Before you visit Yellowstone, it’s a good idea to know what the weather is like so you can plan your trip and make the most of your time there. Yellowstone weather can change quickly and the park looks very different from season to season. Weather forecasts are amazing, but you can’t rely on them when visiting Yellowstone. Even in the summer months, it’s not rare to experience four seasons in a week, or even in a day! 

The peak season is from June to September when the days are longer, warmer and drier, but all seasons are unique and special in their own way. The ‘best’ time to go really depends on what you’d like to do, experience and see. Are you hoping to see certain species of wildlife? Do you need plenty of daylight to explore the park’s hiking trails? Would you prefer to beat the large crowds and have the park all to yourself? We’ve broken down Yellowstone weather by season to help you plan you trip.

Average temperatures in Yellowstone National Park

 

MONTH

AVERAGE HIGH (°F)  

AVERAGE LOW (°F​)  

January 

28.6

9.6

February

4.0

13.0

March

39.6

17.2

April

49.4

26.0

May 60.4 34.3
June  70.0 41.2
July 79.6 46.7
August  78.3 45.3
September 67.8  37.0
October  55.7 29.4
November  38.7 19.2
December  30.5 11.8

 

Spring

Spring is more like winter in Yellowstone. The ice is still melting from the mountains, the valleys are covered in snow and Yellowstone Lake is frozen. The park doesn’t thaw fully until late spring/early summer. The beauty of visiting in spring is that you’ll see life in full bloom with bear cubs, wolf pups and elk and bison calves in the valleys and meadows. You might also see hungry black and grizzly bears rousing from their winter slumber in search of their next meal. Wildflowers are late bloomers and you won’t see any until at least mid-June. 

Summer

Summer is a great time to visit Yellowstone with warm and dry(ish) weather that make perfect conditions for long days of exploring. Be prepared for the occasional afternoon thunderstorm and keep a lookout for the incredible rainbows and sunsets after a downpour. It can still get quite chilly during the night with temperatures dropping to the 30s or 40s, or below freezing at higher elevations. If you’re hoping to see wildlife, summer isn’t the best time as many of the animals head to elevations in search of cooler temperatures. Another downside is the thousands of tourists who flock to make the most of the weather. You can still have an amazing trip in the summer, you just need to know how to work around the large crowds. 

Fall 

Fall is a glorious time of year in Yellowstone when the landscapes turn golden, the crowds start to thin and the animals start to retreat down to lower ground. It’s a great time to see bears as they put in longer foraging shifts to stock up on food for hibernation. Fall is the breeding season for Yellowstone’s hoofed residents and you might hear some interesting grunting and bugling sounds from the male elks as they compete for female attention. The weather can be a bit all over the place with warm(ish) days and chilly evenings as soon as the sun goes down. Snow starts to cover the ground by the end of the fall. 

Winter 

Yellowstone has an otherworldly feeling all year round, but winter is a really magical time with frozen waterfalls, snow-covered peaks and hardly any other souls around. You can also see ‘geyser rain’ – the ice crystals that form when the boiling water erupts from the geyser and hits the freezing air. It’s very chilly during the day and even colder at night with temperatures reaching as low as 9.6°F at higher elevations. Most of the roads are closed during winter and the only areas with facilities open to the public are Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful. If you want to visit in winter, you’ll need to book a snowmobile or snow coach tour. The best way to experience the winter magic of Yellowstone is by going snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. 

No matter when you visit Yellowstone, it’s essential to bring the right footwear and clothing. Make sure you bring a warm jacket, waterproof gear and warm layers (even in the summer). 

You can stay up to date with the latest forecast for Yellowstone National Park with the National Weather Service.

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