Best Things To Do In Yellowstone In The Fall


Yellowstone National Park is one of the top most visited and one of the most beloved parks in the USA. Yellowstone even broke records and set new visitor highs this summer! While the summertime brings in the most visitors to the area, locals know that autumn is Yellowstone’s better and quieter season. With thinning crowds, bright sunny days, cool crisp air and a vibrant display of golden aspens, these gorgeous times make for some of the best days the park sees all year. Read on to learn about our tips for visiting the park this fall.

1. Fall Foliage Hikes in Yellowstone


Prime time for fall foliage in Yellowstone is from mid-September in the higher elevations above 7,000 feet through to mid-October in the lower valleys. The best way to see the autumn glow is on one of the many Yellowstone National Park hikes with ample leaf-peeping opportunities, wildlife viewing and panoramic vistas. The Bunsen Peak Trail south of Mammoth Hot Springs boasts 360-degree views of the Gallatin Mountains and Yellowstone River Valley. Safety first!

Local’s Tip: Be sure to carry bear spray at all times and know how to use it!

2. Autumn Fishing in Yellowstone


Fishing in Yellowstone during the autumn months offers some of the best fly fishing and the potential for the perfect catch. The brown trout spawn between late-October and mid-November, perfectly timed with Yellowstone’s fall foliage season. The Madison River near the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park and the Gardner River near Mammoth Hot Springs are prime spots for fall fishing in Yellowstone.

3. Check Out Yellowstone’s Geological Wonders


More than half the world’s hydrothermal features (more than 10,000!) are preserved at Yellowstone National Park from hot springs and mud pots to the world-famous geysers. “Geyser Gazers” flock to Yellowstone throughout the year to view these geological wonders. Top geysers easily accessible on a day trip to Yellowstone from Big Sky include the spectacular Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful to the south and Artists Paintpots, Norris Geyser and the terraces and thermal pools of Mammoth Hot Springs up north.

4. Wildlife Viewing


Fall is the best time to see the Iconic Yellowstone wildlife, with best viewing times at dawn and dusk. Herds of elk and humpbacked bison migrate from higher elevations to the valleys for winter grazing, bears forage for food in preparation for winter hibernation and the hawks and raptors begin their annual fall migration (best seen in the Hayden Valley). Mid-September to mid-June is prime time for wolf watching in Yellowstone and the musical bugle of the elk during rutting (breeding) season can be heard from September and often as late as mid-October (best seen at Mammoth Hot Springs). Safety first! Stay well away from wildlife as the park suggests 100 years from bears and wolves, 25 yards from all other animals.

5. Don’t Forget: Check the Weather & Road Closures


The autumn weather in Yellowstone can be highly unpredictable and snow can begin to accumulate as early as October in the higher elevations! Be prepared to experience a wide range of temperatures from cool lows of 20 F to highs in the 60’s. 

Many of Yellowstone’s restaurants, services and lodging facilities close by mid-October, however the roads remain open until November 8th for guided and self-drive tours of Yellowstone. Always check for seasonal road closures when planning an autumn trip to Yellowstone.

Big Sky Vacation Rentals offer a premier portfolio of vacation rentals near Yellowstone, an easy drive from the west entrance on Highway 191, and our local team are ready to help you choose the perfect home-away-from-home and best tour of Yellowstone National Park for a memorable autumn escape and fall-foliage trip to Yellowstone National Park. 

Yellowstone in the Spring


Escape the Crowds and Enjoy Yellowstone National Park as it Opens in the Spring

Spring is one of the most dynamic times of the year in the Yellowstone National Park. The landscape changes almost daily as the hillsides start turning green and the days grow longer. The rivers run higher and the waterfalls become more prominent from the snow melt while snow still lingers in higher elevations. As the temperatures increases, wildlife including grizzly and black bears will start coming out of hibernation and become more active in the meadows. 

While most visitors don’t come to Yellowstone National Park until the months of July and August, there is a certain beauty to the park in the spring time making it worth a visit before the crowded summer months. Please check the National Park Service website for current weather and road conditions. 

Travel Tips

Dress Warm! While the weather is generally milder than in March, April still brings occasional snow storms with temperatures dropping below freezing on some days.

Rise Early! Before sunrise if possible as Yellowstone in the spring has some of the most exciting wildlife watching. Rising early is the best time to observe animals in their natural habitat.

Be Prepared! If you plan to hike make sure to bring bear spray, water, sunscreen and rain gear as Yellowstone is a mountain wilderness and being prepared will ensure you have an enjoyable trip.

Pack Your Lunch! Most restaurants and services in the park will still be closed for the season so make sure you bring enough food for an entire day’s explorations.

Biking in Yellowstone National Park

Every spring, biking, including e-bikes are allowed on Yellowstone National Park roads while they are still closed to motorized, public travel. Spring bicycling season usually starts by early April with no set date as designated routes are opened once they are cleared from snow. The closest route to Big Sky that is open to biking is from the West Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs.

This is a wonderful way to explore the vastness and wildlife of the park in all tranquility while getting some exercising in as well!

Yellowstone Wildlife in the Spring

Spring is the best season to view wildlife in Yellowstone. Baby animals start appearing all over the park, including grizzly and black bear cubs starting mid March, bison calves in April and elk calves later on from May to June. While bears and bison are incredibly exciting to observe, please be sure to respect wildlife, follow all park safety guidelines and keep your distance for your safety and theirs.

Bison calves tend to be born from late March through May and have a fuzzy, orange-reddish fur, earning them the nickname “red dogs”. The bison calves are able to keep up with their mothers just a couple hours after they are born and they are protected from danger by the rest of the herd surrounding them at all times. You will be able to see the herds with the red dogs in the meadows, make sure to watch from a distance as bison can get aggressive if too close.

The Finest Big Sky Homes

After each full day of exploring Yellowstone National Park, hiking or biking around Big Sky, retreat to your luxurious, comfortable vacation home for an evening to remember. We proudly boast one of Big Sky’s largest selections of vacation rentals, so you’re bound to find one that perfectly suits your group’s size, style, and budget. Luxuries include private hot tubs, lavish outdoor patios and incredible mountain views. Please give us a call today at +1-888-915-2787 or email us at info@bookbigsky.com to inquire, or simply browse through our available properties