The incredible beauty of Yellowstone National Park is a wonder to behold all throughout the year. Each December, the dazzling, bright summer colors give way to a gorgeous, snow-covered winter landscape. The park sparkles with soft snow crystals, covering the trees and hills with a veil of glittering dust while a soft, gentle sense of peace falls across the forests.
The Winter Season lasts from mid-December to mid-March at Yellowstone. In order to visit the park’s interior attractions, you must enter by snowmobile or guided snow coach. Xanterra Parks & Resorts, a concession operator for the Yellowstone National Park Lodging offers guided interpretative tours so you can experience the winter wonderland while keeping warm and toasty inside a vehicle capable of driving safely through the snow. It’s always a good idea to check with the Visitor Centers to stay up to date on any entrance closures and other information.
Along with all the gorgeous, scenic views, there are an abundance of fun activities to do while you visit Yellowstone National Park in the winter. Among those is snowmobiling, skiing, and snowshoe tours!
During the winter, an ice skating rink is open with free skate rental available to guests through the front desk of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. The hotel also hosts Winter Special Dining Events including holiday buffets or special wine-pairing events. You can also enjoy the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Ski Tour.
Snowmobiling options include commercially guided tours as well as non-commercially guided tours.
NON-COMMERCIALLY GUIDED SNOWMOBILINGThere are many regulations that must be met before you can operate snowmobiles through the non-commercially guided tour. National Park Services recommends taking a look at the Know Before You Go brochure in order to familiarize yourself with essential safety information for conducting snowmobiling activities at Yellowstone.
GUIDE AND GROUP REQUIREMENTS
Each group must have a guide. Guides are responsible for the actions of their group and must have working knowledge of snowmobile safety, general first aid, navigational-ability and park regulations. To operate a snowmobile, you must be at least 16 years old by the first day of the trip and have a valid drivers license. All tour guides must be 18 years or older.
Permits are distributed through a lottery system that is open from September 1st-30th. Lottery winners will be notified of their status by mid-October. Beginning November 3rd, any remaining spaces will be available on a “first-come, first-served basis.”
SKIING AND SNOWSHOEING
There are also many trails for skiing and snowshoeing. This includes free Ranger-led programs like the Mammoth Snowshoe Discovery where veterans and beginners alike can enjoy a guided snowshoe walk that offers scenic views of the winter landscape.
SIGHTSEEING AND STEAM
See Old Faithful along with the other 300 other naturally-occurring geysers covered in frosty snow. Hot steam rises softly throughout the day in great big plumes of cloudy white until the big eruption forces steam high into the air, melting the nearby snow down to clear, dewey water droplets. Meet at the benches in front of Old Faithful to enjoy Geysers Galore which includes a 20-minute talk from a park-ranger just before the mid-day eruption.
Yellowstone National Park is home to wildlife like grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. This park contains one of the world’s last nearly-whole and naturally-occurring ecosystems in the world. Imagine the chance to experience it throughout the magical months of winter. To observe the animals in their natural habitat, visitors can book a bus tour like the Wake up to Wildlife which leaves from Mammoth Hot Springs.