Welcome to The Ultimate Camping Guide's
Yellowstone National Park Visitor Guide!
Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world's most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Current Conditions and Updates
The Old Faithful Visitor Education Center opened August 25! The Old Faithful Visitor Education Center is the first facility in Yellowstone to achieve Gold LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and one of the few facilities to achieve this distinction in the entire National Park System. Its warm and welcoming design invites visitors of all ages inside to learn about the extraordinary hydrothermal features of Yellowstone National Park.You will also be introduced to the fascinating story of life in extreme environments and learn about the underlying volcanic activity that reveals itself through these spectacular natural wonders.
Fire: Vvisitors are reminded to be careful while enjoying the park. Yellowstone National Park is a fire adapted ecosystem. Most fires that occur in the park are caused by lightning. Fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of the area's wildlife habitat and vegetation. These fires are managed to protect people and property, enhance the area's natural resources where appropriate, and safely and effectively use available firefighting resources. Updated Information: When actively burning, smoke from the fire may be visible from the Mt. Washburn Fire Lookout Web Cam at http://www.nps.gov/yell/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm. Updates are available 24hours a day by calling 307-344-2580, or on the web at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2025/ and http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/newsreleases.htm.
The North Entrance and the road from Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs on to Cooke City, outside the park's Northeast Entrance, is open to wheeled vehicle travel all year. Gasoline is available using 24-hour pay at the pump at Tower Junction.
Operating Hours and Seasons
Yellowstone is open every day of the year. Most entrances (except the North and North East entrances) close in November while roads are being prepared for the winter season and again in the late March and early April months to clear the roads for the summer season. Interior park roads are only open to over-snow vehicles during the winter season.
Summer: Daytime temperatures are often in the 70s (25C) and occasionally in the 80s (30C) in lower elevations. Nights are usually cool and temperatures may drop below freezing at higher elevations. Thunderstorms are common in the afternoons.
Winter: Temperatures often range from zero to 20F(-20 to -5C) throughout the day. Sub-zero temperatures over-night are common. The record low temperature is -66F (-54C). Snowfall is highly variable. While the average is 150 inches per year, it is not uncommon for higher elevations to get twice that amount.
Spring & Fall: Daytime temperatures range from the 30s to the 60s (0 to 20C) with overnight lows in the teens to single digits (-5 to -20C). Snow is common in the Spring and Fall with regular accumulations of 12" in a 24 hour period. At any time of year, be prepared for sudden changes. Unpredictability, more than anything else, characterizes Yellowstone’s weather. Always be equipped with a wide range of clothing options. Be sure to bring a warm jacket and rain gear even in the summer.
Fees and Permits
The entrance fee is $25 for a private, noncommercial vehicle; $20 for each snowmobile or motorcycle; or $12 for each visitor 16 and older entering by foot, bike, ski, etc. This fee provides the visitor with a 7-day entrance permit for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Remember to keep your admission receipt in order to re-enter the parks. Snowmobile operators must possess a valid motor vehicle operator's license.
Park Annual Pass
The $50 park annual pass provides entrance to pass holder and accompanying passengers in a single private non-commercial vehicle at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Pass is valid for 12 months from date of purchase. Purchase your pass at one of the park’s entrances.
Interagency Annual Pass
The $80 Interagency Annual Pass provides entrance or access to pass holder and accompanying passengers in a single, private non-commercial vehicle at most federal recreation sites across the country. Pass is valid for 12 months from date of purchase. The pass is not valid for Expanded Amenity fees such as camping or parking at Mt Rushmore. Purchase your pass at one of Yellowstone’s entrance stations or online at http://store.usgs.gov/pass.
Interagency Senior Pass
The $10 Interagency Senior Pass (62 and older) is a lifetime pass available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Pass is available only in-person at entrances or visitor centers. Learn More about the Senior Pass
Interagency Access Pass
Free lifetime pass available to citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. who have been determined to be blind or permanently disabled. Pass is available only in-person at entrances or visitor centers.
Advance reservations are not needed to enter the park. Annual or Lifetime Passes are possible alternatives to the above fees.