Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

  US National Parks

VISIT Yellowstone National Park:

Yellowstone was America’s first National Park.

Rumblings of a super-volcano below the earth’s crust creates a unique landscape that millions of visitors flock to from around the world. Steam rolls from vividly colored pools, muddy cauldrons burp smelly gasses, and spouts of hot water shoot hundreds of feet into the air. This amazing park has half of the world’s geothermic features.

Yellowstone National Park is also home to herds of bison, elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. Bears and bison regularly slow traffic through the park.

Places to Stay While at Yellowstone

Inside the park, there are a number of cabins that fill up very quickly. They will need to be booked almost a year in advance. These include Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Roosevelt Lodge and Cabins, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge, Snow Lodge and Canyon Lodge and Cabins, among a few others that are tucked inside Canyon Village.

There are a number of towns nearby Yellow stone that may have lodging options (either Airbnb/VRBO, hotels or resorts). The distances listed are for the closest entrance to the park. Yellowstone is huge, so it may still take up to an hour to reach the middle of the park at Canyon Village.

  • West Yellowstone, MT (2 miles away from park entrance)
  • Gardiner, MT (5 miles)
  • Cooke City, MT (5 miles)

What State is Yellowstone in?

This seems to be a common question among those just starting to become interested in visiting national parks. Yellowstone National Park is in fact located within two states: Wyoming and Montana. The majority of the park is in the top-left corner of Wyoming, with only the small northern and western boundary strips of the park located in Montana.

How do you get to Yellowstone?

The most common way to get to Yellowstone National Park is by flying into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN), which is located in Montana in the city of Bozeman. The Bozeman airport is 88 miles/1.5 hours away from the northern entrance of Yellowstone in Gardiner, MT. It is also 91 miles/1.5 hours away from the park’s western entrance in West Yellowstone, MT.

Park Details

Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872, and has a total area of 2,219,791 acres (3,468 square miles, or 8,987 square kilometers).

Address 2 Officers Row, Yellowstone National Park, WY, 82190
HoursOpen 24 hours in May-September. Many roads are closed in Winter
Entrance Fee$35 per vehicle, valid for 7 days
Learn MoreOfficial Website

When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation

Yellowstone National Park is the 12th most visited park in the country.

Winter in Yellowstone means fewer crowds, frigid temperatures, and steaming geyser basins. Skis, snowshoes, and snowmobiles become the primary modes of transportation as most park roads close, rivers and lakes freeze, and winter storms blanket the park with fluffy, white snow.

Using Historical Data to Predict

We crunched 30 years of historical weather and/or park service data to find the best months to visit Yellowstone National Park. We looked for the optimal temperatures, the least amount of snow and rain, and stayed away from peak visitation months if we could help it. All this data then helped us paint a picture as to what the absolute best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is.

Our data shows the best months to visit Yellowstone National Park are May, October & September.

Park Visits35,33836,89735,61167,508473,799938,8451,080,767921,844882,078316,66233,14437,749
Avg Temp232429395263727161463023
Max Temp323239546676807872624533
Avg Temp101116243340464537281710
Min Temp-15-12-36182637342313-4-13
Temperature values in °F; Precipitation in Inches

Yellowstone National Park Road Trips

Many family vacations consist of stringing one or more national parks together during a week-long trip. Creating these types of trips is our specialty! Here are the road trips we've created where Yellowstone National Park is visited.

Trip NameTrip MilesTrip Days
Continental Divide National Historic Trail RV Road Trip2,31514
South to North, Arizona to Montana & Saguaro to Glacier2,12014
Rocky Mountains, Dinosaur Monument, Grand Tetons to Yellowstone92010
Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton & Craters of the Moon1,18811
Yellowstone Ski Trip6007
Yellowstone to Grand Teton4979

Other Nearby National Park Sites

From national monuments, to historic sites to seashores and more, here are the other parks closest to Yellowstone National Park.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway36 mi
Grand Teton National Park54 mi
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area123 mi
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument164 mi
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site165 mi
Big Hole National Battlefield169 mi
Craters of the Moon National Monument171 mi
Fossil Butte National Monument189 mi
Minidoka National Historic Site230 mi
Golden Spike National Historic Site230 mi

Nearby Campsites & RV Parks

If you are looking to pitch a tent or park an RV at a campsite near Yellowstone National Park, here is a list of the closest campsites in the surrounding area. They all have slightly different amenitites, so its best to check them all out instead of just chosing the first on the list.

NameDetailsMiles Away
Bridge Bay - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 5 miles
Fishing Bridge RV - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 7 miles
Canyon - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 9 miles
Norris - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 14 miles
Grant - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 15 miles
Madison - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 18 miles
Tower Falls - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 21 miles
Lewis Lake - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 23 miles
Indian Creek - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 23 miles
Slough Creek - Yellowstone National ParkWY more 26 miles

Nearest Ski Resorts

For those of you who are the diehard outdoors type, visiting a national park on a ski trip can be quite the adventure. Here are the ski resorts within 100 miles of Yellowstone National Park:

NameLocationSummitDifficulty ScoreDistance
Sleeping GiantCody, WY7,428 ft47%33 mi
Grand TargheeAlta, WY10,000 ft57%55 mi
Big Sky ResortBig Sky, MT11,166 ft83%64 mi
Red Lodge MountainRed Lodge, MT9,416 ft67%71 mi
Jackson Hole Mountain ResortJackson, WY10,450 ft85%78 mi
Snow KingJackson, WY7,808 ft60%80 mi
Lost Trail PowderSula, MT8,200 ft47%80 mi
Bridger BowlBozeman, MT8,700 ft72%87 mi

Nearest Airports

When visiting a National park, many people are faced with either a very long drive across country, or a much shorter flight. For those of you looking to fly into Yellowstone National Park, we've listed the closest airports in the area.

Large Airports

A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airports to Yellowstone National Park.

Salt Lake City International AirportSLCSalt Lake City, UT274 mi
Denver International AirportDENDenver, CO442 mi
Calgary International AirportYYCCalgary, AB478 mi
Medium Airports

A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airports to Yellowstone National Park.

Jackson Hole AirportJACJackson, WY70 mi
Bozeman Yellowstone International AirportBZNBozeman, MT87 mi
Idaho Falls Regional AirportIDAIdaho Falls, ID108 mi
Billings Logan International AirportBILBillings, MT127 mi
Bert Mooney AirportBTMButte, MT135 mi
Helena Regional AirportHLNHelena, MT156 mi
Pocatello Regional AirportPIHPocatello, ID157 mi

Credits: Campground data provided by Map shapes from CartographyVectors. Weather data from NOAA. Airport data from Images from Unsplash, Flickr and Parks&Trips. All data has also been updated and augmented by Parks&Trips.

Author Image
Chris Cagle

I love traveling the United States. I hunt down fantastic places to visit in the summer and great slopes to ski down in the winter. The first national park I ever visited was the Smokies, but since then, I've been to dozens. However, my favorite by far has been Zion.