How can I visit the park?
Most park roads close once the snow flies; the only entrance that remains open is the Northern Entrance at Gardiner. But from West Yellowstone the best ways to see the park are via Snowcoach, Snowmobile, or Cross-Country Skis and Snowshoes. Snowcoach and snowmobile tours are typically offered between December 15th and March 15th.
- Snowcoach Tours
Snowcoach tours are ideal for sightseers and families. Most tours leave from West Yellowstone and access either Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. Some will stop for a cross-country ski excursion, while others will include lunch. Some offer an overnight at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Either way, Snowcoaches are super comfortable and your knowledgeable guide will be there to answer all of your questions.
- Snowmobile Tours
Snowmobilers are only allowed in the park on organized tours. Snowmobile tours typically visit a handful of attractions within the park, including Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon. Note that there are many options for backcountry snowmobiling in and around West Yellowstone as well.
- Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails
While you can enter the park on cross country skis or snowshoes at the West Entrance, most designated cross country ski trails are accessible from the North Entrance. Here are a handful of useful trail maps.
- Winter Lodges
A great way to experience Yellowstone National Park is by staying in one of the park's winter lodges. Make reservations online for Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel or the Old Faithful Snow Lodge.
Weather and Average Temperatures
Winter temperatures often hover near zero (-20C) throughout the day but may reach highs in the 20s (-5C). Subzero over-night temperatures are common. Occasionally, warm "chinook" winds will push daytime temperatures into the 40s (5-10C), causing significant melting of snowpack--especially at lower elevations. Yellowstone also typically experiences periods of bitterly cold weather. The lowest temperature recorded in Yellowstone was -66F (-54C) near West Yellowstone on February 9, 1933. Annual snowfall averages near 150 inches (380cm) in most of the park. At higher elevations, 200-400 inches (5-10m) of snowfall have been recorded. At any time of year, be prepared for sudden changes; unpredictability, more than anything else, characterizes Yellowstone's weather.