When Is the Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park?

With 2.2 million acres of towering canyons, lush forests, and bubbling geysers, it’s no wonder that Yellowstone National Park draws millions of visitors each year. If you have yet to make the trip, then don’t put it off for another second! Read on to discover everything you need to know about the year-round weather and best time to visit Yellowstone National Park, and while you are in Cody, WY/Yellowstone Country, take advantage of everything else that the area offers! Download our free Cody, WY, Vacation Guide to find over 100 recommendations on outdoor recreation, parks, museums, restaurants, and more.

The Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park

Winter

Winter is the perfect time to discover a quieter side of Yellowstone. During this time, many park entrances are closed and only open to snow vehicles. The park is open for cross-country skiing, ice-climbing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. You’ll also see frozen waterfalls, steaming geysers, and sparkling landscapes blanketed in snow. Average temperatures range from 0 to 20 degrees during the daytime.

Spectacular shot of Yellowstone Mammoth geyser in winter.

Spring

If you are looking to avoid the crowds, we recommend visiting Yellowstone in the spring. During March, April, and May, temperatures range from 30 to 60 degrees during the day. Many hibernating creatures are also emerging this time of year, so you’ll find plenty of great opportunities for wildlife viewing!

A black bear sow and her two cubs stand in a forest clearing in Yellowstone National Park.

Summer

Summer brings warm weather and tons of activity to Yellowstone National Park. Temperatures are an average of 70 or 80 degrees. Since many students are out of school for the summer, it is the most popular time to visit. During the season, you will find beautiful wildflowers blooming with reds, blues, yellows, and golds covering the prairies and sagebrush!

a Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park in the summer.

Autumn

In September, October, and November, you can expect mild weather between 30 to 60 degrees. The crisp autumn air welcomes gorgeous fall foliage and is also elk breeding season, commonly referred to as “the rut.” Bear and other wildlife are preparing for hibernation in the fall, so you may see them foraging out in the fields.

Steam rising near the Firehole River from geothermal pools and geysers. American bison grazing in the middle area.

Opening & Closing Dates

Summer and winter are the two distinct seasons of Yellowstone. Park entrances typically begin to close on a staggered schedule in September and October. However, many entrances open temporarily for snowmobile and oversnow traffic in the winter. As snow begins to melt away in late April, parks entrances reopen on a staggered schedule. Always double check opening and closing dates!

How Much Does It Cost to Get Into Yellowstone?

The entrance fee at the gate is $35 per vehicle and is good for seven days. If you are traveling by foot or bike, the fee is only $20. Anyone 15 or younger is always exempt from paying an entrance fee. 80% of all fees collected at Yellowstone National Park are used to fund critical projects that improve services and protect resources at the park.

More Tips for Your Trip

  • Dress accordingly. Because the temperatures can vary greatly from morning to evening, we recommend wearing layers!
  • Park roads may close due to unforeseen weather conditions. Before you make your way to the park, always double check for road closures. You can find more information on road closures on the Yellowstone National Park website.

Between food, tickets, and lodging, a trip to Yellowstone National Park can quickly add up! Our Spirit of the West Package is the perfect way to save money on your Yellowstone tour, lodging, and other great attractions in the area, including the Cody Nite Rodeo!

The Best Place to Stay Near Yellowstone

Monster Lake Ranch is a scenic 50-mile drive away from Yellowstone National Park. Situated on nearly 10,000 acres, our ranch is in the middle of the best attractions in Cody, WY! World-class museums, rodeos, and restaurants are all just minutes away! In addition, the surrounding Absaroka Range on our ranch provides boundless recreation and unrivaled views year-round. 

When you book any of our cozy accommodations, like The Rainbow Suite, you can always look forward to the best amenities, packages, and top-notch service. Horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking, hunting, and shooting sports are all activities to enjoy on the ranch! In addition, complimentary hot-plated breakfast is always included with your stay. When you are ready to plan your next Wild West getaway, check our availability and book your stay!

Now that you know the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park, remember to check out our Spirit of the West Package to save on tickets, tours, and lodging!