For most adventurous fans, Yellowstone National Park is considered the Holy Grail of parks to add to any must-see bucket list. It’s one of the few parks within the US that has so many different things to see throughout the year. But to know the best time to visit Yellowstone is all a matter of what you’re interested in seeing. Here are some highlights that will make it easier to decide when to go and why it’ll be worth your time.
The best time when the weather’s warm
Obviously, hiking and visiting Yellowstone are going to be better when the weather is optimal, as winter months in Yellowstone can be dangerous if not downright risky. In terms of camping and activities, you’ll want to go from June through September. If you like seeing the animals then April to October is a sensible choice. Now the weather can still be chilly in April, so late May will be better as it naturally grows warmer in the season.
To avoid traffic jams and general traffic trying to get into Yellowstone, biking and hiking are best when visiting around July. This is when a majority of the snow has melted away and trails and paths are easier to spot. Temperatures will also be at their warmest with an average of 70s and sometimes as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best times to avoid the bigger tourist crowds
It sounds as if it’s not such a great thing to avoid crowds in Yellowstone but the truth is that they tend to swell when the weather is nice. One tip is to go when the park is not as warm and choose to go in November all the way through early April. This is certainly the colder time of the year and you will need to dress for rough conditions. If that’s not a good option for you, there are lesser-known travel windows that might work better for you.
This is a month or two toward the end of September and mid-November which gives you 2 weeks in the fall that will see fewer crowds. In the spring, this would be late April to mid-May before the droves of pre-summer tourists swamp the park. Another option is to arrive at the park and search out sights in the early morning hours when the sun begins to rise or close to sunset. This is when tourists will be fewer at several landmark sights throughout Yellowstone.
Best time to bring kids
This is a tough one to answer because kids want to see something in Yellowstone that’s going to be memorable. Most kids aren’t going to be overly enthusiastic about natural geysers and wildly colored water holes. What kids will especially be interested to see are the variety of young animals that can be seen around the park in the early part of April and May. This is when all of the different animals like Bison and Bear cubs will be much easier to spot in the wild.
The weather will be chillier than usual but the chance to see these animals when they’re so young is totally worth it. Plus, kids will enjoy seeing natural wonders with melting snow turning the rivers into very vivid-looking cascades. And though the cold might be trickier to deal with, kids naturally love snow and will like making snowmen and enjoying sledding.
Best time for fishing
For natural sports enthusiasts who enjoy fishing, Yellowstone is one of the few national parks that do allow fishing when you purchase one from any visitor center. On the west side of the park from May to nearly the end of June is the best season for stream fishing. These rivers include the Gibbon, Madison, and Firehole which flow with abundant trout when the season opens right before Memorial Day. After this, from June to Early July is when the spring season transitions to summer.
The best fishing at this point starts within the Gardner, Trout Lake, and Yellowstone rivers for the best fishing spots. When it comes to mid-summer fishing action, most sportsmen head north to the Gardner and Lamar Rivers. Other great fishing spots further including Soda Butte Creeks and Slough River. By the time the season starts to end, the Madison River, Gardner, and Yellowstone Rivers suddenly become hotspots all over again.
Best of the best-hidden Yellowstone wonders
Yellowstone is full of natural phenomena that are seldom seen by tourists unless you have heard of these well-hidden gems. And what park guest wants to deal with crowds if you can see natural wonders that are just as amazing. So if you want to see something extra special that’s not part of the regular tour map, check out these amazing secret places in Yellowstone.
·Shoshone Geyser Basin
Alright, you don’t need to be a guest on Jeopardy to know that Old Faithful Geyser is the big-ticket tourist magnet of Yellowstone. Everyone forgets that Yellowstone is full of geysers and one that is kept in the background is the Shoshone Geyser. It’s the largest geyser in the back valley that also features colorful hot springs and natural pools along the 8.5-mile trail path.
Don’t let Prismatic Springs suck you in if you can get the same beauty from Fairy Falls that can only be seen when you walk a short half mile up to its viewing platform. The best part is that you get a bird’s eye view of the midway geyser basin. The best time to visit Yellowstone to see Fairy Falls is during the late summer and early fall to see emerging Autumn colors at their peak.
There is one location that is considered the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, but most people never like to mention Mount Washburn Trail. It’s actually a well-kept secret for day hikers who travel along its path to a location that is so exclusive, you get a totally different view of the Grand Canyon sights. If you’re in good shape for hiking, this day trip is breathtaking!
The park rangers of Yellowstone call Lamar Valley the Serengeti of North America. If you’re really interested in seeing the real wildlife of Yellowstone this is found in the northeast of the park. This is the best location to see wild wolves, pronghorn, elk, bison, and animals that you don’t typically see in the heavily trafficked part of Yellowstone. What’s not to love about seeing hidden nature at its finest?