Best time to travel to Yellowstone National Park

Stargazing in Yellowstone National Park

Surprise surprise: Yellowstone is awesome not only during the day

Best time: all year round (but the best time is April-October)


Every experienced star chaser knows that the best spots for sky-watching are always outside of the city or, at least, of city centers. This fact makes all parks and other natural habitats perfect destinations for your stargazing experience. Today, we'll tell you about one of them — the Yellowstone National Park. Read on to find out about the finest stargazing spots in the area and the best time to visit them.

When to go

Yellowstone National Park is suitable for star-watching all year round as the climate conditions permit it. Despite the slightly sulfured air, the skies are clear and unpolluted by the light from big industrialized cities. So the decisive factor when it comes to visiting Yellowstone for stargazing is temperature. For most people, the most comfortable temperatures are in spring and fall, so keep that in mind while planning your trip.

The best stargazing spots

There are four major spots in Yellowstone to enjoy the stars. The cool thing is that they’re located close to one another, so you’ll be able to visit all of them if you plan a several-day trip. Here they are:

Mount Washburn

Mount Washburn is Yellowstone’s most famous mountain. It is also one of the greatest stargazing spots in Wyoming. Begin your hiking adventure at the Dunraven Pass and walk your way to the top. The 10,000 ft (or 3,048 m) peak will offer a picturesque view, which is crucial for a quality stargazing experience.

Mammoth Hot Springs

If you don’t feel like hiking should be a part of your adventure, then focus exclusively on the sky-watching part. For this goal, you may want to check out Mammoth Hot Springs. Its upper terraces and boardwalks provide a beautiful view from an elevated point, so you won't have to spend hours, climbing the mountain.

Upper Geyser Basin

Upper Geyser Basin, including Castle Geyser and Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, is one of the best stargazing spots. It combines convenience and isolation—the ideal conditions for stargazing with your family. Be sure to also check out the bike route from Old Faithful to Castle Geyser.

Madison Amphitheater

It’s safe to say that Madison Amphitheater is Yellowstone’s astronomy mecca. During the summer, astronomers and other industry specialists host evening walks here. They show visitors the Milky Way, moon craters, Saturn, and other cosmic wonders. They also give telescopes for those wanting to take a closer look at the stars and constellations.

Practical info

What is a good time to visit Yellowstone National Park for stargazing?

The skies in Yellowstone National Park are unpolluted all year round, making it a perfect destination for stargazing. April to October is the most preferred time for stargazing due to the comfortable temperatures. Since Yellowstone lies in the Northern Hemisphere, the warmer temperature and longer nights in the summer make it the ideal time for stargazing. Show more

Which spots in Yellowstone are recommended for stargazing?

Yellowstone has four main stargazing spots: Mount Washburn, Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper Geyser Basin, and Madison Amphitheater. Mount Washburn is the highest peak and offers a panoramic view of the park. Mammoth Hot Springs has upper terraces for stargazing. Upper Geyser Basin is a family-friendly area that hosts the Castle Geyser and Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, and Madison Amphitheater is Yellowstone's astronomy mecca, where visitors can view celestial objects like Saturn and moon craters. Show more

What is the best time to hike Mount Washburn for stargazing?

To go stargazing from Mount Washburn, hiking is an option that should be done from April through October. Although accessible by vehicle in peak season, the trailhead is inaccessibly closed during the other times. Once atop the 10,000 ft peak, hikers will get an unobstructed view of Yellowstone's skies, enabling them to indulge in one of the most amazing stargazing experiences. Show more

Which celestial objects can I see at Madison Amphitheater during summertime?

Madison Amphitheater, one of the primary stargazing sites, is an astronomy mecca. Visitors get to observe iconic celestial objects such as Saturn, moon craters, constellations, and starry skies. Summer, in particular, offers a sensational evening walk where visitors can view the night sky's wonders with the naked eye or try out the telescopes available for a closer view. Show more

Apart from the spots mentioned, where can I find more information about astronomy in Yellowstone?

Yellowstone visitors can get exceptional views of planets, stars, and constellations by heading to Frosty's Park, Hidden Falls, and Snake River Overlook. The National Park Service schedules evening interpretive programs for visitors interested in astronomy, where park rangers offer insights into Yellowstone's sky views. Additionally, visitors can participate in events held at various locations with their telescopes for a better view. Show more

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