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How much does it cost to go to Yellowstone Park? That depends on several factors: how many days in Yellowstone are you planning for? Do you want to fly and rent a car or drive to Yellowstone? Will you pay Yellowstone fees or do you already have an all access pass? Do you want to piece it together yourself or are you interested in on of the all inclusive Yellowstone vacation packages?

In this article, I break down the costs of a Yellowstone vacation and look at options from budget-friendly to splurge-worthy.

Hot springs in Yellowstone National ParkHow Much Does A Trip To Yellowstone Cost?

Cost of Travel To Yellowstone National Park

Depending on where you are coming from, the cost of getting to Yellowstone will vary. Flights into Jackson, Wyoming; Idaho Falls, Idaho; or Bozeman, Montana will range in the hundreds of dollars.

You are going to need a car to get from one of those airports to Yellowstone and to drive around Yellowstone. While you can take a guided tour of Yellowstone, if you spend more than one day, you’ll want to be able to explore on your own. There isn’t a shuttle system in Yellowstone like there is in Yosemite and Zion National Parks. And it’s a big park with slow speed limits.

Driving will be the cost of gas plus hotels if you need to spend the night in route. If you drive to Yellowstone, you already have your vehicle, which simplifies things.

Make planning your trip a cinch with one of my 3-day itineraries or 6-day itineraries

yellowstone national park pass entrance to yellowstone

How Much Does it Cost to Get Into Yellowstone Park?

Yellowstone National Park fees are:

  • 7-Day Yellowstone National Park Pass (covers the Yellowstone entrance fee for everyone in your vehicle)
    • Private, non-commercial vehicle: $35
    • Motorcycle or snowmobile: $30
    • Individual (by foot, bicycle, ski, etc.): $20/person
  • Annual Yellowstone Pass (covers the Yellowstone National Park entrance fee for everyone in your vehicle)
    • $70

Both types of passes are sold at all entrance stations and online through the Your Pass Now website.

If you have already paid your National Park entrance fees by way of the America the Beautiful All Access Pass, you can show that to the ranger in the entrance kiosk and drive right in.

The U.S. Park Pass is $80 and can be purchased online or at any National Park entrance.

Yellowstone admission funds are returned to the national parks at a rate of 80%, knowing that I am supporting parks, makes Yellowstone prices much more bearable, especially when the Federal Government keeps cutting the National Parks budget.

How much does it cost to camp in Yellowstone?

How Much Does Yellowstone Cost – Lodging?

As with everything in this guide to budgeting for a Yellowstone trip, the cost of lodging depends on where you want to stay. Hotels are, of course, more expensive than camping and a different experience. You can stay inside the park or in one of the gateway communities near the park’s entrances.

Regardless of where you want to stay, make your reservations as early as possible. Yellowstone hotels and campgrounds fill up quickly!

How Much Does it Cost to Camp in Yellowstone?

There are 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park and many more in the National Forests surrounding the park. Five of the campgrounds take reservations, the others are first come, first served.

Yellowstone campsites cost from $15 for a basic tent camping site to $47.75 for a campsite with full hook ups. That does not include tax.

See what campgrounds in Yellowstone cost in the NPS chart below.

How Much Does A Trip To Yellowstone Cost? Campground prices How Much Does A Trip To Yellowstone Cost? Campground prices How Much Does A Trip To Yellowstone Cost? Campground prices

How Much do Hotels in Yellowstone Cost?

Yellowstone lodging is not inexpensive. Roughrider Cabins, the most basic of Yellowstone lodging cost $101 plus tax. That’s for one double bed and no bathroom.

On the other end of the spectrum, rooms at the Lake Yellowstone Lodge can cost $550 or more. A suite at the Old Faithful Inn costs more than $700.

Most hotel rooms in Yellowstone are between $150-$300 per night.

There are many hotels outside of Yellowstone National Park and their room rates are about the same.

Yellowstone wolfHow Much Does a Trip To Yellowstone Cost – Food

When you are wondering, “how much would a trip to Yellowstone cost?” you have to figure in food costs.

There are plenty of restaurants and grills in Yellowstone. Lunch for one person could cost as little as $10 in one of the grills or much more in one of the dining rooms. Dinners run from $15-$40 per person. Eating outside the park in one of the gateway towns, can be less expensive.

When I am helping people plan a trip to Yellowstone through my vacation coaching service, I recommend shopping outside the park for better prices and more variety. You could eat every meal in a Yellowstone restaurant, but that takes a big chunk of time from your day. I recommend bringing at least lunch with you to picnic along the way.

How Much Does Yellowstone Cost – Gear

If you don’t already have all the clothing and gear you need for a national park trip, you may need to make some purchases. Consider specialized clothing, sun and rain protection, and things that make a trip outside more fun.

See my summer packing list and my winter packing list for all the necessities and find out how much Yellowstone gear costs.

family fun in YellowstoneYellowstone Family Vacation Packages

How to visit Yellowstone depends on your goals and interests. For some people planning Yellowstone Park vacations, it might be easier to get an all-inclusive package. This could include transportation, lodging, food, and Yellowstone National Park tours.

National Park tour packages are definitely the easiest ways to go and the most expensive. Like all these other cost categories, the prices vary wildly depending on how long you want to go to Yellowstone, how luxurious you want your trip to be, and what time of the year you travel. A Yellowstone vacation package costs from $1,000/person for four nights to $5,000 or more per person. Not including tax and tips.

How much does a trip to Yellowstone cost? We factor in the Yellowstone entrance fee, Yellowstone lodging, food, the cost of getting to and around Yellowstone, and more. |planning a trip to Yellowstone | Yellowstone budget

18 Comments

  1. Amy Whitfield

    I want a vacation next summer after memorial weekend and I don’t have a tent. I would like a short boating trip or riding (don’t know how to ride a Atv). Never had a vacation with my husband and would like it very much. Love to fish and look at wildlife, a tour guide is super wonderful I expect to stay at least 5-7 days. Any suggestions would be appreciated

    • Melynda Harrison

      Hi- Sounds like you could use my custom vacation coaching 🙂
      You don’t need a tent as there are lodges in the park and in the gateway communities. West Yellowstone is a good basecamp just outside the park with tons of hotels. Park hotels fill up fast, so you need to book those asap.
      There isn’t ATVing in the park, but you can take a boat ride on Yellowstone Lake. The park concessionaire offers both scenic boat tours and guided fishing tours on the lake. You can also hire a guide to take you flyfishing on some of the park rivers. Whitewater rafting is offered on the Gallatin River north of West Yellowstone and on the Yellowstone River out of Gardiner.
      There are lots of options for a guided wildlife viewing tour. Yellowstone Forever does group tours or you can take the iconic Yellowstone buses through Xanterra. I like Yellowstone Guidelines and Yellowstone Safari Company for private tours.
      Hope that helps!

  2. April Salamone

    Hello, I am investigating a possible vacation to Yellowstone for my husband and I once I retire. He is disabled and is unable to walk long distances without a problem. We are thinking of a 4 day/night stay in Yellowstone that we can come and go from our sleeping accommodations but we may need a potential guide. Our interests are in the wildlife, Old faithful and the big attractions. We will not be hiking or rock climbing. Suggestions? Cost? (How much would we need to save to really have a great experience). We would need to fly from our home to a destination near Yellowstone and rent a car.

    • Melynda Harrison

      Hi April-
      There are definitely ways to see Yellowstone without a lot of walking. There are several companies that do wildlife watching in the park –from groups to personal guides. Some of the best wildlife watching is from the road, with spotting scopes and binoculars, if you have a guide that knows where to take you. Old Faithful Geyser is a short walk along an accessible boardwalk. Depending on your husband’s walkability, you may be able to walk around some of the other geyser basins on the boardwalks. Some are short and flat.
      Costs: You will probably need to rent a car, spend $150-$250/night for lodging, food can be inexpensive if you picnic and buy your food outside the park – grill and dining prices are listed on their website. Guide prices vary depending on whether you want a private guide ($200-$300 for a day with food, transportation, expertise), or around $60/person for a Yellow Bus 1/2 day wildlife watching tour).
      If you want to talk specifics and get some detailed help planning your trip, please see my Vacation Coaching page. https://yellowstonetrips.com/vacation-coaching/

  3. I am intrested in help for a two day all inclusive trip not top of the line but middle cost with guide don’t mind going great with others but frustrating time my husband will be seeing out west as I grew up in Utah growing up my father brought us to these wonders, I’d like him to see the best of the wonders of the world. Then we ate traveling get thru to Idaho for a family reunion our stay will be in August the first week..we will rent a car but I’d like you to send me some of your package deals for 2 days ,thank you..

  4. I’m trying to plan a trip to Yellowstone in early September 2020 solo for 8-10 days. I think I’m going to fly into Billings and enjoy the drive to West Yellowstone where I will make my home base for the duration of my trip. Any advise for the solo traveler and making this a reasonable trip cost-wise? Thank you.

    • Melynda Harrison

      Hi Cyndi
      It might be less expensive, and closer, to fly into Bozeman. If you prefer Billings, I definitely recommend driving through Red Lodge and over the Beartooth Highway to get into the park. West Yellowstone is a good base – you may be able to find an Airbnb or other vacation rental for a similar price as a hotel. Then you can cook there and save some money on eating out. I’d also recommend grocery shopping in Billings or Bozeman as it will be less expensive than in the gateway communities like West Yellowstone. Take advantage of Ranger Programs in the Park rather than paid tours (though some of those are great and worth the splurge). Hope that helps! If you haven’t used Airbnb before, you can use my code to sign up for Airbnb and get $40 off your home booking. And you get $15 to use toward an experience worth $50 or more.

  5. Hi I’m planning to go Yellowstone on the last week of August 3 kids and my husband what’s the best clothes to wear? And how to save money on hotels? We live in Az!!! We planning to stay 4 nights I’m not sure if it’s enough time

    • Melynda Harrison

      Hi- Glad you are coming to Yellowstone! Weather at the end of August could be anything – warm, summer-like days and cool nights or rain or snow (or all of those things in the four days you are here). Plan to dress in layers and bring clothes for varied weather. Check out my summer packing list and add long underwear, a rain jacket, warm hat, and perhaps another mid to heavy layer. I have a lightweight down jacket that I carry in Yellowstone almost all year. You can find some of those items on my winter packing list. Check the forecast right before you go for a better idea of what to expect on the specific days you are visiting.
      I never think any amount of time is enough to get to know Yellowstone 😉 but you can definitely see the highlights in four days. It might make sense to get a vacation rental in one spot – maybe West Yellowstone — so you can get up and get going every day without needing to repack. Plus, you can make meals and prep lunches there to save money if you don’t want to eat out every meal.
      Hope that helps!

  6. Miriam Songster

    I have not been to Yellowstone in a very long time, regrettably, but I used to visit there nearly every year when I was young-a long time ago. In my experience, people greatly underestimate the amount of time that must be spent driving in relation to sightseeing. I believe the best plan is to book camping or lodging in 4 areas (lake, canyon, falls, and Mammoth), then explore in each area before driving to the next. I have been snowed in in a blizzard in mid-August.

    • Melynda Harrison

      You make a great point – it does take a lot longer to get around than you would expect by looking at the mileage. I don’t like to pack up as often, so I prefer staying in one or two places and being able to get out early, but it totally depends on your travel style.

  7. Hi,
    We are looking to drive from Seattle to Yellowstone, we would be staying in a RV trailer. Would it be best to rent one place and use our car to drive to multiple place if so which is best or rent multiple place and drive from there. What place do you recommend to stay and see. I have a family of 5. Thanks!

    • Melynda Harrison

      Hi! Depending on how long you plan to stay, I recommend staying in one or two places. That way you can get up and go in the morning and not use that time packing up. Yellowstone is busy, so the earlier you get to the “top attractions” the better.
      West Yellowstone is the most central place to stay outside the park. If you can get a campsite and don’t need hookups, Madison is great. From West or Madison, on different days you can go to
      *the Old Faithful/Upper, Lower, and Midway Geyser Basins
      * Canyon and Lake
      * Norris and Mammoth
      If you plan to be there a while, you might consider the Lake Area and Mammoth/Gardiner as your two home bases and then venture out from there.
      I always like to tell people that it takes a lot longer to drive through YNP than it looks like on a map. It’s a big park, and combined with 35-45 mph speed limits and animals jams it is slow going!

  8. With four of us, its a lot cheaper to fly into Salt Lake City and drive up with a rental car. Is it worth the savings? Should we stay at an AirBnB around West Yellowstone? Can we see enough in four days? Is September/October a good time frame without being too cold?

    • Melynda Harrison

      A lot of people fly to SLC and drive. It’s not that far (by western standards) — less than five hours. Plus you can shop in SLC if you are planning on picnicking and/or cooking your own food. West is a good place to stay to access a lot of the park. Since you are coming from SLC you could consider coming through Jackson and going to Grand Teton National Park on your way up (and spending a night there). However, with four days, I’d recommend spending the whole time in Yellowstone. From West, you could visit
      *Old Faithful and the geyser basins one day
      *Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone/ Washburn
      * Norris and Mammoth
      * Hayden Valley and Lake or Lamar Valley (that’s a long way)
      or take a day to ride horses or go rafting or something like that.

      Sept/Oct could be snowy/rainy/cold or really nice. Maybe both. I think it is a great time to visit the park. All the roads are still open, there are fewer visitors than the middle of summer, and the colors are nice. Nights will probably be chilly, but if you aren’t camping, that doesn’t really matter.

  9. Nicole V.

    Any updated suggestions for food/restaurants regarding things during this Covid-19 time? I get emails saying some things are closed or have varied hours. Is there any one source that can show what is closed or not?
    Thanks!

    • Melynda Harrison

      Unfortunately, there isn’t one place for all that information – that I am aware of. On the park’s website there is a “current conditions” page that says, (as of July 15, 2020) “All food services in the park will be grab and go style.”
      You can check the Chamber or tourism sites for the gateway towns here.

      Things are changing daily – just today the Montana governor enacted a mask ordinance. Several restaurants in Livingston (50 miles north of the park) closed due to Covid or staffing shortages.

      There was a fire in Gardiner (North Entrance) a couple days ago that burned down at least a couple restaurants.

      Restaurants in all gateway towns are at reduced capacity.

      It’s not business as usual here, despite the influx of tourists. I would make sure you have some Plan B restaurant choices and maybe consider picnicking with food from the grocery store.

      I still think you can make a trip to Yellowstone work, it will just be different than most years and require more planning. Good luck!

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