Yellowstone is a popular place, especially in summer. You can’t assume that hotel rooms or camping sites are available when and where you want them. Yellowstone also has a lot to offer, so unless there is unlimited time (yeah, right), one way or another it’s necessary to make selections about what to see and do. This section of the Yellowstone Insider website is designed to help visitors make decisions such as when to go, what to see, and how much time to spend.
Some things to consider
ROUTES: Think about your routes for approaching and leaving the park. Because the number of ways into and out of the park are limited, and the distances between them are considerable; it’s a good idea to choose where you want to enter and leave the park. Your choices can be influenced by other places to visit in the Greater Yellowstone Region, such as Grand Teton National Park or the Beartooth Mountains.
TIME: Decide how much time you want to be in the Yellowstone region. One day wonders can be had in Yellowstone, but it will be a blur and a strain. Two days are better, sort of. Three days are almost civilized, but more is almost always better. It takes longer than you think to travel and make stops in the park. Traffic can be a major factor, as can weather, animals along the road, and your own fatigue. People on a really tight schedule are going to have a tough time. The more flexibility you have, the better it is to handle the unforeseen.
LODGING: Plan your overnight accommodations. Travel in the summer means that rooms, campsites, and places to stay in and around the park are limited (or non-existent); this has to be taken into consideration. If you’re making plans a year ahead of time, it’s probably not a problem. If you’re making plans in June for a July trip…not so good.
SEASON: Decide when to go. Of course, for many people this is dictated by available vacation dates; if not, try to pick a time when the weather, crowds, and services suit your tastes.