Though most tourists tend to visit Yellowstone National Park during the summer months when the weather is warm, there are many reasons to visit the park during the winter months too. Popular wintertime activities in the park include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobling, participating in ranger-led programs and taking a tour on a snowcoach. The park is quieter but no less stunning, and the opportunities to view wildlife--including bison, elk, and if you're lucky, possibly even wolves--abound.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
There are ample opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Yellowstone during the winter months. In addition to groomed trails, you can also delve into the park's backcountry for your winter adventure.
Snowmobiling is another popular activity in the winter. Those wishing to snowmobile must due so accompanied by an approved commercial guide. Snowmobiles are allowed to travel on groomed roads only, and there is a daily limit to the number of snowmobiles allowed in the park.
During the winter season, the only road open to wheeled vehicles is located between the park's north entrance and Cooke City. Other park roads are groomed for snow activities such as cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. Be aware that roads open to wheeled vehicles are only plowed during the daytime and may require tire chains as conditions necessitate.
Though visitation may be down, ranger-led programs are alive and well during the winter season. Ranger-led activities include snowshoe hikes, natural history talks and evening programs. These programs are based at the Mammoth Hot Springs Visitor Center and West Yellowstone Visitor Center. Check the winter newsletter upon arrival, or ask a ranger at the visitor center what activities are available during your visit.
Park concessionaires operate snowcoach tours. These tours offer visitors the opportunity to see the park's scenery in comfortable, heated, over-the-snow vehicles. Full- and half-day tours are available, with prices ranging depending on the tour itinerary and length.