Best Times to Visit Yellowstone
The best time to visit Yellowstone is from April to May or from September to November. These seasons offer mild weather and fewer crowds. July and August are the most popular months to visit: the kids are out of school and the weather is warm enough to sleep outside. However, this park is no stranger to the cold: Temperatures have been known to drop into the 30s even in the summer. During the winter, expert a wide range of temperatures, spanning from subzero digits to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't let that stop you: There's nothing quite like seeing plumes of steam rise from beneath a thick blanket of snow and ice.
Spring weather in Yellowstone can be unpredictable, but if you time it right you'll be able to watch the park emerge from its winter hibernation without dense crowds of tourists. Average temperatures can fluctuate anywhere between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and below freezing, so plan to pack layers. And remember: park roads to popular features don't open to the public until the third Friday in April. Check the National Park Service's website to view updated road closures and opening days.
Average highs hover in the 70s, making for great hiking conditions. Plus, all of the park's facilities will be open. During the warmer months, Yellowstone welcomes upward of 30,000 visitors per day, meaning accommodations will fill up quickly. If you do decide to tackle the high season, make reservations as far in advance as possible.
Autumn is one of the best times to visit: the weather is still relatively mild, there are plenty of wildlife-watching opportunities and almost all of the summer crowds have dispersed, leaving behind plenty of more reasonably priced hotel rooms and campsites. But as the park prepares for winter, so should you: Average high temperatures can range from anywhere between the mid-30s to high 60s.
Winter in Yellowstone is not for the faint of heart. The park experiences heavy snowfall during this season, and daytime temperatures are rarely above freezing. If you do decide to visit at this time of year, always carry safety gear — sleeping bags, flashlights and extra food — and be prepared for precarious driving conditions (some roads will be closed). The North Entrance is the only entrance open to automobiles during these months, while most park facilities (aside from park headquarters at Mammoth Hot Springs) are closed.