1. Enjoy the Drive
If you want to drive in the park, you’ll need to come to the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana — it’s the only road open in winter. From there, you can drive to places like Mammoth Hot Springs and Lamar Valley. Check our road status map and current conditions before you arrive, observe posted speed limits, and use plowed pullouts to watch wildlife, take pictures, and let other cars pass. Not a fan of winter driving? Book a guided road-based tour!
2. Make the Most of Your Trip
If you want to see places like Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, you’ll need to book a guided snowcoach or snowmobile tour or apply for a permit through our non-commercial snowmobile program. If you want to get away from the roads, authorized businesses also offer guided skiing and snowshoeing trips, or you can explore our ski and snowshoe trails on your own.
3. Arrive with Accommodation Plans
Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are open during winter. Make reservations as far in advance as possible. Lodging is also available in nearby communities. If you’re prepared for winter camping, Mammoth Campground has first-come, first-served sites available.
5. Give Wildlife Room, Use a Zoom
The safest way to view wildlife is through a telephoto lens, a spotting scope, or a pair of binoculars. Park animals are wild and dangerous. Bison, bears, and elk have injured and killed people. Do not approach, encircle, follow, or feed any animal. Stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves and stay 25 yards (23 m) from all other animals. Learn how to watch wildlife safely.
6. Stash Your Trash
If a trash can happens to be full, find another. Animals that eat human food can become habituated and may need to be killed. Food scraps belong in the trash, not on the trail!
7. Follow the Beaten Path
In thermal areas, boardwalks take you to amazing places, protect the park, and keep you safe. People have been severely burned and killed after leaving the boardwalk or reaching into hot water. Geysers, mud pots, and hot springs are delicate. Don’t throw anything into any hydrothermal features, touch them, or change them in any way.
8. Bring Bear Spray
While it’s possible to see a bear during any month of the year, it’s more likely that you’ll come across other wildlife while skiing or snowshoeing. Bison, elk, coyotes, and mountain lions are all active in winter, so carry bear spray and know how to use it. Be alert, make noise, and travel in groups.
9. Expect Limited Services
Connectivity in the park is minimal, so download the free National Park Service app (and offline content) before you arrive for great information at your fingertips! Food and fuel options in the park are limited. Always fill up on fuel and pack extra food and water in case something goes wrong. Check operating hours before you arrive.
10. Protect Yourself and Others
In areas CDC identifies as high COVID-19 community level, masks are required for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Indoor areas include, but are not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, gift shops, and restaurants. In areas CDC identifies as low and medium COVID-19 community level, masks are optional indoors. Visit current conditions to view the current COVID-19 community level of Yellowstone National Park before you arrive. Masks are still required for everyone on snowcoach and road-based tours.