Free entry to Yellowstone and Grand Teton on Jan. 21, other days in 2013

All of the country's national parks, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone, will offer free admission Monday and at other times throughout the year. (NPS photo)

All of the country's national parks, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone, will offer free admission Monday and at other times throughout the year. (NPS photo)

From Staff Reports

All National Park Service sites across the nation, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, will waive admission fees Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr., federal holiday.

No matter how you enter either park—by car, RV, bus or on a guided snowmobile or snowcoach trip—the entrance fee will be waived on Monday, January 21.

The special free day is the first of 11 days throughout 2013 when the Park Service will waive entry fees as a way to encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy the national parks, according to a release form the Yellowstone public affairs office.

Access to the interior of Yellowstone during the winter months is restricted to guided snowmobile and snowcoach trips from the North, West, South and East entrances. At Old Faithful, the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins and the dining room, the Geyser Grill, the Bear Den Gift Shop and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center are all open for the winter season.

The road from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., through Mammoth Hot Springs on to Cooke City, Mont., outside the park’s Northeast Entrance, is open to auto travel year-round.

At Mammoth Hot Springs, the hotel, dining room and gift shop, Yellowstone General Store, medical clinic, campground, post office, and the Albright Visitor Center are open all year. Fuel is available from 24-hour gasoline pumps all year at both Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction.

Weekend visitors to Grand Teton can enjoy winter activities from auto touring, wildlife viewing and photography to cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing across the snow-covered landscape.

A popular winter trail that spans the unplowed Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain Lodge was last groomed on December 30, 2012. It will be groomed on an intermittent basis throughout the winter, but only when higher-priority road plowing operations are not required.

In addition to skiing, photography and wildlife watching, ranger-led snowshoe hikes take place each day at 1:30 p.m. from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyo. Previous experience is not necessary and snowshoes are provided for a cost of $5 for adults and $2 for children 8 years or older. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (307) 739-3399.

A seven-day pass to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is normally $25 for a private, non-commercial vehicle.

Additional fee-free days at all national parks this year will include:

  • April 21 – 27 (National Park Week)
  • August 25 (National Park Service Founder’s Day)
  • September 28 (National Public Lands Day)
  • November 9 – 11 (Veterans Day weekend)


2 thoughts on “Free entry to Yellowstone and Grand Teton on Jan. 21, other days in 2013

  1. Hi – I live in the UK and would like to buy a Yellowstone admission pass for a friend who is visiting there in September. It is his 50th birthday next week so this would be a great gift. Am I able to buy this online from you inadvance and have it sent over? Or buy it from you and have some kind of confirmation e-mail that he can take to the gate to pick up the pass? I have looked into buying an annual pass from USGS but my friend and his wife are there for only a week or so as part of a tour. I’d be really grateful for any help with this. Many thanks, Jacqui Jones

    • Jacqui,

      This website is a private news and information site about the park. We don’t (and in fact, can’t) sell park passes. You’ll have to purchase those directly from the National Park Service, the U.S. federal agency that runs Yellowstone and nearly 400 other national parks. I know of no way (other than the $80 annual pass you mentioned) to make an advance purchase of a park pass. Admission for a week to Yellowstone for your friends in their private vehicle is only $25, so you’d be overspending by $55 to buy the annual pass.

      Here is the Park Service page on fees and admission.

      You might instead consider buying your friend a guide book, video, CD or some other kind of informational material. They’re much more likely to enjoy their trip to Yellowstone if they spend some time in advance learning about the park and what they want to see and do there. It’s a huge park! Yellowstone is about 8,900 square kilometers, while all of London, by comparison, is less than 1,600 square kilometers.

      The Yellowstone Association is the official education partner for the park, and they sell a wide range of great books and other materials online at this link:

      -Ruffin Prevost
      editor, Yellowstone Gate