Springtime in Yellowstone
Explore the park when it becomes fresh and new with baby animals running alongside their moms and waterfalls thawing.
Visit Yellowstone during its warming-up season—spring—to explore the park when both the heat and crowds are at bay. With a little research and careful packing, you can enjoy the park during this transition season, which is somewhat unreliable in terms of weather.
Spring Weather in Yellowstone
Be prepared: spring in Yellowstone is different than spring in other locales; due to its high elevation Yellowstone can feel more like winter during this period. Daytime temperatures range from the 30s to the 60s, with lows at night in the teens to single digits. Snow is common, with accumulations of 12” in a 24-hour period possible. Yellowstone’s weather is highly unpredictable—especially in spring—so come equipped with plenty of warm layers. Add ski or snowshoe equipment to your list and you’ll soon discover a sparkling winter world accessible via the park-wide network of cross-country tracks. More about weather.
Bicycling, walking, jogging, roller blades, roller skis and similar means of non-motorized public travel may be permitted beginning sometime in late March or early April between the West Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs prior to these roads opening to motorized public travel. The first day of “spring bicycling” is never predetermined and is dependent on road conditions as determined by park staff. Read More
Spring Roads Close for Snowplowing
Park roads close to snowcoaches and snowmobiles in spring while crews clear a winter’s worth of packed snow from the Grand Loop. This totals 198 miles of main road, 124 miles of secondary roads and 125 acres of parking lots inside the park as well as 31 miles of the Beartooth Highway outside the park’s Northeast Entrance to prepare for the summer season.
2023 Road Closures to Snowcoaches and Snowmobiles
The park road from the North Entrance to the Northeast Entrance is open to traffic 365 days per year. Other park interior roads close at 9 p.m. on the following dates to allow for snow plowing.
- March 5: Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris
- March 7: Norris to Madison and Norris to Canyon Village
- March 12: Canyon Village to Fishing Bridge
- March 15: All remaining groomed roads close
2023 Spring Road Openings to Vehicles
Conditions permitting, roads will open at 8 a.m. on the following dates: On the third Friday of April, park roads begin opening to regular vehicles. All roads open by Memorial Day weekend.
- April 21: West Entrance to Madison Junction, Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful, Norris to Canyon Village
- May 5: East Entrance to Lake Village (Sylvan Pass), Canyon Village to Lake Village
- May 12: South Entrance to West Thumb, Lake Village to West Thumb, West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass), Tower Junction to Tower Fall
- May 26: Tower Fall to Canyon Junction (Dunraven Pass), Beartooth Highway
- mid-May: Cooke City to Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (WY-296)
- Estimated May 26: Beartooth Highway (US-212) Cooke City to Red Lodge, Montana
Check NPS website about current road conditions at www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm
Spring Animal Activity in Yellowstone
Riders and hikers alike should be aware that the park’s awakening—marked by the opening of interior roads and campgrounds in May—also signifies the awakening of its large mammal populations: bears, bison, elk, wolves, and other wildlife. These inhabitants include females preparing to give birth, according to the NPS, “The beautiful red colored baby bison arrive first, followed by baby elk and then the emergence of mother bears and their cubs (born during the winter).” See photos and video of Baby Animals
As spring is a time of wildlife activity, drivers should watch for bison migrating back into the park north of Gardiner; slower speeds and extra caution are encouraged. Furthermore, be advised that bears are active in the spring as they emerge from their winter dens and begin searching for any food source that will help them restore fat reserves lost during torpor. Bears aggressively defend food sources—such as winter-killed animals, wildflower buds or burrowing rodents—from perceived aggression. Therefore, all park visitors should follow bear safety precautions when skiing or hiking.
Spring Camping in Yellowstone
For those interested in camping, note that the Mammoth Campground is the only year-round option. The other campgrounds will follow a graduated opening schedule beginning in early May and continuing through the end of June.
2023 Projected Opening of Campgrounds
Note: The dates below are estimated dates based on prior years. Check www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hours.htm for campsite opening dates before making any summer plans since COVID-19 has impacted what services are open in the park and when.
- May 5: Madison Campground
- May 12 Fishing Bridge RV Park
- May 19: Bridge Bay Campground
- May 26: Canyon Campground
- June 2: Grant Village Campground
- June 9: Indian Creek Campground
- June 15: Lewis Lake Campground
- TBD: Mammoth Campground (Normally open year-round, closed for flood repairs)
- TBD: Slough Creek Campground
- TBD: Tower Fall Campground
- Closed in 2023: Pebble Creek Campground
- Closed in 2023: Norris Campground
Spring Lodging in Yellowstone
The park has a plethora of food and lodging options, though only a handful of these amenities are available year-round. Most of the facilities—key locations and offerings listed below—begin opening in May, in step with the rest of the park. Mammoth Hot Springs offers the only year-round service station, general store, and clinic.
The dates listed below are generalized from previous year openings for trip planning purposes. All dates are subject to change. Learn more about lodging inside Yellowstone.
2023 Projected Opening of Hotels and Cabins
Opening and closing dates are subject to change based on future conditions and public health guidance due to COVID-19.
- April 28: Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel
- April 28: Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins
- May 12: Mammoth Hot Springs Cabins
- May 5: Old Faithful Inn
- May 12: Old Faithful Lodge Cabins
- May 12: Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cabins
- May 26: Grant Village Lodge
- May 19: Canyon Lodges and Cabins
- June 2: Roosevelt Lodge Cabins
- June 10: Lake Lodge Cabins
See complete list of facility opening dates at www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hours.htm
Please check Yellowstone National Park Lodges for changes in openings and closures for 2023 at www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/stay/summer-lodges/