Top 10 Tips for a Summer Visit to Yellowstone National Park

a crowd of people watching as a geyser erupts
An early summer crowd watching an Old Faithful Geyser eruption.

NPS / Neal Herbert

In 2022, we are commemorating 150 Years of Yellowstone!

Visit and follow #Yellowstone150 to stay current on commemoration information.
Plan like a park ranger and recreate responsibly by following our Top 10 Tips for a summer visit to Yellowstone:

a park ranger handing a brochure to someone in a vehicle at an entrance station

1. Purchase a Park Entrance Pass Online

Reservations are not required to enter Yellowstone – just a park entrance pass. Save time at entrance stations by purchasing your park entrance pass online before you arrive.

A park ranger in uniform sitting in a tent

2. Arrive with Accommodation Plans

All campgrounds and lodging require a reservation and are usually full. No camping or overnight vehicle parking is allowed in pullouts, parking areas, picnic grounds, or any place other than a designated campsite in the park. If you don’t have a reservation, the nearest campsite or hotel room may be hours away, so have a plan before you arrive!

a park ranger holding up a phone

3. Expect Construction, Crowds and Limited Connectivity

Millions of people visit Yellowstone every year. Wildlife along roads and multiple road improvement projects often make drive times longer than expected. Connectivity in the park is limited, so download the free National Park Service app (and offline content) before you arrive for great information at your fingertips!

a park ranger posing with two other people for a selfie

4. Give Wildlife Room, Use a Zoom

Animals in Yellowstone are wild and dangerous if approached. Help keep wildlife wild by not approaching, encircling, following, or feeding any animal. Stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves and stay 25 yards (23 m) from all other animals. The safest way to view wildlife is through a telephoto lens, a spotting scope, or a pair of binoculars.

a park ranger spraying bear spray

5. Be Bear Aware

Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Be alert, make noise, hike in groups, and stay on trails. If you encounter a bear, never run. Learn more about traveling safely in bear country.

a park ranger in front of a thermal feature

6. Follow the Beaten Path

In thermal areas, boardwalks take you to amazing places, protect the park, and keep you safe. People have been severely burned and killed after leaving the boardwalk or reaching into hot water. Geysers, mud pots, and hot springs are delicate, so do not throw anything into any hydrothermal features, touch them, or change them in any way.

a park ranger holding a dog

7. Protect Your Pets

Yellowstone is a wild place, and pets have been lost, injured or killed in the park. Bringing a pet to Yellowstone may limit your activities, as they may accompany their humans only in developed areas of the park, such as roads, parking areas, and campgrounds.

a park ranger near a campfire pit

8. Flood Your Flames

The park is very dry, and just a spark could ignite a wildfire. Check the current fire danger rating and restrictions before you arrive. Campfires must always be attended and cold to the touch before abandoning — soak, stir, feel, repeat.

a park ranger throwing trash into a trash can

9. Stash Your Trash

If a trash can happens to be full, find another. Always store your food securely. Animals that eat human food can become habituated and may need to be killed. Food scraps belong in the trash, not on the trail!

a park ranger sitting in a car

10. Enjoy the Ride

Observe posted speed limits and use pullouts to watch wildlife, take pictures, and let other cars pass. Help ensure everyone’s safety by not stopping your vehicle in the road. When pulling over, be sure to park with all four tires fully to the right of the white line.

Additionally, if you really want to share your love for Yellowstone, take the Yellowstone Pledge!
Encourage your friends and family to do the same and share your photos with us online using #YellowstonePledge.

Yellowstone National Park

Last updated: July 2, 2022