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Yellowstone Vacation - What You Need to Know
Tips for Planning a Yellowstone Vacation

More Yellowstone Vacation Resources

• Yellowstone Vacation Planner
• Yellowstone Visitor Guide
• Yellowstone Photos
• Yellowstone Maps

Yellowstone Facts

  • Elevations range from 5,282 feet (Reese Creek) to 11,358 feet (Eagle's Peak Summit). Take care to avoid altitude sickness.

  • The park's roads are laid out in two joined loops. The north loop is 70 miles (113 km) long and the  south loop is 96 miles (155 km).

  • 2003 entrance fee $20. Good 7 consecutive days in Yellowstone and Grand Teton

  • Beware of things named Yellowstone. The Yellowstone Inn in Livingston is 60 miles from the park entrance

Yellowstone - When to Go

I like to visit Yellowstone in the fall because it's less crowded, animals are more active and the geysers steamier. My husband likes summer for its clear skies and warm days. Choose based on your vacation schedule and personal preferences. Consider this information to make your decision:

  • Interior roads are open through early November. Entrances closed for winter re-open in April and May.

  • Spring: Snow lingers, May is Yellowstone's rainiest month

  • June: Still rainy, crowds begin.

  • July, August: Expect warmer weather, clear skies, afternoon thunderstorms and crowds. Animals sightings are less frequent.

  • September: Expect cooler weather (and possibly some snow), smaller crowds. Animals are more active and elk are mating.

  • Winter: Only Mammoth Hot Springs is open year round. You can get to some areas inside the park on approved over-the-snow vehicles, such as environmentally-approved snowmobiles and snow buses. Yellowstone gets an average of 150 inches of snow a year, and everything is coated in white.

Yellowstone Vacation - Before You Go

  • Make lodging reservations in advance, as soon as you know when you are going to travel. Yellowstone is very popular, and its limited lodging can fill up early.

  • Speed limit 45, expect to average about 35

  • You and your pets may be happier if you leave them at home. They aren't allowed in Yellowstone hotels, cannot be left alone at any time, and are not allowed on boardwalks or more than a short distance from parking areas.

Yellowstone Vacation - Packing

  • Print the list of Reference Numbers to take with you.

  • Pack your binoculars, camera (take lots of film or media cards) and, if you're a serious bird- or animal-watcher, throw in your field guides.

  • Don't forget sunscreen, hats and moisturizers.

  • Pack clothing so you can dress in layers.

  • Leave firearms at home. They are not allowed in Yellowstone, even if you have a state permit to carry them. If you need to carry firearms for any reason, unload them, break them down and put them in a case out of sight. Place the ammunition in a different compartment of your vehicle.

  • Bringing the kids? There are no televisions in the Yosemite hotels, so bring some games to keep them occupied.

Yellowstone Vacation - When You Get There

  • Stop outside the park to buy groceries, snacks, film, batteries and other supplies you might need. Prices in park range from 10% to 25% higher than in surrounding towns.

  • If you plan to visit more than two national parks during the year, a National Park Pass will save you money. If you buy a single pass, it will be good for Yellowstone and Grand Teton, for seven days.

  • Pick up copy of Yellowstone Today when you enter. Lists ranger programs, road closures and other important information.

  • Stop by the National Park Visitor Center to get the latest schedules and geyser eruption schedule.

  • If dinner reservations are required, make them as soon as you can. When we arrived at 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday, the earliest available dining time was 9:45 p.m.

Yellowstone Vacation - Special Needs

  • If you have questions about disabled access, contact the Park Accessibility Coordinator at (307) 344-2021. An accessibility guide is available at all entrances and visitor centers.

  • Pets must be on leashes at all times, and they are not allowed on trails, more than 100 feet from roads or parking areas, in the back country or off the boardwalks. There are no kennels in the park. Do not pets unattended.

Other WY/MT Places

• Glacier National Park
• Grand Teton National Park

 If You Go  

• Yellowstone NP


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