Beginning deep within the Absaroka Mountains in southeast Yellowstone National Park, the Yellowstone River flows through the entirety of the park and then out the North Entrance, eventually joining the Missouri River in North Dakota.
What can I see and do along the Yellowstone River?
- Yellowstone Lake: The largest lake in the park hosts a number of activities. Most services are available along its western edge. You can rent a motor boat and head out to the depths to fish or cast a fly from the shore. Bring your own kayak and head out on a multi-day excursion to the far reaches of the lake. Stroll the boardwalk trail around West Thumb Geyser Basin, right on the water's edge. Camp right on the lake at Grant Village, Fishing Bridge, or Bridge Bay or enjoy park lodging at Yellowstone Lake Hotel, Grant Village, or Lake Lodge and Cabins.
- Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: Explore one of the most beautiful attractions in the park, carved by the Yellowstone River. North and South Rim trails offer unique views of both the Upper and Lower Falls.
- Paradise Valley: North of the North Entrance to the park, the Yellowstone River flows through the town of Gardiner and Paradise Valley. This area is known for fantastic fishing. Either float and fish or bring a pair of waders.
Where is the Yellowstone River?
Beginning in the southeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, the Yellowstone River flows into the Southeast Arm of Yellowstone Lake. It drains the lake at Fishing Bridge, at the lake's northern edge. The river then flows through Hayden Valley and into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It wraps back around to the west and flows through the Mammoth Hot Springs area and out the North Entrance of the park, through the town of Gardiner and Paradise Valley on its way to Livingston, Montana. From Livingston it flows east across the plains to where it eventually joins the Missouri River in North Dakota.
When is the Yellowstone River accessible?
Parts of the Yellowstone River are accessible year-round. In the winter, take a snowcoach ride to the edge of Yellowstone Lake and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.