Yellowstone 101

Travel Tips for America's First National Park

Geysers, Waterfalls, Wildlife and more

Gateway Communities & Entrances: 5
Miles of road: 466
Miles of boardwalks: 15
Miles of backcountry trails: ~1000
Visitors: 4+ million per year

With so much to see and do in Yellowstone and the surrounding areas, how do you navigate it all and make your vacation the best visit to America’s west?

This section of the website is here to help you. With an insider’s view of the park and gateway communities, you’ll find tips and trip reports ranging from activities to lodging and dining recommendations as well as information on how to get the best out of your vacation while protecting this amazing location.

Recent Blog Posts

Do I need reservations in Yellowstone?

Do I need reservations in Yellowstone?

Do you really need to have reservations going to Yellowstone? Or can you just find something along the way? This post takes a look at this and lets you know what might work for your planning style. This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you follow a...

Driving in Yellowstone

Driving in Yellowstone

Having reasonable expectations set to drive in Yellowstone makes it much more enjoyable. In this post, I share the realities of driving in Yellowstone and how to set your expectations to make your trip better. This post brought to you by our sponsor TOUR YELLOWSTONE...

What’s June like in Yellowstone?

What’s June like in Yellowstone?

What is it like during June in Yellowstone? When is the best time to see Yellowstone? What's Yellowstone's weather in June? These questions regularly arise when people plan their vacation to Yellowstone. This post is the part of a series that covers what it’s...

Social Distancing in Yellowstone

Social Distancing in Yellowstone

I've spent the past couple of days in Yellowstone. Despite all the dire predictions, I have to say my experience was excellent. Let me explain what I saw and the reality (not the drama) of how visitors handled social distancing.  This post may contain affiliate...

Book Review: Yellowstone Treasures 6th Edition

Book Review: Yellowstone Treasures 6th Edition

For many, this covid-19 year will be one without a regular trip to the Yellowstone. So, how do you visit Yellowstone without actually heading to Yellowstone? Through books. There's a new book release from Granite Peaks Publications that will help you be there in your...

The Best Time to Visit Yellowstone

The best time to visit is when the entire park is open. Other than that, it depends on what you want to see. Here at Yellowstone Naturalist, the seasonal changes are tracked month by month on the phenology pages. Use them to help you plan the timing of your vacation.

Geyser Gazing

Learning about the geysers and then heading out to watch them erupt takes patience and a bit of knowledge about how to watch them. The Geyser Watch section of this website is here to help you understand more of what you might see.

Top Travel Tips for Yellowstone

1. Give yourself a time buffer

Everything takes longer than you’ll expect. From traveling at a slower pace to wildlife jams to wanting to see it all, you’ll need more time.

2. Know one trip may not be enough

To really “see Yellowstone” you might need multiple trips. For your first trip, just hit the highlights. Then later on, visit again to dive in a bit deeper.

3. Each Gateway Community can be a trip unto itself

Five different entrances each have five uniquely different communities. Each has much to offer. Consider spending a few extra days to explore the areas just outside of Yellowstone as well.

4. Hire a Tour Guide

Consider starting your trip with a guided tour to give you an overview of the park and the gateway community the tour originates from (or within the park itself). Then spend the rest of your trip revisiting what you want to explore further.

5. Get in Shape

Vacations in general require quite a bit of walking. Yellowstone vacations are no exception. The amount of walking you can handle each day will have a direct impact on how much you can see and experience in the greater Yellowstone area.