Top 10 Things to Know About Visiting Yellowstone National Park During the 2023 Summer Season

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Plan like a park ranger. Credit: NPS / Jacob W. Frank

If you plan to travel to Yellowstone National Park this summer, plan ahead to protect yourself and this wild and awe-inspiring place. Within the park’s 2.2 million acres, visitors have unparalleled opportunities to observe wildlife in an intact ecosystem, explore geothermal areas that contain half the world’s active geysers, and view geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.

Listen and learn from park rangers by watching this video. Follow the top 10 things to know to enjoy your visit and protect the park for future generations!

  1. No Vehicle Reservations Required
    Vehicle reservations are not required to enter the park – just a park entrance pass. Save time at entrance stations by purchasing your pass online before you arrive. Remember that summer is busy, so be prepared for crowds at popular areas and lines at the entrance gates, in construction areas, and at roadside wildlife sightings. Please be patient and enjoy your visit.
  2. Check Road Statuses
    Most park roads open to regular vehicles in mid-April and close to wheeled vehicles (cars, vans, motorcycles, etc.) in early November. The weather may necessitate closures at any time, however, so check the park roads page for more information about the current park road status and traffic delays due to road improvement projects.
  3. Plan Ahead
    All campgrounds and lodging require a reservation and are usually fully well in advance of your trip. Operating hours and service levels can change with little notice. Check the latest information before coming to the park:
    Operating Hours
    Current Conditions
    Places to Go
    Things to Do
    Boat Inspections and Permits
  4. Give Wildlife Room
    Wild animals are dangerous if you get too close! People have been injured or killed by bears, bison, and elk. Always maintain a minimum of 25 yards (23 m) from all wildlife and 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves. Learn how to watch wildlife safely and travel safely in bear country.
  5. Drive and Park Responsibly
    Observe posted speed limits and use pullouts to watch wildlife, take pictures, and let other cars pass. Do not stop your vehicle on the road. When pulling over, be sure to park with all four tires fully to the right of the white line.
  6. Stay on Boardwalks
    People have been severely injured or killed by breaking through the thin ground in thermal basins or falling into hot springs.
  7. Enhance Your Experience
    Download the free National Park Service app (and offline content) before you arrive in the park.
  8. Expect Limited Connectivity
    Don’t be surprised if you can’t receive calls or texts, even in the few areas where you might have cell reception.
  9. Prepare for Weather Changes
    Unpredictability characterizes Yellowstone’s weather. Expect big temperature swings, rain, or snow during every month of the year. No matter when you visit, bring a warm jacket, rain gear, and lots of layers. Check the current weather conditions.
  10. Make the Most of Your Trip
    Make it the trip of a lifetime by attending a ranger program, exploring the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center, participating in the free Junior Ranger program, or checking out any of the special events happening in Yellowstone this year!
Yellowstone National Park

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