Anytime is a great time to visit the Greater Yellowstone Area, but depending on what you want to experience, some times of the year are better than others.
Spring is one of your best bets to see wildlife in Yellowstone. Snow falling on your vacation is definitely a possibility, but you’re also more likely to see bears emerging from their winter hibernation and those first “red dogs” (bison calves) and other newborns.
The park opens roads and facilities on a staggered basis, so be sure to check with us about the schedule. Some of our best wildlife tours happen in that week or two before the East Gate opens in early May. You can make your first vacation base in Cody and see the North Fork and South Fork wildlife during the “locals only” season, and then move on to Yellowstone when the East Gate opens.
As the days warm, the animals begin to move deep into the cooler forest at higher altitudes. During June and into the first part of July the Wildflowers take center stage. Due to the varying altitude changes in Yellowstone, the peak bloom makes its way up the hillsides. Our Upper Loop Tour takes you over Dunraven Pass where we’ll find some at their peak along the way. Or you might want to schedule a hike with one of our knowledgeable guides.
Hot July and August days are the best time to enjoy the brilliant colors of the hot springs and eruptions from geysers. Our Lower Loop Tour allows you the opportunity to visit many of the geyser basins and watch Old Faithful erupt.
August is when the bison go into rut. Our guides can get you in early so you don’t miss the excitement that happens in the early mornings.
In September as the temperatures start to cool, the elk rut begins. Large bulls compete over a harem of cow elk and their bugling fills the air with that distinct call of the wild. Bears start to go into hyperphagia where they’re working hard to put on weight before winter. Because of this, they’ll be foraging more which increases the number of sightings.
In October, the park is already beginning to roll up the carpet in preparation for winter as facilities begin to close down. But the colors of fall that start in September continue to shift and change.
By the end of October (or the first weekend in November) all roads to the interior of the park close. The only part that remains open is through the famed Lamar Valley. Our tours continue until the snow closes the road to Cooke City.
Not sure about what all you want to do? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you plan your perfect Yellowstone vacation.