One hundred fifty years ago, the first Europeans to encounter the area now known as Yellowstone were so fascinated by its beauty that they pressured the United States Government to do something that had never been done before. Protect an area of wilderness permanently for all to enjoy. Today, Yellowstone National Park is every bit as enchanting as it was a century and a half ago. A carefully guarded pocket of ancient America, full of natural, animal, and geological wonders. Yellowstone is the perfect place to take your next break from busy life and get back to nature on a guided hiking trip.
When to Go
Part of Yellowstone’s charm is that there is something for everyone at all times of the year. Whether you are looking to climb to the high peaks in the summer months, pack the binoculars for some wildlife spotting in the spring or fall, or strap on the skis and snowshoes for a winter traverse, this National Park is your outdoor adventure playground.
Months: June to September
Expected Weather: 70- to 80-degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 30- to 50-degrees Fahrenheit at night. Sunny with occasional afternoon thunderstorms.
Summer is when Yellowstone rolls out the red carpet for outdoor adventure. With the warm temperatures, the higher reaches of the National Park become fully accessible to hikers while the lower elevations are perfect for a trip with the family. The days are long, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the incredible scenery and take your time on the trails. After dark, the nights are warm enough for outdoor camping, but if that’s not for you, there are plenty of inns, hotels, and villas around the National Park for you to spend the night.
During high season, there is plenty of opportunity for wildlife spotting as Yellowstone’s fauna rejoices in the warmth and bounty of summer. Late summer is also the perfect time for fishing and boating, with some exceptional trout fishing opportunities in the lakes that dot the National Park.
Months: April to June and September to October
Expected Weather: Unpredictable. 30- to 60-degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 0- to 20-degrees Fahrenheit at night. Strong chance of snowfall in the spring.
Late spring and early fall present unique opportunities for outdoor adventurers in Yellowstone. Many parts of the park are rendered inaccessible by the colder conditions during these times, and the weather becomes more uncertain.
Overall, the crowds are much thinner during these months, allowing you better access to the main features of the park. For wildlife aficionados, these are the months of the great migrations, with much of Yellowstone’s most spectacular fauna on full display. As for the scenery, what could be more breathtaking than the carpets of wildflowers across the National Park during late spring, or the glorious colors of untouched deciduous forest in fall?
Months: October to April
Expected Weather: 0- to 20-degrees Fahrenheit during the day and -20- to 0-degrees Fahrenheit at night, but can be colder. A mixture of heavy snowfall and dazzling sunshine.
Back in the day, the troops stationed at old Fort Yellowstone had a saying: “in Yellowstone, there are only two seasons: winter and July.”
While that is a slight exaggeration, it does go to show just how long winter lasts at the high altitudes of the Yellowstone Plateau (8,000ft above sea level). This long winter is great news for anyone who loves snow trekking, as you will have months of opportunity to explore. The astonishing beauty and tranquility of the Yellowstone winter landscape should be on everyone’s bucket list.
If an escape from civilization is what you’re after, our backpacking treks are the best way to do it. We have guided backpacking trek options from April through October, with each hike covering a different slice of the incredible backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. Hiking through the pristine wilderness with everything you need on your shoulders, looking out for wildlife, and sleeping under the stars. What could be better?
We aim to take in some of the main tourist highlights as well as some hidden gems off the beaten track. All of our trips include a full suite of camping gear, three generous meals per day, transport to and from your rendezvous point, bear and backcountry safety gear, and of course, an experienced and friendly guide to take you on your trek. Our backpacking trips last 3 to 7 days.
If you want to experience backcountry hiking without the heavy backpack, then our Wildland Llama Tours are perfect for you. Thanks to our herd of fuzzy friends, you can stride the trails unencumbered and leave the llamas to carry the tents and food. Perfect for families with children or those of you who want a lighter side of the trail. Get ready for lots of #llamaselfies!
You may be thinking – why llamas? Why not horses? Well, llamas have many advantages over horses. They are easier to control than horses and need less experience to handle, making them safer around children. They are also strong and light on their feet, making them the perfect choice to manage our gear in the tough alpine terrain of Yellowstone National Park. Our Yellowstone Llama Treks last 3 to 7 days.
Thanks to the enterprising innkeepers of Yellowstone, your journey across the National Park doesn’t have to be spent in tents and sleeping bags. Our inn-based trips allow you to take in some of Yellowstone’s best locations, along with a quality restaurant dinner and a proper bed so you can enjoy the trail in comfort. Wildland has inn-based trips running year-round, with a catalog of different trekking options in the warm months and snowshoe and cross-country ski trips in December and January. Enjoy everything Yellowstone has to offer while looking out at the overnight cold snaps and summer rains as you spend your evenings comfortably indoors.
Our inn-based trips last 3 to 5 days
If you love being out in the wilderness but hate being far from a shower, this is the trek for you. Our Yellowstone Basecamp Trek is based in a full-service camping area in easy reach of some of the National Park’s most incredible scenery. The basecamp has showers, hot and cold drinks, fresh food daily, and spacious tents. Take in the fabulous sights during the day, and come back to a deluxe camping experience at night.
Our Yellowstone Basecamp Trip lasts for 5 days, with a day-hike to a new and stunning location every day.
Need to Know
Primary Departure Cities For Yellowstone
Most of our Yellowstone tours will meet in Bozeman, MT, before heading to the trailhead. Some of the tours that explore the southern reaches of the National Park (such as the Bechler Llama Trek) will meet in Jackson Hole, WY – please check your tour information before you make travel plans.
Book in Advance
Due to the system of permits in Yellowstone National Park, we ask all guests to book well in advance for all trips to ensure that you get your spot. Additionally, many of our treks sell out months in advance, so make sure you book as soon as possible!
After we confirm your booking, we recommend you move on to arranging your flights and other travel plans as soon as possible.
Getting to Bozeman, MT and Jackson Hole, WY
There are airports in both cities that connect to several regional airports in the Rockies, Midwest, and Pacific Coast during the summer months. The drive to both locations is breathtaking, as you will pass some of North America’s most beautiful natural areas no matter which direction you come from.
Visit our travel resource page for in-depth travel information.
We highly recommend that you book flights well in advance if you plan to fly, as the prices will rise enormously as summer approaches. We would also recommend booking your flights for the days on either side of your expected tour dates. This extra room is to accommodate any unexpected delays to our tour and to allow you to relax and recover before you return home.
If you plan to drive, please be aware that road conditions may not always be in your favor, particularly in the areas around the Yellowstone Plateau. Ensure you are prepared for the conditions before you decide to drive. Most regional airports will have rental car services available for reservation.
Accommodation in Bozeman and Jackson Hole
There is a wide variety of accommodation options in both locations to suit all price brackets and levels of comfort. Once again, we would recommend booking at least one extra day on either side of your tour to allow for any delays or inclement weather.
For trips departing from Bozeman, we recommend you stay at the Holiday Inn Express Bozeman West as you will receive a discounted rate, and our pre-trip meeting will convene here. We recommend the Mountain Modern Hotel in Jackson Hole for guests departing from this location. Remember to book via phone to receive your discount.
There you go, hikers! You now have all the information you need to plan that once-in-a-lifetime Yellowstone adventure. Just pick the season that’s right for you, choose an adventure, and give us a call!
Have more questions? Send us an email or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453). We’re here 7 days a week from 9:00 to 4:30 Mountain Time to make sure your trip planning goes as smoothly as possible.
For more information about all your options, check out our main Yellowstone National Park page on the website with the button below! Individual trip pages have detailed itineraries, trip specifics, travel information, and more.