Yellowstone’s spring might be different than what you are familiar with–the early days of spring often feel more like winter! Don’t let that deter you, though–if it’s been a heavy snow year and there’s still lots of snow around, check out our guide to Making the Most of Winter in West Yellowstone. Before your visit, be sure to check the local weather to make sure you’re prepared. With a little research, smart packing, and an adventurous mindset, you can plan the trip of a lifetime during the area’s most exciting season!
This article was written in partnership with the Destination West Yellowstone (West Yellowstone, Montana).
While you’re in Montana, do your part to Recreate Responsibly:
- Know before you go.
- Plan ahead and pack essentials.
- Practice physical distancing around others.
- Play it safe to lower your risk of injury.
- Explore locally and respect our communities.
- Leave no trace or trash behind, and build an inclusive outdoors for everyone.
- Most of all: be patient, be kind, be cool, be safe, and have fun!
Dining & Lodging
West Yellowstone, Montana is the perfect basecamp for exploring Yellowstone National Park! While you’re exploring the area’s lodging options, you’ll find everything from quaint cabins and B&Bs to guest ranches and familiar chain hotels.
After every incredible day of adventures in the area, you’ll find plenty of options for a delicious meal in West Yellowstone. West Yellowstone’s dining scene has options that will satisfy every palate: you’ll find local specialties like trout, elk, and bison, Western cookouts, delicious pizza, delicious coffee shops, and more. Don’t forget to find some huckleberry ice cream!
Seek Out the First Signs of Spring
If you’ve dreamed of having the open road to yourself in Yellowstone, spring is the perfect time to visit! In late March to early April, as conditions allow, the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park opens to cyclist traffic. Visitors may also walk, jog, or rollerblade into the park during this period. From your basecamp in West Yellowstone, you can bike straight into the park from your doorstep!
For just a few weeks, cyclists can enjoy the park without vehicles. Biking in the park brings panoramic views and an exciting, first-hand experience of the park’s dramatic shift from winter to spring. As the snow starts to melt, bears emerge from their winter dens, migratory birds perch in the trees, and the first wildflowers of the year bring a splash of color to the landscape.
Need to rent a bicycle? Check out Freeheel and Wheel, West Yellowstone’s local bike and ski shop. Rentals include a bike, helmet, and water bottle. Hours can vary during the off-season, so we recommend calling ahead.
Waterfalls, Wildlife, and Wildflowers
As May rolls around, the rest of Yellowstone National Park’s roads open for vehicle traffic – perfect for the scenic drive of a lifetime! Snowmelt is close to its peak in May, and waterfalls across the area will be flowing at full volume. While you drive, keep your eyes out for more colorful spring wildflowers (you may even want to pick up a flower identification book at the local bookstore)!
One of the biggest benefits of visiting the area in May is the abundance of new life! Even outside the park, you might run into a bison jam, which is, you guessed it, a traffic jam of bison! In Lamar Valley, you might see hundreds of new bison calves–often called “red dogs” because of the red hue of their hair.
During the spring months, it’s as important as ever to view wildlife safely by giving them plenty of space. Yellowstone’s mothers are extra protective of their brand-new babies!
Choose Your Own Adventure
...and come back for more! With summer drawing near, there are almost limitless adventures to choose from! When you visit West Yellowstone in spring, there are many exciting opportunities to explore outside of the national park: horseback riding, world-class fly fishing, hiking and biking, rafting, ATV and UTV, ziplining, and photography tours, to name a few. It’s hard to pack it all into one trip – no matter what you choose, you’ll leave West Yellowstone with a full heart, lifelong memories, and a desire to come back for more.