Yellowstone National Park

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Insider tips: Planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Yellowstone.

What should I do on my first trip to Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone National Park is best-known for its geothermal activity, beautiful nature, and wildlife. And while there are many great things to do in Yellowstone, the absolute must-sees are the Old Faithful Geyser, the Grand Prismatic Spring, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. If you have time, be sure to drive through Hayden Valley and/or Lamar Valley - these are the best areas to see bison, bears, and other wildlife.

What are some hidden gems to see in Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone has so many natural wonders that most visitors don't even cover all of the ‘musts’. But if you have the time to explore deeper, some of our favorite lesser-visited places in Yellowstone include Lone Star Geyser, Hwy 212 east of Lamar Valley (+ Beartooth Highway outside the park!), and Boiling River, a warm geothermal river where you can swim in!

How much time should I spend in Yellowstone National Park?

While you can see the main highlights of Yellowstone in a day or two, ideally, you plan 3-4 days for Yellowstone National Park. This will allow you to visit all the main geyser basins, explore the best viewpoints of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, drive to Lamar Valley, and do a couple of short hikes or outdoor activities such as kayaking on Yellowstone Lake or rafting nearby. Add another day or two for the nearby Grand Teton National Park. See suggested Yellowstone itinerary.

What is the best way to get around Yellowstone National Park?

The best way to travel around Yellowstone is by car or by joining a tour. Yellowstone National Park is huge and there is no public transport inside the park. In high season, be sure to rent a car well in advance. If you are traveling in winter, keep in mind that most of the park roads are closed, but some areas are open to ‘oversnow’ travel, so you can visit Yellowstone by snowmobile or snowcoach.

What are the best months to visit Yellowstone National Park?

The best months to visit Yellowstone are between late spring and early autumn - from mid-May to mid-October. That’s when most roads and facilities in the park are open and everything is accessible. If you are looking for a very unique experience, you can also visit Yellowstone in winter. The best time for winter travel is between mid-December and the end of February.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Yellowstone National Park?

The best place to stay for visiting Yellowstone is accommodation inside the park itself. There are several historic lodges including the famous Old Faithful Inn and Lake Yellowstone Hotel, but one of the nicest and best-located are the Canyon Lodges. However, Yellowstone accommodation is usually fully booked more than a year in advance. The best places to stay near the park are West Yellowstone or Gardiner. Here you can find more tips and information for where to stay in and near Yellowstone.

Other Sightseeing Options in Yellowstone National Park

Want to discover all there is to do in Yellowstone National Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Yellowstone National Park

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 403 reviews

The tour was excellent! From pick up to drop off our guide (Nate) was incredible. Nate was extremely knowledge about everything Yellowstone and wildlife related. I don’t think there was a question our group asked him that he did not know. He was also great at getting us to see as much wildlife as possible in the park. I would recommend the tour and Nate to anyone looking to explore the park and get the most out of the amazing sights and animals of Yellowstone.

It is the absolute best way to see Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Our guide Kaya, was off the charts amazing. Informative, funny, friendly and knowledgeable. When the tour began we were 7 strangers. By the time the tour was over we were 7 people who shared an outstanding time together that will be a treasured memory for a long time.

Loved this tour! I’m so happy that they still made it all happen even though there was a gate closure due to weather! I was blown away with our guides knowledge!!! So good I def would recommend this tour to anyone!

Nate was awesome! Taught us a lot about the area and showed us some of the most beautiful places in Yellowstone. I highly recommend for those staying in Jackson!

Our guide, Nate was AWESOME. We saw several things with this 9 hour tour.