Backcountry Situation Report

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Last Updated: November 7, 2022

Backcountry Permits:

Backcountry Permits are required for all overnight stays in the Backcountry. You can reserve winter backcountry permits in advance on Recreation.gov. With exception of the Snake River backcountry office, all other offices are closed to in-person visits. Visitors must convert their reservations into permit via the Snake River backcountry office, or by contacting the Central backcountry office via email or phone prior to entering the backcountry. The Central backcountry office is minimally staffed over the winter. Please contact us 3 -7 days in advance to convert your reservations. Permits are only available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Permitting staff is not available on the weekends or holidays. Please plan accordingly.To contact the Central Backcountry Office call 307-344-2160 or email yell_backcountry_office@nps.gov.
Please visit our Winter camping page for specific information on how to obtain a backcountry permit. Prior to contacting us please watch our winter video.

  • Due to extreme temperatures and weather conditions overnight winter trips should be attempted only by experienced winter backpackers/skiers and well-equipped parties.

General Conditions

Backcountry Access

Review the park roads page, and / or learn about the non-commercially guided snow mobile access program.

See our Ski and Snowshoeing page for ski trail descriptions.

Want to hire a guide? See snowmobile/ snow coach tours, or ski tours available for hire.

Backcountry Conditions:

  • Backcountry conditions are not updated over the winter. All trails are currently snow covered. Snow conditions vary widely across the park. Up to date conditions will start back up in early May. (11/7/22)
  • The fishing and boating seasons have closed for the year.
  • Review safe winter travel techniques, and winter clothing and equipment recommendations Check this map to get an idea of current snow depths.
  • For the most up to date ski conditions visit Yellowstone National Park Lodges website . Once their ski shop is open (around December 15th) they will have the most up-to-date trail and grooming conditions.
  • Yellowstone does not have its own avalanche report but there are several avalanche reports near our region that you

can reference. Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center or Bridger Teton National Avalanche Center

Backcountry Closures:

There are a couple of backcountry closures located in the Northern Section of the park. Please review closure maps for Stephen's Creek Closure, and the flood related closures.

Wildlife & Pets

Survival during the long winter is difficult for wildlife. Human contact only adds unnecessary stress. Avoid approaching or startling any animals or birds. Exercise extreme caution in bear and mountain lion country.

With exception of service animals, pets are not allowed on trails, unplowed roads, in the backcountry, or off leash. Dog sledding and ski-joring are prohibited.

Do not leave food unattended at any time. All food, trash, and odorous items must be properly stored (hung 10 feet above ground and 4 feet from side supports or kept in one of the installed metal bear proof boxes, or an approved bear resistant food container) whenever the items are not in immediate use. See the list of bear resistant food containers (canisters, panniers, and coolers) that are approved for use in Yellowstone;s backcountry.

Other Notable Regulations

  • Fires are not allowed in the backcountry during the winter.
  • Bicycles including bicycles modified for oversnow travel, are prohibited on oversnow routes.

Bear Management Areas:

On March 10th, several Bear Management Areas go into effect. if you are traveling during that time make sure to familiarize yourself with these closures.


 

Contact Us

Please email the Central Backcountry Office if you have any questions about specific areas.

 

More Information

Last updated: November 16, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park , WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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