Yellowstone National Park: General information

Entrance fee’s and Passes:

Yellowstone National Park was the perfect road trip for our family. Offering short car rides, plenty of areas to stop and check things out, all while being fully immersed in nature. With a vast selection of flat maintained trails, we never needed to walk far to see the sights! A handful of strategically placed gas stations, gift shops, restaurants and general stores means that you’ll never need to leave the park.

Yellowstone National Park offers pay at the gate passes as well as bought in advance passes for Private, non-commercial vehicle’s, for $30.00 per car. We recommend buying your passes in advance as the lines are long and those with annual passes or prepaid passes have a fast track line. National parks offers an annual pass, which we opted to buy in advance and had it mailed to our house. The annual pass was $80.00 and worth the investment! Annual pass holders receive free entrance to national parks and national wildlife refuges for one year; valid through the month of purchase.  One valid pass covers the fees listed above for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle or up to four adults. Children age 15 or under are admitted for free.


Things to you’ll want to pack:

Water- We kept a small cooler in the car stocked with water and other drinks.

Snacks- Keep it simple with things like Cheese It’s, peanuts, granola bars, and Fig Newtons.

Lip balm and sunscreen-  Personally we love Dr. Bronner’s Orange Ginger lip balm and any spray on high SPF store brand sunscreen does the job.

Hat and Sun Glasses- These are a MUST! Your head, eyes and cheeks will surly appreciate the shade 😉

Rain Jacket and waterproof walking shoes- Everyday that we were at Yellowstone there were at least two quick rain showers. There are not many places to sit on the trails. Marking a pair of comfy shoes is a must have item!

Camera with a fully charged battery(s)- Lots to photos to be had here in Yellowstone!

Binoculars- We were go glad that we brought a pair with us, allowed us to fully enjoy the animals from a far.


The following activities are prohibited in Yellowstone:

Traveling off boardwalks or designated trails in hydrothermal areas, can seriously hurt you, which is why it is not allowed!

Removing or possessing natural or cultural resources; such as wildflowers, antlers, rocks, and arrowheads, is against the LAW. Making this a great lesson to teach your child especially if they anything like Lily, who enjoys picking flowers and rock hunting!

Camping outside of designated areas. Need we say more?!

Spotlighting wildlife (viewing with lights). We saw a young man do this to a poor Mama bear with her cubs and for the longest minute we thought that she was going to attack him.

Another important one for children to be aware of; Imitating elk calls or using buglers or imitating wolf howls is prohibited. Good thing it didn’t mention impersonating cows!

Thinking about using electronic equipment that’s capable of tracking wildlife? Well think again, it’s not allowed! Bet Fred wished that we could have though, as we were in hot pursuit of the wolf pack! Nice try, but drones are not allowed either.

Smoking is prohibited in geyser basins or on ANY trail. There is no smoking in buildings or within 25 feet of building entrances. Around here we call this manners. Also please carry your butts out with you, no one wants to look at that. Thanks 🙂

Make sure to drive the posted speed limits as large animals are prone to be in the roadways!


Looking for a way to give back:

Get Involved by volunteering! Yellowstone National Park is served by hundreds of volunteers throughout the year and are always looking to add more! For additional information about volunteer opportunities in Yellowstone National Park, please inquire at



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