Roads to Yellowstone
The North Entrance is the only entrance that is open all year. The road from Gardiner to Cooke City (via Mammoth to Tower Junction to the Northeast Entrance) is open to automobiles all winter, but you have to drive back to get out. All other roads and entrances close to wheeled vehicles on the Monday after first Sunday of November, and re-open to tracked, over-the-snow vehicles in mid-December, remaining open to over-snow vehicles through mid-March. Entrances and interior roads re-open to wheeled traffic in the spring at varying times. See the page on Park Admission for specific opening and closing dates.
- Bozeman, MT (BZN) [92 miles, 2 hours]
- West Yellowstone, MT (WYS) [15 mins, June to Sept only]
- Idaho Falls, ID (IDA) [110 miles, 2 hours]
- Cody, WY (COD) [54 miles, 1.25 hours]
- Jackson, WY (JAC) [50 miles, 1.5 hours]
- Billings, MT (BIL) [127 miles, 2.5 hours]
All of the airports have rental car counters (even the West Yellowstone airport).
From the North
Bozeman Airport: Depart the airport going west (right) on Frontage Road. Turn left (south) onto US 191 and follow it all the way into West Yellowstone. Turn left (east) at the main intersection in town and you’ll be right at the West Entrance to the park. The drive takes you through some gorgeous forest and canyon areas, and will take you briefly through the upper northwest portion of the park. Park rangers vigorously enforce the speed limits through there, so watch your speed. Total driving distance is about 92 miles, with a driving time of around two hours because of all of the small towns and speed zones you’ll go through.
Alternatively, if you want to go to the North Entrance to the park, you can get on I-90 eastbound to Livingston. Take Exit 333 and get onto US89 headed south. Follow this all the way into Gardiner. Once you get into town, follow the main street around to the Roosevelt Arch, which signifies that you’ve reached the park. This trip is 87 miles in length and will take a little over an hour and a half to make.
From the East/Northeast
Cody Airport: Leave the airport going south, turn right onto US16 and follow it around until it merges with US14. Follow US14/US16/US20 west until you get to the East Entrance to the park. Driving distance is 55 miles and will take a little more than an hour.
Alternatively, you can travel to the Northeast Entrance from Cody by traveling south out of the airport, then heading west on US16. Follow it around until it hooks up with Highway 120. Follow Highway 120 north to Chief Joseph Highway (WY296), continue west to US212 and through Cooke City to the Northeast Entrance. There’s a short stretch of the highway between Cooke City and Pilot, WY, that isn’t plowed in the winter, so you will not be able to get into the park this way between sometime in November and late May. This route is about 80 miles long and will take approximately two hours of travel time.
Billings Airport: Head south out of the airport, then east on Highway 3 to I-90 (follow the signs). Head west on I-90 to Exit 434, then head south on US212 and along Beartooth Scenic Highway to Cooke City and the Northeast Entrance. This route is 127 miles long and will easily take 2.5 hours or more to drive. You should check road conditions before making this trip as the occasional mid-summer snow storm may temporarily close the road. The trip through Beartooth PassW is one of the most scenic drives in the United States, so plan your travels such that you’re driving during daylight hours. During winter (generally right after Labor Day until the following Memorial Day), you won’t be able to go further south than Red Lodge, and will need to take an alternative route (perhaps continuing west on I-90 to Livingston, then heading south as outlined above).
From the South/West
Jackson Hole Airport: Drive out of the airport, turn left at US 191 and follow it north to the park. You’ll need to make a left turn at Moran Junction. The travel distance is only 50 miles, but with 45 mile speed limits through Grand Teton, scenery stops, wildlife stops, and incessant road construction, it will easily take you two full hours to reach the South Entrance of Yellowstone.
One of the advantages of flying into Jackson Hole is the incredible view when you land. Nowhere else in the U.S. can you land and step off onto the tarmac at the base of a mountain that rises so dramatically out of the ground right before you. Try to book a window seat on the right-hand side of the plane (as you face forward) – you almost invariably land from the north and will have incredible views of the Tetons as you make the approach.
Salt Lake City Airport: Drive north on I-215 to I-15 and continue north. At Idaho Falls, take Exit 119 onto US 20 and follow it all the way into West Yellowstone. At the intersection with US191 turn right, then turn left at the main intersection. This will put you right at the West Entrance to the park. Driving distance is 325 miles and will take approximately five hours to put you at the West Entrance.
Idaho Falls Airport: Exit from the airport going south and get onto US20 going eastbound. Follow the highway all the way into West Yellowstone. When you reach the intersection with US191, turn right, then turn left at the main intersection. This will put you right at the West Entrance to the Park. Driving distance is 108 miles with a driving time of about two hours.
Bus and Train Service
Commercial bus service is available from Bozeman to West Yellowstone year round. There is no train service to the park.