Skip to Content

Tips for Visiting Yellowstone National Park

Tips for Visiting Yellowstone National Park

Planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park? You won’t regret it! We just spent three nights in Yellowstone on our #EpicUSroadtrip as we toured the U.S. We had a great time exploring Yellowstone and have put together some tips for visiting Yellowstone to ensure your trip is flawless.

Tips for Visiting Yellowstone National Park

Get Out Early

Grand Tetons Hike-4

If you must visit Yellowstone during peak season (June-August), unfortunately, you won’t be alone. Yellowstone was the 4th most visited National Park in the United States in 2014, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. In July 2015, a total of 980,702 people entered the park, compared to April with 46,600 or even May 383,669. But, if you get up early, the number of tourists at the prime spots is significantly different.

We recently went to Old Faithful at 7:30 a.m. and only waited about 5 minutes before “it went off.” It was only us and maybe 50 other tourists around. Now if we had come anywhere between 10 a.m.-7 p.m., there would be thousands of tourists lined up for up to 2 hours waiting to see this. I would suggest getting there about 30-60 minutes before the scheduled time if you are coming from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Now Yellowstone uses Twitter to announce the next scheduled eruption click here.


NOTE: If you are planning to go for the first of the day this will NOT be tweeted as they don’t start tracking the eruptions until around 7a.m. up until 9p.m.

Allow Enough Time to Go From Place to PlaceWyoming - Yellowstone day 1

Yellowstone National Park is large and best to split up into sections over several days. Adam and I recently spent three days exploring Yellowstone and think this was just enough time. You may think it will take you 20 minutes if something is 20 miles away, but in all reality, 20 miles will take you 30-45 minutes.

The drive times will all vary on the number of animals either in the middle of the road or on the side of the road that you will stop and observe. The speed limit within the park varies between 15 mph and 45 mph.

There will be lines of traffic, and even though the speed limit is 45mph you may get behind a line of cars that are going 30mph…trust me this will happen. One other thing we weren’t expecting was road construction. We got stopped for 30 minutes as lanes were down to one lane.


If you don’t want to switch hotels/lodges every night, you may want to base yourself somewhere central. We based ourselves in West Yellowstone at the Brandin’ Iron Inn, which is less than a mile to the West entrance of the park.

West Yellowstone was centrally located, which made it a good place to rest our heads at night. We explored the park daily, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., and on the way back, we pulled over and watched a magical sunset. There are several places to stop on the drive back that put on a good sunset show.

Brandin’ Iron Inn Check Prices

Grand Tetons Hike-3-2

Go For a Hike

If a particular site requires tourists to hike even for 15 minutes, odds are you have just eliminated over 90% of them. Grab your bottle of water and tie on your shoes, hit the hiking trails, and say adios to tourists. I would always suggest bringing along a bottle of bear spray and trying not to hike alone if possible.

Pack LayersWyoming - Yellowstone day 1-3

If you listened to tip #1, then you might be heading out the doors early when the temps can be in the 30s F (0°C)! Yes…we visited at the end of August, and it was 32°F one morning. Don’t worry once that sun comes up things warm up fast, in the summer months expect temperatures in the 70°-90’s.

Just make sure to throw on that tank top underneath your sweatshirt and pack along some shorts. If you forget, there are plenty of visitor centers within the park that would love to sell you a souvenir shirt!


Keep Your Eyes Open For wildlife

If you are out early in the morning, this will be the prime time for wildlife viewing. When driving keeps your eyes out on alert, we had to stop several times for deer & buffalo. I was hoping to see a bear or elk, but no luck…

Remember to stay inside your car when viewing the animals, every year people are attacked by wildlife within Yellowstone National Park. Be smart. Keep your distance.

If you follow these tips you will have an amazing time at Yellowstone National Park. If you are looking for budget tips, make sure to check out our budget tips for Yellowstone post. Now, get out and start exploring Yellowstone!

Please Pin Me For Later

Tips For Yellowstone Pin


Monday 29th of January 2018

Great post! Quick question: Where exactly is the picture of you by the water taken? Thanks!


Wednesday 7th of February 2018

It's been a few years, but I am fairly sure it was by tower falls. They had the paths to get any sight of the falls blocked off so we wandered down by the river. This was taken at the bottom of that path. Hope that helps!

Our Wanders

Thursday 14th of July 2016

Love your pics! Yellowstone is a busy park, but it is so worth it, we enjoyed every moment we spent there! Despite of getting up at around 7 am every day. :D


Saturday 16th of July 2016

Getting up at 7am while on vacation is kinda a bummer but it's totally worth it! Have a great summer and safe travels.


Wednesday 10th of February 2016

These are great tips, perfect for anyone about to visit Yellowstone. I love the pics as well, thank you for sharing!


Saturday 16th of July 2016

Glad you think so too. Are you heading to Yellowstone this summer? If not, you should consider it!

Frankie Allen

Sunday 25th of October 2015

Does any of theses places have rv parks? And are they handicap accessible? I want to know because I'm going to be leaving in a month to travel the USA for a year


Sunday 10th of January 2016

I am not certain about handicap accessible, but there are RV parks throughout the park! Safe travels, I am sure you will have a blast.