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A Packing Guide for Visiting Yellowstone

A Packing Guide for Visiting Yellowstone

Written by: , July 20th, 2016
Categories: Plan

Twelve things you’ll want to make sure you have on your packing list.

If you’re heading to Yellowstone, check out our packing guide to help you make the most of your Park visit. Here are 12 things you’ll want to make sure you have on your packing list:

1) A Sun Hat, Sunscreen and Sunglasses

A wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are essential to protect your skin and eyes from the sun. This is especially important at higher altitudes where the sun’s rays are even stronger, and on the water, where the rays are multiplied through reflection.

It’s also always a good idea to pack aloe gel or another “after sun” treatment to sooth your skin in case of a sunburn.

2) Sturdy Footwear

Pack hiking boots or good athletic shoes depending on what you plan on doing while you’re visiting Yellowstone. You’ll want to bring shoes that provide stability, traction and comfort. Pack sandals or other leisure footwear for relaxing or short walks. High heels and shoes with no traction are not advised.

3) Rainjacket

Weather in Yellowstone changes quickly and it’s not uncommon to have a rain shower in the afternoon. That is why it’s important to pack a rainjacket that is waterproof and breathable.

4) Layers

When visiting Yellowstone, it’s important you pack and dress in layers. Pack mid-weight insulating clothing like a light synthetic fleece or wool shirt/pullover. Waterproof and windproof outer layers should be lightweight and breathable. Pack insulating underwear that draws moisture away from the body, keeping you cool when you sweat and dry when it rains.

5) A Daypack

Don’t forget to pack a daypack. You’ll be happy you brought this along with you to carry your extra clothes, water, snacks, camera, binoculars, notebook, etc.

6) A Reusable Bottle for Water & Thermos for Hot Liquids

To make sure you stay hydrated while exploring Yellowstone, it’s recommended you pack and fill a one-liter reusable water bottle (minimum). Camelbacks or similar hydration systems also work well. Water bottle filling stations are located throughout the park. A thermos for hot liquids is also a great thing to pack for your Yellowstone visit to stay warm on those cool mornings.

7) Snacks

Who doesn’t love snacks? Bring granola bars, dried fruit, or packed sandwiches to put in your daypack. Deli lunches can be ordered from any one of our dining rooms the night before pick up. Grab-n-go items are also available at our in-park delis, snack shops, and cafeterias. Don’t keep food in your car unattended and never feed wild animals. And be sure to not litter and dispose of food and packaging properly. Outside a number of the hotels there are convenient metal storage bins to help recycle. 

8) Insect Repellent

In June, July and August, you’ll want to bring insect repellent along with you to Yellowstone. There are different kinds of insect repellents available with varying ingredients, so make sure you find one that is right for you!

9) Camera, Memory Card & Charger or Batteries

Yellowstone has 2.2 million acres of wilderness, from mountains and forests to colorful hot springs, mudpots and geysers, as well as 67 species of mammals. With so many amazing sights, landscapes and wildlife, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to snap photos to remember your visit to Yellowstone or to share with friends and family back home. Be sure to follow park wildlife safety guidelines when photographing wildlife and thermal features: keep your distance and do not wander off boardwalks.

10) Notebook & Pencil

Grab a small, light-weight, notebook to help you remember all of your amazing Yellowstone adventures. Bring it along with you in your daypack, and keep notes on what you did each day. One day, when you’re telling your Yellowstone story to your kids, grandkids or friends, you’ll be able to look back in your journal! (21st Century version: take notes on your phone.)

11) Binoculars and/or Spotting Scope

Binoculars are the perfect companion for your next Yellowstone adventure, and if you’re interested in viewing wildlife you’ll be pleased you brought them along with you. There are many different types of binoculars and spotting scopes for sale, you’ll want to make sure you find something that is not too heavy to hike with, and offers good image detail.

12) A couple things that won’t fit in your suitcase: Patience and Understanding

Yellowstone is wild, beautiful place. To fully experience it, you have to go beyond merely checking off the sites. Find a trail, picnic area, or bench. Take in all the sights, sounds, and smells (you won’t forget the smell of rotten eggs!). Relax and pack your patience. You may encounter some construction, bison jams, or visitors from around the world. Be smart. Follow park rules: keep your distance from wildlife, don’t wander off the boardwalks, and drive the speed limit. Set a good example to keep this place preserved for future generations.

Be sure to shop our online store for Yellowstone books, apparel, and gifts.

For more travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from Xanterra Travel Collection and its affiliated properties, visit

Want to experience Yellowstone in-depth? See what makes Yellowstone National Park a great place to work for a season or longer!