Though Yellowstone National Park is spectacular in every season, the park in winter is truly a magical place. A winter visit will leave you with lasting memories of steaming geyser basins, incredible wildlife watching, and dramatic snowy landscapes.
Arm yourself with the following travel tips and information, and you’re sure to enjoy a winter getaway that’s safe, warm, and filled with unforgettable experiences.
Visit Yellowstone’s Northern Range
Yellowstone’s Northern Range is the only area of the park accessible by automobile year-round. This region is one of the best places in the world to view wolves and other free-roaming wildlife, and particularly so in winter. You’ll find a more quiet experience with less crowds as you make your way from Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Fall, Lamar Valley, and out to the park’s Northeast Entrance. Last but not least, there are endless snowshoeing and cross-country skiing opportunities for all ages and skill levels.
We can’t recommend a winter excursion into Yellowstone enough. Staying overnight at one of the Yellowstone’s winter lodges—even better! The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Old Faithful Snow Lodge are the only two hotels open during the winter months (mid-December to early March). Wake up to winter activities in the morning and warm up by the fire and listen to live music in the evening. Staying at a Yellowstone lodge will only add to the magic and wonder of the winter season in the world’s first national park.
Winter Weather in Yellowstone
Winter weather in Yellowstone can be extreme. Temperatures typically range anywhere from zero to thirty degrees Fahrenheit and often dip below zero, especially in the interior and at higher elevations. No need to worry. With proper planning and the right clothing, your winter adventure will be unforgettable, and comfortable :). Bison can do it, and so can you! To help, we’ve put together some Fun Ways to Stay Warm During Your YNP Winter Visit.
Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
There is no better way to immerse yourself in Yellowstone’s winter than by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Skis and snowshoes allow you have a more intimate experience in the park. They give you the ability and freedom to explore geyser basins, see frozen waterfalls, and reach expansive views that you would not otherwise be able to.
Come for the Holidays
At Yellowstone Forever, we live on the doorstep of Yellowstone year-round—and we can tell you from experience there is something especially enchanting about the park around the holidays. From ringing in the New Year in the shadow of Old Faithful’s first eruption of the year, to the tree-lighting ceremony in Mammoth Hot Springs, there are several heartwarming Yellowstone holiday traditions you can take part in. You can even celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the New Year at a Yellowstone Forever Institute Field Seminar, watching wildlife each day and relaxing at the cozy Lamar Buffalo Ranch at night.
Take a Program with the Yellowstone Forever Institute
A Yellowstone Forever Institute Field Seminar or tour is a great way to experience Yellowstone in a new way, and the quietly beautiful winter season is the perfect time to connect with the park on a deeper level. Winter Field Seminars and tours extend through late March. Learn about a specific topic that interests you, try a new skill, or explore park treasures that are off the beaten path. These educational programs will help you enhance your enjoyment, understanding, and appreciation of the wildlife, ecosystem, and history of the park. Join us on a journey of discovery!
Winter Photography in Yellowstone
Winter in Yellowstone is a dream location for landscape and wildlife photographers. Snow and frost make for unimaginably dramatic scenes and the park’s magnificent wildlife are more easily visible. However, winter conditions in Yellowstone also present unique challenges for photographers. Luckily, we’ve put together the tips you need to make the most out of your winter photography excursion to Yellowstone National Park.
Visit a Yellowstone Forever Park Store
Our educational Park Stores are the number one source of information on all things Yellowstone. Staff are ready to help you plan your trip, provide information about Institute programs, and explain the different ways you can support important park projects.
Yellowstone Park Store Winter Locations and Hours
Old Faithful – December, 15, 2019 to March 15, 2020 | 9am-5pm
Gardiner | 9am-5pm
Mammoth Hot Springs / Albright Visitor Center | 9am-5pm
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport | 10am-5pm