Winter in Yellowstone

Winter visitors photographing bison.
Winter visitors stop to photograph bison.

NPS/Diane Renkin

 

Winter in Yellowstone means fewer crowds, frigid temperatures, and steaming geyser basins. Skis, snowshoes, snowcoaches, and snowmobiles become the primary modes of transportation as roads close, rivers and lakes freeze, and snowstorms transform the park into a winter wonderland.

Restricted vehicle access and limited services make winter visits challenging. In a sense, coming during winter resembles visiting before the age of automobiles. People arrive at an entrance, then take a snowcoach or snowmobile (instead of a horse-drawn carriage) in order to see the park.

Every year in early November, most park roads close to regular traffic as we prepare for the winter season. The only exception is the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and the northeast entrance, which is open to regular traffic all year. Once enough snow accumulates (usually by mid-December), roads open to “oversnow” travel only. This means the only way to visit Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and other popular destinations during winter is by guided snowmobile or snowcoach, or through our non-commercially guided snowmobile program. Oversnow travel ends in mid-March, when our plowing crews begin clearing a winter’s worth of snow. Roads start re-opening to normal cars in mid-April.

Most stores, restaurants, campgrounds, and lodges are closed during winter. A few visitor centers remain open, and we also maintain a series of warming huts throughout the park (see below for hours and dates). Ranger-led programs are offered at Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. Park partners and other businesses offer a variety of guided activities and trips during winter.

2016-2017 Facility Dates
Anything not included in this list is closed during the winter.

Facility

Opens

Closes

Albright Visitor Center (9 am–5 pm) Year-round
Mammoth Campground Year-round
Mammoth Clinic (M–Th 8:30 am–5 pm; Fri 8:30 am–1 pm)
Closed weekends & holidays. 307-344-7965.
Year-round
Mammoth General Store
Closed weekends & holidays.
Year-round
Mammoth Hotel, Dining Room & Retail Closed Closed
Mammoth Ski Shop 12/16 02/27
Mammoth Terrace Grill 12/16 02/27
Old Faithful Bear Den Gift Shop 12/15 03/15
Old Faithful Geyser Grill 12/15 03/15
Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins 12/16 02/27
Old Faithful Visitor Education Center (9 am–5 pm) 12/15 03/15
West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center (8 am–5 pm, weekdays) Year-round
West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center - NPS Desk (8 am–4 pm, weekdays) 12/15 03/15

Warming Huts

Warming huts provide shelter for skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers.
Canyon Visitor Education Center Lobby (9 am–3 pm)
Staffed during the day. Vending machine snacks, water, and restrooms available 24 hours a day.
12/15 03/08
Fishing Bridge (Always open)
Staffed daily. Vending machine cold drinks available 24 hours a day.
12/18 02/28
Indian Creek (Always open)
Not staffed. No food or water.
12/18 02/28
Madison (Always open)
Staffed during the day. Light snacks and hot drinks are sold during the day. Vending machine snacks, water, and restrooms available 24 hours a day.
12/15 03/15
Mammoth Hot Springs (9 am–5 pm)
Located above the Upper Terrace parking lot (where oversnow travel begins). Vending machine snacks, cold drinks, and snowmobile fuel.
12/18 02/28
Old Faithful Yurts (Daytime hours only)
Staffed during day. Water and bathrooms available. No vending machines.
12/15 02/28
West Thumb (Always open)
Staffed during the day. No food or water available.
12/15 02/28


More Information

 

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

(307) 344-7381
Recorded information. For road and weather information, please dial 307-344-2117.

Contact Us