Wyoming vacation. They say “if you don’t like the weather in Wyoming, wait five minutes…” That’s because the weather in Yellowstone and the Tetons can be unpredictable. You’ll want to prepare for hot, cold, and everything in between, no matter what time of year it is! Read on for a few great tips on how to prepare for your adventure.
1. Expect Four Different Seasons in a Day.
We’ve heard stories of sun, rain, sleet, hail, and snow…all in a single day! While that many types of weather may be uncommon, you’ll want to pack for both the heat and the cold, no matter the time of year. In the summertime, it may be hot during the day, but the nights can be very cool, while in the winter it’ll be cold outside, but toasty warm in the lodges. Check weather.com for an up-to-date forecast while you do your packing so you know what to expect (but play it on the safe side and pack some layers…which brings us to our next point…)
2. Layer Up.
Layering your clothing can play a crucial role to your comfort while on vacation in Wyoming. In the summertime, if you’re hot, you can always strip down a layer or two to cool off. In the winter, if you’re cold, adding an extra layer or two (or three or four) never hurts. You’ll want to pack some lightweight, moisture-wicking underlayers and thicker (but breathable) outer layers. Always bring a light winter hat and gloves, no matter what time of year (trust us, you won’t regret it).
3. Pack Your Raincoat…and Make Sure it’s Always Accessible!
In the summertime, an afternoon thunderstorm can appear quite unexpectedly, and when it rains, it pours (usually for a short time but long enough to get you soaked without adequate gear!) You’ll want to bring along a quality rainjacket (we’re not talking ponchos here), and keep it near the top or strapped onto the outside of your pack for easy access. Keeping yourself dry will keep a smile on your face.
4. Don’t Forget Your Camera
You are about to travel to big sky country where the mountains touch the clouds, the wildlife roam the plains and the geysers put on a water show you’ll never forget! Bring your Nikon, your GoPro, your iPhone (just not your drones, those are illegal!) You’ll find a million things to take pictures of in Wyoming and will love looking back at the photo memories of your vacation years from now.
Travel Tips for Visiting Wyoming
1. You’re About to Enter a High Elevation Zone
We find that many of our guests come from low elevations (many from sea level!) and adjusting to the high elevation of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (anywhere between 6,500 and 8,000 feet) can be a bit of a struggle during the first few days. Vacationing in a higher elevation means you need to drink lots of water (more than you think since you’re also being active), lay off large amounts of alcohol, and take it a little easier than you normally would out there on the trails. It will take a few days for your body to adjust, but it’ll get there! Also, don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen – humidity is low and sun exposure is high (even on a cloudy day!)
2. Trip Extensions Anyone?
Your Adventure Consultants are full of ideas for ways to extend your Wyoming adventure if you have a few days to spare on either end of your trip. In the summertime, zip lining, fly fishing, horseback riding, road tripping, museum touring, peak conquering and endless other activities are abundant in or near your host city. In the winter, experience skiing or snowboarding at a local resort, take a sleigh ride through thousands of “wapati” on the National Elk Refuge, or hunker down in a quaint B&B on the edge of town. If you can dream it, we’ll help you figure out how to do it!
3. Wyoming…Wide Open Spaces
Did you know that Yellowstone National Park is larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined?! Because the national parks of Wyoming are so large, they can be difficult to navigate on your own. Plus, there are so many amazing sites to see (hot springs, wildlife and mountain ranges, oh my!) that it can be overwhelming to pick and choose what exactly you want to see on your Wyoming Adventure. Leave it to the experts at Austin Adventures to guide you through the perfect Wyoming Vacation. Our expert tour leaders will of course take you to all the “gotta-see-it” attractions (often in a way that most tourists don’t know about), but they’ll also show you the hidden gems that you just won’t find without expert knowledge. We’ve been running guided vacations in Wyoming for nearly 30 years, and we feel that we’ve got Cowboy Country dialed!