Yellowstone Weather in May: What to Expect

American Bison
© Grey Mountain Photo/Shutterstock.com

Written by August Croft

Published: May 30, 2022

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May is a big month for Yellowstone National Park, but what might Yellowstone weather in May be like? If you are planning a trip to this infamous National Park, May could be the perfect month for you. But what makes visiting during this month special, and what should you expect out of visiting during this time of year?

In this article, we will go over what the weather is like in Yellowstone National Park during the month of May, including what the average snowfall and sunshine is. We will also go over what there is to do in the park during this time of year, including some of the pros and cons to a May visit. Let’s get started!

What is the Weather Like in Yellowstone in May?

Yellowstone Weather in May
The weather in Yellowstone in May takes a dramatic turn from the previous month, reaching 52 degrees Fahrenheit on average as a high, and 28 degrees Fahrenheit as the low.

©iStock.com/juliannafunk

Yellowstone National ParkAverages
High Temp (F)52 degrees
Low Temp (F)28 degrees
Rainfall2.5 inches
Snowfall8 inches
Hours of Daylight15 hours/day
Elevation Changes in the Park7,000-8,500 feet

The weather in Yellowstone in May takes a dramatic turn from the previous month, reaching 52 degrees Fahrenheit on average as a high, and 28 degrees Fahrenheit as the low. Additionally, the rainfall increases ever so slightly, as May is Yellowstone’s rainiest month, and snowfall decreases greatly from April statistics, only reaching 8 inches on average.

You also have 15 hours of daylight to explore the park- this is a benefit over April’s roughly 13 hours of daylight. While the upper elevation hikes and peaks will still have plenty of snow on the ground, the lower valleys and sunny areas of the park are less likely to be too frozen over. This is only one of the many perks of visiting Yellowstone in May. Let’s check out a few more reasons now.

Pros of Visiting Yellowstone in May

Yellowstone Weather in May

It is just beginning to warm up and feel more like spring in May, and all of the natural beauty found in Yellowstone National Park reflects this as well.

©iStock.com/SL_Photography

There are a number of pros should you choose to visit Yellowstone in the month of May. One of the primary reasons to visit during this time of year is because of the weather. It is just beginning to warm up and feel more like spring, and all of the natural beauty found in Yellowstone National Park reflects this as well. While it is still highly recommended to bring along a few heavy duty jackets, Yellowstone is much more welcoming in May compared to other months

In addition to the weather being nicer, Yellowstone National Park fully opens during the month of May, and many other National or state parks in Wyoming also open during this time. This means that there will always be plenty to do, which is not necessarily the case in April or March. You can view wildlife, hike, and do so much more in May compared to other times of year. 

Cons of Visiting Yellowstone in May

Yellowstone Weather in May

The weather still remains fairly unpredictable in Yellowstone during this time of year. It can be very difficult to plan your outdoor activities around the weather.

©iStock.com/IngerEriksen

You may have already guessed one of the potential cons of visiting Yellowstone in May, and that is the fact that it gets steadily busier as the weather warms up. You will find more and more people visiting during the month of May, especially compared to the cold winter months. This could mean longer wait times to see things, as well as far more traffic throughout the park. 

However, there are still fewer people visiting during the month of May compared to the upcoming months of summer. This is because the weather still remains fairly unpredictable in Yellowstone during this time of year. It can be very difficult to plan your outdoor activities around the weather, especially if you are booking a trip far enough in advance. However, remaining flexible and open to changes means that you won’t have any problems having a good time in Yellowstone National Park in May!

What to Do in Yellowstone in May

As the weather warms up and the park begins to come to life, there are a number of things for you to do in Yellowstone during the month of May. Let’s talk more about some of those options now. 

Yellowstone Weather in May

While larger groups of people and crowds may mean that you see fewer animals compared to the sleepier winter months, May is a perfect time to view elk and bison babies in Yellowstone.

©sirtravelalot/Shutterstock.com

Wildlife Viewing

One of the best reasons why you should visit Yellowstone during early spring is the fact that there is an abundance of wildlife to see. While larger groups of people and crowds may mean that you see fewer animals compared to the sleepier winter months, May is a perfect time to view elk and bison babies, alongside a number of other animal species. 

Some of the animals you can expect to see during this time of year are: 

This also means that you should pay special attention when hiking or traversing the park, as you may stumble upon wildlife that you were not expecting to see. Always maintain a safe distance from larger wildlife, such as wolves and bears as well as bison. 

Birdwatching and Guided Tours

Yellowstone partners with many local businesses and vendors to bring you enjoyable guided tours and experiences, ranging in topics and length. You can go birdwatching on your own or in a group, as many different types of birds start hatching and enjoying the spring weather during this time of year. Additionally, you can go on a guided hike or driven tour as the park fully opens during this month.

Yellowstone Weather in May

Grand Teton National Park opens in May, and you can stay in a number of on-site lodgings in Yellowstone National Park beginning in May as well!

©FloridaStock/Shutterstock.com

Yellowstone and Nearby Parks are Completely Open

As if there wasn’t plenty to do in Yellowstone National Park, there’s even more to do in surrounding parks and natural areas nearby. For example, Grand Teton National Park opens in May, and you can stay in a number of on-site lodgings in Yellowstone National Park beginning in May as well!


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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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