Yellowstone National Park
is the flagship of the National Park Service and a favorite to millions of visitors each year. The park is a major destination for all members of the family. By driving the grand loop road, visitors can view the park from the comfort of their vehicle and also take a rest at one of the many roadside picnic areas. For the active visitor, the park has thousands of miles of trails from dayhikes to backcountry explorations. The main attractions are all located on the grand loop road and here are some of the top reasons to visit the park. This site has a lot of the information you need for your trip and you may also consider our dvd "The Wonders of Yellowstone" to help you plan your visit.
* World's First National Park
* 2,219,789 acres (Larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined)
* Wildlife - 7 species of ungulates (bison, moose, elk, pronghorn), 2 species of bear and 67 other mammals, 322 species of birds, 16 species of fish and of course the gray wolf.
* Plants - There are over 1,100 species of native plants, more than 200 species of exotic plants and over 400 species of thermopholes.
* Geology - The park is home to one of the world's largest calderas with over 10,000 thermal features and more than 300 geysers. It has one of the world's largest petrifiied forests. It has over 290 waterfalls with the 308' Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River as it's showpiece.
* Yellowstone Lake is the largest (132 sq. mi.) high altitude (7,732') lake in north america.
* 9 visitor centers
* 12 campgrounds (over 2,000 campsites)
- 98 Minutes
~Telly Award Winner for Nature
Two years in the making
and just released, "The Wonders of Yellowstone" video
has been highly requested, produced in DVD format and is only available through YellowstoneNationalPark.com.
Take a complete tour of Yellowstone National Park as our Narrator
Cathy Coan, guides you to all the wonders of the park including
the geyser basins, wildlife, waterfalls and much more.
Info or Order Online
Yellowstone National Park will open the roads from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful on Friday, April 19, as originally scheduled.
Budget cuts due to the impacts of sequestration prompted the park to take many administrative actions and make changes to park operations for this season. This included delaying the start of plowing from March 4 until March 18, which pushed back the scheduled opening of roads by one to two weeks.
Favorable weather conditions, below average snow levels, and assistance from the Wyoming Department of Transportation have allowed the park to prepare some road segments for automobile travel earlier than anticipated. This will permit Yellowstone to open the roads from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful to visitors at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 19. . . . More Info
2012 Visitor Statistics
In 2012 Yellowstone NP had 3,445,771 visitors surpassing the previous years visitation by over 51,000 making 2012 the second highest year on record to the world's first national Park. The record is still 2010 with 3,640,185. In 2012, Yellowstone had a unseasonably early spring thaw giving a jump start to the visitor count and the much needed ecological nourishment for the animals and plant life after surviving a typical long winter season.
Along with weather, other factors that increase visitors to the park are; the economy. gas prices, travel expenses. A good number of visitors that plan their vacation come from the nearby and border states of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. With its' unique geological features, wildlife and scenic wonders, Yellowstone NP will continue to remain at the top when visitors from all over the world plan their vacation for the new year.
2012 - 3,445,771
2011 - 3,394,226
2010 - 3,640,185
2009 - 3.295,187
The road between the North Entrance at Gardiner, MT, to the Northeast Entrance at Silver Gate and Cooke City, MT.
From Mammoth Hot Springs to the parking area at the Upper Terraces (approximately 1/2 mi. of road). Note: access to the interior of the park, such as Old Faithful, is not possible. The two roads that remain open to traffic are maintained only during daylight hours and may close during severe storms. Expect snowpack, ice, frost heaves, and drifts. Mud/snow tires or tire chains may be required and are always recommended. Speed limit for all vehicles is 45 mph (73 kph) or lower where posted--such as from the North Entrance to Mammoth. Do not stop on the road or block traffic when viewing wildlife or scenery. Use pullouts. Trails and overlooks may be snow-covered, icy, and dangerous. Obey all trail and wildlife management area closures. Walk cautiously at all times and watch your children.
Snowmobile - Snowcoach Road Opening and Closing Schedule. Winter opening dates are on a "snow permitting" basis and all dates are subject to change!
December 15, 2012 - Most roads open to snowcoach and snowmobile travel (weather and snow permitting).
December 22, 2012 - East Entrance Road (between East Entrance and Fishing Bridge) opens to snowcoach and snowmobile travel.
Commercially Guided Travel
Only commercially guided oversnow vehicles are allowed on other park roads. Best Available Technology snowmobiles are required, and there is a daily limit on snowmobile and snowcoach entries. Off-road use of snowmobiles and snowcoaches is prohibited. The park is open for oversnow vehicle travel from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (the East Entrance opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.).
Frequently Asked Questions for Yellowstone National Park
How much is the entrance fee?
$25 - Private, noncommercial vehicle;
$20 - Motorcycle or snowmobile (winter)
$12 - Visitors 16 and older entering by foot, bike, ski, etc.
This fee provides the visitor with a 7-day entrance permit for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
A $50 park annual pass provides entrance for a single private non-commercial vehicle at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The $10 Interagency Senior Pass (62 and older) is a lifetime pass available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Where do I enter Yellowstone National Park?
Yellowstone has 5 entrances to the park:
North Entrance - Gardiner, MT, the North Entrance is the only park entrance open to wheeled vehicles all year. November through April, provides access to Cooke City, MT. US Highway 212 east of Cooke City is closed to wheeled vehicles November through April. The Mammoth to Norris road is open to wheeled vehicles from April 20 to November 4, and to tracked oversnow vehicles from around December 17 to March 12. Closest airline service is Bozeman, MT
West Entrance - West Yellowstone, MT, the West Entrance is open to wheeled vehicles from April 20 to November 4, and to tracked oversnow vehicles from December 17 to March 12. Closest airline service is West Yellowstone, MT, Bozeman, MT, Idaho Falls, ID, and Salt Lake City, UT.
Northeast Entrance - Silver Gate and Cooke City, MT, is open year around for wheeled vehicles to Cooke City through the North Entrance. Opening dates for roads east of Cooke City vary from year to year, depending on the weather. The Beartooth Highway is
open from late May/early June to mid October and is dependent upon weather conditions. Closest airline service is Billings, MT.
South & East Entrances - Open to wheeled vehicles from May 11 to November 4, and to tracked oversnow vehicles from December 17 to March 12. Closest airline service to the South Entrance is Jackson, WY and Cody, WY to the East Entrance.
Where should we stay?
The best way to answer this is to decide how much time you have and what you want to see the most. As an example, if you plan on visiting Yellowstone National Park for only a few days and want to experience some of the main attractions then West Yellowstone would be a good base. From there, it is a short drive to the geyser basins, Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. If you want to have the full park experience then perhaps lodging at Old Faithful would be a good choice. If you want to view the most wildlife, then we suggest the Northeast Entrance and a short trip to the Lamar valley. The South Entrance is a great option if you have more time and want to visit Grand Teton National Park however it is a longer drive to the heart of Yellowstone if you base out of Jackson. The North Entrance is park headquarters and has the most historic information on the park.
When is the best time to visit the park?
This depends on what your interests are. Here's a summary; Spring has abundant wildlife, roaring waterfalls and wild weather. It can snow or be in the 70's. Summer has it all including the most crowds. If you and your family plan on a summer trip, here's our best advise. Get out early and eat your breakfast on the road! Fall is a special time of year. For wildlife there is a sense of urgency in the air. Everything seems to be diminishing including the crowds. Winter is a time of solitude. In years past it was more "economical" to visit most of the park. Now it is more restricted unless you can afford a snowcoach or guided snowmobile tour. The North Entrance is the busiest due to the ease of access and plowed road.
With 5 entrances and over 2 million acres, we highly suggest you plan your trip in advance. We recommend you obtain some of the many travel planners or DVD's that are available for Yellowstone. If you're more detailed oriented then obtain a travel planner. If you want to know as much information as possible in under 90 minutes then purchase a Yellowstone DVD.