What is the Best Time to visit Yellowstone National Park?

By Alice Ross | NORTH AMERICA

Oct 31

A spectacular natural landscape full of a remarkable terrain, hot springs, geysers, and other natural thermal regions which will amaze you with its countless natural assets anywhere you look at. That is what you are going to get by knowing the best time to visit Yellowstone.

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Extending over the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, Yellowstone is the world’s oldest national park. It stretches more than 3,470 square miles and boasts natural wonders such as hot springs and geysers and has the habitats of some majestic wildlife like wolves, grizzly bears, and herds of elk and bison. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest temperate zone ecosystems and still in unspoiled condition. This makes up a big part of the park.

best time to visit yellowstone


The park was named Yellowstone due to the yellow rocks located in the Grand Canyon which is a deep ravine in the Yellowstone Plateau caused by floods that took place throughout the ice ages, also by Yellowstone River’s persistent soil erosion.

Weather and Climate in Yellowstone National Park

best time to visit yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park has two main types of weather – the heavy snowfall and low temperatures. West Yellowstone is the closest reporting stations, and it’s normally the coldest place in the country for several days at each month of the year. The West Yellowstone has an elevation of 6,659 feet, so, make sure to always pack some thick clothes if you are planning to visit the park.

Even at daytime, temperatures can go below zero during wintertime, specifically in the months of November through February. Although the region tends to heat up during spring and could be warm in the months of June to September, the temperature can reach up to 60s to 70s when the snow starts melting on all but the highest part of the region. 

​Weather in Yellowstone by Months

Any month of the year can receive heavy rain, and this is spread evenly all year round. More than half part the year, the area receives snow, with the 150 inches in most areas annually.

best time to visit yellowstone

April to May

Spring weather in Yellowstone National Park could be unpredictable. However, if you visit there during the best time for your visit, you can watch the park turn from the winter to warmer without having to deal with many tourists. The average temperatures can play anywhere between the 20s and 60s, again, make sure you pack layered clothes. And keep in mind that most roads to popular attractions don’t operate until mid-April.

June to August

best time to visit yellowstone

The average highs hover in the 70s, which is a perfect weather if you are planning to go on a hiking. Furthermore, every facility in the park is open. Throughout the warmer time, Yellowstone welcomes over 2 million tourists, which means accommodations will fill up easily. The month of July is especially popular among people who love going to festivals, as the park, as well as the surrounding towns, host different fun events. If you choose to visit during high season, make sure that you have reservations as early as possible.

September to November

One of the best seasons to visit is during Autumn. During this time, the weather is still rather mild, there are many opportunities for those who love the wildlife and most of the summer tourists have left, leaving behind a lot of cheaper accommodations and plane tickets. However, as the park sets itself for the approaching winter, so should you! The average temperatures during the day can hover between the 30s and 60s. Also, you must remember that most facilities are attractions are closed by the early part of November.

best time to visit yellowstone

December to March

Winter in Yellowstone isn’t for those who have low cold tolerance. Yellowstone National Park gets heavy snowfall these months, and the temperature during the day is hardly above freezing. If you’re planning to visit the park at this time of the year, carry an emergency kit in case you get stranded due to the roadblock and be ready for hazardous driving situations. Usually, the only entrance that is opened for vehicles is the North Entrance, on top of that, most facilities of the park are already going to be closed at this time.

But what is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park?

best time to visit yellowstone

The months of April to May and September to November would be the best times to visit Yellowstone National Park. These months are going to offer you mild weather and fewer people. The months of July and August, on the other hand, are the most popular time to visit. This is when the children are out of school, and you are going to enjoy the more pleasant weather.


But then again, this park can still be cold. Temperatures may drop into the 30s even it’s the hottest season of the year. In the winter, you can expect great changes in temperature, spanning from sub-zero up to 30s. 

Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park for Budget Travelers

best time to visit yellowstone

The nearest airport would be Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which are normally the cheapest point of entry between the months of October and February – this is also what considered as the park’s low season. Prices for accommodation starts to go down after Labor Day when the summer crowds have left, and kids are back in school. Remember that road closures start in the latter part of September or October. The time is based on the weather, so make sure to plan properly.

The Best Times to Avoid Crowds

Even though a lot of people are uncertain in planning outdoor-based trips in the wintertime, it could still be truly satisfying. When winter approaches at Yellowstone National Park, snow covers the hilly landscape — and leaves the most points of interests delightfully free of the crowd. For those who are adventurous, Yellowstone is where you can find some of the most unnoticed backcountry ski spots in the region. Just make sure to check for roadblocks well earlier, as they could keep you from visiting Yellowstone.

best time to visit yellowstone

The Best Time to Visit Yellowstone to See Wildlife

No matter what time of the year you decide to visit the Yellowstone, you are certain to see and enjoy its wildlife. However, the species you will see will depend on the season.
The months of March and April would be the best time to visit if you want to have a bear sighting, while the winter months would be the best time to see bighorn sheep and wolves. If you visit during the summer, then you will have a chance to see moose, elk, bison, and mountain goats.


On the other hand, you can spot bear, raptors, and elk during the fall season. Make sure to keep a safe distance when having a wildlife encounter to keep yourself safe, and to maintain the animals’ wellbeing. Taking selfies with the wild animals is not a very smart thing to do either. 

​The Best Time to Visit Yellowstone for Photography

best time to visit yellowstone

It is arguable that there’s no bad time forphotography in Yellowstone. However, during peak season, you are likely to have a lot of photobombers in your photos. If you are a traveler who wants to take some shots of Yellowstone, the best time for you to go is during the winter season, when there are fewer people in the park. It’s also perfect if you want your audience to enjoy a winter wonderland photo series. 


There’s no doubt that one of the most popular parks in the country is the Yellowstone National Park. The natural wonders it offers make it a great holiday destination for those who love nature and adventures. It stands as a host to different activities such as fishing, whitewater rafting, and hiking.

best time to visit yellowstone


Hopefully, this article has helped you with your decisions on when to visit Yellowstone National Park. As you can see, the best time to visit Yellowstone depends on your budget and preference. Decide whether you’re willing to spend a lot of money on tickets and accommodations and flight tickets. Or whether you want to see a lot of people on your visit or you prefer for the place to be almost on your own. But at the end of the day, no matter which one you choose, you’re surely going to have a great time visiting the park.


If you like this article and you find it helpful, make sure to share this with your friends on social media! If you happen to have other questions regarding this topic, make sure to let us know in the comment below!

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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