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13 Feb 2024
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Vacation Planning

As winter loosens its grip on Yellowstone National Park, the transitioning season brings forth a unique set of considerations for visitors eager to explore its wonders. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your spring adventure in this iconic wilderness:

Mountains at Yellowstone National Park

1. Be Prepared for Varied Weather:

Yellowstone's spring weather is known for its unpredictability, with temperatures fluctuating between the 30s and 60s. To stay comfortable during your visit, it's advisable to dress in layers and bring along snow gear, especially if you plan to explore the park's higher elevations.

Mom and baby deer in Yellowstone National Park

2. Spring Awakening of Wildlife:

As the park comes to life, large mammal populations, including bears, bison, elk, and wolves, become more active. Exercise caution, maintain slower driving speeds, and carry bear spray, especially as mother bears emerge with cubs born during the winter. Be extra vigilant, as bears can be aggressively defensive over food sources.

Cross country skiing in Yellowstone

3. Non-Motorized Activities:

In late March and early April, before roads open to motorized traffic, non-motorized activities such as biking, walking, jogging, rollerblading, and more may be permitted. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience the park in a quieter, more serene setting.

Hot spring in Yellowstone National Park

4. Camping Considerations:

For camping enthusiasts, note that the Mammoth Campground is the only year-round option. Other campgrounds will follow a graduated opening schedule starting in early May and continuing through the end of June.

5. Last but not least, spring fishing!

Undoubtedly, spring stands as the most underrated season for fishing along the Yellowstone River. 

Although the renowned big stonefly hatches occur in early summer, a compelling case can be made for April and May hosting some of the year's best hatches. The annual insect emergence is a consistent occurrence, and with hungry fish awaiting, the only variable is water clarity. Throughout spring, the Yellowstone River will fluctuate in fishable conditions as warm weather melts the low elevation snowpack, only for cool weather to freeze it once again.

 Park Road Openings (2024):

2024 Regular Vehicle Travel Dates:

Open year-round: North Entrance to Northeast Entrance
Open April 19 - October 31, 2024: West Entrance to Madison, Madison to Old Faithful, Madison to Norris, Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris, Norris to Canyon Village
Open May 3 - October 31, 2024: East Entrance to Lake Village (Sylvan Pass), Canyon Village to Lake Village
Open May 10 - October 31, 2024: South Entrance to West Thumb, West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass), West Thumb to Lake Village, Tower-Roosevelt to Tower Fall
Open May 24 - October 31, 2024: Canyon Village to Tower Fall (Dunraven Pass). This is a high elevation pass that generally experiences winter weather earlier than other roads in the park — as with all other roads, the closing date is subject to change.
TBD: Beartooth Highway (US-212), Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (WY-296)**

Embrace the beauty of Yellowstone in its spring transformation, where nature's spectacle unfolds in unique and captivating ways. Whether you're a wildlife enthusiast, an avid hiker, or simply seeking tranquility, Yellowstone National Park in spring offers an unforgettable experience for every adventurer.

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