Yellowstone National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that no one should miss. If you’ll be there soon, you should start planning the specifics so you can have the most enjoyable trip. Priority 1 on the checklist should be figuring out when is the best time to visit Yellowstone.
Generally, mid-June to mid-September is the ideal time to visit Yellowstone. As summer is the height, expect it to be busier and more expensive, but the drier conditions and higher temperatures make it worthwhile.
Keep reading below for more information.
Reasons Why Yellowstone Is Worth a Trip
The spectacular geyser activity in Yellowstone National Park is what most people think of when they think of the park. Old Faithful, in particular, is reported to erupt about 20 times a day, making it the most well-known geyser in the park.
Surely, a significant portion of what makes Yellowstone a place worth visiting is the geysers and hot springs. But the famed 2 million-acre Yellowstone National Park offers much more than that.
Since it was created on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone may claim to be the world’s first national park. It is well-known for having the greatest number of geysers (holes in the ground that frequently erupt streams of steam and hot water) and hot springs worldwide.
This is due to the park’s location atop a dormant supervolcano, where underlying magma activity heats the geothermal hot springs and generates its well-known geysers.
The park boasts over 10,000 geothermal features and 500+ active geysers that erupt almost daily due to the abundance of superheated magma moving beneath the surface (hot springs, fumaroles, mud pots, and more).
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is another wonderful feature that many people are unaware of.
It is nearly 20 miles long, more than 1,000 feet deep, and a breathtaking natural phenomenon. The Yellowstone River built this deep canyon, and the scenery it is surrounded by is unparalleled.
Another significant appeal for tourists is the park’s variety of waterfalls and cascades. The park has at least 45 named waterfalls and cascades, the most well-known being the Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and Crystal Falls.
Regarding wildlife tourism, Yellowstone is among the best places in the country. The park is home to most mammals in the whole United States.
Wildlife enthusiasts are drawn to Yellowstone to get a glimpse of the incredible variety found here, which includes 67 distinct species of animals, 300+ species of birds, and 16 species of fish. The park frequently has grizzly bears, foxes, lynxes, wolves, elk, and moose in sight.
Moreover, massive herds of bison have lived there since the beginning of time. The number of bison in the park is so great that “bison jams” frequently clog the roadways inside.
Have you yet felt a magnetic pull toward Yellowstone National Park? We certainly thought so! Below, we detail the best, cheapest, and least crowded times of year to visit Yellowstone, so you can plan your trip accordingly.
The Best Time to Visit Yellowstone
You should visit Yellowstone between the middle of June and the middle of September for the best weather. The park is at its warmest during this time of year, making your journey more pleasant.
During this season, you won’t have to be concerned about chilly daytime temperatures, snow, and ice, or weather-related traffic delays. If you’re looking to experience Yellowstone in its purest form, this time of year is ideal for camping. Daytime highs range from the mid-60s to the mid-70s.
If you intend to camp, particularly at higher elevations where it drops to 32F to 42F at night, be careful to wear warm clothing. The increased crowds and chance for inclement weather are the only potential disadvantages to traveling between mid-June and mid-September.
Rainfall in Yellowstone is highest from May through September. Yet since May is when there is the most rain, the best time to go is between mid-June and mid-September.
For more information on the best season to visit Yellowstone National Park, watch this video below:
Best Time to Visit Yellowstone on a Budget
Yellowstone’s off-seasons or low seasons, or essentially any period outside of the brief three-month summer (Yellowstone’s peak season), are the most affordable times to visit.
If you’re specifically searching for cheaper flights, car rentals, and accommodations, mid-April, late September, and October are the best times to travel.
As June, July, and August see the majority of Yellowstone’s tourists, booking your vacation immediately before or after these months will ensure lower costs. Your travel expenses will decrease as a result of lower demand for lodging, rental vehicles, and flights to Yellowstone, keeping your vacation within your budget.
The months of April, late September, and early October are perfect for wildlife viewing. In April, young bears come out of hibernation with the help of their devoted mothers. Elk begin their rut season in September and early October, while migratory birds arrive in late April.
The Least Crowded Season to Visit Yellowstone
April and October are the slowest months to visit Yellowstone National Park. Few people visit the area throughout these two “shoulder” months since hotel facilities in the park start to close their doors in mid-October and open again in late April.
Planning your trip for late April will provide you with the most in-park lodging possibilities if you want an early spring getaway. Due to the few visitors to the park now, there are plenty of places to stay, even for a last-minute excursion.
Also, in late April, you’ll have the opportunity to witness many species, including their young. If you’d prefer a fall visit, an early or mid-October visit will be excellent because fewer people will be around.
Although it doesn’t have the same low volume as April, October sees a significant decrease in visits. Visitors from the summer have left; the weather is now considerably cooler, with snow and ice endangering the roads and making camping less enjoyable.
Now that you know the ideal time to visit Yellowstone based on your travel objectives, get ready to cross this renowned park off your list of places to visit while packing plenty of camera gear. You may visit Yellowstone National Park almost any time of year if you take the proper precautions, decide which attractions you want to see and make accommodation arrangements in advance.