Here is the lowdown on the different times of the year to vacation in Yellowstone.
Fall is nice and mellow. Depending on when you come, the Park (Yellowstone) is starting to close from the Summer season (some roads and different venues) usually start closing around the beginning of November. We usually do not have any snow and if we do it usually is gone in a day or two. It is a great time to enjoy the animals since they are trying to fatten up and are still quite active. They are starting to come to town (of Gardiner and the surrounding area) so it is fun to see them cruise the town. You can also enjoy the animals in Lamar Valley which is fun to enjoy year round. This is probably the best time of year to enjoy the Boiling River (a hot spring that is in a river in the Park by about three miles). The weather is usually mild and it is a joy to soak. In the fall/Winter we (at the Yellowstone Basin Inn) usually have only 4 units available. We do not offer breakfast or the hot tub during this time. All unit available have a refrigerator and microwave, kitchenette or full kitchen.
Winter is a fantastic time to come to Yellowstone. There are very few people here and that makes for a true animal experience. Lamar Valley is the place to be during the winter. You definitely need to be dressed right and bring a pair of binoculars. It is a spectacular theater of animal activity (seeing the wolfs chasing the elk, otters frolicking in the river, moose looking for food, and so on.). Boiling River is open and do not forget to wear your bathing suit under you warm clothes (we offer complimentary Spa towels that you can use at Boiling River). The Yellowstone Basin Inn is a short 45 minute drive to Lamar Valley (it is a great drive there, scenic with animal sightings along the way).
The Spring is a good time to be here depending on when. If you come early Spring (say April) the weather is fair ranging from cold and windy to snowy to mild. Bison could be seen giving birth at this time which is amazing to see. We officially open for the Spring/Summer/Fall season on May 15th and offer a full organic breakfast, the hot tub, incredible views of the Park and surrounding ranch lands, free calf roping lessons, and a concierge service. May is a good time to see many animals giving birth, enjoying the green countryside. The weather could be anything (so be ready). Beginning of June is probably the best time of year to be here since every animal in the park is active (bears are hungry, and everyone else is out having a great time). The weather usually is good with some years that are rainy. Boiling River is closed do to high water.
Summer is busy but fun. Summer usually starts mid-June and goes to the end of August. Yes, we all know the tourist season is upon us but it is a fun time to be here. People are having a great time enjoying their vacations and getting away from their regular lives. The highlights of the Park (like Old Faithful, Canyon, or the Lake) are very busy but are worth seeing. If you do not want crowds just walk 5 minutes in any direction and you usually will be alone and with a few people. So do not worry. Just take a walk or hike and the people will be gone. When you are driving and you see people stopped, you need to stop since they are usually looking at animals (this applies to any time of the year). Boiling River is open but usually to crowed to enjoy. Animal sightings are usually best in the early morning just at sunrise in Lamar Valley or Hayden Valley. August is usually the warmest month and the animal sighting are usually a hit or miss. The kids go back to school the last two weeks of august and most of the retired people do not come until after Labor Day, so if you are looking for a good deal in the Summer that is the time to come.
Early Fall (September & October) is a busy but mellow time. Many people but no kids. Most of the people here are retired and are not in a rush. So even if you go to the highlights in the Park there usually is not a problem. The hiking trails are usually empty. The heat of the Summer is gone but the weather is great and tepid. The animal sightings are increasing and it a fun time to be out and about. Bears are very active with gathering food and its a time when most of the animals look great from the long Summer of eating and relaxing. It is a good time to enjoy Yellowstone.
To find out more information or the make a reservation check out our website at: http://yellowstonebasininn.com/