Are you looking for the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park, USA? This article will help you to plan your family tour.
Spring and Fall are the best seasons to visit Yellowstone National Park. But obviously, the most popular season is summer. And the best months to visit the park are May and September.
Please scroll down if you want to know more about the park’s weather changes in each season and month.
Best Time of Year to Visit Yellowstone National Park
If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park, you must know the best time of year to visit. September and May are ideal months to visit Yellowstone when temperatures are in the 30s and 60s and pleasant temperatures. Also, there are fewer crowds and comfortable weather in these months.
Fall foliage is spectacular, and temperatures will be chilly at night. The park is not overly crowded during this time, and you’ll have plenty of time to hike or take a scenic drive. But, surely bring raincoats and suitable shoes to protect from the unexpected rains.
The summer months are the busiest time to visit the park. Temperatures will be in the 70s and 80s throughout the day, and many group events will take place throughout the summer.
The summer months are also high-season when lodging will be most expensive, and reservations must be made up to three to six months in advance. But despite the high-season crowds, the weather is perfect for sightseeing in Yellowstone.
Most days will be sunny and hot, and only a few afternoon thunderstorms will affect your visit.
As many animals leave for higher elevations in the summer, it is also the best time to visit the park for hiking, as most trails are open without road closures.
Best Month to Visit Yellowstone National Park
As mentioned above, September is the best month to visit Yellowstone National Park to avoid crowds. As you can experience stunning autumn colors, it will be a unique experience for you.
The summer months (June to August) are perfect for visiting Yellowstone National Park, especially if you want to see bison, bears, or other big animals. But, it is heavily crowded.
The park is filled with wildflowers in the spring and early summer, and bison calves can be spotted in herds. Because of the plentiful food in these months, the animals are less likely to approach roads.
In contrast, mid-April is a popular time to see bison, but be aware that they may cause traffic jams!
While the end of May and mid-September are ideal for visiting the park, there are plenty of reasons to visit during these seasons. The park is drier and warmer, so you won’t have to deal with the crowds during these months.
Daytime temperatures are warm, and you’ll find plenty of wildlife. This is the perfect time to camp, too. There are also fewer tourists than during the peak summer months, so you’ll have fewer people on the road.
Autumn (September – October) is another ideal time to visit Yellowstone National Park. Temperatures in the 60s are perfect during this time, as are the fall foliage colors. Since September is one of the best months to visit the park, booking lodging early will ensure you’ll get a room at a famous lodge.
In addition, road closures begin in late October and remain until April. The only way to enter the park during this time is through Mammoth Hot Springs or the Lamar Valley.
Best Season to Visit Yellowstone National Park
Spring is the best to visit Yellowstone. Wildlife is more active and visible in the park, and many animals are starting to emerge from winter hibernation.
Not, like the summer, the park is less crowded during spring, so you can expect to get a great view of wildlife while visiting. On the other hand, you can see colorful wildflowers blooming everywhere.
Late fall (September to October) is another suitable season to visit Yellowstone National Park but be prepared for the unpredictable weather. You will experience plenty of rain during this time, so get ready for that. And the roads may be closed too.
Temperatures in Yellowstone range from almost freezing to 80 degrees F, making planning a bit more complicated. Fall also tends to be the last time tourists begin to leave the park. This makes the park less crowded, and it is also less crowded.
By late October, however, the park begins to close its roads and services. If you plan a fall trip, you may have to stay outside the park if the weather is terrible.
The most popular season to visit Yellowstone National Park is during the summer, when temperatures are warm throughout the day (extended daylight hours are available). The park is also open during this time, with roads and lodging opening up and the bears emerging from hibernation.
Summer offers unlimited lodging and dining options; the main points of interest are open and accessible.
Cheapest Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park
When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park? The answer depends on what you are looking for.
Winter and spring are the most affordable seasons to visit Yellowstone National Park.
You may also look for warm, dry weather, thin crowds, and cheap flights. There are three main types of Yellowstone visitors: winter sports enthusiasts, outdoor enthusiasts, and families.
However, winter is the least expensive time to visit Yellowstone National Park, but it’s still a beautiful time to see the park. Although the temperatures are colder, ice skating and stargazing are spectacular during the cold season.
But, limited park facilities are a disadvantage of visiting during winter.
Another cheap season to visit Yellowstone National Park is the early spring. When the temperature starts to rise, the park begins to open all roads. So, you get access to all the park’s attractions. Also, lodging and airfare rates are lower compared with the summer.
Weather in Yellowstone National Park
When visiting Yellowstone National Park, you may be wondering about the weather. The weather in the park can vary significantly from one season to the next.
Generally, temperatures rarely dip below zero degrees, and precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year. The driest month of the year is July, while August is the wettest month.
Winter precipitation consists primarily of snow, with an average annual snowfall of 150 inches. Some areas experience much more snowfall, as much as 400 inches. Due to the extreme cold, road access to the park is prohibited from November to April/May.
Although the climate in Yellowstone National Park is generally temperate, unexpected weather changes may occur, so visitors should pack extra clothing and layers of clothing.
While good walking shoes are necessary throughout the year, warm boots are recommended in winter. In some areas, snow has fallen every calendar day.
In addition, freezing temperatures have been known to occur even in mid-summer. You should bring waterproof/windproof gear and a hat.
Temperatures in Yellowstone National Park are highly variable. Even though temperatures are usually warm during the day, sub-zero temperatures are common at night, making for a cold and damp experience.
Snowfall is typically 150 inches per year; at higher elevations, up to twice that amount has been recorded. Daytime temperatures usually range from 30F to 60F, with overnight lows in the teens and single digits. Snowfall can reach up to 12 inches per day.
Seasonal Changes in Yellowstone National Park
Spring (April – May): Spring is the best season to visit Yellowstone National Park. The park offers access to prominent roadways as early as April. And also, the park will provide access to every road by the end of May. The only problem is rain and mud. So, surely pack rain jackets and suitable shoes.
But, spring features colorful wildflowers, colorful meadows, and plenty of wildlife (bison, elk, etc.) throughout the park. On the other hand, spring attracts only fewer crowds. So, here’s the best season to avoid crowds.
Summer (June – August): The summer features fantastic weather in Yellowstone National Park. You can experience extended daylight hours.
And the park offers all the facilities (campgrounds, lodges, etc.) and access to every road during summer. Also, there are plenty of events and celebrations in nearby towns and communities.
Therefore, the summer attracts over 2 million visitors to Yellowstone National Park.
Fall (September – October): Fall is the shoulder season. Still, the roads are open, and you can experience less crowd (after Labor Day). Therefore, you can easily grab camping spots, lodging, and parking facilities during these months. That’s why September is considered the best month to visit Yellowstone National Park.
Winter (November – March): Obviously, it is the least popular time to visit the park for many reasons like freezing temperatures, snow-covered trails, and less-active wildlife. But, if you are an adventure seeker and looking to avoid the crowd, winter is ideal for you. You can see the beauty of geysers surrounded by snow.
Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park for Wildlife
Visiting Yellowstone National Park in spring is one of the best times to see the park’s diverse wildlife. Because of lingering snow, wildlife is concentrated in valley bottoms and along road corridors.
Most common springtime sightings are bison calves, pronghorn fawns, and elk calves. You may also see bear cubs, one of the first wild babies to emerge each spring. Bison calves are called “red dogs” for their rusty coats. During spring, bison calves are commonly seen in Lamar Valley and in west-side meadows.
Winter is another popular time for visitors to the park. Wolves are more visible during the winter when they search for breeding opportunities and vacant territories.
This season is ideal for seeing wolves in Yellowstone since the weather can fluctuate from -20 degrees to over 40°F. Be sure to layer up! Layering is key to staying comfortable when visiting Yellowstone in winter. Temps can be low enough to be uncomfortable, but it’s best to bring extra layers in case of unexpected temperatures.
On the other hand, summer is obviously the best season to spot big animals like moose, bison, and elk.
The park can get quite crowded during peak seasons despite Yellowstone’s remote location. Luckily, fall is an excellent time to visit Yellowstone because it’s a less busy time.
In addition to fewer tourists, autumn is also one of the best times to view wildlife, as many of the park’s roads are open in the fall. But be prepared for traffic jams and packed viewing platforms during peak tourist seasons.
Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park for Fall Colors
The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park for fall colors is during the shoulder seasons, from the last week of September to the first week of October.
These times offer the best scenery, less snow, and lower crowd levels. During these times, the park is nearly open, making capturing breathtaking views and sunsets easier.
Fall colors are also popular with photographers, and you’ll find plenty of them in the park during the fall. Lamar Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs are the best places to view fall colors in the park.
However, not all is rosy: days grow shorter, and nights become colder. Snow is predicted to appear around November and last until March. For this reason, it’s essential to pre-plan your trip to Yellowstone.
It’s also important to remember that lodging inside the park starts closing down by mid-September, so you may have to plan your trip accordingly. If you’re uncomfortable staying inside the park, you can find accommodation outside the park gates.
While summertime is the busiest time for Yellowstone, shoulder months are the most affordable times to visit. While mid-day is a great time to see the park’s most popular attractions, it can also be very crowded.
Try to visit in the early morning or late at night. You’ll have a better chance of avoiding the crowds. And if you cannot plan a trip during the shoulder season, be sure to visit Yellowstone during spring or early fall.
Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park to Avoid the Crowds
When to Visit Yellowstone National Park To Avoid the Crowds? Spring falls and winter.
The summer months are one of the most popular times to visit Yellowstone. Summer temperatures are mild during the day and warm at night. However, this season also means more crowds and limited access to park amenities.
For those who want to avoid the summer crowds, choose shoulder months when the weather is milder, and there are fewer people. And the winter is also perfect for avoiding crowds.
Late May is an excellent time to visit Yellowstone to avoid the crowds. Once the snow melts, wildlife comes out in full force. May is the best time to visit Yellowstone since the weather is mild, and most parks and facilities open their doors.
This is also the best time to see the Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful. In addition, May is an ideal time for hiking and wildlife viewing.
Although summer is the busiest time of year for Yellowstone, winter and fall are also good times to visit. Winter and early spring are the cheapest times to travel to Yellowstone, while flights and lodging prices are lower. Yellowstone road closures start after Labor Day, and prices drop.
The park is less popular during the off-season, which means fewer people on the roads. The good idea is to book your flights in advance.
The end of May and the early fall are quiet periods in Yellowstone. Roads are passable, and accommodations are full. Temperatures are also perfect for hiking.
Despite the high summer temperatures, Yellowstone can get crowded in July and August, so visiting in these months is recommended for adventurous types. It is also worth noting that July is the busiest month of the year.
Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park for Photography
There is no definitive “Best Time” to visit Yellowstone National Park for photography. In general, there is no optimal time to see, but certain seasons are more favorable than others.
But April and May and September and October are the best months to take spectacular photos in the park.
Spring, early summer, and late fall provide the most spectacular color displays, and the weather is generally pleasant. The winter months present different challenges, with snowfall and heightened activity from key predators.
The park’s size and variety allow photographers to access parts of the park that most tourists do not. The red sky makes for an incredible backdrop to Lower Geyser Basin and other scenic areas.
Taking photographs during these seasons will ensure that your photos will be uniquely yours. However, you can still take advantage of the other popular seasons in Yellowstone.
Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park
- Best Time of Year to Visit Yellowstone National Park
- Best Month to Visit Yellowstone National Park
- Best Season to Visit Yellowstone National Park
- Cheapest Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park
- Weather in Yellowstone National Park
- Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park for Wildlife
- Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park for Fall Colors
- Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park to Avoid the Crowds
- Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park for Photography