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Yellowstone National Park

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

1,171 mi 1,885 km of trail 33 Featured Hikes

Gems 15 Gems Easy Trails 178 Trails Intermediate Trails 74 Trails Hard Trails 13 Trails

Yellowstone National Park is home to the majority of the world's geysers. These geysers helped to motivate the establishment of the park in 1872 as America's very first national park. Yellowstone is a vast and mountainous wilderness that is home to wolves, grizzly bears, and herds of elk and bison. The park is the center of one of the only mostly-intact ecosystems in the Earth's temperate zone, and is home to some of the most impressive and colorful hot springs, mudpots, and geysers in the world. Visitors can explore the park's many mountains, forests, and lakes to view its wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold.

To learn more about Yellowstone National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
Visitor center hours vary by season. Visit the park's website for more information on the amenities offered by each visitor center as well as to see the most current hours of operation.
  • Albright (Mammoth) Visitor Center: Hours vary by season.
  • Canyon Visitor Education Center: Hours vary by season.
  • Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trailside Museum: Open May through September from 8 am to 7 pm. October 1 through October 10 from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Grant Visitor Center: Open May through September from 8 am to 7 pm. October 1 through October 10 from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Madison Information Station and Trailside Museum: Open May through September from 8 am to 7 pm. October 1 through October 10 from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Museum of the National Park Ranger: Open May 28 through September 25 from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Norris Geyser Basin Museum and Information Station: Hours vary by season.
  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center: Hours vary by season.
  • West Thumb Information Center: Open May 27 through October 10 from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center: Hours vary by season.

Visiting Tips

Yellowstone National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Summer is the busiest season in the park with visitation tapering off in the fall and spring and quieting down in the winter when the roads to the interior of the park are closed. Deciding when to visit Yellowstone can be difficult and hinges on what you want to experience. Winter, spring, summer, and fall offer a variety of different recreation options and areas to explore.

Park roads between the north and northeast entrances are open 24 hours a day, year-round. They provide access to Mammoth Hot Springs, the park's wildlife-rich northern range, and recreational activities such as cross-country skiing, hiking, camping, and fishing in season. The other park entrances and roads are also open 24 hours a day but have seasonal closures and travel restrictions in the shoulder and winter seasons. Visit the park's website for more information and to see current road closures.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, click here.
  • Purchase an annual pass for all national parks sites, $80
  • Camping & Lodging

    Camping:
    Yellowstone has twelve campgrounds located in the park with over 1,700 sites. Xanterra Parks and Resorts operates five campgrounds including Madison, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Bridge Bay, Canyon, and Grant Village. You can make reservations online. The National Park Service operates seven first come, first served campgrounds including Mammoth, Norris, Tower Fall, Indian Creek, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Lewis Lake. Campgrounds usually fill by early morning. Be sure to plan ahead to obtain a site. For more information on camping in the park, visit the park's website.

    • Bridge Bay Campground: 432 sites. Open late May through early September. Reservations can be made by calling (307) 344-7311 or online.
    • Canyon Campground: 273 sites. Open late May through mid September. Reservations can be made by calling (307) 344-7311 or online.
    • Fishing Bridge RV Park: 325 sites. Open early May through mid September. Reservations can be made by calling (307) 344-7311 or online.
    • Grant Village Campground: 430 sites. Open late June through mid September. Reservations can be made by calling (307) 344-7311 or online.
    • Indian Creek Campground: 70 sites. Open mid June through mid September. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
    • Lewis Lake Campground: 85 sites. Open mid June through early November. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
    • Madison Campground: 278 sites. Open late April through mid-October. Reservations can be made by calling (307) 344-7311 or online.
    • Mammoth Campground: 85 sites. Open year round. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
    • Norris Campground: 11 sites. Open late May through late September. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
    • Pebble Creek Campground: 27 sites. Open mid-June through late September. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
    • Slough Creek Campground: 23 sites. Open mid-June through early October. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
    • Tower Fall Campground: 31 sites. Open late May through late September. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.

    Backcountry Camping:
    Permits for backcountry camping may be obtained in person, no more than 48 hours in advance of your trip. Permits are available from backcountry offices located in most ranger stations or visitor centers. Backcountry campsites may be reserved in advance. Reservation applications for backcountry permits are accepted from January 1 to October 31 of each calendar year. To learn more about making reservations as well as additional information about backcountry camping and hiking, visit the park's website.

    Lodging:
    Xanterra Parks and Resorts operates nine lodging facilities in the park with more than 2,000 rooms. All nine lodges are available during the summer and two are open in the winter (Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel). Reservations can be made by calling (307) 344-7311 or online.To learn more about the lodging options located in the park, click here.
    • Canyon Lodge: Rooms available in summer. Located near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (North Rim) and Upper and Lower Falls.
    • Grant Village Lodge: Rooms available in summer. Located on the southwestern shore of Yellowstone Lake.
    • Lake Hotel and Cabins: Rooms available in summer. Located on the northern shore of Yellowstone Lake.
    • Lake Lodge: Rooms available in summer. Located on the northern shore of Yellowstone Lake.
    • Mammoth Hotel and Cabins: Rooms available in summer and winter. Located five miles inside the north entrance of the park.
    • Old Faithful Inn: Rooms available in summer. Located near Old Faithful Geyser in the southwest part of the park.
    • Old Faithful Lodge Cabins: Rooms available in summer. Located near Old Faithful Geyser in the southwest part of the park.
    • Old Faithful Snow Lodge: Rooms available in summer and winter. Located near Old Faithful Geyser in the southwest part of the park.
    • Roosevelt Lodge: Rooms available in summer. Located near Tower Falls on the park’s northern range.

    Food & Drink

    There are a variety of dining options located throughout the park, ranging from fine dining to snack shops and cafeterias. Dinner reservations are required at the fine dining facilities. Inquire at any lodging front desk or restaurant host stand to secure a reservation. For a list of dining options and for more information on dining in the park, click here. Visitors are also welcome to use the picnic areas spread throughout the park. The park has 52 picnic areas, which each have tables, and most have vault toilets.

    Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

    Guided Tours:
    Yellowstone National Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs that vary by season. All programs, unless otherwise specified, are free and open to the public. Reservations can be made in advance for the Ranger Adventure Hikes by calling or signing up in person at the visitor center where the program is listed. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

    Another great option for visitors looking to explore Yellowstone with the help of a guide are the many programs, private tours, or field seminars hosted by the Yellowstone Association. These programs offer a great variety of ways to experience the park whether you are looking for an all-inclusive outing, a multi-day tour, or an afternoon seminar. To learn more about these programs, visit the Yellowstone Asociation's website.

    Shuttles:
    Xanterra Parks & Resorts provides bus tours within the park during the summer season. During the winter season, they provide several snowcoach tours from various locations. Please call (307) 344-7311 for information or reservations. Several other commercial businesses offer transportation services as well. For more information on shuttle services offered within and around the park, click here.

    REI Adventures:
    REI offers over 30 national park trips led by expert guides capable of taking you off the beaten path to discover hidden gems that many visitors never see.

    Check out REI Adventures' national park offerings here.

    Other Activities

    The ways to explore Yellowstone National Park are nearly endless. Visitors to the park can choose from a variety of activities based on the season. Whether backcountry camping, boating, bicycling, fishing, horseback riding, canoeing, or kayaking in the summer or snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or skiing in the winter, visitors will find that there are many great ways to explore the park. For those interested in water sports, a visit to Yellowstone Lake or Lewis Lake provides ample opportunities for boating, tubing, kayaking, and canoeing in combination with some great campsite locations along the shore of the lake for those looking to extend their stay. Visit the park's website for more information on the variety of commercially guided activities and services offered within the park.

    Maps & Guidebooks

    If you're interested in learning more details about great day hikes, including history, geology, plant and wildlife facts, forest fire accounts, and backcountry geyser info, check out Tom Carter's Day Hiking Yellowstone.

    To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

    Gems in Yellowstone National Park - 15

    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

    gem Favorite Grand Prismatic.

    Grand Prismatic

    (74) Yellows…, WY
    gem Favorite Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

    Artist's Point

    (63) Canyon…, WY
    gem Favorite Old Faithful.

    Old Faithful

    (70) Old Fai…, WY
    gem Favorite Mammoth Hot Springs

    Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

    (54) Mammoth…, WY
    gem Favorite At the brink of Lower Yellowstone Falls.

    Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River

    (43) Canyon…, WY
    gem Favorite Thumb Paintpots.

    West Thumb Geyser Basin

    (34) West Th…, WY
    gem Favorite Bighorn Ram near the Lamar River. with permission from walkaboutwest *No Commercial Use

    Lamar Valley

    (30) Tower J…, WY
    gem Favorite Winter at Norris Geyser Basin

    Norris Geyser Basin

    (30) Norris…, WY

    Featured Hikes in Yellowstone National Park - 33

    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Hikes

    Favorite Headed for Avalanche Peak summit on the north end of the mountain.
    Difficult

    Avalanche Peak

    4.6 mi 7.4 km • Loop • 2,009 ft Ascent 612.21 m Ascent

    (35) Yellows…, WY
    Favorite Looking down Mt Washburn trail - Tetons, Hayden Valley, and Yellowstone Gorge in background
    Intermediate

    Mount Washburn

    7.3 mi 11.7 km • Out and Back • 1,384 ft Ascent 421.81 m Ascent

    (34) Canyon…, WY
    Favorite Bison in Biscuit Basin area. with permission from Richard Ryer
    Intermediate

    Mystic Falls Loop

    3.5 mi 5.6 km • Loop • 597 ft Ascent 182.07 m Ascent

    (32) Yellows…, WY
    Favorite Grand Prismatic Hot Spring as seen from Fountain Flats Drive.
    Easy/Intermediate

    Fairy Falls-Imperial Geyser

    6.6 mi 10.7 km • Loop • 220 ft Ascent 67.18 m Ascent

    (27) Old Fai…, WY
    Favorite Fording the river at the Bechler Meadows end of the trail (southern end). Even in August, the water was thigh-deep here.
    Intermediate

    Bechler Canyon

    31.6 mi 50.9 km • Point to Point • 1,408 ft Ascent 429.16 m Ascent

    (7) Old Fai…, WY
    Favorite Yellowstone River near the Bear Creek bridge.
    Intermediate/Difficult

    Black Canyon of the Yellowstone

    12.9 mi 20.7 km • Point to Point • 1,545 ft Ascent 471 m Ascent

    (5) Mammoth…, WY
    Favorite The view from the top on the Bunsen Peak Trail.
    Intermediate

    Bunsen Peak

    4.3 mi 7.0 km • Out and Back • 1,285 ft Ascent 391.59 m Ascent

    (18) Mammoth…, WY
    Favorite On the Sky Rim Trail, looking west toward Dailey Pass.
    Difficult

    Sky Rim - West

    19.4 mi 31.3 km • Loop • 4,313 ft Ascent 1314.66 m Ascent

    (8) Gardiner, MT

    Trails in Yellowstone National Park - 232

    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

    0.4 mi 0.6 km #1Brink of Lower Falls Trail
    Intermediate
    Canyon Village, WY
    Intermediate
    0.4 mi 0.6 km Canyon Village, WY 36 
    0.5 mi 0.8 km #2Midway Geyser Basin Trail
    Easy
    Yellowstone, WY
    Easy
    0.5 mi 0.8 km Yellowstone, WY 17 
    0.3 mi 0.5 km #3Red Rock Point Trail
    Intermediate
    Canyon Village, WY
    Intermediate
    0.3 mi 0.5 km Canyon Village, WY 14 
    1.2 mi 1.9 km #4Osprey Falls Trail
    Intermediate/Difficult
    Mammoth Hot Springs, WY
    Intermediate/Difficult
    1.2 mi 1.9 km Mammoth Hot Springs, WY 10 
    0.1 mi 0.2 km #5Artist Point Overlook Trail
    Easy
    Canyon Village, WY
    Easy
    0.1 mi 0.2 km Canyon Village, WY 10 
    0.6 mi 1.0 km #6Fountain Paint Pot Trail
    Easy
    Old Faithful Village, WY
    Easy
    0.6 mi 1.0 km Old Faithful Village, WY 15 
    2.1 mi 3.3 km #7Upper Geyser Basin Trail
    Easy
    Old Faithful Village, WY
    Easy
    2.1 mi 3.3 km Old Faithful Village, WY 18 
    0.3 mi 0.5 km #8Grand Prismatic Overlook
    Easy/Intermediate
    Yellowstone, WY
    Easy/Intermediate
    0.3 mi 0.5 km Yellowstone, WY
    10.7 mi 17.3 km #9Sky Rim Trail
    Difficult
    Big Sky, MT
    Difficult
    10.7 mi 17.3 km Big Sky, MT
    2.1 mi 3.4 km #10Union Falls Trail
    Easy/Intermediate
    Yellowstone South Entrance, WY
    Easy/Intermediate
    2.1 mi 3.4 km Yellowstone South Entrance, WY
    19.4 mi 31.2 km #11Heart Lake Trail
    Intermediate
    Grant Village, WY
    Intermediate
    19.4 mi 31.2 km Grant Village, WY
    15.8 mi 25.4 km #12Yellowstone River Trail
    Intermediate
    Tower Junction, WY
    Intermediate
    15.8 mi 25.4 km Tower Junction, WY
    3.9 mi 6.3 km #13Howard Eaton Trail: Golden Gate-Mammoth
    Easy/Intermediate
    Mammoth Hot Springs, WY
    Easy/Intermediate
    3.9 mi 6.3 km Mammoth Hot Springs, WY
    34.3 mi 55.2 km #14Thorofare Trail
    Easy/Intermediate
    Lake Village, WY
    Easy/Intermediate
    34.3 mi 55.2 km Lake Village, WY
    3.5 mi 5.6 km #15Mount Sheridan Trail
    Extremely Difficult
    Grant Village, WY
    Extremely Difficult
    3.5 mi 5.6 km Grant Village, WY
    10.0 mi 16.2 km #16Hoodoo Basin Trail
    Difficult
    Yellowstone East Entrance, WY
    Difficult
    10.0 mi 16.2 km Yellowstone East Entrance, WY
    9.5 mi 15.3 km #17Astringent Creek Trail
    Easy
    Lake Village, WY
    Easy
    9.5 mi 15.3 km Lake Village, WY
    8.2 mi 13.3 km #18Blacktail Plateau Ski Trail
    Intermediate
    Mammoth Hot Springs, WY
    Intermediate
    8.2 mi 13.3 km Mammoth Hot Springs, WY
    0.4 mi 0.6 km #19Uncle Tom's Trail
    Intermediate/Difficult
    Canyon Village, WY
    Intermediate/Difficult
    0.4 mi 0.6 km Canyon Village, WY 14 
    0.9 mi 1.5 km #20Trout Lake Trail
    Easy/Intermediate
    Tower Junction, WY
    Easy/Intermediate
    0.9 mi 1.5 km Tower Junction, WY

    Photos of Yellowstone National Park - 533

    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

    250-foot Union Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the planet! It's really two falls in one. Two creeks come together at the brink. Water from the right-side creek fans out, forming a delicate veil over an ominous rock face, while the second creek shoots in from the left side.
    Mar 27, 2016 near Yellows…, WY
    Slough Creek, 2nd Meadow.
    Jan 15, 2016 near Tower J…, WY
    Grand Prismatic Hot Spring as seen from Fountain Flats Drive.
    Dec 16, 2015 near Yellows…, WY
    Red Rock Point Trail descends into the canyon for an awesome view of Lower Falls!
    Apr 17, 2016 near Canyon…, WY
    At the brink of Lower Yellowstone Falls.
    Sep 10, 2015 near Canyon…, WY
    Columbia Spring in Heart Lake Geyser Basin.
    Jan 31, 2016 near Grant V…, WY
    Yellowstone Falls
    Sep 10, 2015 near Canyon…, WY
    Old Faithful.
    May 18, 2016 near Old Fai…, WY

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