When is the Best Time to Visit Yellowstone?
It may sound cliche, but there is never a bad time to visit Yellowstone National Park. The truth is, people are always visiting Yellowstone, whether it’s raining, snowing, or the sun is shining – there’s always something to see and do.
The best time to visit Yellowstone is truly dependent upon the types of activities you’re looking to participate in on your Yellowstone adventure vacation. From hiking and horseback riding, to snowmobiling to snowshoeing, you can do it all in Yellowstone.
Yellowstone By the Seasons
- Spring (March to July): Offering beautiful weather and relatively warm temperatures ranging between 40 – 70F, springtime is a fantastic time of year to visit Yellowstone National Park (though, be aware that these are averages, and weather in Yellowstone can be quite unpredictable – so packing a few warm layers is a must!). Not classified as a peak travel time for Yellowstone, you’ll experience far fewer crowds as a result, while still being able to take advantage of many activities like hiking and biking.
- Summer (July to Sept): With temperatures ranging between 58 – 80F at their height, it’s no wonder that the summer months (particularly July & August) are the most most popular time to visit Yellowstone. Comfortable enough to sleep in the great outdoors and aligning perfectly with school holidays, Yellowstone is often packed with visitors during the summer. During peak season time, all of the Park’s facilities are open to enjoy, and the weather is perfect for all sorts of outdoor activities.
- Fall (Sept to Nov): Another fantastic time of year to visit Yellowstone, fall is relatively mild and is the perfect time of year for outdoors adventures, including hiking, watching wildlife, and more. The surrounding nature is at its finest, and crowds are beginning to dwindle, leaving you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Yellowstone.
- Winter (Dec to March): Winter in Yellowstone is a perfect time to explore without having to battle with buses filled with tourists. Expect a few inches of snowfall and temperatures often below freezing, but as long as you pack the right gear, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of activities including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skating, snowmobiling and more!
Wondering What to Pack on Your Yellowstone Adventure Vacation?
Being prepared is the first step to a great adventure vacation. Along with your trip itinerary, let the tips and tricks below help get you on your way to being prepared for your Yellowstone vacation.
- Pack Layers
Yellowstone experiences distinct seasons: snowy, white winters and warm, sunny summers. You’ll find that the weather can vary significantly, even in a day. This means that you have to always be equipped with a diverse set of clothing options. The best way to do this is to plan on layers: a base layer, insulating mid-layers, and an additional shell. Learn more about layering for adventure travel.
- Pack Practical Footwear
As expert travelers, we’re well aware that warm, dry feet usually result in a happy traveler! Pack insulated boots that both repel water and are roomy enough for thick, wool socks to fit underneath. In the summer, you’ll want lighter hiking boots or a solid pair of athletic shoes along with river shoes.
- Pack for the Weather
There are many pieces of clothing that will make your vacation in Yellowstone comfortable, including gloves (the layering approach applies here too, with an insulating layer underneath a wind/waterproof outer layer), a hat (in the summer, you’ll want one with a brim for sun protection), neck warmer, and gaiters (these go over your boots and run up to about the knee, keeping snow out of your boots).
Travel Tips for Visiting Yellowstone National Park
Attracting thousands of visitors every year, a visit to Yellowstone National Park has become one of America’s most prized experiences – and we love to offer it to visitors alike. If you’re considering a trip through Yellowstone, be sure to keep these tips in mind to ensure you have the best experience possible.
- Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Keep your eyes peeled for all sorts of wildlife. Yellowstone is a rich ecosystem home to all different sorts of species – this is part of what makes visiting Yellowstone so unique and exciting. Be on the lookout for animals (especially bison!) that roam freely.
- Take a Guided Tour
With so much to see and do in Yellowstone National Park (believe it or not, the Park spans over 2.2 million acres!), it’s tough to know what the top sights and experiences are. Our expert guides have intimate knowledge of the Park, and insider access to give you a national park experience unlike any other. Choose guided travel and enjoy more education, a simpler trip-planning experience (just show up!), and excellent use of time between top (and more secretive!) sights. Read more about Traveling with a Guide.
- Bring a Camera
Yellowstone National Park provides unmatched photo opportunities for everyone from the most novice to the most expert photographer. Trust us, you’ll want to take advantage. From the gorgeous Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone to the Mammoth Hot Springs and beyond, be sure to have a camera on hand to capture some of the Park’s finest. Discover tips for catching animals on film and how to get the best portraits.