Welcome to our guide to winter travel in Yellowstone National Park! As the first national park in the United States, Yellowstone is a true American treasure, offering visitors the chance to experience the beauty of the great outdoors in all seasons.

While many people think of Yellowstone as a summer destination, the park is actually open year-round and offers a whole host of winter activities and adventures. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan a successful winter trip to Yellowstone, including how to get to the park, where to stay, and what to do once you’re there.

Whether you’re an experienced winter adventurer or just looking to escape the cold for a few days, Yellowstone has something to offer everyone. So grab your warmest coat and get ready to explore one of America’s most breathtaking natural wonders!

Overview of Yellowstone National Park in Winter

Herd of American Bison (Bos bison) in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, and it’s also one of the most beautiful. With its snow-covered peaks, endless forests, and deep canyons, Yellowstone is a sight to behold in any season, but you’ll really want to take advantage of its winter beauty.

When you visit Yellowstone in winter, you’ll be able to enjoy an outdoor adventure without all the crowds. The park is open year-round, and it’s easy to find accommodations within its borders, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on all this beautiful landscape because you couldn’t get a hotel room nearby.

Because winter weather tends to be unpredictable, it might snow or be sunny one day and then rain or sleet two days later—you’ll need all kinds of gear with you at all times. Make sure that your boots have good traction, especially if there are icy spots on trails or roads where cars have driven through recently!

There are plenty of activities for visitors who want something fun but not too strenuous during their visit. You can go sledding down hills that haven’t seen much traffic yet because most people tend not to drive up into them until later in the season.

You can also go cross-country skiing, which requires you to bring your own skis and poles. There are plenty of ski areas around where you can rent equipment if you don’t want to bring your own.

Things to Consider When Visiting Yellowstone National Park In Winter

When planning a winter trip to Yellowstone National Park, there are a few important things to consider.

Only One Road, Highway 89, Is Open To Private Vehicles

First, keep in mind that only one road, Highway 89, is open to private vehicles all year round. If you’re planning to drive into the park, you’ll want to stay in one of the nearby towns such as Bozeman or Gardiner, or at one of the park’s winter lodges, such as the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel or Old Faithful Snow Lodge. In mid-December, some of the roads that are closed to private vehicles during the winter months open up for over-snow travel, allowing access by snowmobiles and snowcoaches.

Permit For Non-commercial Snowmobile Trip

If you’re planning to enter the park on a non-commercial snowmobile trip, you’ll need to obtain a permit in advance. Most people fly into Bozeman (to enter from the north) or Jackson Hole (to enter from the south), although there is also a small airport in Cody, Wyoming.

Travel May Be Complicated In Winter

Finally, keep in mind that travel between the park’s most popular sights, such as Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Mammoth Hot Springs, may be more complicated during the winter months. If you want to simplify your trip, you may want to consider booking a guided tour. This way, you can focus on enjoying the park and all it has to offer, without worrying about the logistics of getting around.

Planning Your Trip to Yellowstone National Park In Winter

If you’re planning a winter trip to Yellowstone National Park, there are a few things to consider, ensuring a successful and enjoyable trip.

First, it’s important to choose the best time to visit based on your preferred activities. If you’re planning to do a lot of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, for example, you’ll want to visit during a time when there is enough snow on the ground. You can check the park’s website or contact a ranger station for more information on the current snow conditions.

When it comes to packing, it’s essential to bring the right gear to stay warm and comfortable in the cold weather. This includes warm clothing such as jackets, hats, gloves, and thermal layers, as well as a good quality sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures.

If you’re planning to camp, you’ll also need a cold-weather rated tent and possibly a sleeping pad to insulate you from the cold ground. Other essential items to pack might include a flashlight or headlamp, a first aid kit, and a stove and fuel for cooking.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as any medications or other important items you may need. With the right preparation and gear, you’ll be ready to enjoy all that Yellowstone has to offer during winter.

Camping in the winter

If you’re planning to camp in Yellowstone National Park during the winter, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a comfortable and safe trip.

First, it’s important to know which campgrounds are open during the winter months and what facilities are available. Some campgrounds may be closed due to snow, while others may have limited facilities such as restrooms or potable water. It’s a good idea to check the park’s website or contact a ranger station for the latest information on campground availability and facilities.

When it comes to staying warm and comfortable while camping in the winter, there are a few key tips to follow. First, it’s important to have the right gear, including a good quality sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures, a warm sleeping pad, and a cold-weather rated tent.

You’ll also want to bring plenty of warm layers to wear while sleeping and during the day, as well as a hat and gloves to keep your extremities warm. It’s also a good idea to pack a stove and fuel for cooking, as well as a hot water bottle or heat packs to warm up your bed before climbing in.

When setting up your campsite, try to find a spot that is protected from the wind, such as behind a hill or a stand of trees. Make sure to set up your tent on a flat, dry surface, and use a ground cloth or tarp to help insulate the bottom of your tent from the cold ground.

Finally, it’s a good idea to bring a few extra blankets or a sleeping bag liner to add an extra layer of warmth to your bed. By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for a comfortable and enjoyable winter camping trip in Yellowstone.

Winter activities in the park

There are a variety of exciting winter activities to enjoy in Yellowstone National Park. Whether you’re an experienced winter sports enthusiast or just looking to try something new, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the park.

Snowshoeing Or Cross-country Skiing

One popular activity is snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Both of these sports are easy to learn and offer a great way to explore the park’s stunning winter landscape. You can rent equipment and get lessons at the park, or bring your own gear if you prefer.

Ice Skating

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try ice skating on one of the park’s frozen lakes or ponds. Just be sure to bring your own skates and be careful when skating on natural ice, as the thickness can vary.

Geyser Gazing

For a more relaxed activity, you can try geyser gazing. The park’s famous geysers are even more impressive in the winter, with steam rising from the hot water and creating a magical, otherworldly atmosphere.

Wildlife Viewing

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, the winter is a great time to spot animals in the park. Many species are easier to see during the winter months, as the snow makes it easier to track their movements and the lack of leaves on the trees allows for better visibility.

Snowcoach Tours

Finally, you can take a guided snowcoach tour to explore deeper into the park and visit some of the more remote geothermal areas. These tours are a great way to see the park’s famous sights without having to worry about driving in the snow.

No matter what activity you choose, you’re sure to have a memorable and exciting winter adventure in Yellowstone National Park.

Weather and Road Closures

Snow covered road in Yellowstone National Park

Average winter temperatures in Yellowstone National Park range from 0 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, with temperatures often dropping below zero at night. It is important for travelers to come prepared with warm clothing and insulated, waterproof hiking boots to keep their feet warm and dry in the snow.

The park receives an average of 150 inches of snow each year, and most official roads are closed to regular vehicle traffic from mid-November through mid-March. They reopen mid-December to snowmobiles and snowcoaches only.

The only exception is Highway 89, which runs from Gardiner to the northern entrance of the park and remains open year-round. The park road between the North and Northeast entrances is also open to vehicles, weather permitting. It is recommended to download the park’s free app(Android and IOS) for the most up-to-date road condition reports.

Year-Round Lodging

If you’re planning a winter trip to Yellowstone National Park and are looking for accommodations, there are a few options to consider.

Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins

The Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins is a popular choice for winter visitors. Located near the park’s famous Old Faithful geyser, the lodge offers a range of accommodations including hotel rooms and cabins. The lodge also has a restaurant, gift shop, and laundry facilities.

The hotel rooms are spacious and include Wi-Fi access, cable TV with HBO®, hair dryers, irons/ironing boards and desks with lamp. Some rooms have kitchenettes equipped with a microwave and refrigerator, while others have balconies overlooking the park or its many snow-capped peaks.

The cabins offer more privacy than most hotels in the area and feature full kitchens with microwaves and refrigerators. Some cabins have living rooms with wood stove stoves and rocking chairs on the front porch.

Wild West Apartment with Stunning Views

For a more unique experience, you might consider renting the Wild West Apartment with Stunning Views. This apartment is located in the nearby town of West Yellowstone and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. It’s a great option for those who want the convenience of a home away from home.

This apartment features one bedroom, two bathrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen. The living area has comfortable seating and your own fireplace so you can relax at night after a long day on the slopes.

The bedroom includes a king-size bed, which will be perfect for couples or families who are looking to stay together during their vacation in Montana. There are also two full bathrooms with showers and tubs for enjoying some time alone or getting ready for dinner at one of the nearby restaurants in town.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins

Another great option for lodging in Yellowstone National Park is the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins. Located in the northern part of the park, the hotel offers a range of accommodations including hotel rooms, cabins, and suites, as well as a restaurant, gift shop, and laundry facilities.

The hotel is open year-round and is a great option for travelers who want to stay close to all of Yellowstone’s attractions without having to worry about finding a place to stay that is open during winter months.

Modern Cabin in Gardiner

If you’re looking for something more rustic, the Modern Cabin in Gardiner might be the perfect choice. Located just outside the park’s north entrance, this cozy cabin offers all the amenities of home, including a fully equipped kitchen and a fireplace.

Modern Cabin in Gardiner is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin that sleeps up to four people comfortably. It features a full kitchen with dishwasher and microwave and also has a fireplace. This cabin is not pet-friendly but is available to rent year-round on a weekly basis only.

The cabin comes equipped with cable television and Wi-Fi access, so you can stay connected while enjoying time away from home!

The Cloudveil

The Cloudveil is a new hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that offers guests an unparalleled luxurious experience. It’s part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and is just over an hour from Yellowstone National Park. The Cloudveil has a wintertime gear concierge and rental assistance, free ski shuttle, and complimentary ski chalet at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Whether you’re hitting the slopes or exploring Yellowstone, The Cloudveil has everything you need for your trip.

New Four-Bedroom Overlooking the River

The New Four-Bedroom Overlooking the River is a great option for families and groups looking to vacation together. Located in Gardiner, this vacation rental offers stunning views of the Yellowstone River, and it’s just a short drive from the park’s north entrance.

The home has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a spacious kitchen with all the amenities you’ll need to whip up your favorite recipes, and a living room equipped with cable TV and Wi-Fi. The property also has a private garage with enough room to fit two cars—perfect for those who will be exploring Yellowstone National Park during their stay!

Summary of Winter Camping and Adventure in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a truly unique and exciting destination to visit during the winter season. From snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to geyser gazing and wildlife viewing, there is a wide range of activities to enjoy in the park. The winter months are also a great time to experience the park’s stunning geothermal features, with steam rising from the hot water and creating a magical, otherworldly atmosphere.

With the park’s beautiful snow-covered landscape, cozy lodges and cabins, and practically zero crowds, there is no better time to visit Yellowstone than in the winter. We encourage readers to start planning their own winter trip to the park and experience all that it has to offer. Whether you’re an experienced winter sports enthusiast or just looking to try something new, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Yellowstone during the winter season.