Visiting Yellowstone in winter can be one of the greatest experiences of your life. The park is blanketed with snow and in the thermal areas, steam rises against a deep blue sky. The ability to watch wildlife and how they interact with the environment is amazing. But before you embark on this adventure, you will need to take some precautions.
While planning a trip, try to think safety first. Choose how you will get to the park. Some of the biggest dangers you will face will be traveling from one of the local communities to Yellowstone.
If you are renting a car, make sure you reserve a vehicle that is suited for winter travel. A four-wheel drive automobile is best. Do some safety checks before you leave the rental agency. Be sure the tires and wipers are in good shape. Decide if you will need chains. Ultimately, you are the one that is responsible for your safety.
The roads to Yellowstone will most likely be snow covered and possibly wind blown. If you are traveling from the north, either on U.S. 191 or U.S. 89, watch for wildlife on the road. On U.S. 89, from Livingston, Montana to Yellowstone’s North Gate, there may be hundreds if not thousands of elk and deer crossing the highway. Drive slow.
Those same precautions apply once you have entered the park. While the roads are plowed from Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, they will be snow covered.
After you have made decisions about transportation, be sure you pack for cold weather. Dress in layers and always have extra dry socks, gloves, hat, long underwear, food and water. Some people like to have these items packed in a special bag just for emergencies. Drink plenty of water while you are here and always carry sunglasses.
Once you have planned a safe trip, explore this extraordinary place. A winter trip to Yellowstone can be a lot of fun, but only if you come prepared. Stop in at one of our visitor centers and say hi. We look forward to helping you make your trip a special one.