Yellowstone National Park EV Travel Guide

While not as popular with visitors as Great Smoky Mountains and the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone is probably the most popular national park in popular culture. From Yogi Bear (set in Jellystone National Park) to the much newer TV series Yellowstone, people associate the word with national parks. The fact that it was the world’s first national park probably has a lot to do with this!

With its own little version of the Grand Canyon, epic waterfalls, well-known geysers, bison you shouldn’t take a selfie with, and a big lake, the park is full of both history and things to do and see. It’s a big park that you’ll want to spend several days in, but it’s also a place where you’ll want to think about your EV range to stay out of trouble.

It’s also a park that you’ll want to try to stay inside of or close to at night to spend more time having fun and less time eating up EV range on long mountain drives. Expect to spend a lot of time driving and stuck in traffic (especially when wildlife slows traffic), so don’t assume you’ll zip around and see everything in a few hours! The summer is the nicest and the most popular, while the shoulder seasons (early spring and later fall) can give lower crowds at the cost of a gamble with weather.

It’s also best to avoid entering by the west gate is at all possible!

The need for some planning for your EV is a good fit for the park, because all park lodging tends to need booking over a year in advance. So, you’ll have plenty of time to come up with trip itineraries and get familiar with the places you’ll find charging and things to do.

Overall, the park’s roads are like a sloppy figure eight. Staying in the middle of the 8 is best, but those options fill up fast. So, staying as close to the 8 makes the most sense. Or, if you can’t be in a central location, consider booking hotels or camping in different spots over your time there to focus on that area.

Getting There In An EV

  • This is definitely a park you’ll want to check PlugShare on before you go, as charging reliability can go up and down over time on the roads leading to the park. Most of the Tesla charging stations in the area will not work with non-Tesla vehicles, even with an adapter, so other options need to be checked for recent reviews before going.
  • Trip planning software is also essential for this trip, as there’s a lot of steep terrain and mountain roads that can eat up range. This is especially true if towing.
  • It’s easiest to get into Yellowstone via Idaho and West Yellowstone or Gardiner, Montana with an EV. Trying to get into the area from central Wyoming means relying on dealership chargers or chargers with poor reviews. There is also good charging in Jackson if you’re coming on from Grand Teton National Park.
    • Gardiner and West Yellowstone stations can also be useful to top up if you’re driving the whole loop, so be sure to include them in your planning as needed.
  • The closest chargers to the park are in West Yellowstone (a V2 Supercharger only Teslas can use) and Gardiner (a ChargePoint station).
  • There are a few places with L2 charging while you sleep in and near the park. It would make a LOT of sense to take advantage of those to save time and start with a full battery every morning. Make sure to check PlugShare reviews before booking.
  • RV parks and campgrounds with charging opportunities are available in West Yellowstone and Gardiner. Be sure to call ahead and make sure they’ll allow you to plug in, and don’t draw over 30-40 amps to avoid tripping main breakers or damaging things.
  • The only RV park inside the park with 50-amp hookups (that can be used for charging) is the Fishing Bridge RV Park, and only for certain sites. It’s only open to hard-sided RVs, and not to tents or popups.

This park is very much workable with EVs, but trip planning will be necessary to make sure you don’t run out of charge.

Links For Further Park and Nearby Information

Here’s a couple of good videos for planning a visit to the park and for things to do:

Featured image by Jim Peaco, NPS (Public Domain).

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