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Yellowstone National Park Wireless Coverage
The National Park Service makes the following recommendations for users of cellular service within park boundaries:

  • During periods of high attendance, the number of users can overwhelm cellular circuits resulting in an inability to send or receive calls, text, or use cellular data. Do not rely on cellular service in Yellowstone. 
  • Texting is usually the most effective means of communication in the park. 
  • As a courtesy to others, please silence your mobile device while enjoying Yellowstone’s natural features.

Notable Changes in Wireless Services in the Park:
A comprehensive communications plan for Yellowstone National Park was implemented in 2009. As a result of that report, The National Park Service decided to pursue communications improvements while maintaining the park's wilderness qualities. Results of that 2009 review are posted, Below.
Changes since that report:
  • A substantial upgrade has been constructed for the cell site located at the Mount Washburn fire lookout.  While stating that the wireless coverage area served from that site will not expand within the park, the data capacity will be increased more than 28 times to, “increase the availability of cellular telecommunications bandwidth that currently limits park operations, visitor safety, and visitor experience,” 
  • Since 2014, there have been several other applications for new cellular facilities, including relocating the site near Old Faithful, but the only substantial approval was at the Mount Washburn site.
  • Other changes previous to 2014:
    A new communications tower and cellular coverage for Verizon was approved in the Fishing Bridge area of the park with the new coverage shown on the Cellular Coverage Map, and the proposed map for the Fishing Bridge Site, Below. This site is located in a Park Service utility area and has been determined to not be visible from areas normally occupied by park visitors. This site was originally approved in the 2009 park communications plan. Additional details at the Yellowstone National Park Lake Cell Tower Page.
  • Union Wireless received approval for cellular equipment to be installed at the Verizon Wireless Fishing Bridge cell site mentioned above. Coverage cannot extend beyond that provided by Verizon and shielded to avoid coverage in Wilderness areas.
  • Verizon Wireless received permission to install 4G LTE equipment at Elk Plaza near the Mammoth Visitor Area.
  • There were other new or changed cellular installations within the park but coverage has not changed significantly from that shown on the Coverage Area map, and the housings and physical facilities have not been expanded beyond already-approved locations.
  • Wi-Fi is not available in rustic settings, National Historic Landmarks, or historic lodging. The NPS does not provide Wi-Fi for visitor use at visitor centers, however, an application is being considered for a pilot program for  public Wi-Fi at the Albright Visitors Center. Concessioners may provide Wi-Fi to visitors for a fee.
  • All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio is available in the park. If you have a weather radio receiver, tune to 162.425 MHz (Mammoth area) or 162.450 MHz (Lake area) to receive hazardous weather alerts. You can also check for updates posted at

Yellowstone Cellular Coverage
There are currently 9 cell sites serving Yellowstone Park, 6 of which are within park boundaries. Service is supplied by AT&T, Union Wireless and Verizon Wireless. This map was downloaded from the National Park Service web site in 2007, color added by

Yellowstone Park Cellular Coverage Map

Interactive Yellowstone Coverage Maps:

This map was supplied by the National Park Service in September, 2008, previous to the 2009 Communications Plan.

source: National Park Service

Fishing Bridge Coverage Area, Verizon:
This map shows the cell site specifications for the only new coverage added within park boundaries since 2009.

Yellowstone Verizon Wireless Fishing Bridge Site Coverage Map> </font><br>
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source: National Park Service

Yellowstone Park Cellular Communications Plan, 2009:

Cell phone coverage will remain at Mammoth, Canyon, Tower-Roosevelt, Old Faithful and Grant developed areas. New cell phone coverage will be allowed at the Lake developed area; this meets the Wireless Plan objective to improve operational effectiveness of wireless communications in the park and safety for park visitors, employees, residents, contractors and concessioners. Antennas for this new cell coverage at Lake will be configured to minimize spillover coverage into Yellowstone’s backcountry.

Sites will not be located in recommended wilderness areas. All sites will be hidden from view of developed areas, the Grand Loop Road, and area hiking trails. The park will evaluate these and other sites to serve the Lake developed area so they meet the guidelines and criteria adopted by this FONSI (Finding Of No Significant Impact).

In response to comments, this FONSI modifies the preferred alternative to reconsider the design of a new antenna mounting structure at the summit of Mt. Washburn to relocate existing antennas and microwave dishes from the fire lookout structure. While the preferred alternative included construction of a new structure to mount existing antennas already located on the Mount Washburn fire lookout building, the Park will consider all options to reduce visual intrusions on visitors and the historic structure, while at the same time addressing the safety and security aspects of the site’s proximity to a highly-used visitor destination. The NPS commits to working towards a design of a new structure that will be less obtrusive than what is shown in (Fig. 8) of the EA. Implementation of this aspect of the plan will likely not happen immediately due to size and scope of the project. 3. The park will consult with the Wyoming SHPO and utilize the best expertise possible to try and reach an appropriate design for a Mt. Washburn wireless communications facility. The design will consider standards submitted by the Wyoming SHPO during Section 106 consultation. Mt. Washburn will continue to serve as the primary communications hub for the park, and will continue to have multiple antenna, dishes, and electronics equipment at the site. A final design for a mountain top facility will be available to the public prior to any substantial changes being implemented.

The Old Faithful cell tower will be relocated to an area near the Old Faithful water treatment plant when it becomes feasible, to reduce the overall visibility of the tower. This will not occur before the current right-of-way (ROW) agreement with the cell phone provider expires in 2009. This relocation could result in a slight decrease in service near the Old Faithful developed area along a few miles of the Grand Loop Road.

The equipment and antennas associated with cell phone service atop Bunsen Peak will be relocated to the current Elk Plaza. New infrastructure will be added to the top of Bunsen Peak to increase the capacity of voice and data transmission throughout the park. While this system has not yet been designed, it will likely use powered microwave dishes to relay additional bandwidth through an interim point to Mt. Washburn, and then be redistributed to the developed areas of the park. Applications to the FCC for additional radio frequency spectrum will likely have to be completed and approved in order for this to occur. The existing electric power line to the summit will remain in service for this purpose, if and when it occurs.

Any new proposals to install additional cell equipment will be reviewed by the park Telecommunications Committee. Courtesy signing and protocols will be developed and installed to help guide visitors in use of cell phones and other portable communications technologies. In response to comments Alternative C is further clarified; to reduce annoyances of cell phone usage, courtesy signing and protocols will focus on increasing the distance between visitors enjoying the natural soundscapes and those using cell phones by designating ‘cell phone free’ zones where possible. Park visitors will be provided this information through such avenues as park interpreters and the park Visitor Guide/Newspaper entitled Yellowstone Today. The newspaper will also be amended to show or list areas of the park where cell phone coverage can be expected or not expected.

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