How to plan a trip to Yellowstone
Boasting dramatic peaks, pristine lakes, steaming geysers and boiling mud pools, Yellowstone is an area of outstanding natural beauty, an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and one of America’s national treasures. Founded in 1872 as a protected area, the park spreads across three states – the majority of the park being in Wyoming, and the remainder extending into Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone is home to an array of natural spectacles, such as active geothermal geysers, alpine lakes, boiling mud pots and thundering waterfalls throughout the park, the most famous of which is Old Faithful. The park features nine visitor centers, over 2,000 campsites and an exclusive tour bus system.
Weather in Yellowstone during September to November
The best time to visit Yellowstone is between September and November or March and May. From September to November, the weather is beautiful, with mild, sunny days, cool crisp mornings and evenings and pleasant nights. It can become quite cold though, so always take extra thermals, long tops and a good jacket to be safe. It begins to get colder during the night in late October and November, but days are still bright and clear. There is plenty of wildlife watching opportunities during this time too, as there are less crowds than in the summer months and the animals tend to venture out more.
What clothes to pack for Yellowstone during September, October and November
Yellowstone is all about the great outdoors and comfort is key when packing your clothing and gear. If you planning on driving across the park, comfortable clothing is important, and if you are going to do some hiking climbing, biking or other outdoor activities, the correct gear needs to be packed. Thermal underwear and a good jacket are vitally important as the weather can turn cold very quickly.
- Insulating underwear / layers – thermal underwear / long johns are a good idea. You might not use them, but will be very grateful to have them if the weather turns.
- A light synthetic, long-sleeve fleece or wool shirt/pullover (men and women).
- Good jacket – wool, down or heavy-weight fleece jacket.
- Lightweight, waterproof jacket / windbreaker. A pair of waterproof pants is a good idea too.
- Two Hats – one for sun / rain protection with a wide brim, and another for insulation, such as a wool beanie, or hoodie-type hat.
- Gloves – these are a must if you are planning on traveling during September or October.
- Plenty of thick socks (not cotton) – make sure your socks are comfortable, lightweight and breathable to avoid blistering, moisture and friction.
- Footwear – Hiking boots or good trainers / running shoes with good stability, traction and comfort, depending on what your planned activities are. Sandals, or other leisure footwear can be packed for easy walking and relaxation time.
- Water bottle / Thermos
- Sunscreen / Insect repellent
- Camera, memory/film and batteries
- Binoculars and tripod
Things to see and do in Yellowstone
Yellowstone is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with myriad activities, adventures to enjoy and spectacular natural scenery to see and explore. The park is packed with roaring waterfalls, verdant forests, shimmering alpine lakes and red-tinged canyons, that make for excellent hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, camping and climbing. From the famous Old Faithful Geyser and Mammoth Hot Springs, to boating on Yellowstone Lake, exploring the Mammoth Village region, and plenty of wildlife-watching opportunities, Yellowstone will have you hard-pressed to leave.
Top Ten Attractions
- Old Faithful Geyser / Upper Basin
- Mammoth Hot Springs
- Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
- Norris Geyser Basin
- Tower Fall
- Hayden Valley
- Lower Geyser Basin
- Yellowstone Lake
- Lamar Valley
- West Thumb Geyser Basin