Just a stone's throw from Big Sky, Montana, is the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Renowned for its extensive ecosystem and geothermal wonders, many flock to Yellowstone in the summer to experience the extraordinary park. While planning for your visit to YNP may at first appear daunting, we are here to breakdown some of the best tips for visiting Yellowstone. 

  • Choose Your Adventure: Yellowstone thrives in the cooler months (think spring and fall) when crowds are smaller and wildlife viewing is prime. Summer explodes with vibrant wildflowers but be prepared for bigger crowds. Winter offers a magical snowy wonderland, but most Park roads close and visiting through the west entrance is by guided tour only.   

  • Pick A Gateway: There are 5 entrances to Yellowstone National Park. The closest and most convenient to Big Sky is the west entrance through West Yellowstone. 

  • Accommodation Ace: Lodging inside the park books up fast, especially during peak season. Consider cozying up in Big Sky! Our charming town offers a relaxing home base after a day of Yellowstone exploration, with plenty of lodging options and easy access to the park's west entrance. 

  • Park Knowledge is Power: Cell phone and internet service is very limited inside the park. Download any pertinent information you need prior to arriving in Yellowstone.  We recommend downloading the National Park Service app before you go. It has maps, trail descriptions, and up-to-date information on road closures, geyser eruption times, and ranger programs. 

  • Park Pass: Lessen your wait time at the Park entrance by purchasing your park pass  online ahead of time. 



  • Embrace the Unexpected: Yellowstone's weather can be unpredictable. Bring plenty of layers to adapt to changing conditions including a warm long-sleeve shirt, rain jacket, and sturdy footwear.
  • Hydration Hero: High altitude means staying hydrated. Bring plenty of water.  We also recommend bringing reusable water bottles that you can refill at water stations throughout the park.  These refill stations can be found in most general stores and visitor centers.  

  • Get Picky: Many first-time visitors underestimate Yellowstone's massive size.  You can get quite overwhelmed with all there is to see and do. That's why we recommend picking 1 to 3 landmarks within the park that you really want to see and building your itinerary based off of those. 

  • Don’t Go “Hangry”: Bring plenty of snacks for your road trip through the park, but most importantly, properly dispose of all food waste in appropriate garbage cans, which may mean carrying your trash with you until the next stop.  

  • Respect the Wildlife: Yellowstone's animals are wild. Maintain a safe distance, never feed them, and always follow posted signage. 

  • Leave No Trace: Pack out everything you pack in. Yellowstone's beauty relies on us all being responsible stewards. 

  • Leave It To the Pros: If you’re feeling nervous about making the trip to Yellowstone and are unsure of where to go, plan a Yellowstone Excursion with one of the many local guides.  Not only will they have extensive knowledge about the Park, but they will do all the driving and will know exactly where to go.  



Bonus: Beyond the Park Gates 

Big Sky is more than just a launching pad for Yellowstone adventures. After your park explorations, unwind in Big Sky with world-class fly fishing, scenic hikes, and a charming downtown with delicious restaurants and shops. 

Yellowstone National Park awaits, and Big Sky is your perfect base camp. With these tips and our town's small-town charm, your Yellowstone adventure is sure to be legendary!