Questions? Call 800-543-8917
Get the Catalog

How to Avoid the Crowds and Enjoy Yellowstone

By Julie Waggoner 

If you dream of a visit to Yellowstone National Park this summer, you’re not alone. Really not alone. More than 4 million people visit Yellowstone annually, and visitor numbers continue to rise over the years.

So what’s a nature traveler to do? We have some tips to help you make the most of a trip to Yellowstone and enjoy geysers, hot springs, moose and wilderness away from the crowds.

Moose in the water in Yellowstone.
A female moose looks up from eating willows in a marsh. © Justin R. Gibson

  1. Make sure to see the “hidden gems” that aren’t in the guidebooks by going with an experienced tour operator that knows this region intimately. A side bonus is that the spots in the guidebooks are where all the other tourists will be!
  2. Select a tour operator that keeps groups very small, ideally fewer than 10 people per vehicle. That way, you get the guide’s full attention and expertise, and you’re sure to always get a window seat so you don’t miss a single bison.

    A mother bison and her calf munch on grass in Yellowstone.
    A mother bison and her calf munch on grass in Yellowstone. © Sean Beckett
  3. Spend time in the Lamar Valley to admire wildlife in Yellowstone's Northern Range, the best spot in the world for viewing wolves in the wild. This is the spot where wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in the 1990s and flourish today.
  4. Be sure the tour operator will take travelers to lesser-known and more remote areas. In these places, you can enjoy spectacular wildlife viewing without worrying about other visitors winding up in your photos or scaring away the bighorn sheep.

    Hot springs in Yellowstone.
    A hot spring bubbles beneath a spectacular Yellowstone sunset. © Sean Beckett
  5. Leave summer to the crowds by planning your trip for late spring, early fall, or the winter season. The summer months are the busiest time to visit Yellowstone, but May and September offer just as much beauty and more calm to make your trip more enjoyable. Winter time, particularly January through March, is when you'll have the best chances of seeing wolves in Lamar Valley.

If you’re looking for a less-crowded Yellowstone trip that ticks off all these boxes and more, check out our Hidden Yellowstone Wildlife Safari with departures in May and September, and any of our winter wolf-focused adventures with departures in January, February and March.

 

Header Credit: Henry Holdsworth
Check Out These Yellowstone Adventures
Repeater Layout : vertical-2up
Yellowstone Wolf Quest Photo Adventure

Yellowstone Wolf Quest Photo Adventure

Passionate about wolves? Join us in the best place on the planet to search for them in the wild—and photograph an array of Yellowstone's iconic wildlife that shares this wild habitat with them.
7 Days / Mar, From $6495
Hidden Yellowstone & The Grand Tetons

Hidden Yellowstone & The Grand Tetons

A small-group exploration of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in the spring and fall—scout for wildlife and discover secret places with our naturalist guides who know this region intimately.
7 Days / May & Sep, From $5295
Travel Stories

Get Weekly Updates

Our weekly eNewsletter highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more.
Privacy Policy
We're Proud of the Reputation We’ve Earned
Outside
Voted "World's Best Travel
Company"
by Outside Magazine
Outside
Natural Habitat Adventures Ranked
“Best Outfitter”
NatGeo
Voted Best Winter Trip: Natural Habitat Adventures' Monarch Butterfly Migration, Mexico
VIEW MORE AWARDS
Natural Habitat Adventures 2019 Catalog
GET THE CATALOG
Natural Habitat & WWF – Discovering Our Planet Together
WWF Logo
Get Weekly Updates
Our weekly eNewsletter highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more.
Privacy Policy
/articles/us-national-parks/yellowstone/how-to-avoid-crowds-and-enjoy-yellowstone/
Physical Requirements