Are you visiting Yellowstone soon and looking for tips to make the best of your trip? You’ve come to the right place!

Visiting Yellowstone truly is the experience of a lifetime. There aren’t many places in the world that stole my heart the way Yellowstone did and I truly can’t recommend it enough.

That having been said, there are quite a few things to know about America’s first national park and the more prepared you are, the better the experience will be.

In this article, I share all my best travel tips for visiting Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!

1. Get the Yellowstone Guide Along App

Yellowstone is a very interesting national park. There is loads to learn about the geothermal and geological features as well as many places to visit. 

For this reason, having a guide is something that comes in very handy but at the same time, it’s also better to have your own vehicle and explore at your pace.

Well, I’ve got you sorted! I use the Guide Along App when visiting National Parks in North America and it’s just the best!

Basically, it’s an app you can install on your phone, you buy the tour for the national park of your choice, in this case Yellowstone and it will give you commentary as you drive around the national park.

The commentary is based on your live location which is very convenient. The guide explains many things about the history and geography of the park but will also give you tips and point out where the best lookouts are.

If I had to only recommend one thing for Yellowstone, that would be that. It’s worth it.

Click here to see the Guide Along App

2. Spend at least 2 days in Yellowstone

Yellowstone is a lot bigger than you realise. It truly is huge and there are many places to see so you need some time.

The grand loop is 142 miles which gives you an idea of the minimum distance you’ll have to cover.

One day is simply not enough to visit Yellowstone. Sure, you’ll be able to see 2 or 3 highlights but you really won’t see enough and you will regret not staying longer.

The road around Yellowstone is actually a figure 8. There is a lower and an upper loop. Ideally, you need at least one day on each loop, so 2 days in total but if you have more time, it would be even better.

READ MORE: The Perfect 2-Day Yellowstone National Park Itinerary from the North Entrance

3. Wear walking shoes

While it’s true that you can get to most places by car, you will still need to walk quite a bit to explore Yellowstone.

At the bare minimum, you’ll go on the boardwalks but if you truly want to explore, you should also consider going on some of the hiking trails.

Whichever way, Yellowstone does require walking shoes. You don’t necessarily need hiking boots but I recommend wearing at least trainers.

No matter what, do not wear heels or uncomfortable shoes.

4. Visit the Old Faithful early in the morning

Old Faithful is the most famous and reliable geyser in Yellowstone.

For this reason, it attracts a lot of visitors and that’s definitely a spot you should go to.

If you can, try to get there early in the morning so you avoid the crowds and can also enjoy the boardwalk on the upper geyser basin.

5. Stay hydrated

The Yellowstone Plateau is 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level which is a lot higher than what most people are used to.

Since it can get very hot in summer, a lot of visitors forget about the altitude and don’t realise they can feel a bit unwell because of it.

Make sure to stay hydrated and drink loads of water to avoid headaches and fatigue.

You should also consider drinking Gatorade since it can help with hydration.

6. Take binoculars

This is a tip I would also give to anybody visiting a destination with a lot of wildlife but it’s especially true here.

Yellowstone National Park is home to so many animals and spotting them will be one of the highlights of your visit.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a bird-watcher, having binoculars will come in very handy.

Remember that you need to keep your distance with animals, especially bears and wolves. 

Having the binoculars will allow you to see them very well, while staying safe.

Also, for certain animals like wolves, it’s actually very unlikely you would manage to see them at all without binoculars.

If you don’t want to get big ones, it’s no problem, even small travel-size binoculars would still be helpful.

7. Pack a picnic

There are a few places with cafés and restaurants where you can grab food in Yellowstone however, they are not everywhere and tend to be quite expensive.

Regardless, since Yellowstone is such a pretty place and the scenery is incredible, having a picnic is a great thing to do.

Of course, I would always recommend staying close to your car or in one of the main tourist areas when having food (because of the wildlife) but having a picnic is actually a very enjoyable thing to do in Yellowstone and it will save you money.

Please make sure you leave no trace and take with you your trash as well as the leftovers of food.

8. Book your accommodation in advance

Accommodation in the national park is very reduced. There aren’t many lodges or campgrounds and they are not open all year round. 

For this reason, it’s very important to book in advance. As soon as you know when you are going to go, you should book your accommodation.

If you wait too long, chances are that you won’t be able to stay in the park.

There are more options in the towns by the entrances (like Gardiner or West Yellowstone) but it’s still limited and expensive so the more you wait, the worse it will get.

9. Start your day early

Yellowstone is a very busy national park and it can be very crowded in summer.

Since it is open 24/7, you can enter whenever you want and I would highly recommend you do so.

The earlier you get there the better because you will avoid the crowds and it will make it easier to park (especially if you are visiting popular spots with limited parking spots such as the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone).

Also, it’s more common to see the wildlife early in the morning so you will have higher chances to see bears and other animals.

10. Keep your distance with the wildlife

While I appreciate that it’s very exciting to see a bear or bison, it’s very important you keep your distance.

The NPS recommends to stay at least 100 yards from a bear or wolf and 25 yards from any other animal.

Please respect these recommendations because they will keep you safe. They also keep the animals safe since they might be killed if they kill someone.

You might have heard the saying ‘a fed bear is a dead bear’, well it’s the same thing. Keep your distance and don’t feed them please.

Yellowstone is beautiful because it’s wild and that’s exactly how we want to keep it.

11. Visit the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring around Noon

The Grand Prismatic hot spring is incredibly famous because of its beautiful colors.

While you may think that all these photos are photoshopped, let me tell you one thing, they aren’t!

It’s truly that beautiful and colorful!

However, if you go too early in the morning, there is usually a lot of steam.

The best time to visit is around noon because the sun burns off the steam by then.

Also, since the sun is directly above, the colors are even brighter.

12. Carry bear spray (especially if you’re hiking)

Yellowstone is located in bear country and there are quite a lot of bears around the national park.

While seeing a bear is a wonderful experience, it can also be dangerous if you are too close.

It’s recommended to carry bear spray when you are exploring the park, especially if you are going on your own. 

Make sure to ask the salesperson or one of the rangers how to use it as well since there would be no point in having bear spray if you don’t know how to use it.

Ultimately, it’s quite unlikely you’d have to use it but it will give you some peace of mind and keep you safe.

13. Get gas outside of the park

There aren’t many gas stations in the national park itself and the few that are there are very expensive.

I highly recommend you get a full tank before entering the park. Gas is also expensive in West Yellowstone, Gardiner or any of the other entrances but it’s a lot cheaper so it will save you a lot of money.

A full tank should be more than enough to explore Yellowstone and if you need a bit of a top up, you can always use the gas stations in the park but try to get as much as you can before entering the national park.

14. Head to Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is located only 1 hour drive from Yellowstone and it’s absolutely stunning. I highly recommend dedicating at least a day to Grand Teton, it’s well worth it!

Grand Teton is a lot smaller than Yellowstone so you will get around a lot quicker and it offers different landscapes.

PRO TIP: If you visit both national parks, you should consider getting an annual America The Beautiful Card since it will give you access to all national parks in the US for a year for only $10 more than the entrance fees for both national parks.

15. Don’t take your dog

Technically, dogs are allowed in Yellowstone but there aren’t a lot of places where you can actually take them which means they will have to spend most of their days in the car.

It can get very hot in Yellowstone so it’s not safe to leave your dog in the car so if you have a dog, it’s better to find a pet-sitter and leave it at home while you visit Yellowstone.

It won’t be an enjoyable experience for your furry friend or yourself.

I hope these Yellowstone travel tips were helpful and will help you make the best of your time in the world’s first national park.

Have fun!

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