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Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park - An Overview


The Lower Yellowstone Falls measure 308 feet high, almost twice as high as Niagara Falls.

The Lower Yellowstone Falls measure 308 feet high, almost twice as high as Niagara Falls.

© Savannah Grandfather via Flickr


Park headquarters are located in Mammoth, WY, but finding the best route to Yellowstone depends on your hometown. Entrances are located in the following cities: Gardiner, MT; West Yellowstone, MT; Jackson, WY; Cody, WY; and Cooke City, MT.

Contact Info:

Mail: P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth, WY, 82190-0168

Phone: 307-344-7381

Email: yell_visitor_services@nps.gov

Hours of Operation:

Spring: The North Entrance to Northeast Entrance at Silver Gate and Cooke City, MT is open year-round, 24 hours a day.

Summer: Entrances, roads, and park areas open on different dates.

Fall: Roads may be closed temporarily due to weather conditions. Visitors are advised to check the National Weather Service forecast before planning their trip.

Winter: The road from the North Entrance at Gardiner, MT to the Northeast Entrance at Silver Date and Cooke City, MT is the only one open year-round. Snow tires or chains may be required. Before planning your trip, research winter activities and current conditions.

Entry Fee:

There are many different passes available for Yellowstone, depending on eligibility. Visit Park Pass Information for details on various passes.

For a seven-day entrance permit for both Yellowstone and Grand National Parks:

  • A private, noncommercial vehicle is $25
  • A snowmobile or motorcycle is $20
  • $12 charge for each visitor 16 and older entering by foot, bike, ski, etc.

When to Visit:

The park is open all year round, and each season boasts its own reason to visit. Of course the park is undeniably beautiful in the summer, but be prepared for crowds. June-August are dry months, and although the weather becomes ideal for summer vacations, larger wildlife retreat to the backcountry to avoid the heat and tourists.

If wildlife is a must-see, try Yellowstone in the spring. Though April and May tend to cling to snow and colder temperatures, late May and June are much warmer—highs reaching 70°F. Be warned: May-June are the rainiest of months, but with annoyance comes a big payoff—wildlife.

Fall and winter both have their reasons for attendance. Autumn is a bit unpredictable; snow can sneak up as early as September. But it’s a great time to see the great aspen trees turn gold, as well as hear the elks sound off in the lands. Winter typically runs from late November to March and it remains snowy and cold. It may not sound ideal, but the winter is a great time to visit if you are seeking a new perspective of the land without the crowds. Read more about what winter in Yellowstone has to offer.

Where to Stay:

The park offers various campgrounds and lodges for stay. Same-day reservations can be made by calling 307-344-7901. Future reservations for tent sites or lodges can be made by calling 307-344-7311 or 1-866-439-7375, or by writing Yellowstone National Park Lodges, PO Box 165, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190. You can get rates on all the hotels in the area at kayak.com.

Getting Around:

At over two million acres, it may already be apparent that you need a car. Unless you visit with a specific tour group, note that there is no public transportation within the park. Because you must rely on your own ride, the park has equipped most junctions with gas and diesel, as well as repair and towing services. The park has five entrances from every direction and its seven regions add up to 3,472 miles, so have a map handy at all times.

Continue Planning Your Yellowstone Vacation:

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