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Yellowstone Summer & Beating the Crowds

Yellowstone National Park is open all year round, though summer from mid-June to the end of August has been deemed the prime time to visit. If you prefer to beat the summer crowd, visiting early in the season and timing between the early morning and late afternoon can provide a calmer experience. The busiest hours are typically between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. However, if you plan to go during this time, you can still escape crowds by venturing a half-mile from the main roads. Our tours tend to venture further by providing personal experiences of Yellowstone’s scenery and wildlife.

(Tied to Nature – Adam Brubaker)

What to Expect in the Summer Season 

Accessibility: 

  • All entrances open for the summer season 
  • North Entrance – Brings you to Mammoth Hot Springs 
  • Northeast Entrance – Opens to Lamar Valley, which has a wide variety of wildlife 
  • South Entrance – Near another National Park, Grand Teton 
  • East Entrance – Closest to Yellowstone Lake 
  • West Entrance – Closest for Old Faithful and Popular Tourist Plaza 

Weather: 

  • Mornings can be slightly chilly, but temperatures get well within 70-80 degrees by July and August. 
  • Afternoon thunderstorms are common, so be prepared for sudden weather changes. 
  • It doesn’t get dark until after 9:00 pm, extending daylight hours into the typical time when crowds dissipate. 

Facilities: 

  • Due to the season’s popularity, facilities, campsites, and programs fill up quickly. If possible, it is best to reserve anything early. 
  • If you do not want to stay in the park or if it is full, consider looking at other locations in nearby towns that can provide additional lodging and amenities. 
  • Nearby towns – Jackson, Cody, and Big Sky are familiar places to stay. 
  • Dining facilities may be busy. Consider packing your food or leaving the park for meals. Carry snacks and water. 
  • Parking can be filled. You may need to circle a few times or be open to walking a further distance. 
  • Prime times to visit popular spots like the boardwalks at Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful are sunrise and sunset to avoid large crowds. 

 

(Tied to Nature – Adam Brubaker)

Flora and Fauna 

Wildlife sightings peak during the summer. The park becomes home to vast herds of migratory species of elk, mule deer, and pronghorns. The fish and bird activity also grows.  

June: 

  • Bears become less visible as they move to higher elevations. 
  • Bighorn sheep calving can be seen in Lamar Valley and Calcite Springs Overlook. 
  • Cutthroat trout are spawning 
  • Elk starts calving occurs around Mammoth Hot Springs. 
  • Mountain goats are calving near the northeast entrance. 
  • Wildflowers like Arrowleaf balsamroot are in bloom 
  • Songbirds are in full song 
  • Waterfalls are at full volume. 

July: 

  • The bison rut takes place in Lamar and Hayden Valleys. 
  • Mosquitos are prevalent. 
  • Wildflowers bloom at higher elevations. 
  • River levels drop 
  • Opening many backcountry campsites. 

August: 

  • Wildfire smoke can obscure views. 
  • The bison rut continues in Lamar and Hayden Valleys. 
  • Significant Date: National Park Service birthday on August 25. 

 Fly Fishermen close to Yellowstone

(Tied to Nature – Adam Brubaker)

Seasonal activities 

  • Photography – Summer is a fantastic time for photography, with abundant wildlife, blooming wildflowers, and vibrant landscapes. 
  • Geyser Watching – While Old Faithful is the most famous, be open to exploring other geysers in the park. 
  • Boating – Yellowstone’s lakes are open for boating from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through October 31st. Ensure you have a valid boat inspection and permit. 
  • Camping – Locations can be reserved through the following: 
  • Fishing  
  • Hiking and Backpacking  
  • Biking 
  • Horseback Riding 
  • Picnicking  
  • Ranger-led Programs and Cultural Events – The park offers a variety of educational and cultural programs led by rangers. Stops are available throughout the park. 
  • Wildlife Watching – With peak wildlife activity, summer is perfect for observing animals in their natural habitats. 

 

Why choose our private tours? 

We take seeing wildlife seriously. One benefit of booking with Tied to Nature Private Tours is our ability to pick you up outside the park and bring you in before when other tours begin. Having an experienced guide helps gain recommendations and helpful insight on specific areas to visit when wildlife is most active and avoid crowds around peak times. We provide a sack lunch, so you don’t have to worry about overpacking or needing to stop near the crowds. We allow flexibility and work together to create an itinerary tailored to your wants and needs. 

See more about us on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

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Sources: 

https://www.yellowstone.org/experience/visitor-information/yellowstone-weather/#:~:text=Summer,are%20common%20in%20the%20afternoons. 

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/summer.htm 

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/boating.htm#:~:text=crossings%20very%20dangerous.-,Boating%20Regulations,to%20non%2Dmotorized%20watercraft%20only. 

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/seasonalhighlights.htm 

https://www.aaa.com/tripcanvas/article/10-tips-to-avoid-crowds-while-visiting-yellowstone-national-park-CM23 

5 Entrances to Yellowstone – Which is best? (yellowstonepark.com) 

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