West Entrance - Adjacent to the town of West Yellowstone, MT, the West Entrance is open to wheeled vehicles from late April through early November, and to tracked-oversnow vehicles from mid December to mid March.
South & East Entrances - Open to wheeled vehicles from mid May through early November, and to tracked-oversnow vehicles from mid December to early March for the East Entrance and mid March for the South Entrance. Limited services are available near the South and East Entrances.
Northeast Entrance - Near the gateway communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, MT, this entrance is open year around for wheeled vehicle access to Cooke City through Gardiner, MT and the North Entrance. Opening dates for roads east of Cooke City vary from year to year, depending on the weather. The Beartooth Highway is open from late May/early June (weather dependent) to mid October. Storms can temporarily close the Beartooth Highway during this "open" period.
The world’s first National Park is one of the planet’s most unique collections of geography, geothermal activity, and wildlife. Once-common North American animals such as bison, grizzly bears, and wolves live here among other large species. Thousands of geysers surround historic lodges, mountains, rivers, and canyons that make Yellowstone one of the most spectacular places in America to experience the natural world. As close as two miles beneath the surface, nearly-molten rock keeps things interesting in the Yellowstone Caldera. More than 10,000 thermal features (geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and steam vents) make Yellowstone truly unique, and many of them are accessible via the Park's network of boardwalks. Superheated water and steam spew hundreds of feet into the air from Old Faithful and numerous other geysers. Colonies of bacteria give the mineral-rich waters of hot springs–like Grand Prismatic–colors that have to be seen to be believed. And, as they have for thousands of years, calcium deposits continue to build mountains at Mammoth Hot Springs. Compared to many other National Parks, Yellowstone is very car-friendly, but visitors should be prepared to take it slowly. Frequent 'bear jams,' and 45 mph speed limits dictate a leisurely pace through the Park. Many companies offer tours by bus in the summer or by snowmobile and snowcoach in winter. The Park also boasts more than 1,100 miles of hiking trails, and several outfitters offer guided trips into Yellowstone’s backcountry on horseback. Millions of people drive Yellowstone’s scenic roads each year (the road leading from Gardiner, Montana to Mammoth Hot Springs is even kept plowed all winter long), but the park offers as much adventure as travelers are looking for. The most popular activity in Yellowstone is simply watching nature. The views at places like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and its waterfalls are worth short walks to viewing platforms, and bison and other wildlife are easily seen from the car in areas like the Lamar Valley. Many of the trails at major features like Old Faithful and Norris Geyser Basin are wheelchair-accessible and do not require special footwear or gear. At the other end of the spectrum, a network of backcountry campsites can keep more adventurous travelers off the beaten path for weeks at a time.
• Cascade Lake Trailhead, 1.25 miles north of Canyon Junction on the Grand Loop Road
• Cascade Creek Trailhead, 0.25 miles west of Canyon Junction on the Canyon–Norris Road.
The Cascade Lake Trail joins the Cascade Creek Trail after 1.2 miles. If you begin on this trail, remember to bear left on your return trip.
• Shorter route: Park 1.0 mi south of Midway Geyser Basin, cross the steel bridge, walk 1.0 mi to the trailhead.
• Longer route: Park at the end of Fountain Flat Drive and walk 1.75 mi to the trailhead.
From the trailhead, walk 1.6 miles through a young lodgepole pine forest to the falls. You can continue 0.6 miles to Spray and Imperial Geysers.
From Canyon Village head west on N Rim Dr then turn left onto Grand Loop Rd. head south for a 2 miles before reaching the Yellowstone Falls area. If your coming from the south head northeast from West Thumb Geyser Basin for 20 miles on US-20 E. Continue straight onto Grand Loop Rd for another 13 miles. Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon is about 20 miles long, and stretches from the Upper Falls to Tower Fall. The canyon is 1,500-4,000 feet across, and its walls are 800-1,200 feet deep. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to look across or down this canyon.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Artist Point-.2 Mile RT-Easy
From Grand Loop Rd just south of the river turn east onto S Rim Dr for 1.4 miles to the parking lot. This is a very popular spot and can get pretty packed at times so get here earlier if you don't want to wait for a parking spot. This is a really short paved path that takes you to an overlook above the falls, there are also a couple hiking trails available from this location.
Canyon Rim South Trail-2.7 Miles RT
Park at the Artist Point Parking lot and the trailhead is located to the west of the restrooms. This trail will take you west 1.35 miles to Uncle Tom's Trail.
Uncle Tom’s Trail-.7 Mile RT
Take the Artist Point Road and park at the first pulloff to your left. This trail consists of over 300 steps built down the south wall of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River next to the park’s most impressive waterfall. The up-close views of Lower Falls are electrifying and this 0.7-mile round trip hike (with 500 feet of elevation loss) is as unique as they come.