Summer in Yellowstone

Crowds of people at Old Faithful
Busy boardwalks after an August eruption of Old Faithful: more than half of the park's annual visitation happens during June, July, and August.

NPS / Neal Herbert

 

Yellowstone hosts around four million visits each year. More than half of these visits happen during June, July, and August. If you plan to come during summer, make reservations for campsites or hotel rooms as far in advance as possible: don't expect to find a spot at the last minute. Our first-come, first-served campgrounds usually fill by early morning.

Inside the park, expect busy facilities and destinations, reduced parking, as well as delayed travel times due to heavy traffic and wildlife jams. You can help prevent traffic jams by pulling over to watch wildlife: always park in designated areas and avoid blocking roads.

Here are some tips to make the most out of a summer day:

  • Arrive early: "rush hour" at park entrances is generally from 9 am to 11 am. Check our webcams for a live look at traffic conditions at the North and West entrances.
  • Stay late: take advantage of our long, summer days and you'll find fewer crowds as dinner time approaches. During summer, it doesn't get dark until after 9 pm. Be sure to check for road construction that might affect evening travel.
  • Avoid the main attactions during peak hours: destinations like Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Norris Geyser Basin see peak visitation from 10 am to 3 pm. Plan your day so you can avoid these spots during these times.
  • Take a hike! Walk a half mile from your car and you'll leave the crowds behind (in most cases). Be sure to follow best practices for traveling safely in bear country: hike in groups of three or more, make noise, and carry bear spray.

For a less busy Yellowstone experience, visit during our shoulder seasons or even winter. Start planning by reviewing our month-by month description of seasonal highlights, the opening/closing schedule of park roads, and our tips for visiting Yellowstone in winter.

 
 
visitation graph
A graph showing average visitation to Yellowstone by month from 2012-2016.
 
Read more about visitation statistics, visitor use in national parks, or dive into the National Park Service visitation statistics offered by the Public Use Statistics Office.
 

Last updated: July 5, 2018

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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