yellowstone national park

 

PARK FACTS

 

What temperatures should I expect? Weather can change constantly in this area and you should be prepared for all kinds of weather: Carry warm clothes even in the summer. Daytime temperatures in summer average around 70 degrees, with nighttime temperatures falling as low as the 30s and 40s.

Where can I call for more information? Yellowstone National Park information: (307) 344-7381 Accommodations: (307) 344-7311 (TW Recreational Services)

How old is the Park? Yellowstone National Park was established March 1, 1872, making it 125 years old in 1997.

How big is Yellowstone? Yellowstone is bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined at 2,219,823 acres and 3,472 square miles. It is 54 miles east to west and 63 miles from north to south. 91% of the park is in Wyoming, 7.6% in Montana, and 1.4% is in Idaho.

Where are the Park headquarters? Mammoth Hot Springs.

What is the mailing address of the park? Yellowstone National Park P.O. Box 168 Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190


GETTING TO THE PARK


When is the park open? Millions of people visit the park in the summer, but many have discovered how fun it can be in the spring, fall, and winter as well. Yellowstone is open year round, but it is important to take weather into consideration when planning a visit at all times. Call ahead for weather and road reports in fall, winter and spring (at 307-344-7381) or you could easily find your vacation plans foiled by Mother Nature. Road closures and conditions are the primary factor in planning a visit in the winter months, and may dictate whether a season has become winter or is still fall. When the fall season begins, roads in the park are closed with the one exception of the Gardiner/Cooke City road. WINTER SEASON: mid-December through mid-March SPRING SEASON: early March through April or May SUMMER SEASON: early May through October FALL SEASON: October 31 through mid-December

Where are the closest airports? Commercial airlines service Jackson, Wyoming; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Bozeman and Billings, Montana. West Yellowstone, Montana, is served from June to early September.

Is bus service available? Bus service is available to West Yellowstone, Montana, year round with service direct from Idaho limited to summer months. Bus service to Gardiner, Montana, is available one day a week from October to mid-December and from mid-March to the summer opening of the park. Service is available daily during the winter and summer seasons. TW Recreational Services provides bus services in the park through the summer and snowcoach tours during the winter season.

Is train service available? There is no train service to Yellowstone Park but check with Amtrack for nearby destinations.

When is Yellowstone Park open to vehicle traffic? The north entrance is always open into the park for winter activities, but most park entrances are open from mid-April to October.

Where are the entrances to the park? Two entrances are in Wyoming: Cody and Grand Teton National Park. The other three are in Montana: West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cooke City. The North Entrance at Cooke City, MT is open year-round.

 

ACTIVITIES

What are some of the summer activities? Fishing, boating, driving, hiking, horseback riding, bird and wildlife watching, biking, stagecoach rides, boat and bus tours, interpretive and campfire programs.

What are some winter activities? Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, wildlife watching.

Where are the visitor centers? There are eight centers that show a variety of history, publications, movies and exhibits:

  1. Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth Hot Springs: open year round.
  2. Old Faithful Visitor Center: open mid-April to October 31, mid- December to mid-March.
  3. Canyon Visitor Center: open late May through September.
  4. Fishing Bridge Visitor Center: open late May to early September.
  5. Grant Village Visitor Center: open late May through September
  6. Norris Geyser Basin Museum: open mid-May through September
  7. Museum of the National Park Ranger: open mid-May through Sept.
  8. Madison Museum: summer months

How do I get around to all the sights in Yellowstone? Most of the major sights in Yellowstone are located along the Grand Loop Road, a figure-eight shaped road in the middle of the park. It is 142 miles long, but actual driving time varies widely. The road is windy, narrow, and can easily become congested with slow traffic. Wildlife sightings along the road may bring traffic to a complete halt for any amount of time. As a result, it is wise not to attempt to follow a rigid schedule. Instead, give yourself a few days to see the entire park and concentrate on one area of it at a time.

What are some of the best things to see in Yellowstone? The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone provides a spectacular view from the overlooks on the North and South Rim Roads of the Canyon Village area. There are trails that run beside and above the canyon if you want a different angle.

Yellowstone Lake is North America's largest mountain lake. Many visitors come to this deep and cold lake for cruises, rowboat rental and motor launches. Fishers and boaters can enjoy this large lake by purchasing permits. Boating permits are required for all vessels and can be purchased at the South Entrance, Lewis Lake Campground, Lake Ranger Station, Bridge Bay Marina, Grant Village Visitor Center, and Mammoth Visitor Center.

Thermal features can be found along the fifty mile road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful. They include: Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, Norris Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pots, Firehole Lake Drive, Midway Geyser Basin, Biscuit Basin, Black Sand Basin, and around and approaching the Old Faithful area.

Will be able to see any of the wildlife in the park? Nothing is staged in Yellowstone, so nothing can be guaranteed. However, there are creatures in the park that most visitors are able to see such as bison, deer, elk, bird species and smaller animals like marmots, gophers, and squirrels. The more exciting bears and wolves are occasionally seen by visitors, but they cannot be relied on to show up when you want them to. Chances are best early in the morning and in the evening in a quiet area. Remember: none of the animals in Yellowstone are tame! Regulations and rules exist to keep visitors and animals safe, and it should go without saying that you should never approach any of the wildlife you see. People get hurt every year in the park; don't be one of them.

 

LODGING/CAMPING

 

Where can I camp in Yellowstone Park? Five campgrounds in Yellowstone are operated by TW Recreational Services, Inc. and are the only campgrounds to accept reservations.

Due to bears, spaces at Fishing Bridge RV Park are restricted to hard-sided vehicles (no tents or tent-trailers). Showers and laundries are available at Canyon, Grant Village, and Fishing Bridge. These are the only campgrounds that accept reservations. Call 307-344-7311 for more information about these areas.

The National Park Service operates seven campgrounds in the Park on a first-come, first-serve basis for a smaller rate. They are usually full by late morning so plan to be there early to get a site.

Camping or overnight parking in pullouts, parking areas, picnic grounds or any other non-designated camping area is not permitted. There is camping and lodging in neighboring communities. All camping is limited to 14 days between June 15 and Labor Day, and to 30 days the rest of the year. Check out time for all areas is 10:00 A.M. There are quiet hours from 8:00 P.M. to 8:00 A.M. which are strictly enforced. Generators are permited at Bridge Bay, Canyon, Grant Village, Madison, Mammoth, Norris Campgrounds and Fishing Bridge RV Park and are allowed to run only from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Use caution with what you use in your campsite - to avoid bears, keep cooking utensils, coolers, food, and garbage inside a hard-sided vehicle when not in use.

To camp in the backcountry you need a permit, which is free from visitor centers or ranger stations. Certain rules and restrictions apply to backcountry camping and some hikes. Group camping areas are also available for large organized groups such as youth groups or school groups. Family reunions or other gatherings do not qualify.

What lodging can be found in Yellowstone? Lodging in Yellowstone is also provided by TW Recreational Services, Inc..

Old Faithful Lodge: an assortment of lodging, from basic rooms to cabins.

Mammoth: basic cabins, without shower or bathroom facilities, or en-suite cabins and hotel rooms.

Lake Yellowstone: colonial hotel rooms or suite cabins


Roosevelt: t basic shelter with no bedding or also cabins

Grant Village: basic rooms on Yellowstone Lake

The facilities in Yellowstone vary greatly, so call and make arrangements in advance at 303/297-2757 to avoid any disappointments or extra costs.

There is also lodging available in the gateway towns and in the surrounding area. For more information, contact the Chambers of Commerce at:


-Billings, MT 406/ 245-4111
-Cody, WY 307/ 587-2297
-Gardiner, MT 406/848-7971
-Livingston, MT 406/222-0850
-West Yellowstone, MT 800/521-5241
-Bozeman, MT 406/586-5421
-Cooke City/Silver Gate, MT 406/838-2265
-Jackson, WY 307/733-3316
-Red Lodge, MT 406/446-1718
-Dubois, WY 307/455-2556
-Idaho Falls, ID 208/523-1010

Can I buy food and supplies in the park?

Meals are served at Tower-Roosevelt, Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, Grant Village, Lake, and Canyon. Food and supplies are available at Lake, Fishing Bridge, Canyon, Tower-Roosevelt, Tower Fall, Mammoth Hot Springs, Grant Village and Old Faithful, as well as the towns at each of the entrances. Costs in or near the park are high, so if you can, stock up the cooler as far away from the park as possible.