Weather & Climate

Spring Weather:
The arrival of spring may signal warm weather in many parts of America, but in Yellowstone, be prepared for snow. Cold temperatures and snowstorms can remain frequent guests into April and May, and late spring snowstorms have often dumped more than a foot of snow in just 24 hours during these months. Although actual temperatures can vary drastically from regional norms, average daytime temperatures reach 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (5-15 C) in early spring with readings gradually rising into the 60s and 70s (15-25 C). During the evenings, expect lows anywhere from the single digits to just above freezing.

As a result of these widely divergent temperature readings, spring visitors should be ready for all types of weather. Always pack along a warm jacket, rain gear, sturdy walking shoes, and a layered clothing system. It never hurts to bring along a warm hat and gloves in case of an unexpected snow flurry.

Summer Weather:
Summer undeniably provides the park’s most comfortable temperatures with nearly non-existent humidity. Since Yellowstone never truly experiences extreme heat, summer visitors are treated to July daytime highs typically in the mid 70s (25 C) with lower elevations sometimes hitting the mid 80s (30 C). Despite the pleasant daytime readings, summer evenings are cool. Depending on the elevation of your destination, nighttime temperatures average between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (0-10 C) but may drop into the low 20s (5 C). As with many western regions, summer afternoon thunderstorms are common. In the event of lightning, move away from water and beaches, lone trees, and exposed ridges.

During the summer, visitors are encouraged to wear sturdy walking shoes, slather on the sunscreen, dress in a layered garment system, and bring along a light jacket, waterproof shell, and an umbrella.   

Autumn Weather:
Autumn weather in Yellowstone can be just as pleasant as summer during its early arrival. During mid-autumn, visitors can expect daytime average temperatures of 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (5-20 C) with overnight lows in the teens and single digits. As the season progresses, snowstorms occur more frequently and increase in intensity as winter draws near. Sudden storms during late autumn are almost assured, so those visiting the park or Yellowstone’s backcountry should pack extra clothing.

Like spring visitors, autumn travelers need to be prepared all weather patterns. Wear layered clothing and sturdy walking shoes, and always pack along a warm jacket, rain gear, hat, and gloves.

Winter Weather:
Winter is by far Yellowstone’s longest and coldest season, but prepared visitors should still be able to enjoy the park’s beauty with careful planning. Daytime temperatures often remain in the single digits, but on occasion, may climb to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 C). Frigid nighttime readings dip well below zero. The coldest temperature ever recorded was –66 degrees Fahrenheit (-54 C) on February 9, 1933 near the park’s West Entrance. At the other extreme, however, winter occasionally takes a break with the presence of warm Chinook winds that force the temperatures into the 40s and 50s. Average snowfall throughout the park is a moderate 150 inches (380 centimeters), while higher elevations often receive annual dumps in excess of 400 inches (5 to 10 meters).

As a result of its famous fluffy powder, Yellowstone’s wintry landscape attracts hundreds of touring snowmobiles, snowcoaches, skiers, and snowshoe enthusiasts. Winter visitors should plan accordingly with weather forecasts and wind chill predictions. Wear a layered garment system that includes fleece underwear, vests, heavy shirts and coats, gloves, warm socks that wick away moisture, and heavy-duty boots. Always carry extra clothing, and recognize that even the proper gear may not be enough to protect you in a severe winter storm. 

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