One of the most underrated times of year to visit Yellowstone National Park has to be Yellowstone in fall. While summertime is the most active time of year to visit this particular National Park, Yellowstone still has plenty to offer its visitors during the months of September, October, and November. But what can you expect out of a visit to Yellowstone during this time?
In this article, we will address everything you need to know should you be planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park in any of these months. We will go over some of the top activities and seasonal things to take advantage of in Yellowstone during the fall time of year, as well as where you should visit within the park. Let’s get started now!
|Yellowstone National Park: Fall
|Activities and Information
|Wildlife viewing, photography, fishing, hiking, guided tours
|Northern Ridge, Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley, geysers and thermal waters, waterfalls, Mammoth Hot Springs
|Elk, bison, deer, wolves, bears, rabbits, foxes, frogs, marmots, birds
|Campgrounds begin to close, and road closures begin in October/November
|Tips and Tricks
|Good weather overall, and fewer crowds- but be sure to pack for the worst!
An Overview of Yellowstone in Fall
Yellowstone during the months of September, October, and November might be one of the best times of year to visit, depending on what you want to do. Attendance to the park during this particular time drops dramatically, especially when you consider that July and August are Yellowstone’s busiest months. You will find the park to be much more peaceful and serene, should you be able to delay your trip!
In addition to fewer crowds, you still have decent weather during the fall, though snow begins in earnest toward the end of October. You should still make sure that you pack for anything, including potential rain and sleet. No one likes to be unprepared, especially in such a wild and unique National Park!
Besides wildlife viewing and hiking, you should also take some time to take photos in higher elevation locations. The leaves and foliage begin to change in Yellowstone National Park during this time of year, and it offers a dramatically different landscape to visitors compared to those who visit during the summertime.
Yellowstone in Fall: Top Activities
All of Yellowstone National Park remains open to tourist traffic throughout the month of September, with closures beginning toward the end of October and in November. This means that you have access to just about every activity you want, from the comfort of your own vehicle. Taking a drive is one of the best things you can do in Yellowstone in fall, given just how beautiful the landscape is!
If you are an active outdoorsy person, hikes during this time of year are ideal, so long as you avoid any potentially rainy days. You can also camp during this time or enjoy the end of the summer fishing season, as well as horseback riding. One of the most exciting and rewarding activities that you could take part in is photography or painting opportunities. Between the natural landscape and the wildlife, there are plenty of things to document and take photos of!
Speaking of wildlife, many different species are in a transition period during the fall time of year. For example, bears are foraging for food, gaining weight for their long hibernation. Elk and deer will be mating and shedding their antlers, and bison will also be particularly active during this time. With a dramatically changing background of fall foliage, this is a great time to be in Yellowstone National Park!
Yellowstone in Fall: Must-See Spots
If you’ve never been to Yellowstone National Park, there are so many places for you to see and visit. Fall in Yellowstone is particularly lovely at the higher elevations of the park, where most of the changing foliage can be seen. There are also a number of waterfalls and hikes to participate in at these upper levels, so this is definitely something to plan for.
Besides the geysers and hot springs, you should take some time in the Hayden and Lamar Valleys, as well as the Northern Ridge of the park. These are some of the best places for wildlife viewing, especially if you are interested in seeing bison or wolves. Arriving and spending some time in these locations at dawn and dusk will bring you some of the best opportunities!
Tips and Tricks for Visiting Yellowstone in Fall
This is a great time to visit Yellowstone for a number of reasons, the primary one being the fact that there are fewer people in the park. You likely will have enough time to do everything you want to do, without worrying about where to park or why people are holding up traffic. However, there is something you should plan for should you choose to visit Yellowstone in fall: the weather.
Particularly during the months of October and November, the weather in Yellowstone can be unpredictable. Rain and snow begins in earnest during these months, and you should definitely pack accordingly. However, if packing an extra jacket and some layers is the only drawback to visiting Yellowstone during the fall, you should definitely plan your trip now!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Wildnerdpix/Shutterstock.com
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