Yellowstone National Park is one of the world’s most frequented tourist sites, with some three million visitors entering the park annually. Yet this national park’s enormous visitor count belies its accessibility, as most major airports are located hundreds of miles away. Nonetheless, visitors should have no problem reaching Yellowstone with a mix of preparation and transportation. The steps below should help you get started.
Fly into one of several airports with commercial airline service within 130 miles of Yellowstone National Park, the closest of which is Yellowstone Airport located just 3 miles away from the park in West Yellowstone, Montana. The others include Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming or Jackson Hole Airport in Jackson, Wyoming. Slightly farther away are Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman, Montana or the Billings Logan International Airport in Billings, Montana.
Rent a car at any of these airports and drive to one of the park’s entrances, most of which close during various periods throughout the year, apart from the North Entrance, which is open year-around. Drive to the East Entrance located in Park, Wyoming (about 60 miles from Cody), or to the West Entrance, found about half a mile east of West Yellowstone, Montana. Visitors traveling from the north can enter the park through its North Entrance found in Gardiner, Montana or through the Northeast Entrance which is about two miles away from Cooke City, Montana. Travelers from the south should head to the South Entrance located just two miles north of Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Log on to the park’s official website (see Resources) to check which entrances will be open during your visit.
Make your way to the park via U.S. Route 89 if you are driving from the north or via U.S. Route 26 or a combination of Route 89, 287 and 191 if you are traveling from the south. If you’re heading to the park from the east, take U.S. Routes 14, 16 and 20, or either Route 20 or Route 191 coming from the west. Don’t forget maps of the area or a GPS device to help find your way.
Take your own car or a rental from one of several major cities within a reasonable proximity to the park, such as Salt Lake City, Utah; Cheyenne, Wyoming or Denver, Colorado. Park visitors driving from these destinations should be able to reach Yellowstone within one day.
Head to Yellowstone via commercial bus from the towns of West Yellowstone or Bozeman, Montana, but keep in mind that this tends to be the least convenient way to get to the park, as you may have to find a separate mode of transportation between your lodging and the park.