Yellowstone FAQ: Your Questions about Yellowstone National Park Answered

Table of Contents

roaring mountain yellowstone

As Jasmine and I prepared for our trip to Yellowstone, we compiled this list of Yellowstone FAQs.

Many of these frequently asked questions were ones that we wanted to know the answers to as we planned our trip.

Now that we’ve visited this awesome national park, we can answer them!

And if you have a question that I didn’t answer, let me know in the comments!

Yellowstone FAQ: Can I visit Yellowstone without reservations?

As of 2021, Yellowstone National Park does not require reservations or limit the number of daily visitors.

That said, you will need a seven-day ($35) or annual ($70) pass to enter the park.

(For exceptions to these fees, please visit this page.)

The park pass is the only entrance fee required to get into Yellowstone.

You can purchase your pass ahead of time here or at one of the park’s five entrances.

However, if you are entering through the south entrance, you will also need to pay for a pass to Grand Teton National Park.

Can I visit Yellowstone for free?

bison in yellowstone

Most people require a paid seven-day or annual pass to enter the park.

However, there are fee-free days that you can visit Yellowstone without paying an entrance fee.

You can find a list of these days here.

You can also find other reasons why you might be able to access Yellowstone and other national parks without paying a fee here.

Yellowstone FAQ: Can you bring dogs to Yellowstone?

We saw many dogs at Yellowstone but there are specific rules to follow if you plan on bringing your pet to this park. You can see the list of rules here, but here’s a summary:

  • Pets are only allowed in developed areas and must stay within 100 feet of roads, parking areas, and campgrounds.
  • You have to keep control of your pet at all times: they must be in a car, a crate, or on a leash no more than six feet long.
  • Pets are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in thermal areas.
  • Pets may not be left unattended or tied to an object.

Of course, service animals are allowed in all areas of the park. However, they must remain on a leash at all times.

Why is Yellowstone called Yellowstone?

hayden valley yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is named after the Yellowstone River that runs through it. Though the Yellowstone River itself isn’t yellow, yellow rocks have been seen in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone FAQ: Where is Yellowstone National Park?

Most of Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming with small parts of the park in Idaho and Montana as well.

Is there a Yellowstone National Park map PDF?

We’ll have one shortly! Stay tuned!

Yellowstone FAQ: Where is the Yellowstone volcano?

The Yellowstone supervolcano is best measured by its caldera, or inward collapse of the volcano’s peak as you can see in the map here: https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/simplified-map-yellowstone-caldera.

Which Yellowstone entrance is closest to Bozeman, Montana?

mammoth hot springs yellowstone national park

Bozeman, Montana is closest to Yellowstone’s north entrance.

It is about 79 miles away from Yellowstone’s north entrance and takes approximately 1 hour and 22 minutes to drive there in normal summer conditions.

The next closest entrance to Bozeman is the west entrance which is about 89 miles away and it takes approximately 1 hour and 42 minutes to drive there.

Yellowstone FAQ: Which Yellowstone entrance is closest to Jackson Hole, Wyoming?

Jackson Hole, Wyoming is closest to Yellowstone’s south entrance.

It is about 48 miles away from Yellowstone’s south entrance and takes just over an hour to drive there in normal summer conditions.

In order to enter from Jackson Hole, you’ll have to buy an entrance pass to Grand Teton National Park, as you have to drive through it to get to Yellowstone’s south entrance.

Which Yellowstone entrance is closest to Old Faithful?

Old Faithful is closest to Yellowstone’s west entrance.

It is about 32 miles away from Yellowstone’s west entrance and takes a little under an hour to drive there from the west entrance in normal summer conditions.

Yellowstone FAQ: Can you visit Yellowstone without a car?

You can visit Yellowstone without a car.

Individuals must pay $20 for a one-week pass and $30 if you’re on a motorcycle or snowmobile as indicated here.

However, I wouldn’t recommend visiting the park without a car.

Yellowstone is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined!

As you can imagine, having a car will really help you cover the ground needed to see much of what Yellowstone has to offer.

Which airports are near Yellowstone?

Thanks to Southwest Airline’s route to Bozeman starting in 2021, Jasmine and I flew into Bozeman for our Yellowstone trip.

We love Southwest for its inexpensive fares and easy traveling! Jasmine is a Southwest Storyteller (which basically means she partners with Southwest every so often).

Plus, we live close to Southwest’s headquarter airport, Love Field, in Dallas. And, we have several Southwest cards. In short, we’re all in on Southwest.

Thus, when Southwest announced its flight to Bozeman, booking the trip and checking out Yellowstone was a no-brainer!

Even though we flew Southwest into Bozeman, know that you have several airline and flight options when it comes to getting to Yellowstone.

See the below table for some of these options.

Airport NameAirport CodeClosest Yellowstone EntranceMiles to EntranceSummer Drive Time to Entrance
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, MontanaBZNNorth791 hour 22 minutes
Jackson Hole Airport, WyomingJACSouth481 hour
Cody / Yellowstone Regional Airport, WyomingCODEast551 hour
Yellowstone Airport, MontanaWYSWest310 minutes
Salt Lake City International Airport, UtahSLCSouth3386 hours
Denver International AirportDENSouth5148.5 hours

Yellowstone FAQ: When is the best time to experience Yellowstone without crowds?

morning glory pool yosemite

You are least likely to encounter crowds at Yellowstone if you visit around when roads start opening after winter in mid-April or just before roads start closing in early November.

That said, the park won’t likely be crowded during the shoulder seasons of April and May or September and October.

If you do visit during the peak summer season, particularly during July and August, you can still avoid crowds by visiting the park early in the morning when the park has the fewest visitors. Jasmine wrote this post on 23 helpful things to know before visiting Yellowstone this year. I recommend reading it if you want tips to avoid crowds and lines!

Jasmine and I went to Yellowstone at the end of June, and we avoided crowds by getting to the park around 7:00 AM.

(The line to get into the park is usually the longest between 9 and 11 AM.)

You can also avoid crowds by visiting the park later in the evening.

However, if you are staying outside the park, you may get stuck in a long line of cars exiting the park around dinnertime.

Can you visit Yellowstone without hiking?

Yes, you can see a lot of what Yellowstone has to offer without hiking long distances.

In fact, many of the famous sights at Yellowstone are accessible via boardwalk. Many of these are handicap accessible.

That said, most sights require at least a short walk to see the main attraction.

So expect at least a little bit of walking to see what Yellowstone has to offer.

And, of course, if you want to hike, there are plenty of opportunities to do that!

Yellowstone FAQ: Can you visit Yellowstone without camping?

Yes, you can definitely visit Yellowstone without camping.

There are plenty of hotels in and around Yellowstone National Park for those who don’t want to camp.

That said, be prepared to book your stay well in advance of your trip if you want to avoid camping!

Jasmine and I had a very hard time finding availability at hotels around Yellowstone because we booked our trip relatively last minute.

That’s why we initially booked a stay at a glamping location.

Although we did end up glamping for 3 of the five nights we stayed near Yellowstone, we happened to check hotel availability just before we left and managed to schedule two nights at two different hotels inside Yellowstone.

Neither of us are campers, so we were very happy to have these two nights at a hotel!

What animals can you find at Yellowstone?

You can find plenty of animals at Yellowstone National Park!

But most people are interested in the animals listed below.

Next to each animal, I’ve included their approximate population sizes in Yellowstone so you can get a sense of how likely it is to see them.

  • Elk: 10,000-25,000
  • Bison: 4600-4,800
  • Black bears: 500-650
  • Pronghorn: 450-500
  • Grizzly bears: 280-610
  • Moose: <200
  • Wolves: 83-108

For reference, Jasmine and I saw several elk, hundreds of bison, two black bears and a black bear cub, and a few pronghorn during our five-day visit.

Yellowstone FAQ: What are some fun facts about Yellowstone?

Yellowstone National Park has plenty of interesting facts about it.

Here are a few:

  • 96% of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming with 3% of the park in Montana and 1% in Idaho.
  • This park is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined (and about the size of Puerto Rico)!
  • Yellowstone is the second largest national park in the contiguous United States (next to Death Valley National Park).
  • This national park contains the third largest hot spring in the world (the Grand Prismatic).
  • Yellowstone became the first national park in 1872.

What is the most famous Yellowstone geyser?

There are over 500 geysers in Yellowstone, but the most famous geyser in Yellowstone is Old Faithful Geyser.

This geyser shoots water and steam up to 180 feet in the air every 90 minutes (give or take 10 minutes).

Jasmine and I saw this geyser go off on our visit and it was incredible to see!

Yellowstone FAQ: How is Yellowstone for babies, toddlers, kids, families, and seniors?

Jasmine and I saw plenty of babies, toddlers, kids, families, and seniors at Yellowstone.

Regardless of the category, I think you can have fun at Yellowstone.

But here are my thoughts on each:

CategoryHow Yellowstone is for…
BabiesCarrying babies will definitely make walking around the park more strenuous. Also, if your child has a meltdown, you likely won’t be able to get back to your lodging quickly. The best you can probably do is go back to your car. That said, we saw plenty of parents walking around with babies who seemed to make it work.
ToddlersThere aren’t many bathrooms available at Yellowstone. This can actually make it harder for potty-trained toddlers than kids in diapers who don’t have to wait for facilities. Also, toddlers may find the terrain slightly more difficult to navigate than normal. Don’t worry. Most attractions are accessible via boardwalk. But this can still be more complicated than a smooth floor for a toddler. Nevertheless, we saw plenty of families with toddlers at Yellowstone, and they seemed to be doing fine.
KidsIf your children are older than babies and toddlers, I think they will still like Yellowstone if they like animals, nature, fishing, camping, or hiking. However, there aren’t many activities outside of these to do at Yellowstone, and there is very limited wifi or cell service in the park. So if none of those activities would interest children or they prefer to be technologically connected, Yellowstone might not be the best for them.
FamiliesAs you can probably gather from the sections about babies, toddlers, and kids, Yellowstone can be a great place for a family vacation! That said, I recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons if you can to avoid the crowds.
SeniorsJasmine and I saw several seniors at Yellowstone, and they seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly! Because most attractions are easily accessible by a short walk on a boardwalk, Yellowstone is a great place for seniors.

In conclusion…

I hope this post has answered some of your questions about Yellowstone National Park!

And if you have other questions, please let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!

Safe travels,

Harrison

Harrison Alley

Harrison Alley

Hi, I'm Harrison, Jasmine's husband, and I help with the financial and technical aspects of jasminealley.com. SEO Guru, Insta husband, Spreadsheet Wizard, I wear many hats.
Harrison Alley

Harrison Alley

Hi, I'm Harrison, Jasmine's husband, and I help with the financial and technical aspects of jasminealley.com. SEO Guru, Insta husband, Spreadsheet Wizard, I wear many hats.

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Hi, I’m Jasmine! I’m a nature-obsessed, beauty-finding, Jesus-loving dreamer with a serious case of wanderlust. I’ve quit my 9-5 to become a travel blogger, and my goal is to show others how they can too! And if you love your full time job, stick around for travel tips and inspiration! Thanks for following along on my adventures!

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