Rules and Regulations
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You have just entered Yellowstone National Park. In bidding you welcome the National Park Service asks you to remember that you are visiting a great playground that belongs in part to you, and that while you are at liberty to go anywhere in the park with perfect freedom, you owe it to yourself and to your fellow citizens to do nothing that will injure any of the natural features of the park—the geyser and hot spring formations, the trees, the wild animals or birds.

The park was set apart from the public domain by Congress in 1872 and dedicated as a "pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." It was enacted that it should remain for ever as such. Thus we of the present generation are obliged legally and morally to so use and enjoy the park that it will remain forever in essentially its natural state.

Help us, then, protect Yellowstone National Park and especially its things of beauty that are so often desecrated by the carved initial or other inscription.



The area of the park is 3,348 square miles, or 2,142,728 acres. Over 85 per cent of this great reservation is covered with dense forests of pine, fir, spruce, and other trees. You will pass through some of these vast forests in your tour of the park, and you are particularly urged to use the greatest caution in handling matches, cigar and cigarette stubs, and pipe ashes. Extinguish every spark before throwing them away. Last year 306 fires in Yellowstone Park were caused by careless handling of matches and stubs of cigars and cigarettes. Many tourists found responsible for these fires suffered arrest for violation of the regulations, then trial and the imposition of heavy fines for their negligence.

You can not be too careful with fire.


It is your privilege to see and enjoy Yellowstone National Park in your own way. You may utilize the facilities of the hotel or camp systems, or you may camp out, using your own equipment and supplies. Last year 25,000 motorists camped out in the park.

A system of free public automobile camps is being developed, and several of these camps will be available for use during the season of 1920. Others will be opened as fast as funds are granted for their improvement. In these camps pure water will be supplied and fire wood will be made available.

Also cooking grates will be provided, and there will be special attention given to sanitation of these camps. It is not and will not be the policy of the service to confine all camping by motorists to these special sites, but it is hoped that the facilities of these places will make them attractive and inviting to visitors who are touring the park, using their own equipment and supplies.

All camp grounds, whether specially improved or not, shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition. The following park regulation must be implicitly observed:

Many successive parties camp on the same sites during the season; therefore camp grounds shall be thoroughly cleaned before they are abandoned. Tin cans, bottles, cast-off clothing, and all other débris shall be placed in garbage cans or pits provided for the purpose. When camps are made in unfrequented localities where pits or cans may not be provided, all refuse shall be burned or hidden where it will not be offensive to the eye.

Camps shall not be made at a less distance than 100 feet from the road.


All motorists and other visiting tourists are accorded equal rights and privileges on the park roads. With the exception of ambulance and official cars on emergency trips, no car has the right of way on the roads. All travel around the park is in the direction contrary to that of the hands of a clock.

The yellow cars of the Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. carrying passengers who have come to the park by train have no special rights under the park regulations, but you should remember that they are required to travel on schedule and that they must not be delayed. Should you not be driving your car at the maximum speed limits permissible, you should recognize an appropriate signal from drivers of the yellow cars and yield the right of way, in order that they may continue on their regular schedule.

The Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. holds a franchise from the Federal Government authorizing it to conduct its transportation business on the park-road system. It is a public utility under the strict control of the Government. National park authorities prescribe the character of service that this company must furnish the public, and all rates are fixed by the director of the National Park Service.


Before going far into the park read all the automobile regulations and give particular attention to the rules that limit the speed at which cars may be operated. The limits are 12 miles per hour ascending and 10 miles per hour descending steep grades, and 8 miles per hour on approaching sharp curves. On good roads with straight stretches and when no team is nearer than 200 yards, the speed may be increased to 25 miles per hour.

If these limits are exceeded by other motorists, or by drivers of the yellow cars of the Yellowstone Park Transportation Co., you will perform a public service if you would report violations of the regulations at the ranger stations or to the motorcycle patrol, giving number of violators' cars for identification purposes.


Yellowstone National Park is in charge of the superintendent, Mr. Horace M. Albright, whose office is at Mammoth Hot Springs, the park headquarters. Complaints and suggestions should be addressed to this officer in writing, but the telephone service of the park is available for emergency complaints regarding reckless driving on the roads, reports of forest fires, etc.


The park is protected by the ranger force under the direction of the superintendent. The principal duties of the rangers include the patrolling of the roads and trails, control of automobile traffic, protection of the geyser and hot spring formations, sanitation of camps, etc., but they also answer inquiries and give general information regarding the park as opportunity permits. Do not hesitate to consult the rangers. They are here to aid you. Ranger stations are situated near every hotel and camp, and at every junction point on the road system except Madison Junction, where the west entrance road joins the loop highway.


The central information bureau is maintained at headquarters at Mammoth Hot Springs. Here also is the park museum and library. Maps and other publications relating to all of the national parks of the United States are available in this office.


You will add greatly to the enjoyment of your trip if you will procure a guide book of the park, and refer to it as you go from one point of interest to another. At headquarters and at the ranger stations the National Park Service distributes free of charge a Government booklet describing all of the interesting features of the park, the geyser and hot springs phenomena, the canyons, lakes, mountains, forests, birds, animals, and fish. This booklet also contains the rules and regulations of the park. It has a few illustrations.

The Haynes guidebook, an elaborately illustrated volume, and as broad in its scope as the Government booklet, is on sale in the hotels, camps, stores, and picture shops at 75 cents.

Put this advisory pamphlet in your guidebook where you can continue to refer to it.


The milepost signs in Yellowstone National Park are diamond-shaped steel signs with raised letters, which are in every case initials of a junction point on the loop road system or a park gateway. As a measure of economy these signs have not always been placed exactly 1 mile apart. Fractions of miles have sometimes been dropped in order that two mileage signs might always be placed on one steel post. For instance, between Gardiner, the north gateway, and Mammoth Hot Springs, a speedometer indicates that the distance is slightly over 5 miles, yet the mileage signs state the distance as exactly 5 miles.

The following is a key to the milepost initials:

N. E. North entrance, at Gardiner, Mont.

W. E. West entrance, at West Yellowstone, Mont.

E. E. East entrance, near Cody, Wyo.

S. E. South entrance, near Jackson, Wyo.

M. S. Mammoth Hot Springs, where the north approach road joins the loop system.

N. J. Norris Junction, near Norris Geyser Basin, where a road leads directly across the park to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

M. J. Madison Junction, where the west approach road joins the loop system.

O. F. Old Faithful, at the head of Upper Geyser Basin.

W. T. West Thumb, of Yellowstone Lake, where the south approach road joins the loop system.

L. J. Lake Junction, where the east or Cody approach road joins the loop system.

C. J. Canyon Junction, where a road leads directly across the park from the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone to Norris Basin.

T. J. Tower Falls Junction, where the road to the buffalo ranch and Cooke City leaves the loop system.

With the exception of Madison Junction, there is a ranger station at each of the above entrances and junction points.

As the map in the front of this booklet clearly shows, the main road system of Yellowstone Park is roughly in the form of a figure 8. This system is called the "loop" or "belt line" road. There are 148.5 miles of improved highways in the main system.

The approach roads are the feeders to the loop system and they lead from all four park gateways to junction points as above indicated. The aggregate length of the approach roads in the park is 68.4 miles.

Other roads in the park have a combined length of 86.65 miles.

Outside of the park boundaries, by special authority of Congress, the National Park Service maintains 28 miles of the east approach road in the Shoshone National Forest, and 30 miles of the south approach road in the Teton National Forest.


Remember that all rates are approved by the Government. Complaints regarding overcharges should be made to the superintendent. Employees of the hotels, camps, and transportation lines are not Government employees, but discourteous treatment by public utility employees should be reported to the park administration.



The four hotels in the park are maintained by the Yellowstone Park Hotel Co. These are located at Mammoth Hot Springs, the Upper Geyser Basin, the outlet of Yellowstone Lake, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The address of the hotel company is Yellowstone Park, Wyo., from June 15 to September 15, and Helena, Mont., thereafter. The authorized rates at the hotels are as follows:



Board and lodging, American plan, regular accommodations (not including private bath), per day, each person$6.50
Board and lodging, including private bath, according to the room's location and number of occupants7.50—11.00
Meals or lodging, part of a day:
Children under 12 years of age, half rate.


Five permanent camps in the park are maintained by the Yellowstone Park Camps Co. These are located at Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Lake, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and near Tower Falls (Camp Roosevelt). The address of the camping company is Yellowstone Park, Wyo., from June 15 to September 15, and Livingston, Mont., thereafter. The authorized rates at the camps are as follows:


Camp rates.

Meals and lodgings, American plan, per day$4.50
Weekly rate for stop-overs28.00
Children under 8 years of age, half rate.


J. E. Haynes maintains photographic shops at Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper Geyser Basin, and Tower Falls, and sale stands at various hotels and camps for the sale of photographs of his own manufacture in all sizes and styles; a complete line of photographic supplies and guide books; and has laboratories in the park for developing, printing, and enlarging photographs for visitors.


General stores are maintained at Upper Geyser Basin (Old Faithful) and at the outlet of Yellowstone Lake near the Lake Hotel and Lake Camp by Mr. C. A. Hamilton. At Mammoth Hot Springs and at Grand Canyon general stores are maintained by Mr. George Whittaker. At Mammoth Hot Springs Pryor & Trischman maintain a curio shop and ice-cream parlor. In all of the hotels and permanent camps there are news stands at which curios, postcards and photographs, souvenirs, newspapers, magazines, tobacco, and smokers' supplies, etc., are available.

Complete lines of groceries, clothing, and campers' supplies of all kinds are available in the general stores.


The Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. and the general stores are authorized to sell gasoline and oil and the transportation company carries a stock of standard automobile parts, tires, etc. The company also maintains garages and repair shops at Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper Basin (Old Faithful), outlet of Lake Yellowstone and Grand Canyon.


Guides and horses may be procured at any of the hotels and camps.

Mounted guides for saddle horse trips:
   Per day$5.00
   Per hour1.00
Saddle or pack horses:
   Per day of 8 hours3.50
   Per hour or fraction thereof.75


Henry J. Brothers operates a pool bathhouse at Upper Geyser Basin. Rates, 50 cents in large pool, $1 in private pool.


From all points in the United States to connection with lines of the Yellowstone Park Hotel Company, at Western Union rates.

Messages exchanged between offices in the park at the rate of 25 cents for 10 words and 2 cents for each additional word.


Use of telephones from or to any point in the park, not to exceed 1 minute, 25 cents. Each additional minute, 15 cents.


Fishing is usually excellent throughout the park. Fishing tackle may be purchased at any of the stores of the park or an outfit consisting of rod, reel, line, and landing net may be rented at the hotels, permanent camps, and stores at 50 cents per day. Flies and fishing accessories can also be procured at reasonable prices.

Ten fish constitute the limit of a day's catch from all waters within two miles of the loop road system.


The medical service of the park is conducted by a skilled physician and surgeon who is located at headquarters at Mammoth Hot Springs. He will, however, promptly attend patients at any place in the park. Hospital facilities are available at headquarters, and trained nurses are stationed at all hotels and camps.


In addition to the automobile rules the following sections of the rules and regulations, which are the law of the park, should ever be kept in mind and faithfully observed:

1. Preservation of natural features and curiosities.—It is forbidden to remove or injure the sediments or incrustations around the geysers, hot springs, or steam vents; or to deface the same by written inscriptions or otherwise; or to throw any object or substance into the springs or steam vents; or to injure or disturb in any manner or to carry off any of the mineral deposits, specimens, natural curiosities, or wonders within the park; or to ride or drive upon any of the geyser or hot spring formations, or to turn stock loose to graze in their vicinity.

The destruction, injury, defacement, or disturbance in any way of the public buildings, signs, equipment, or other property, or the trees, flowers, vegetation, rocks, mineral, animal, or bird, or other life is prohibited.

2. Camping.—No camp shall be made at less distance than 100 feet from any traveled road. Blankets, clothing, hammocks, or any other article likely to frighten teams shall not be hung near the road.

Many successive parties camp on the same sites during the season; therefore, camp grounds shall be thoroughly cleaned before they are abandoned. Tin cans, bottles, cast-off clothing, and all other débris shall be placed in garbage cans or pits provided for the purpose. When camps are made in unfrequented localities where pits or cans may not be provided, all refuse shall be burned or hidden where it will not be offensive to the eye.

Campers may use dead or fallen timber only, for fuel.

3. Fires.—Fires constitute one of the greatest perils to the park; they shall not be kindled near trees, dead wood, moss, dry leaves, forest mold, or other vegetable refuse, but in some open space on rocks or earth. Should camp be made in a locality where no such open space exists or is provided the dead wood, moss, dry leaves, etc., shall be scraped away to the rock or earth over an area considerably larger than that required for the fire. Fires shall be lighted only when necessary and when no longer needed, they shall be completely extinguished and all embers and bed smothered with earth or water so that there remains no possibility of reignition.

Especial care shall be taken that no lighted match, cigar, or cigarette is dropped in any grass, twigs, leaves, or tree mold.

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5. Bears.—Molesting or feeding the bears is prohibited.

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13. Dogs.—Dogs are not permitted in the park, except that, by special authority of the superintendent, they may be transported through the park provided they are kept under leash or in a crate while within the confines of the park.

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17. Fines and penalties.—Persons who render themselves obnoxious by disorderly conduct or bad behavior shall be subjected to the punishment herein after prescribed for violation of the foregoing regulations, or they may be summarily removed from the park by the superintendent and not allowed to return without permission in writing from the Director of the National Park Service or the superintendent of the park.

Any person who violates any of the foregoing regulations shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both, and be adjudged to pay all costs of the proceedings.

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Last Updated: 16-Feb-2010