How to Travel to Yellowstone

How to Travel to Yellowstone
Yellowstone is one of the most popular travel destinations in the western United States. Every year thousands of people from around the world visit the 2.2-million-acre park. Access to the park is easy and with only a little planning and preparation you too can experience this scenic American landmark.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Choose the time of year you want to visit the park. The most popular time is between May and September. The largest crowds occur from mid-July to mid-August. People can also visit during the winter from mid-December through February. The park is closed from October to mid-December and from March to late April or early May.
Step 2
Arrange transportation to the park. Most people choose to visit Yellowstone by car, RV, motorcycle or snowmobile. If you are traveling to Yellowstone in an RV keep in mind that Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only campground with sewer, water and electrical hook-up. If you want to fly, the nearest airports are in Jackson and Cody, Wyoming, Bozeman, Montana, and Idaho Falls, Idaho. There is bus transportation from Bozeman to West Yellowstone all year round, and from Idaho in the summer. Commercial transportation to the park is also available in Cody and Jackson.
Step 3
Decide on which entrance you will use to enter the park. The park has five main entrances: the North Entrance, near Gardiner, Montana, which is the only park entrance open to wheeled vehicles all year; the West Entrance, located next to the town of West Yellowstone; the South & East Entrances, which offer limited services; and the Northeast Entrance, near the communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, which offers access via the Beartooth Highway from late May/June to mid-October, depending on the weather.
Step 4
Plan where you will stay while in the park and make all necessary reservations. Campsites can be reserved ahead of time at the Grant Village, Bridge Bay, Madison, Canyon and Fishing Bridge RV Park campgrounds. Availability at all other campgrounds is on a first come, first served basis, and many fill up by 11 a.m. during peak season.
Step 5
Plan to pay an entrance fee. As of September 2009, the fee was $25 for private vehicles, $20 for snowmobiles or motorcycles, and $12 for individuals traveling on foot, bike or skis. The fee provides visitors with a 7-day entrance permit to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Anyone under 15 does not have to pay a fee.
Step 6
If you plan on staying at any of the remote backcountry campsites within the park you must acquire a Backcountry Use Permit, which are available at most visitor centers and ranger stations. Permits can only be obtained in person, no more than 48 hours before entering the backcountry. While the actual permit can not be obtained more than two days in advance, it is possible to reserve backcountry sites before that either by mail or in person.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Be prepared for long travel times once within the park. Traffic jams are frequent and unpredictable due to wildlife.
 
First come, first served sites fill up early during the summer. If you cannot get to a campground before 11 a.m. do not expect to find a site. Yellowstone is bear country, follow all safe bear protocols outlined by the park.
 
First come, first served sites fill up early during the summer. If you cannot get to a campground before 11 a.m. do not expect to find a site.
 
Yellowstone is bear country, follow all safe bear protocols outlined by the park.

Article Written By Richard Hansen

Richard Hansen grew up and currently resides in Minnesota. He graduated from Dartmouth College and has traveled extensively in Africa and South America, including the Amazon jungle. He has worked as a wilderness guide in Yellowstone and northern Minnesota, and written for Fur-Fish-Game, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine and RascalHansen.com.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.