10 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Yellowstone National Park


Planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go, from park fees and passes to wildlife safety and more.

Yellowstone requires a $35 vehicle fee, $30 for motorcycles, or $20 for individuals. Alternatively, buy a $70 annual pass or an $80 pass for all U.S. national parks. Pay online or at the entrance.

Park Entrance Fees and Passes


Stay 100 yards from Yellowstone's black and grizzly bears. Never feed/approach them. Use bear spray, store food and trash in bear-proof containers, and report sightings to park rangers for safety.

Safety in Bear Country


Yellowstone's weather varies greatly, with extreme temperatures. Check forecasts, pack layered clothing, rain gear, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Note seasonal road closures/openings due to snow and plowing.

Weather and Seasons


Yellowstone offers 12 campgrounds; only five take reservations. Others are first-come, first-served, filling quickly in peak season. Reserve online/phone early or arrive at campgrounds in the morning to secure a spot.

Campground Reservations


Yellowstone provides guided tours and ranger programs, including bus, boat, bike, horseback, and fishing options, for enriched park experiences. Attend free ranger-led walks, talks, hikes, and evening events across the park.

Guided Tours and Ranger Programs


Observe Yellowstone's diverse wildlife like bison, elk, and wolves from afar with binoculars. Don't approach, feed, or disturb them, respecting their natural behavior and habitat, as you're in their home.

Wildlife Watching Etiquette


Yellowstone's 10,000+ geothermal features, including geysers and hot springs, are dangerous due to heat and acidity. Always stay on boardwalks, avoid touching or entering waters, and don't throw objects into them.

Geothermal Features and Hot Springs Safety


To explore Yellowstone's wilderness, obtain a backcountry permit and adhere to regulations. Apply online or at an office 48 hours before your trip, plan your route, pack suitably, and follow Leave No Trace principles.

Backcountry Permits and Regulations


Yellowstone features 900+ miles of trails. For less crowded experiences, select lesser-known paths or hike near Old Faithful and Grand Canyon early morning or late afternoon to avoid heavy traffic.  Click below to explore more

Popular Trails and Crowds


Preserve Yellowstone for future generations by following Leave No Trace principles: plan and prepare, use durable surfaces, dispose of waste, leave nature as is, minimize campfire effects, respect wildlife, and consider others.

Leave No Trace Principles


Next: 8 Breathtaking Hikes in Olympic National Park

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