Millions of people visit Yellowstone annually to create lifelong memories of seeing erupting geysers, wandering wildlife, and the art of thermophiles. There are some important considerations for this visit to be successful.
What you should know about Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park covers almost 9000 km2 in the northwest corner of Wyoming (3% of the park is in Montana and 1% in Idaho). Yellowstone has five entrance stations and several are closed to regular vehicles during the winter. It takes many hours to drive between these entrances, so be sure to check the road conditions at the entrance you want to use while planning your trip and before you arrive.
Here we leave you guidelines, tips and information of interest if you plan to travel to the United States and make a wonderful visit to Yellowstone:
1. Most of the campgrounds and lodgings in the park are reserved and complete
Overnight camping or parking of vehicles is not allowed in the retreat areas, parking areas, picnic areas, or anywhere other than a designated campground. If you don’t have a reservation, the closest campsite or hotel room may be hours away.
2. Fire hazard
The park is very dry and only a small spark could start a fire. Be responsible with fire in the park.
3. Expect overcrowding, traffic, and delays
Millions of people visit Yellowstone in the summer. Traffic, wildlife along the roads, and in road construction often make driving times longer than expected. Parking areas are most likely congested.
4. Drive and park responsibly
Observe posted speed limits and use areas with sufficient space along the road to observe wildlife, take photos, and allow other vehicles to pass. Do not stop your vehicle in the middle of the road. When you stop, be sure to park with all four tires completely to the right of the white line.
5. Plan ahead
Make sure you know:
- Entrance fees to Yellowstone:
Whether you’re planning a one-time visit or coming back multiple times a year, enjoy the convenience of purchasing a Yellowstone National Park site-specific digital pass on Recreation.gov before you arrive. You have immediate access to your digital pass and can easily download it to your phone or tablet.
- Boat inspections and permits
Exploring the Yellowstone Lakes by boat offers a great way to see the park from a different perspective. However, sailing in the Northern Rocky Mountains presents significant risks. The water temperature in the park’s lakes is in the 40s (Fahrenheit) in June, and can reach 60s in late summer.
6. Wildlife is dangerous
People have been injured or killed by bears, bison, and elk. Always keep a minimum of 25 yards (23 m) from all wildlife and 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves. Learn how to keep an eye on wildlife safety and travel safely in bear country.
Stay 25 yards from bison, elk, and other wildlife, and 100 yards from wolves and bears.
7. Stay on the boardwalks
People have been seriously injured or killed by traversing thin soil in hot springs or falling into hot springs.
8. Protect yourself and others
According to the CDC recommendations on COVID-19, people who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
9. Improve your experience
Download the free NPS Yellowstone or National Park Service app (and offline content) before you arrive.
10. Mobile coverage is limited in Yellowstone
Don’t be surprised if you can’t receive calls or texts, even in the few areas where you have cell reception.