Yellowstone National Park is open after a brief closure due to COVID-19. But before you head to the park, know that things may feel a bit different. The park is putting the necessary precautions in place to ensure visitors and staff stay safe, healthy and distanced!
Below are the latest updates about what to expect when visiting Yellowstone this summer, and how you can do your part to keep the park safe for all.
As of early June, all gates are now open. The National Park Service is strongly encouraging visitors to purchase their entrance pass ahead of time to limit contact at the entrance gates. It also saves you time!
You can purchase your pass online, and either have it ready on your digital device when you arrive or print it out!
You have a few options for passes:
- A Yellowstone Annual Pass at $70 is good for 12 months.
- A Private Vehicle Pass at $35 covers everyone in a single vehicle for 7 days.
- A Motorcycle Pass at $30 covers all riders of a single motorcycle for 7 days.
- The Individual Pass at $20 covers one individual on foot or bike for 7 days.
There are also National Park Service system-wide passes available for purchase that cover more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. These passes cover entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a vehicle’s driver and all passengers in that personal vehicle. These system-wide passes are perfect for families visiting multiple parks in a single year (like Yellowstone AND Grand Teton!)
Your annual options include:
- The Interagency Annual Pass at $80. This pass is for anyone hat doesn’t qualify for one of the discounted or free passes below.
- The U.S. Military Pass for current military members and families. This pass is free and is available at federal recreation sites by showing a Common Access Card or Military ID. Call in advance to ensure the site is issuing these!
- The Annual 4th Grade Pass is free for current fourth graders! Learn more and print out a pass at the Every Kid Outdoors website.
- The Senior Pass at $20 per year or $80 for a lifetime. These passes are for any senior over the age of 62. Proof of age is required.
Lodging options are slowly becoming available inside the park. Call in advance to confirm that the lodging option you are looking for is available. Lodging is also available outside the park in the gateway communities.
The park and Yellowstone National Park Lodges urge visitors to wear face covering in public spaces.
At this time, only cabins with private baths are scheduled to open at:
Currently only four campgrounds are open or scheduled to open in Yellowstone National Park.
Note that campground shower facilities are not available at these sites until further notice. Also, Fishing Bridge RV Park will remain closed through fall of 2021.
Backcountry Permits are still required for all overnight stays and are currently being issued by phone or email only through the Central Backcountry Office.
Permits are available no earlier than 2-days prior to the start of your trip. Here’s how to obtain a backcountry permit:
- E-mail a copy of your completed Backcountry Permit Application to the Central Backcountry Office, or
- Call the Central Backcountry Office and provide your application information over the phone.
If your trip is more than 2 days away you may be able to make an Advanced Reservation for the backcountry permit. Advanced reservation applications are accepted by mail or fax only. A flat, non refundable fee of $25 is charged for each reservation. Complete the Backcountry Permit Reservation Application and submit by fax or mail.
Any food available for purchase in the park is take-out only*, and may remain this way for the remainder of the year.
*A reminder to visitors to dispose of their trash appropriately! Place in authorized trash receptacles or pack it out. Trash is an easy attractant for wildlife.
There are simultaneously fewer activities in the park this year, and endless activities! Many of the prescheduled and group activities have been cancelled due to COVID-19. This includes all scheduled 2020 Ranger Programs and all programs with the Yellowstone Forever Institute
That being said, there is never a lack for fun in Yellowstone! Take a look at our guide to 36 hours in the park for ideas on what to do.