Traveling Seasons & Operation Hours


Spring, Summer, and Fall: With its dominant visitor season running from mid-April to early November, Yellowstone National Park opens its roads on different dates each year depending on how quickly road crews can clear the snow-covered highways. Once the highways open for the season, the roads are passable twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, except in cases of road construction or weather-related incidents. Projected park opening and closing dates can be accessed on-line at www.nps.gov/yell/planvisit/orientation/travel/roadopen.htm.

Although the park’s weather is certainly at its most ideal climate, summer in Yellowstone National Park also ushers in the highest number of visitors. Summer tourists should expect larger crowds at major attractions, slower traffic, and higher priced lodging and gas in Yellowstone’s gateway communities.

For those who want a less crowded experience, spring and fall in Yellowstone is ideal. Prior to Memorial Day and after Labor Day, wildlife outnumbers cars and RVs. Spring wildflowers bloom in a rainbow palette while autumn’s changing colors paint a picture perfect backdrop for some of the year’s finest angling. Economically, spring and fall also reward visitors with lower gas prices and more lodging options at reduced rates.

Winter: Although the majority of cars, trucks, and RVs scamper away for the winter, Yellowstone is still alive with activity. Yellowstone’s winter season operates from mid-December through mid-March, and snowmobilers congregate to explore Yellowstone’s mysterious landscape shrouded in a veil of ice and snow. While the North and Northeast Entrances are open year-round to vehicles (four-wheel drive is highly recommended!), the rest of the park’s roads and entrances are open only to snowmobiles, snowcoaches, and those on skis and snowshoes.

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