Bison walking through Yellowstone in winter

BEST TIME TO VISIT YELLOWSTONE

Yellowstone National Park is beautiful all year round, but if you’re planning a trip then you’re probably wondering about the best time to visit Yellowstone.

 

The truth is, the best time to visit is going to depend on your interests, your Yellowstone bucket list and the kind of trip you’re hoping to have.


Keep reading to learn more about Yellowstone through the seasons and to figure out your best time to visit Yellowstone.

Yellowstone in Winter

Winter in Yellowstone is one of the best times to visit the park. From the stunning snow-covered trees and mountains to the quiet trails ready for skiing and snowshoeing, there’s something truly magical about visiting Yellowstone in winter.

 

Among the many striking winter sights you'll see in Yellowstone in winter, frozen waterfalls and thermal steam forming frozen droplets in midair could be at the top of the list. 

 

Winter is also an incredible time to do some wildlife watching in Yellowstone. We offer a tour of Yellowstone in winter that will bring you along the only stretch of road open year-road, where we’ll have an extraordinary white canvas on which to observe the animals and birds that live in this harsh winter climate. Winter is also the best time to visit Yellowstone if you want to view wolves, which are at their strongest and most visible in the cold weather months.

 

If you do plan to visit Yellowstone in winter, be sure to pack lots of layers to prepare for the cold and snowy conditions. If you’re planning to ski or snowshoe,  talk to us ahead of your trip to know exactly what to pack for your excursions. If you’re interested in a snowcoach or snowmobiling winter tour of Yellowstone, allow us to make some recommendations.

 

Ready to book a winter tour of Yellowstone? Click here to explore our trips and rates.

Yellowstone in Spring

Spring is the time of new life and awakening on the Yellowstone Plateau. Visiting Yellowstone in spring can be challenging in the earlier part of the season, though it holds its own unique beauty. 

 

Spring can remain cold and snowy even into May. As the snow melts, the park’s roads, trails, meadows and camping areas can be challenging to navigate thanks to a combination of snow, ice and mud. Spring in Yellowstone is also invigorating.

 

Some park facilities are closed to visitors in the spring, including various hotels, restaurants, visitor centers and even roads throughout the park. 

 

Still, visiting Yellowstone in spring is one of the least crowded times to explore. Spring is also the grand time that the park’s animals are having babies - giving you the chance for a truly unforgettable wildlife watching experience! Bison calves, bear cubs, wolf pups, chicks, lambs and kids appear in spring to liven up the landscape - it’s the very best time for wildlife viewing in Yellowstone!

 

If you want to visit Yellowstone in spring, it’s important to consult with a Yellowstone tour guide ahead of your trip, to make sure you know what to expect inside the park and to plan out your best park experiences. 


Ready to book a trip to Yellowstone in spring? Click here to explore our trips and rates.

Yellowstone in Summer

Visiting Yellowstone in summer offers the widest variety of activities, gorgeous weather and splendid scenery. Wildlife are active in the summer - especially the bison who are typically busy finding their mate - and the park’s beautiful wildflowers, trees and other plant life are in full bloom.

 

For many, it’s also the best time to visit Yellowstone, drawing more than 3 million tourists to the park every summer. If avoiding crowds is one of your goals, then you may want to visit during a different season or work with a Yellowstone tour guide to get off the beaten path.

 

Yellowstone in summer is the best hiking season, with a full range of trails to access. If getting off the roadside is on your list, this is the season for you.


Ready to plan a summer trip to Yellowstone? Click here to explore our trips and rates.

Yellowstone in Fall

Yellowstone in fall is a beautiful time to explore our national park! The colors of the leaves and grass are starting to change, giving everything a golden hue. Animals are active this time of year as they prepare for winter, so if wildlife watching is on your bucket list, fall is one of the best times to visit Yellowstone.

 

The elk rut is in full swing with bugles echoing through the forest, and bears are in hyperphagia, an eating frenzy preparing for hibernation. Everyone is busy fattening up for the long winter to come. 

 

And because school is back in session, there aren’t as many crowds throughout the park, even at some of the most popular Yellowstone park features. This season is growing more popular though, so you’ll still want to book your lodging and Yellowstone guided tours far in advance.

 

If you’re planning to visit Yellowstone in fall, be sure to pack a variety of clothes and gear for all weather conditions - they can be a little unpredictable during this season. And read up on road closures - or ask your Yellowstone tour guides - before you go so you have a good plan for seeing your favorite Yellowstone park features.


Ready to plan a fall trip to Yellowstone? Click here to explore our trips and rates.