Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is home to more geysers and hot springs than anywhere else in the world, is the first national park in the U.S. established in 1872, and is also one of the most popular.
It’s full of a variety of wildlife, colorful hot pots, waterfalls, geysers of course, and geologic wonders that do not exist anywhere else in the world. Lucky for us, it just happens to be right in our back yard. Located less than one hour from the West Entrance, many choose Big Sky as their base camp for Yellowstone National Park tours and activities, enjoying the high quality amenities that Big Sky has to offer, along with the spectacular, unforgettable scenery.
Four Seasons in Yellowstone National Park
SPRING is a great time to see baby animals, rushing waterfalls, and new green growth sprouting from the ground. Plus, the park is open to foot or bicycle traffic!
SUMMER is a favorite time of year to experience Yellowstone’s iconic Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and of course, the abundance of wildlife. You can visit Yellowstone in a car, public or private bus tour, or on a bicycle. Bus tours are great, so visitors can completely take in the awe-inspiring natural wonders and learn about them along the way.
FALL usually happens early in the season. Colorful trees and bushes pop up amidst pine trees and there’s a good chance you will see animals during the rut! Bicycle traffic is popular in the fall, especially when the park closes to vehicle traffic.
WINTER is an impeccable season to visit. The park is open to snowcoach, snowmobile, cross country skiing and snowshoeing traffic from December – March, dates vary. The landscape shifts as steam from hot pots rise from sparkling blankets of snow. As the majority of the park is closed to car traffic, there are fewer crowds, which makes the winter an experience you don’t want to miss!
Top Yellowstone Activities
There are many campgrounds that are perfect for car camping throughout the park, but reservations are strongly recommended as most first-come-first-served spots fill in by 9:00 a.m. Yellowstone also has an extensive back country camping system, but a permit is required for all designated back country sites.
With a wide variety of hiking trails, from short and sweet day hikes to overnight back country excursions, there are hikes for every ability.
Yellowstone has world renown fishing on many of its rivers, streams and lakes, with some areas restricted to fly fishing only. The fishing season typically runs from Memorial Day through October. Guided fishing boat trips are also available on Yellowstone Lake. Make sure to get the required fishing licenses before hitting the water!
Bike rentals are available at Old Faithful or at business outside the park. Road biking is allowed on all paved roads and other designated routes, but not on park trails.
Commercial snowcoach companies travel on designated park road routes that are not accessible by car during the winter. A snowcoach looks like a van that is designed to travel on snow and ice.
As a fast and fun way to explore the winter landscape and wildlife join one of the local, knowledgeable guides to take you on designated trails! All snowmobiling is handled through commercial guide services, no private snowmobiles are permitted within park boundaries.
This is a truly magical experience and a great way to explore the park and be close with the serene winter landscape. For Nordic enthusiasts, there are five major cross-country ski areas, some that are accessible by car and others that are accessible by back country snowcoach shuttles. Ski and showshoe rentals are available.
West Yellowstone, a fun-filled town, is Yellowstone National Park's busiest gateway and a mecca for year-round outdoor recreation enthusiasts. It is also the closest entrance into America's First National Park from Big Sky being under and hour's scenic drive.
Preparing for your adventure
- More information YNP’s hours, seasons, and more, click HERE.
- Check the CURRENT PRICES for entrance fees
- List of Guided Tour Operators for Yellowstone Park
- YNP Road Closures – LIVE MAP
- FIND YOUR PARK – where’s one near you?
Directions & Map of Yellowstone National Park
- Although the boundary of Yellowstone is only 15 miles from Big Sky, MT, the official West Entrance of the park is in West Yellowstone, MT, just 47 miles south.
- From Big Sky, head south on Highway 191 and travel a scenic 47 miles along the Gallatin River to West Yellowstone.