Places to Visit: Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone National Park

Within a 5 hour drive you can be in Yellowstone National Park - an area of two million stunning wilderness acres featuring hot springs, geysers, mud-pots, rivers, waterfalls, lakes and wildlife.

  • Yellowstone National Park is open every day, all year with some roads closed during the winter months.
  • Travelers are encouraged to check weather and road conditions/closures before and during travel to Yellowstone National Park.
  • Activities include wildlife viewing, geysers, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, skiing, and snowmobiling.


Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park was America’s first national Park. Found in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, YNP is a outdoor recreation destination attracting more than 3 million visitors each year. Here you will find a variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Geothermal attractions include Old Faithful and many of the world's most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Yellowstone Lake.


Yellowstone National Park Headquarters
PO Box 168
Mammoth, WY 82190


From Sun Valley, Yellowstone is about 260 miles northeast. Take Highway 75 south to the junction with Highway 20. Head east and continue on Highway 20/26 to Idaho Falls, ID. At Idaho Falls, take Highway 20 north to West Yellowstone, MT.


Yellowstone National Park is open every day, all year. Temperatures vary widely in the park. Highs reach approximately 90 degrees in summer and 45 below zero in winter. Most Park entrances (except the North and North East) close in November for road maintenance and also in late March/early April to prepare roads for summer traffic. Internal park roads are only open to over-snow transportation during winter.

Activities Include

Geyser Viewing
YNP has more than 300 geysers. Check out famous Old Faithful, erupting about every hour and five minutes, as well as other geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin like Riverside, Grand and Beehive.

Morning Glory Pool is famous for its incredible colors resembling the morning glory flower. In the Lower Geyser Basin, visit the Fountain Paint Pots to see sputtering colored mud.

Wildlife Viewing and Photography
Watch for black bears, grizzlies, wolves, coyotes, antelope, moose, eagles, and buffalo, elk, big horn sheep, and trumpeter swans throughout YNP.

Dress for unpredictable mountain weather, be prepared for wildlife encounters, and check with Visitor Centers and Ranger Stations for updated trail conditions/closures. Easy day hikes in Yellowstone National Park include:

  • Old Faithful Area
    Fairy falls - 5 to 6 miles - easy
    Mystic Falls - 2.4 miles - moderate
    Lone Star Geyser - 5 miles - easy
  • Grant Village Area
    Shoshone Lake - 6 miles - moderate
    Lake Overlook - 2 miles - moderate
    Riddle Lake - 5 miles - moderate
    Fishing Bridge - Lake Area
    Elephant Back Mountain - 3 miles - moderate/difficult
    Pelican Creek - 1 mile - easy
    Storm Point - 3 miles - easy/moderate
  • Canyon Area
    Clear Lake/Ribbon Lake Loop 3 to 6 miles - easy
    Cascade Lake - 5 miles - easy
    Mt. Washburn - 6 miles - somewhat strenuous
  • Mammoth Hot Springs Area
    Beaver Ponds Loop - 5 miles - easy/moderate
    Bunsen Park - 4 miles - somewhat strenuous
    Wraith Falls 1 mile - easy

Reserve a YNP camping site and get more information and camping regulations from Xanterra Parks and Resorts, operating campgrounds at Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village, and Madison. Other campgrounds include Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, Mammoth, Norris, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Tower Falls and can be reserved on a first come first serve basis.
Reservations: 307-344-7901 (same day) and 307-344-7311 (future)

Fishing and Boating
YNP fishing season for brook, brown, rainbow and lake trout begins the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (usually the last weekend in May) and extends through the first Sunday in November. Anglers are responsible to adhere to Park fishing and boating regulations and permit/license requirements and should be aware some streams are closed to protect fish populations.

West Yellowstone leads to the YNP west entrance and approximately 180 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Entrance fees to YNP start at $15 per snowmobile/day and riders are encouraged to contact Yellowstone National Park online or via phone at (307) 344-2107 for more information.

Snowcoach Tours
Popular snow coach tours travel through Old Faithful, Yellowstone Grand Canyon, and the Mammoth Hot Springs areas and cost about $100 to $255 per person, providing a fun, warm, safe transportation alternative.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Backcountry Use Permits are required for overnight ski trips and maps are available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and YNP Visitor Centers.

More Information

Travelers are encouraged to check weather and road conditions/closures before and during travel to Yellowstone National Park:

  • Montana Department of Transportation, 800-226-7623
  • Wyoming Department of Transportation, 888-996-7623