General InformationMost park roads are open to automobile travel from May through October (weather permitting). The 60-mile road between the north entrance at Gardiner, Mont., and the northeast entrance at Cooke City, Mont., is open all year. During the off-season this road is accessible only from the north entrance near Gardiner, Mont.; the northeast entrance via Red Lodge, Mont., is usually open from Memorial Day weekend through September 30. The east entrance from Cody usually opens in mid-May and remains open as weather permits.
The approach to Cooke City, Mont., from Red Lodge, Mont., via the Beartooth Scenic Highway (US 212) negotiates Beartooth Pass at an elevation of almost 11,000 feet. From Cody the approach to Sylvan Pass follows US 14/16/20 through the carved red walls of Wapiti Valley.
The road between Canyon and Tower-Roosevelt runs over Dunraven Pass and along Mount Washburn and passes Tower Fall, where things to see include the gorge, the falls on Tower Creek and the palisades of rock high above the Yellowstone River.
Where is Yellowstone National Park Located?
Although most of the park's 3,472 square miles lie in northwestern Wyoming, they also extend into Montana and Idaho. The central portion of the park is essentially a broad, elevated volcanic plateau that lies between 6,500 and 8,500 feet above sea level. On the south, east, north and northwest are mountain ranges with peaks and ridges rising between 2,000 and 4,000 feet above the enclosed tableland.
When is Yellowstone National Park Open?
Most park facilities are open mid-May to mid-October, but food and lodging facilities are limited after October 1. During the off-season manned gas stations are available only at Gardiner and Cooke City, Mont. Unstaffed, credit card-only gas stations are available at developed locations when the roads are open. Interior park roads are open to guided snowcoach and snowmobile tours from mid-December through the first week in March. During the summer, rental cars are available at Cody and Jackson as well as at Billings, Bozeman, Livingston and West Yellowstone, Mont.
The roads through the park make many of the most prominent attractions readily accessible. During the summer travel season visitors may encounter slow traffic. Be especially alert for others stopped in the road to watch wildlife; if you must stop, pull well off the highway onto a marked wayside.
Note: According to National Park Service figures, about 80 percent of the park roads are “in a structurally deficient state…including narrow shoulders and rough surfaces.” The roads are being gradually repaired under a 20-year program. For up-to-date road information phone (307) 344-2117.
Where to Find Ranger Stations and Programs
The park headquarters is at Mammoth Hot Springs, 5 miles from the north entrance. The main post office is at Mammoth; ranger stations are at Old Faithful, Grant Village, Tower-Roosevelt, Mammoth Hot Springs, Lake, Madison, Bechler, Canyon and the south entrance. The Mammoth ranger station, open all year, is accessible by car in winter via the north entrance. West Thumb Information Center is located at junction Grand Loop and South Entrance roads.
Park information can be received by tuning radios to 1610 AM. Low-powered transmitters broadcast from entrance stations.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day ranger-naturalists conduct geyser walks, natural- and living-history talks, photographic workshops and children's programs at Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Grant Village, Lake, Madison, Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, Old Faithful, West Thumb Geyser Basin and West Yellowstone. Free evening programs offer fun things to do with kids and are given at most park campgrounds during the summer season.
ADMISSIONADMISSION to the park is by private vehicle permit ($35), motorcycle permit ($30) and nonmotorized entry ($20), valid for 7 days. Park Annual Pass ($70) or America the Beautiful interagency annual pass ($80 for entrance to most federal sites) also is available. An Interagency Lifetime Senior Pass for U.S. citizens ages 62+ is $80; an Interagency Access Passport for physically impaired U.S. citizens provides free admission.
PETSPETS are permitted in the park only if they are on a leash, crated or otherwise physically restricted at all times. They are not permitted more than 100 feet from the roads and parking areas, and are not permitted on trails, boardwalks, in the backcountry or in hydrothermal areas. It is illegal to leave pets unattended.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to the Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190; phone (307) 344-7381. For Yellowstone lodging and guest service information phone (307) 344-7311 or (866) 439-7375. For road and weather information phone (307) 344-2117.
Yellowstone National Park, WY
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
AAA members earn a $25 gift card for every night (up to four) from 9/14 - 11/23/20. Registration required prior to completion of first eligible stay. Terms apply. Visit AAA.com/bestwestern for full details.Best Western Desert Inn
133 N Canyon St. West Yellowstone, MT 59758