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

Written by August Buck
Updated: November 3, 2022
Image Credit Lillac/Shutterstock.com
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There are a number of things to keep in mind should you be planning a trip to Yellowstone in October. What might the weather be like, and what are some of the top activities to participate in should you choose to visit during this time of year? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? What are the best things to see? What are the best things to do? If you are planning to visit any number of our fantastic National Parks during the month of October, there are a few things for you to keep in mind. 

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about visiting Yellowstone National Park during the month of October, including what the weather is like on average and what you can expect in terms of road closures. We will also go over some of the most popular wildlife viewing opportunities for you during this time of year, as well as where you can stay in or around the park. Let’s get started and talk all about Yellowstone now! 

Yellowstone in October
October is a much less busy time to visit Yellowstone National Park, and that may be good news to the average visitor.

Lillac/Shutterstock.com

Yellowstone National ParkOctober
Top Things to DoGeyser viewing, wildlife viewing including bird watching, hiking, interpretive activities, and guided tours, visit nearby National Parks like the Grand Tetons
Top Things to SeeMore wildlife! Mating season for elk and bison. Bears foraging. Wolves following prey.
Average Weather27 degrees Fahrenheit-48 degrees Fahrenheit, with nearly 10 inches of snow, and 11 hours of sunshine per day
BenefitsFewer crowds, light traffic, and no more long lines!
DrawbacksSome amenities, lodges, and campgrounds are closed by mid-October
Popular WildlifeBison, elk, antelope, wolves, deer, foxes, bighorn sheep, weasels, grizzly bears, rodents
Places to StayMammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins, lodging outside Yellowstone
Things to KnowPay attention to the weather during this unpredictable time of year!

Things to Do in Yellowstone in October

Yellowstone in October
If you choose to visit Yellowstone National Park during the month of October, you should keep in mind that there are still plenty of opportunities for you in terms of outdoor recreation.

Monika Surzin/Shutterstock.com

As the seasons change, so does the attendance at Yellowstone National Park. October is a much less busy time to visit this extremely popular park, and that may be good news to the average visitor. However, there is a good reason that fewer people visit Yellowstone during this time of year, and that is the weather, but we’ll talk more about that shortly. 

If you choose to visit Yellowstone National Park during the month of October, you should keep in mind that there are still plenty of opportunities for you in terms of outdoor recreation. You can still rent kayaks and canoes and enjoy fishing opportunities on a number of different lakes and rivers throughout the park. In addition, there are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities and different species to observe. 

Finally, there is a great deal of fall foliage to observe and this is a great time of year for the avid photographer to visit. Not only are there fewer crowds which gives you more time to do everything you need, there are also fewer people to interrupt your photos should that be something you are passionate about. However, what is the weather like during this time of year and how might it affect your visit? Let’s talk about that now. 

Weather in Yellowstone in October

Yellowstone in October
October sees an average of 10 inches of snow, but at least there are 11 hours of sunshine each and every day for you to explore Yellowstone! 

Susanne Pommer/Shutterstock.com

One of the main disadvantages to visiting Yellowstone during the month of October has to be the weather. While the average temperature is indeed much cooler than the previous month of September, it is the rain and snow that you have to pay particular attention to. 

Given the fact that the average temperature ranges from 27 degrees Fahrenheit all the way to 48 degrees Fahrenheit, snow is possible throughout the months. In fact, October sees an average of 10 inches of snow, but at least there are 11 hours of sunshine each and every day for you to explore the park! 

Wildlife in Yellowstone in October

Yellowstone in October
Depending on the weather, it might be difficult to get to Yellowstone during the month of October.

Grey Mountain Photo/Shutterstock.com

October is a time of transition in the park, especially for its wildlife. Deer, elk, and bison are all mating during this time of year, which means they should be given a wide berth to avoid any conflict. In addition, birds and bears are preparing for the long winter ahead, and you may or may not see these creatures during this time. 

You can expect to see any of the following animals during your trip:

For your own safety, Yellowstone Park Rangers recommend that you stay at least 100 yards away from the nearest large animal, particularly bison, wolves, and bears. Keep in mind that, although they may seem accustomed to humans, these are indeed wild animals in one of the wildest National Parks in America!

Getting to Yellowstone in October

Yellowstone in October
The biggest insider tip to learn about visiting Yellowstone during October is that flexibility is key.

Michael Hinkle/Shutterstock.com

Depending on the weather, it might be difficult to get to Yellowstone during the month of October. If there has been a high level of precipitation and snowfall, you may find that some roads and entrances are closed. In fact, one of the primary highways to end from Yellowstone National Park closes during the first couple weeks of October, so this is definitely something to keep in mind as you plan your trip. 

Lodging in Yellowstone in October

Given the fact that Yellowstone is significantly less busy during the month of October compared to past months, many lodging opportunities close during this month. In fact, the majority of camping and RV parks aren’t open by the end of the month, and even the Old Faithful Inn closes its doors during this time. However, there are a number of towns just outside Yellowstone National Park for you to stay in and enjoy your time! 

Yellowstone in October
Given the fact that Yellowstone is significantly less busy during the month of October compared to past months, many lodging opportunities close during this month.

emperorcosar/Shutterstock.com

Tips and Tricks for Yellowstone in October

The biggest insider tip to learn about visiting Yellowstone during October is that flexibility is key. Given the fact that the weather is such a huge factor to your trip during this time of year, you may want to make some backup plans or other recreational compromises in case you find that unexpected snowfall gets in the way! 

shutterstock_602444258
Yellowstone National Park is home to several ungulate species, including grizzly bears, pronghorns, white-tailed deer, badgers, otters, and badgers
Lillac/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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