Best Time to Visit Yellowstone in Winter

Yellowstone during Winter
Matt Claiborne
Matt Claiborne
December 3, 2021

If you love nature, wildlife, and outdoor sports, consider visiting Yellowstone National Park in winter. Yellowstone National Park is beautiful in summer but exquisite in winter.


Yellowstone during winter

Yellowstone National Park is an enchanting place to visit in the winter. Instead of planning a tropical getaway, plan to enjoy a winter wonderland. The park is blanketed in snow, providing a breathtaking backdrop. Instead of jostling with other summer tourists, winter visitors experience solitude. In addition, winter is a great time to view wildlife and admire the famous geysers.


Most areas of Yellowstone have limited or no cell connectivity. So instead of playing games on your phone, you can genuinely connect with your traveling companions and nature's glory.


Old Faithful is beautiful year-round, but it's winter eruptions are simply spectacular. Instead of a cluttering background of tourists and greenery, Old Faithful erupts against a blue sky and white snow backdrop. The famous geyser shoots water over 100 feet into the air. When the near-boiling water hits the cold air, geyser rain forms, this unique phenomenon causes ice crystals and flakes to form and gently glide to the ground.


The hot springs area is beautiful and peaceful during winter. Visitors can admire the unique travertine terrace formations. In addition, you can bring your ice skates and skate on Mammoth's free rink.


A bison covered with snow

Yellowstone's wildlife remains active in the winter. In addition, nature is easy to spot against the stark, snowy background. Spotting animal tracks in the snow is another winter wildlife treat. Elk, bison, and wolves are commonly seen.

In addition, the animals are sporting their warm winter coats. Bison seem almost decorated with snow and ice crystals and create a memorable scene.


Active visitors will find an endless array of winter sports. Visitors can explore miles of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails. The trails offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meander past hot springs, watch geysers erupt, and spot bison herds.

Guided snowshoe and cross-country skiing tours are available. Tours offer a great way to enjoy the impressive landscape while tour leaders discuss the area's ecology. Visitors can bring their equipment or rent it at Old Faithful Snow Lodge or Mammoth Hotel.


Snow coach in Yellowstone

Most park roads are closed to regular vehicles in the winter. However, visitors can get around in a Yellowstone snow coach. The snow coaches have front skis or low-pressure tires and glide over the snowy, icy roads. Once off the snow coach, visitors can further explore under their power by snowshoe or skis.


The Northern Range is the only portion of Yellowstone open to vehicles in the winter. Visitors can drive in and enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, and wildlife watching.


Visitors can expect freezing temperatures. During the day, it might warm up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, temperatures dip to as cold as minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It is essential to plan for cold weather and pack proper clothing and gear.

The high altitude and dry winter air can accelerate dehydration. Visitors should pack plenty of food and water and use insulated containers to ensure their drinking water doesn't freeze.


Yellowstone National Park is a bucket list item worth enjoying in all seasons. December through February offers the best time to visit Yellowstone in winter. Winter visitors will make memories to last a lifetime in this stunning park. Montana and Wyoming offer endless opportunities to enjoy nature and breathtaking scenery. Check out more scenic drives near you and enjoy Big Sky country.

No items found.

Featured On...

national register of historic places
"as seen on Hotel Impossible"
haunted montana cover