Cell and WiFi in Yellowstone? 3 Facts About Phone Service in Yellowstone
Written by Nick on May 2, 2023
Phone Service in Yellowstone: What to Expect
Every year, millions of people come from all over the world to immerse themselves in the breathtaking natural beauty of America’s first national park. And while Yellowstone is a prime outdoor destination, people still need phone service in Yellowstone.
“Is there phone service in Yellowstone?” It’s a commonly asked question, and not just by teens glued to Snapchat or influencers looking to build their Tik Tok followings. Every Yellowstone visitor should have an idea of where to expect cellular coverage so they can be prepared for emergency situations or know how to best keep in touch with the rest of their party.
So, whatever your purpose, here’s what you need to know about phone service in Yellowstone National Park.
Cellular Phone Service in Yellowstone
To put it simply, don’t count on having cell service inside the park, especially if you’re venturing off the beaten path. That said, there are several places where you can make calls, send texts, and share images or status updates online.
There are cell towers at Mammoth Hot Springs, West yellowstone, Grant Village, Lake Village, Old Faithful, and Mount Washburn. That means, at the park’s north and west entrances, cell service is fairly dependable. It’s also usually solid at most of the park’s developed areas.
That said, park visitors should expect no guarantees when it comes to phone service in Yellowstone. If you really need to know, your best bet is to check with your provider ahead of your trip.
Keep in mind that in developed areas of Yellowstone National Park, you’ll typically be surrounded by hundreds of your closest friends, so during peak tourist season, cellular circuits in the park are frequently overshelmed. That means, although coverage exists in the area, you won’t be able to call, text, or use data.
Because phone service in Yellowstone can be so spotty, texting is usually the best way to communicate with other members of your group or family back home.
Outside the park, most gateway communities like Cody, Wyoming or West Yellowstone, Montana have cell service. Some highways leading to the park also have service, but due to the mountainous nature of the Yellowstone region, there are many areas without coverage.
What About WiFi in Yellowstone?
Hate to break it to you, but with such sparse phone service in Yellowstone, the news about WiFi isn’t going to be great, either.
According to the park service, there’s free WiFi available at the Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs. But that’s it. Don’t expect it to be available within any other developed areas like Fishing Bridge, Canyon, or Old Faithful.
However, there is wireless internet access available for registered guests of certain Yellowstone lodges and hotels. In addition, Yellowstone’s Lake Hotel has a business center.
If you have a genuine need for WiFi during your trip, consider reaching out to your provider about traveling with a mobile hotspot and decide whether it’s a worthwhile investment.
Alternatives for Communicating in Yellowstone
If you’ve grown accustomed to free public WiFi at the nearest coffee shop, you might be surprised to find so little available internet access and phone service in Yellowstone.
Most folks can do without. In fact, many travel to places like Yellowstone with a goal of unplugging during their trip and getting away from the constant availability that seems almost requisite in daily life.
But if you truly need to be maintain a reliable means of communication, a satellite phone is your best bet. Keep in mind that the normal limitations of satellite phones still apply, such as dropped calls and no service when satellites are out of position.
If you’re headed into the backcountry, seriously consider investing in a personal locator beacon, commonly referred to as a PLB. If you find yourself in a bind, a PLB can help rescuers reach you before things take a turn for the worse.
One final note: Emergency services are available in Yellowstone. If you get into trouble, call 911.