10 Tips For Visiting Yellowstone National Park This Winter
The winter season in Yellowstone National Park kicks off Wednesday, December 15. If you're planning a trip to YNP during the winter, there are a few things that you need to know before you go.
On Wednesday, most park roads will officially open to over-snow vehicles. However, travel in some areas will be restricted to snow coaches due to a lack of snow. Travel restrictions will remain in place until conditions improve.
Winter is a great time to visit Yellowstone, but weather conditions can often be unpredictable, and if you're not prepared, you're going to have a bad time.
Thankfully, Yellowstone National Park is helping visitors prepare for their winter adventure. Here are 10 tips to make your winter visit to Yellowstone National Park the best it can be,
The following information was provided in a press release from Yellowstone National Park.
1. Most Park Roads are Closed to Automobiles
Make sure to check road conditions using the road status map before you leave. The only road open to automobiles all year is the road between the North and Northeast entrances, from Gardiner to Cooke City. Watch out for snowplows drive carefully. Do not stop, stand, or walk on the road. Use a pullout if you need to stop for any reason.
2. Want to See Old Faithful?
Park partners and concessioners offer a variety of guided trips throughout the park during the winter months. Authorized businesses also offer guided tours for a variety of activities.
3. Most facilities are closed during winter.
Check winter operating hours for visitor centers, stores, restaurants, campgrounds, lodges and warming huts. Fill up on fuel and pack extra food and water.
4. Camping and Lodging
Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hotel are open during winter. Make reservations as far in advance as possible. Lodging is also available in nearby communities. The only campground in the park open year-round is in Mammoth Hot Springs, located 5 miles south of the park's North Entrance.
5. Prepare for Winter Conditions
Winter temperatures range from zero to 20°F throughout the day. Sub-zero temperatures are common, especially at night and at higher elevations. Check current weather conditions, pack proper clothing and equipment, and review winter safety tips.
6. Do Not Approach or Feed Wildlife
The safest way to view wildlife is through a telephoto lens, a spotting scope or a pair of binoculars. Stay 100 yards from bears and wolves and 25 yards from all other wildlife. Animals always have the right of way. Expect to encounter bison and other wildlife on park roads. Slow down or pull over until they pass or move off the road.
7. Stay on Boardwalks
People have been severely injured or killed by breaking through the thin ground in thermal basins or falling into hot springs. Snow-packed boardwalks can be slippery, especially near thermal areas. Wear traction aids over your shoes or boots.
8. Protect Yourself and Others
Consistent with CDC guidance, visitors to Yellowstone National Park, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission levels, are required to wear a mask indoors, on snowcoach and road-based tours, and in crowded outdoor spaces.
9. Enhance Your Experience
Download the free National Park Service app before you arrive.
10. Connectivity is Limited
You will likely not receive calls or texts, even in the few areas you have cell reception
For more information about commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches, click here. Winter travel ends in mid-March when plowing crews begin to clear a winter’s worth of snow. Roads will start to re-open to automobiles in mid-April.