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.
When you enter the park through the West Entrance, you will drive 14 miles until you reach Madison, a jumping off point for geyser basins to the north and south. Head south and you will see the largest geyser basin in Yellowstone called the Lower Geyser Basin, which includes Fountain Paint Pot, Firehole Lake Drive area and the Great Fountain Geyser. You’ll want to stop at the Midway Geyser Basin, slightly south, which is home to the dazzling Grand Prismatic Spring, which has resident bacteria that creates rainbow-like rings in the spring.
Further south is the Upper Geyser Basin, which is home to Old Faithful, Biscuit Basin and others. At least 150 geysers exist in 1 square mile here.
Up north you’ll find Norris Geyser Basin, the park’s oldest and hottest thermal area with two walkable zones. It’s home to the Steamboat Geyser, which is the world’s tallest geyser at 300-plus feet. If you drive farther north, up to the park’s northern border with Montana, you can explore the boardwalks of Mammoth Hot Springs, a two-tier travertine wonder.
There’s also a lot to do in West Yellowstone if you are ready to take a break from sightseeing in the park. You can check out the Grizzly &Wolf Discovery Center, catch a show at the Playmill Theatre, or study up for your park trip at Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre, which shows IMAX movies about Yellowstone and beyond. For more information on things to do in West Yellowstone, click here.
Yellowstone National Park Closures
Roads in Yellowstone National Park began closing to oversnow travel on March 1 for spring plowing operations. All oversnow travel will end for the season March 15, at 9 PM. Roads will open to automobile travel on April 17 at 8 AM, weather permitting.
As plowing crews progress, portions of the park will open for biking ahead of automobile travel, typically by the beginning of April.
At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Gift Shop, Ski Shop and food service closed March 2. The Mammoth Hot Springs Campground, Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, Medical Clinic, Albright Visitor Center and self-serve fuel pumps remain open all year.
At Old Faithful, Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins closed March 1. The Bear Den Gift Shop, the Geyser Grill and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will close March 15.
At Tower Junction, self-serve fuel pumps are available all year.
The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City remains open to automobiles all year.
Visitors driving to and in the park during the spring should have flexible travel plans and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Temporary travel restrictions or closures can occur at any time.
Visit nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm or call (307) 344-2117 for the most current information on road conditions and closures.