Welcome to the best of the spring season in Yellowstone! While the park is open all year, seasonal closures in the park can cramp your style if you don’t arrive already knowing what to expect. Become a Yellowstone pro before you even get here, and check out these dates that you should put into your calendar now while you plan for spring in Big Sky Country.
Don’t worry, we get it—you’re here to find out about park openings, not closures. But once the roads close to oversnow travel and plowing starts, it’s the beginning of spring biking—the best season in Yellowstone. When roads are still closed to cars, you have the quiet of the park to yourself, perfect to experience wildlife and pedal around. Park roads close to oversnow traffic (snowmobiles and snowcoaches) beginning in early March. Between then and the opening dates below, the roads become a biker’s paradise.
A few roads in the park are open and plowed all winter, like the one that leads from Gardiner (the closest entrance to the BZN) to Cooke City. For all the other openings, consult the current road conditions posted on the park service website. For 2019, the road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful (the best way to go deep in the park if you’re based in Bozeman) is slated to open up on April 19, along with the West Entrance to Madison Junction and Norris to Canyon Village. The other park roads follow along, with everything from the far south up to the stunning Beartooth Highway fully opened up by Memorial Day Weekend.
Spring Free Admission Day
Free is the best price, and celebrating parks with free entry makes the party even better. You’ll find free entrance days throughout the year, but the one in spring falls on April 20, the first day of National Parks Week. Cruise through without worrying about a stop at the entrance station, and celebrate America’s best idea.
Dining and Services
The killer bonus of staying in Bozeman is that year-round gourmet eats are right there on the tip of your tongue, even when services inside Yellowstone close up for the winter. But there’s a definite benefit to being able to grab a bite on the fly when you’re kicking it in the park. Dining at Mammoth opens up mid March, but you’ll be able to check out the Visitor Center and general store all year, along with plenty of year-round eats in Gardiner and Livingston. For all the deets about other areas of the park, check out the full breakdown on the National Park Service website.
When it comes to wildlife, spring is your season! You can check out all the critters of the park stretching their legs and getting active for summer. In March, grizzlies start to make moves out of their dens, while wolves get going and migratory birds begin their trek back into the park. Come April, you can scope out bison calving in the Lamar Valley, black bears emerging from winter dens, bull elk antlers in velvet and the start of summer wildflowers for a color show second only to Grand Prismatic.
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