Historically, Yellowstone National Park has been more of a summer destination than a winter one, but there are all kinds of winter opportunities to be had by the adventurous traveler. The park’s interior officially open in mid-December and remains open until mid-March.
The only roads that are open to automobile traffic during this time are between the Mammoth Hot Springs area and the northeast gate of the park; a 22 mile stretch of U.S. 191, along the west side of the park, is also open during winter. These plowed roads offer access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, but the conditions require drivers to maintain a safe speed while staying alert for wildlife.
Away from the plowed roads, visitors must rely on over-snow means of transportation. The hotel at Mammoth, as well as the Old Faithful Snow Lodge offer rooms for rent and a wide range of activities. Both of these hotels have a variety of snowcoach adventures and guided snowmobile trips. Many companies outside Yellowstone also provide accommodations, transportation services and other winter adventures.
These adventures include, but are not limited to, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Both hotels within the park staff ski-shops with knowledgeable personnel. Ski drops can be reserved along with your room. Ski trail maps are available at many park locations.
The National Park Service staffs visitor centers at Mammoth, Old faithful and the West Contact Station near the west gate. Yellowstone rangers present interpretive programs at various times during the week. Rangers also staff warming-huts at several places in the park. You can often catch interpretive rangers presenting impromptu talks at many of the park’s attractions.
Check our official web-site on the latest news on visiting Yellowstone in winter. There, you can also find a list of companies that operate within the park. If you do venture into this winter wonderland, know your families limitations. A winter trip to Yellowstone is a trip you won’t soon forget.