Yellowstone in October: Things to Do, Weather, and More

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Published: September 26, 2022
© iStock.com/David Arment
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Yellowstone, America’s oldest national park, is breathtaking and full of wonder, no matter what time of the year you decide to visit. Possibly one of the best times to visit though is during early fall and late summer when the leaves start to change. But what is Yellowstone National park like in October?

Throughout this article, we will discuss the average temperature in October and the many things available for you to do. Regardless of what you choose, we are sure you won’t be bored! Within the Yellowstone National park, are three states to explore and enjoy.

History of Yellowstone

The history of Yellowstone is rich and doesn’t start when it was first incorporated as a national park. Instead, for over 11,000 years Native Americans have inhabited the area using it for transportation, hunting, and as their home. The park, though, was first established in 1872 and is officially the oldest national park in the U.S and thought to be the oldest in the world. It encompasses three states, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Its name comes from the long Yellowstone river that runs throughout the park. It was first called Mi tsi a-da-zi by the Hidatsa people, which translates to “yellow stone river”.

Madison River in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone, America’s oldest national park, is breathtaking and full of wonder, no matter what time of the year you decide to visit.

©iStock.com/julof90

What is the Weather Like in Yellowstone in October?

Now to answer the big question, what is the weather like in Yellowstone in October? The weather ranges and changes depending on where you go since this large 3,472 square mile park encompasses three states. However, the average outdoor temperature in Yellowstone during October is a high of 48 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 24 degrees Fahrenheit. It is chilly enough to wear long sleeves, but maybe not a thick coat. You can also expect rain for at least 8.8 days of the month. Swimming in the cool waterfalls and lakes is not recommended with the low temperatures.

Although it may rain in October, it is also considered the driest month to visit Yellowstone as the average rainfall is 1.2 inches. Snow usually starts to fall during the middle and end of October. The average snowfall in Yellowstone in October is 5.8 days. The days are also relatively short with only 10 hours and 58 minutes of average daylight and 7 hours of sunshine.

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park was first established in 1872 and is officially the oldest national park in the U.S and thought to be the oldest in the world.

©Lorcel/Shutterstock.com

Things to Do in Yellowstone in October

If you want to avoid the large crowds brought in by tourism, October is the best month to visit. It is not too hot outside, nor too cold, but you should still pack a jacket and a poncho just in case. Fun fact, Yellowstone National Park sees over 4 million guests each year, primarily in the summer months. So, what is there to do?

Hiking in Fall
Did you know Yellowstone offers over 200 trails and 900 miles of hiking? Always prepare with the right clothing, including closed-toed shoes.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

See Wildlife

Yellowstone is booming with life, including plants and animals. October is one of the best times to take a tour and enjoy the wildlife. You can even take your camera and take some stunning pictures of common animals like bears and bison. Some of the best places to carefully watch wildlife in Yellowstone are the Tower and Lamar Valley. Always treat wildlife with care. Don’t feed the wildlife in Yellowstone to protect their ecosystem.

Pronghorn antelope in Yellowstone Park.
Some of the best places to carefully watch wildlife in Yellowstone are the Tower and Lamar Valley.

©matthieu Gallet/Shutterstock.com

Fall Hiking

Did you know Yellowstone offers over 200 trails and 900 miles of hiking? Always prepare with the right clothing, including closed-toed shoes. Some hiking trails are paved while others are dirt paths. Yellowstone in the fall is beautiful. You can see orange hills, bright red and pink trees, and red and white canyons during quiet and peaceful hikes.

Waterfall Viewing

Although it may be too cold to take a dip and swim in the many Yellowstone waterfalls, you can still hike and visit the breathtaking falls. Some of the most notable waterfalls in Yellowstone are Kepler Cascades, Tower Falls, and Firehole Falls.

best waterfalls in yellowstone
Although it may be too cold to take a dip and swim in the many Yellowstone waterfalls, you can still hike and visit the breathtaking falls.

©iStock.com/Martina Birnbaum

Enjoy Scenic Drive and Beautiful Lodging

You can’t see everything in Yellowstone National Park in just one day. Probably the best thing to do in Yellowstone in October is to take scenic drives throughout the park. If you want to get away from the cool temperature and wind, you can take a scenic drive to see remarkable things like eagles, rivers, bobcats, bison, meadows, and elk. Many movies film iconic scenes in and around Yellowstone that you can also experience.

Old Faithful Lodge
You can’t see everything in Yellowstone National Park in just one day. Make plans to stay in one of the lodges on site.

©bradley pietzyk/Shutterstock.com

Common Animals in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is not only known for its unique hot geysers and springs but the diverse wildlife living in the area. While taking a hike or a drive through the national park, you may see small animals or large predators. There are 67 species of mammals and 300 species of birds within the national park. Yellowstone National Park is home to large predators like mountain lions, black bears, grizzly bears, and wolves. In some parts of the park, you can also fish for native Cutthroat Trout and non-native Lake Trout. If you want to find the best lake in Yellowstone, try fishing and boating in Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake above 7,000 feet in North America.

grizzly bear running
Yellowstone National Park is home to large predators like mountain lions, black bears, grizzly bears, and wolves.

© NaturesMomentsuk/Shutterstock.com

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Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park
© iStock.com/David Arment

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About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

When was the Yellowstone National Park first established?

For over 11,000 years Native Americans have inhabited the area using it for transportation, hunting, and as their home. The park, though, was first established in 1872 and is officially the oldest national park in the U.S and thought to be the oldest in the world.

What is the weather like in Yellowstone during October?

The average outdoor temperature in Yellowstone during October is a high of 48 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 24 degrees Fahrenheit. It is chilly enough to wear long sleeves, but maybe not a thick coat. You can also expect rain for at least 8.8 days of the month.

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