The beautiful Yellowstone National Park should be on everyone’s list of must-see places.
Boasting incredible scenic drives, loads of wildlife, and numerous opportunities for outdoor adventure, Yellowstone National Park has so much to offer visitors.
Its location, in the northwestern portion of Wyoming, means that visiting Yellowstone National Park in the summer brings warmer temperatures to the area. When you combine that with the fact that all of the roads, attractions, and lodging options are also available in the summer, a visit to Yellowstone just makes sense.
Personally, I love all of the amazing things to do in Yellowstone National Park during the summer months. This is the perfect time to spot bison and elk during your visit as they are often grazing on the side of the road. Summer is also the best season for viewing the magnificent colors of the hydrothermal features and the perfect time to enjoy some of the summer activities like hiking and boating!
There are several ways to get to Yellowstone National Park. There are several options for flights there, too, but be careful when booking, as some are only serviced by one or two carriers. Many people fly into Salt Lake City, Utah, since it is a major international airport, and then rent a car to drive into Yellowstone. Of course, you can road trip your way to the park if you would like.
It is important to note that Yellowstone National Park is huge, so you will need a car for your visit.
Now, let’s get busy exploring all of the things to do in Yellowstone in the summer!
1. See The Geysers And Hot Springs
Yellowstone National Park is home to 60 percent of the world’s geysers and hot springs, so visiting these during your time here is a must. Lucky for you, summer is one of the best times to do this! The warmer temperatures in the summer mean that the hot springs put off less steam. This allows visitors to better see the beautiful colors of these incredible geothermal features.
For geysers, of course, you have to see Old Faithful, but don’t stop there. Venture along the paved paths from Old Faithful into the Upper Geyser Basin to see one of my favorite geysers, Castle Geyser. If you are up for more walking after checking out Castle Geyser, then keep in mind that this area is also home to Daisy Geyser and Grand Geyser. The Upper Geyser Basin is also home to several beautiful hot springs, including the Morning Glory Pool.
Another must-see attraction is the Grand Prismatic Spring located in the Midway Geyser Basin. Plan to arrive in this area during the heat of the day so that the steam from the hot spring is minimal. This will help to ensure that you can see all of the gorgeous colors that make the Grand Prismatic Spring so spectacular.
Other noteworthy areas to view geysers and hot springs include Biscuit Basin, Norris Geyser Basin, Back Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, and West Thumb Geyser Basin.
Pro Tip: Check the National Park Service website for prediction times on when the geysers will erupt. This will help you to better plan out your time and to hopefully ensure that you get to experience the eruptions.
2. Do Some Fishing
One of the popular things to do in Yellowstone during the summer is fishing. It doesn’t matter if you prefer fly or lure fishing, Yellowstone has you covered.
Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park and is the perfect place to do some angling during your visit. Summer is the best time to fish in Yellowstone because the fish are active and biting this time of year. Of course, the rivers and streams that run through the park also make great fishing spots, especially for fly fishing.
Fishing season in the park begins the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and goes through October 31.
Pro Tip: Be sure to check the rules and guidelines here to ensure that you only fish in approved areas and that you have the necessary license and equipment.
3. Take A Guided Tour
If you want to not only see the park, but learn all about the formation and history of it, then a guided tour is just what you are looking for. Summer is a fabulous time for guided tours in Yellowstone National Park since all of the roads are open and accessible and the weather is generally nice.
There are all sorts of guided tours of Yellowstone to choose from. They offer fishing tours, day-hiking tours, boating tours, and more. My personal favorites are the photography tours that allow you to travel with a photographer to seek out and photograph the beauty of the park.
Pro Tip: Take note that companies have to be authorized to give tours in the park. Use this link to find an approved tour guide for your trip.
4. Go On A Hike
Granted, there are some beautiful drives in Yellowstone National Park, but to truly experience the beauty of this rugged land, you have to set out on a hike in Yellowstone. The park offers over 1,000 miles of trails to explore, and there are trails for all ability levels. Just keep in mind that you will be walking on uneven, natural terrain while hiking in Yellowstone.
One of the easy hikes in Yellowstone is the route to Mystic Falls. After walking through Biscuit Basin, catch the trail that runs along the Little Firehole River until you reach the falls. The trip to the falls and back is 2.4 miles with a minor elevation gain.
Pro Tip: Always carry a GPS locator system, a compass, plenty of water, and bear spray while hiking in Yellowstone.
5. See The Park On Horseback
If you want to really see the park, then consider spending a day exploring Yellowstone on horseback. There are guided horseback riding tours inside the park that allow you to participate in this adventure. Summer offers great weather and beautiful scenery to enjoy this unique experience.
6. Check Out The (Other) Natural Wonders Of Yellowstone
Granted, the geysers and hot springs are some of the most popular natural wonders of Yellowstone, but they aren’t all of the wonders of this fabulous park. Yellowstone is also home to some incredible waterfalls, lava formations, and even a Grand Canyon.
Like I mentioned before, summer is the perfect time to see all of the natural wonders of Yellowstone since the roads are open and all of the formations are accessible. You definitely don’t want to miss the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and more specifically, Artist’s Point. The view from this area is truly breathtaking.
Pro Tip: If you are feeling up for a hike, then take the trail to the Brink of the Lower Falls while visiting the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The view is incredible, but heading back up from the falls is a bit tiresome.
7. Try To Spot Some Wildlife
There is just something magical about seeing wildlife in its natural environment, and Yellowstone National Park is the perfect place to do just that. Home to bison, elk, deer, wolves, bears, and even wolverines means that there is no telling what you might spot during your trip.
During the summer months, you can often see bison grazing in the fields right next to Yellowstone’s roads. If you want to see deer or elk, then head to Mammoth Village during the summertime. They can often be seen grazing and laying around in the cool grass in this area.
Another hotspot for animal sightings is Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley. Head to the valley about an hour and a half before sunset and see what you can spot. We saw two wolves during our most recent visit!
Pro Tip: Remember that you are visiting the natural home of the wildlife here. Always respect them and keep a safe distance between you and the animals.
8. Cycle Through The National Park
If you are a cycling enthusiast, then head out on your bike to explore the beauty of Yellowstone National Park. Whether you bring your own bike, or rent a bike from the Yellowstone lodges, is up to you. Either way, get ready for an incredible journey when you set out on two wheels to explore the park.
Keep in mind that you can only bike on the paved roads in Yellowstone. Biking on Yellowstone’s trails is prohibited.
Pro Tip: Of course, safety first as well. Always wear bright-colored clothing and a helmet while cycling in the park.
9. Have Fun On The Water
Summer in Yellowstone is the perfect time to get out on the water, and Yellowstone offers many opportunities. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day boating on Lake Yellowstone, or want an adrenaline-filled day of whitewater rafting, Yellowstone has you covered.
In addition to these, Yellowstone also offers visitors the opportunity to get out on a kayak, go swimming in the rivers or pools, or just spend the day floating around in an inner tube.
Pro Tip: Always ensure that you are in an area that is safe to enter the water before entering. The geothermal features around the park are not safe to enter. Always obey the warning and caution signs.
10. Drive Yellowstone’s Scenic Roads
Another fabulous thing to do in the summer in Yellowstone National Park is to just enjoy driving the scenic roads that run throughout the park. Experience the Grand Loop Road, which takes you past Undine Falls and the Petrified Tree. Another scenic drive in Yellowstone is the route from Tower Junction to the Northeast Entrance. This route will have you crossing the Yellowstone River before taking you past the Lamar Valley.
Honestly, all of the drives in Yellowstone are scenic, so you really can’t go wrong with this activity!