Wild and free: why June is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park

Wild and free: why June is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park

Wild and free: why June is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park

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An iconic national treasure and a must-see destination for nature lovers, Yellowstone National Park is teeming with wildlife and awe-inspiring geothermal wonders. If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park, among the park’s diverse seasons, June is a prime time to go. Abundant wildlife sightings, pleasant weather and lighter crowds ahead of the summer rush mean there’s no better time to enjoy this American legacy.

A major legacy - The first National Park in the United States

Bison graze on green fields, with a blue lake behind and mountains in Yellowstone National Park

Primarily located in the U.S. state of Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park holds the distinction of being the first national park in the United States, and one of the first in the world.

The park’s history can be traced back to the early 19th century when various explorers and trappers ventured into the area. Their reports of geysers, hot springs and abundant wildlife sparked interest and curiosity among the public. In 1871, a geological survey led by Ferdinand V. Hayden further highlighted the extraordinary features of Yellowstone. Known as the Hayden survey, its findings, along with the tireless efforts of conservation advocates, paved the way for the creation of the national park.

In 1872, on March 1st, President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the bill that officially designated Yellowstone as a national park. It set a precedent for the conservation movement in the United States, eventually leading to the creation of the National Park System in 1916.

Spanning over 2.2 million acres Yellowstone National Park today remains an iconic symbol of America’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage and is a beloved destination for millions of visitors each year.

Discover this on: American Parks Trail, Yellowstone Discovery, America’s Magnificent National Parks

Witness geothermal marvels

Yellowstone’s Great Fountain geyser at sunset, with the red sky reflecting off its waters

The park’s geothermal activity is at its peak in June, whilst visitor numbers are still lower than the full summer crowds. Powerful eruptions, vibrant hot springs, bubbling mud pots and steam vents entertain. These unique geological features are a result of the park’s location atop the Yellowstone Caldera, one of the largest active volcanic systems on Earth.

Among the geothermal highlights is the famous Old Faithful geyser, which reliably erupts approximately every 90 minutes, shooting a column of scalding water and steam high into the air. Visitors can witness this natural spectacle and explore the surrounding Upper Geyser Basin, which is dotted with numerous other geysers, such as Castle Geyser and Grand Geyser.

Yellowstone’s hot springs, like the vibrant Grand Prismatic Spring, captivate with vivid colors caused by heat-loving microorganisms called thermophiles. Hot water interacting with limestone at the Mammoth Hot Springs, whose terraces showcase intriguing mineral formations. The park is also home to the Norris Geyser Basin, where the world’s tallest active geyser, Steamboat Geyser, occasionally erupts with powerful jets of water.

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Abundant wildlife encounters

Large brown bison crosses the road in Yellowstone National Park, with the mountains as a backdrop

June marks the beginning of the peak wildlife season, making it the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park. A wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, the park’s unique ecosystems support a diverse and abundant range of animals.

One of the most iconic residents, the American bison, can often be seen roaming in large herds across the grasslands. Elk can be observed grazing in meadows and the park also supports a healthy population of gray wolves. Their reintroduction in 1995 marked a milestone in wildlife conservation efforts. Other notable predators include grizzly bears and black bears, while smaller carnivores like coyotes, foxes and bobcats can be spotted as well.

Yellowstone’s rivers and lakes provide habitat for various fish species, including the endangered Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Birdwatchers can delight in the park’s avian diversity, with over 300 species including bald eagles, ospreys and great gray owls.

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Lighter crowds make for a photographer’s paradise

Brown and white striped pronghorn Antelops stands with head up in the lush green lands of Yellowstone National Park

Falls before the peak tourist season June means fewer crowds and a more serene experience. Just another reason why June is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park. Visitors can explore the park’s vast trails and iconic landmarks at a more relaxed pace, with greater ease and tranquility.

For photography lovers, this means a great opportunity to capture some iconic shots. The Grand Prismatic Spring is one of the park’s most famous, and photographed, attractions. Its vivid colors making for stunning pictures. And of course, Old Faithful is a must-photograph spot. Its predictable eruptions, coupled with the picturesque Upper Geyser Basin, offer fantastic opportunities for capturing the geyser in action.

Lamar Valley, known as the “Serengeti of North America,” is a paradise for the wildlife photographer. Home to bison, wolves, bears and pronghorn it’s an excellent spot for capturing the park’s natural beauty.

If you’re thinking of when to visit Yellowstone National Park for amazing photographs, June is your month.

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Pleasant weather and optimal hiking conditions

Yellowstone lake’s blue water shimmer, with the mountains in the background.

June brings mild and comfortable weather to Yellowstone National Park. Pleasant daytime highs give way to cooler evenings making it an ideal time for outdoor exploration. The park’s diverse trails, such as the iconic Old Faithful boardwalks or the scenic Lamar Valley, beckon away from the scorching heat of the summer months.

With over 900 miles of trails, there is something for hikers of all levels. One of the most popular is the iconic Upper Geyser Basin, home to the famous Old Faithful geyser. This boardwalk trail offers a close-up view of numerous geothermal features, including bubbling hot springs.

For those seeking a more challenging trek, the Mount Washburn Trail rewards with panoramic views from its summit. Passing through alpine meadows, the trail offers numerous opportunities for wildlife sightings.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone provides awe-inspiring views and can be explored via several trails. The South Rim Trail and the North Rim Trail lead to breathtaking viewpoints overlooking cascading waterfalls and vibrant rock formations.

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Top tips for visiting Yellowstone National Park

Intense bright blue waters of Grand prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, surrounded by barren land with a green forrest in the backdrop

Top tips for visiting Yellowstone National Park

While June is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park, whenever you visit consider these handy tips.

Respect wildlife and safety: Whilst wildlife spotting is an amazing experience, always keep a safe distance and never approach or feed the animals. The park issues guidelines about maintain distances, including 25 yards from large animals and 100 yards from wolves and bears.

Stay on designated trails: It’s crucial to stick to designated trails and boardwalks for your safety and to protect the delicate ecosystem. Straying from designated areas can damage geothermal features or be dangerous. Follow signage and respect any closures or restricted areas.

Be prepared for changing weather: Yellowstone’s weather can be unpredictable, even in the summer. Pack layers of clothing, including a waterproof jacket, and carry essential items such as sunscreen, a hat, insect repellent, and plenty of water. Be prepared for temperature changes, especially at higher elevations.

Leave no trace: Help preserve the park’s natural beauty by leaving no trace. Pack out all your trash, dispose of waste properly, and respect the park’s flora and fauna. Leave the park as you found it, allowing future visitors to enjoy its pristine wilderness.

Plan and prepare: Before your visit, research the park, its attractions and the best times to visit specific areas. Yellowstone is vast, and having a well-thought-out itinerary will help you make the most of your time. Check the park’s website for any updates, closures or safety advisories. Of course, if you travel with Insight everything is planned for you. All you have to do is enjoy yourself.

To discover for yourself why June is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park take a look at our premium guided tours.