Explore in Summer

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 reservable campsites or hotel rooms as far in advance as possible: don't expect to find a spot at the last minute. The seven 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 the webcams for a live look at traffic conditions at the North and West entrances.
  • Stay late
    Take advantage of the long, summer days and you'll find fewer crowds as dinnertime 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 River, 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.
  • Go for 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, carry bear spray and know how to use it.

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

 
 
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.
 
Photo of a car on a winding road

Roads & Construction

Check the status and seasonal closing dates of park roads.

Fog fills a river valley in a landscape

Seasons

Explore Yellowstone's seasons.

A skier enjoys a winter sunrise at near a steaming geyser.

Explore in Winter

Ready to brave the cold? Check out this information for planning a winter visit.

A group of people in front of the Tower Fall store in Yellowstone

Opening & Closing Dates

See what opens when for the summer season.

Last updated: June 24, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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