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Yellowstone National Park Visitors Guide

Grizzly Bear by John W. Uhler © Copyright

Grizzly Bear By John W. Uhler ©

This Page is published in the hopes of providing info to help you plan your Yellowstone trip

How to Plan Your Trip

Most visitors spend their time driving the loops and miss a lot of what Yellowstone has to offer if they would just take a minute and take a short walk or stop to view the scenery. I recommend that you pick an area of the park and then go to that area and make a day of it. Go and see all that is in the area and enjoy it. You spend more quality time and learn and see more than you could ever imagine. This also eliminates, as much as possible, fighting traffic on the loops.

Entrance Fees

Yellowstone National Park Entrance Fees
Private Non-commercial Vehicle / Both Parks $ 30.00 (valid for 7 days) / Both Parks: $ 50.00
Motorcycle, Snowmobile / Both Parks $ 25.00 (valid for 7 days) / Both Parks: $40.00
Single Entry (foot, bike, ski, 16+ years old) / Both Parks $ 15.00 (valid for 7 days) / Both Parks: $20.00
Annual Pass (good 1 year from date of purchase) $ 60.00
Interagency - Access Pass (permanently disabled) Free (Lifetime - valid in all Natl Parks & Fed Rec Areas)
Interagency - Annual Pass (good for one year) $ 80.00 (valid for all public lands with an admission fee)
Interagency - Senior Pass (one-time purchase) age 62+ $ 10.00 (valid in all Natl Parks & Fed Rec Areas)
Military Pass - must have CAC Card or DD Form 1173 Free - must be issued in person

Both Parks means Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone Annual Pass

Yellowstone Annual Pass

The $ 60.00 park annual pass provides entrance to pass holder and accompanying passengers in a single private non-commercial vehicle at Yellowstone. The Pass is valid for 12 months from date of purchase. Purchase your pass at one of the park's entrances.

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Interagency Annual Pass

Interagency - Annual Pass

The Interagency Annual Pass is an annual pass that provides admission to any national park or any federal recreation area charging an entrance fee. The Pass costs $ 80.00 and is valid for 12 months (ending the last day of the purchase month, one year later). More than 80% of the proceeds from the sales of National Park Passes go directly into supporting priority projects in national parks.

Where a "Per Vehicle" entrance fee is charged, the Pass admits the Pass signee and accompanying passengers in a single, private*, non-commercial vehicle. Where a "Per Person" entrance fee is charged, the Pass admits the Pass signee, spouse, children and parents. The Pass is nontransferable and does not cover or reduce use fees such as charges for camping, parking, tours and concessions.

* A private vehicle is defined as any noncommercial vehicle that is being used for private recreational purposes.

The Interagency - Annual Pass or the Annual Pass may be purchased at any National Park office or entry station.

To purchase a pass Online, click on this Link, or to purchase via phone, call: 1-888-275-8747 and press 1.

Click on this link for detailed information about the Access Pass for those with disabilities.

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Academic Fee Waivers

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), Public Law 108-447, provides the National Park Service statutory authority to allow "outings conducted for non-commercial educational purposes by schools or bona fide academic institutions" to obtain a waiver of park entrance fees. Commercial enterprises are not eligible for fee waivers, but school groups using a commercial vehicle for transportation only may apply for a fee waiver.

Fee Waiver Application (This is an Adobe pdf form)

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No Reservations are needed to Enter Yellowstone!

Automatic Teller Machines (ATM)

There are ATMs located in the Yellowstone General Stores in the following locations:

Fishing Bridge
Old Faithful

These machines are operated by First InterState Bank and are:

Cirrus / Plus Machines

They accept: American Express, MasterCard, VISA and belong to the Cash Card Network

Fishing Information

Yellowstone boasts of some of the Best Blue Ribbon Trout Fishing in the United States. If you love to fish, you'll love Yellowstone! Please see the Fishing Page for opening dates, regulations and related fishing information and reports.

Laundry - Pay - Public

Public pay laundry facilities in the park are located at: Canyon and Fishing Bridge.

Public laundry facilities are also located in the cities of: Gardiner and West Yellowstone.


Park lodging fills early and quickly. Plan on making your reservations as soon as possible. They start taking reservations in September for the next year. If you did not make advance reservations, don't give up, call and see what is open in the park. You may have to spend a few days in different areas but you just have to take what you can get.

Reservations can be made a year or more in advance. We normally call to make reservations in September for our June trip of next year. We are put on a list or in a file and as soon as rates are determined for next year, they mail an amount that is due to hold the reservation. Make your reservation well in advance. Park lodging is limited and books early. This applies to "all" Yellowstone lodging - camping, cabins and lodges.

Now if you haven't made reservations, there is still a chance for you to possibly get lodging in the park. People call all the time and change or cancel their reservations. So it is always worth a call or two to check for any openings.

For Lodging outside the park, See the Lodging Page for more information.

Restaurants / Fast Food / Snacks / Ice Cream

Dining facilities are available throughout Yellowstone. These facilities range from fine dining to cafeterias to snack shops. Dinner reservations are required at some of the fine dining facilities. Inquire at any lodging front desk or dining room when you arrive.


Yellowstone National Park Restaurants
Canyon Lodge Dining Room
Grant Village Restaurant
Grant Village Lakehouse Restaurant
Lake Yellowstone Hotel Dining Room
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel Dining Room
Old Faithful Inn Dining Room
Old Faithful Snow Lodge Restaurant
Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room


Yellowstone National Park Cafeterias
Canyon Lodge Cafeteria Lake Lodge Cafeteria Old Faithful Lodge Cafeteria

Fast Food

Yellowstone National Park Fast Food
Canyon Snack Bar
Canyon General Store
Canyon Nature Store
Fishing Bridge General Store
Grant Village: General Store
Lake Hotel Deli
Lake General Store
Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace Grill
Old Faithful BAC
Old Faithful Basin Store
Old Faithful Four Seasons Snack Bar
Old Faithful Pony Express
Old Faithful Snack Shop
Old Faithful Lodge Snack Shop
Old Faithful Snowlodge Geyser Grill


Yellowstone National Park Snacks
Bridge Bay Marina Store
Canyon Photo Shop
Grant Village General Store and Mini Store
Mammoth Hot Springs General Store
Old Faithful BAC Store
Old Faithful Basin Store
Old Faithful Photo Shop
Tower Fall Store

Ice Cream

Yellowstone National Park Ice Cream
Canyon General Store
Fishing Bridge General Store
Grant General Store
Lake General Store
Mammoth Hot Springs General Store
Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace Grill
Old Faithful BAC Store
Old Faithful Basin Store
Old Faithful Lodge
Tower Fall Store

River Rafting - Float Trips

River rafting, either scenic or white water is not allowed in Yellowstone National Park. It is allowed in Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone. Rafting can also be enjoyed just north of Yellowstone at Gardiner, Montana on the Yellowstone River and west of the park on the Gallatin River.

Enjoy the splendor of Grand Teton National Park via a scenic river rafting trip. This is a great way to experience and enjoy the park - wildlife, spectacular scenery and the great outdoors.

Showers - Public Pay Showers

Pay showers are available at the following Camping Areas: Canyon Campgrounds, Fishing Bridge RV Park and Grant Village Campgrounds.

Pay showers are also available through the front desk at: Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge and Roosevelt Lodge.

Tips and Hints

Make reservations well in advance - 10 to 12 months is a good time frame to work with.

Yellowstone's weather changes quickly, it is a good idea to carry an emergency poncho even while on short hikes or tours.

The temperature gets down to freezing (32° F / 0° C) almost every night during spring and summer. If you go prepared for cold weather camping you won't be surprised. It is a good idea to take a coat or heavy sweater for evening wear and a blanket for campfire programs. They will keep you warm and help make the program much more enjoyable.

A good pair of binoculars and/or a spotting scope are a must for viewing wildlife.

Plan extra time for animal jams, traffic, construction and bad roads. The traffic is much lighter early in the morning and just before sunset.

Spotting or watching wildlife takes some time, it is not a quick 5 to 15 minute experience. Plan on spending some time looking for and watching wildlife and visiting with fellow wildlife watchers.

For travel information, park location and other information, see the Getting Here Page. Also, see the What to See and Do Page for information on planning your time in the park.


Weather - See Weather Page for current conditions and more weather history data

Precipitation ranges from 10 inches (26 cm) at North boundary to 80 inches (205 cm) in the Southwest corner
Temperatures range from 10° F (-12° C) mean in January to 55° F (13° C) mean in July at Yellowstone Lake in the center of the park
Record High Temp: 98° F (37° C) - Lamar 1936
Record Low Temp: -66° F (-54° C) - Madison 1933

Yellowstone's Average Temperatures and Precipitation
Weather Data - 48 Year Average Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Average Maximum Temperature (F) 28.6 34.0 39.6 49.4 60.4 70.0 79.6 78.3 67.8 55.7 38.7 30.5 52.8
Average Minimum Temperature (F) 9.6 13.0 17.2 26.0 34.3 41.2 46.7 45.3 37.0 29.4 19.2 11.8 27.6
Average Precipitation (Inches) 1.1 0.75 1.1 1.2 2.0 2.0 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.0 1.0 1.0 15.4
Average Total Snow Fall (Inches) 14.5 10.4 13.1 5.9 1.5 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.5 3.7 9.0 13.5 72.1

To visit Weather Page, Click here.

Winter Activities

During the winter months all roads in Yellowstone are closed to wheeled vehicle travel except the road from the North Entrance (Gardiner, Montana) to Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance (Silver Gate, Montana). This is state road 212 and it is kept open year round.

The following activities are offered in Yellowstone National Park: Cross-country skiing, Snowshoeing, Scenic/Wildlife tours in a Snowcoach, and Snowmobiling. All the equipment you would need for any of these activities can be rented outside or inside the park.

Snowcoach shuttles run from the South Entrance to Old Faithful, Mammoth to Old Faithful, West Yellowstone to Old Faithful, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mammoth to West Yellowstone, Mammoth to Canyon and Old Faithful to Canyon. These shuttles start running in mid-December through the beginning of March.

See the Winter Activities Page for more information.

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I n d e x
Accessibility Earthquakes Maps Video Page
Address Email Newspaper Visitor Centers
Adult Programs Entrances Old Faithful Live WebCam Visitor Stats
Amphibians Entrance Fees Pets Volcano Observatory
Animals Fall Closure Phone Numbers Waterfalls
Backcountry Fish Picnic Areas Weather
Bear Management Fishing Fees Ranger Led Activities WebCams
Bear Sightings Fishing Regulations Reptiles Wildflowers
Biking Getting Here Reunions Winter Closing
Boating Hiking Rivers, Creeks & Streams Winter Opening
Books History Roads Winter Weather Reports
Butterflies Junior Ranger Program Schedule Wolf Project
Camping Lakes Search Page Wolf Sightings
Campground Maps Location Spring Opening Wolverine Help
Challenges Lodging Star Talks Yellowstone ~ the Name
Chat Page Lynx Help Trip Planner pdf Young Scientist
Clinics / Medical Mammal List Trip Reports Youth Conservation Corps

Yellowstone National Park WebCams
Old Faithful Live All Old Faithful Old Faithful Static Old Faithful VC North Entrance Mt Washburn Mammoth YVO WebCam

Entrance Cities and Gateway Towns
Gardiner, Montana Silver Gate, Montana West Yellowstone, Montana Cooke City, Montana
Livingston, Montana Cody, Wyoming Jackson Hole, Wyoming Yellowstone National Park

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