Discover Yellowstone's Beauty in May

Exploring Yellowstone in May
Camille Reddick
Camille Reddick
May 3, 2024

There's nothing like springtime in Yellowstone National Park. Watching 2 million acres of nature wake up after a long winter is an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling inspired, renewed, and connected to nature. If you plan to visit Yellowstone in May, there's much to know to make the most of your trip. Here's a quick guide to May wonders at Yellowstone.

Why May in Yellowstone Is Amazing

Yellowstone National Park Sign

The big perk of coming to Yellowstone in May is abundant wildlife! As you make your way around spring meadows that have been newly populated with wildflowers, you're almost certain to see wildlife along the side of the road. The big ones to look for are bison calving in Lamar Valley, elk calving in Mammoth Hot Spring, and the native wolves of Lamar Valley. Of course, bobcats, bears, beavers, pronghorns, river otters, and other animals will also be tending busily to their spring activities. As the snow melts at higher elevations within the park, waterfalls and rivers in Yellowstone flow strongly. Here's a rundown of some of the best Yellowstone attractions to check out during a May visit:

  1. Grand Prismatic Spring
  2. Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
  3. Yellowstone Lake
  4. Old Faithful
  5. Fairy Falls
  6. Storm Point Trail

Elevations within Yellowstone range from 6,000 feet to more than 11,000 feet, which can create a variety of climates and conditions. Moreover, the weather in this country can be unpredictable overall during this time of year. A drive through the famed 142-mile Yellowstone Grand Loop offers one of the best ways to see wildlife, geothermal features, and glistening valleys from the comfort of your car!

May Temperatures in Yellowstone

Woman hiking

May brings much warmer temperatures and longer days, which is ideal for daytime hiking and exploration. Visitors can generally expect daily high temperatures to hover near 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it's important to remember that early morning and evening temperatures can still drop considerably. It's also possible for snow in May at higher elevations within the park. Always pay attention to local weather reports before planning your outfit for the day!

May Is a Great Time to Beat the Crowds

While May generally brings more visitors to Yellowstone compared to the winter months, springtime is still significantly quieter at the park compared to the peak summer travel season. Additionally, May is the month when many of the hiking trails open up for visitors. However, visitors should remember that trails at lower elevations are more likely to be accessible during this portion of the pre-summer season than high-elevation trails.

Is There Any Downside to Traveling to Yellowstone in May?

People hiking

Many seasoned visitors consider May the best time to visit Yellowstone. However, there are some potential drawbacks to be prepared for as you plan your trip. As covered earlier, May's unpredictable weather requires you to be diligent when packing proper clothing and gear. Backpacking without a guide isn't always ideal in May. Additionally, not all roads in the park are open by May. Planning your route carefully based on road openings is essential!

When you visit Yellowstone in May, you must also be especially vigilant regarding wildlife. Some of the larger animals in the park become more aggressive during calving season. It's not unheard of for cow elk to charge visitors. Additionally, May is cub season for the bears in Yellowstone. Encountering a mother bear with cubs can be an extremely dangerous scenario. Of course, millions of visitors enjoy the park safely each year by following basic guidelines for keeping a safe distance from wildlife.

Is Yellowstone Calling?

A May visit to Yellowstone is a life-changing experience! The hospitality you'll encounter in the towns surrounding the park will make your trip even more amazing. As you plan your journey, keep this list of great places to have lunch in Billings, MT, in mind.

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