Activities in Yellowstone National ParkNot all of Yellowstone's grandeur can be seen from the boardwalks. More than 1,000 miles of backcountry trails lead to many of the park's less accessible attractions. A free backcountry use permit, available from any area ranger station, is required for those who wish to camp in the backcountry. The permit can be obtained in person and no more than 48 hours in advance. Advance backcountry reservations for a limited number of campsites can be obtained by mail or at a backcountry office for a $25 fee.
Horseback Riding in the Park
There is no better way to explore the park than a trip on horseback over the trails. Private stock can be ridden, or 1- or 2-hour guided rides are available at Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon from Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Horses cannot be rented without a guide.
Boating, Fishing and Water Activities
Motorboats and rowboats can be rented from Xanterra Parks & Resorts at the Bridge Bay Marina on Yellowstone Lake. Guided fishing trips also are available. A permit is required for all vessels (motorized and nonmotorized, including float tubes) and must be obtained in person. The fee is $10 for motorized vessels and $5 for nonmotorized vessels; the permits are valid for 7 days. Private boats launched in Yellowstone require an AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) inspection in addition to a boat permit.
Jet skis, airboats, submersibles and similar watercraft are prohibited in Yellowstone National Park. All vessels are prohibited on park rivers and streams except the channel between Lewis and Shoshone lakes, where only hand-propelled vessels are permitted.
Most of the streams and lakes below the timberline contain one or more species of trout. Roadside streams and Yellowstone Lake offer some of the best fishing in the park and are fun places to go. Fishing tackle is sold by Delaware North general stores located throughout the park.
Anglers ages 16+ are required to purchase a Yellowstone National Park fishing permit. A 3-day permit costs $18; a 7-day permit is $25; a season permit is $40. Children under 16 may fish without a permit under the direct supervision of an adult who has a valid park fishing permit, or they may obtain a free permit signed by an adult. For further information phone (307) 344-2107. Fishing regulations and permits can be obtained at any ranger station, visitor center or Yellowstone Park General Stores. Fishing permits also are available at many businesses in the greater Yellowstone area. No state fishing license is required in Yellowstone National Park. The opening of the season varies from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to July 15 for different lakes and streams; it closes the first Sunday in November.
Check at visitor centers or ranger stations for season variations and legal limits.
What to Do in Winter
Guided snowcoach tours by Xanterra Parks & Resorts to the interior of the park are available mid-December to early March from Mammoth Hot Springs, the south and north entrances to Yellowstone and Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Guided cross-country ski trips also are offered.
Note: It is not only against park regulations but also dangerous to feed, touch or tease any wildlife. Animals in the park are wild and should be viewed only from a safe distance. According to park regulations, you must stay at least 100 yards (the length of a football field) away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from all other animals. The following items (whether new, used, clean, dirty, empty or full) may not be left unattended on picnic tables, in tents or tent trailers, in the back of pickups or in any other outdoor location at any time: food, beverage containers, cooking and eating utensils, stoves and grills, coolers and ice chests, cosmetics and toiletries, pet food and bowls, buckets and washbasins. All trash should be disposed of in bear-proof garbage cans.
Yellowstone National Park, WY
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