One of the best times to experience Yellowstone is during the winter when you can ski, snowshoe and snowmobile seemingly endless white fields of snow. You’ll find tons of solitude as most travelers explore the park during the summer months. But with the winter season, you’ll find not everything is open.
Winter Lodging in Yellowstone
Many of Yellowstone’s hotels and cabins, including the famous Old Faithful Inn, are only open during the summer season. However, there are a couple of options for lodging during the winter inside the park. And gateway towns such as Gardiner in the north, West Yellowstone and Big Sky in the west, Cody in the east, and Jackson Hole in the south, have many options for winter hotels and resorts.
How to Make Yellowstone Winter Lodging Reservations
First, you will make all your lodging reservations through Xanterra, the park concessionaire that manages all hotel lodging in the park. You can make reservations online www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com or via phone at 307-344-7311.
Only two park lodges are normally open during the winter: Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins and Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins. However, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel lodging is closed for the next two winters 2016/2017 and 2017/2018. The hotel is undergoing an extensive renovation for the next two years, and crews will be working during the winter months, so the hotel can remain open during the summer. Guests cannot stay at the hotel or cabins during the winter.
As a result, your only option for staying in the park during winter is the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, which opens Dec. 16, 2016 and closes Feb. 27, 2017. It’s only accessible by commercially operated oversnow vehicles called “snowcoaches.” To get there, you will catch your snowcoach at Mammoth Hotel and it will bring you to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins. Snowcoaches leave twice per day. Make a reservation at the same time you make your hotel reservation. You are limited to two pieces of luggage plus a carry-on. If you are coming from Jackson, Wyo. make your reservations through Scenic Safaris and ask about their luggage limits. www.scenic-safaris.com/contact-scenic-safaris-jackson-wy
Winter Camping in Yellowstone
Willing to brave the cold weather and set up camp? Although most of Yellowstone’s campgrounds close in mid-September, Mammoth Campground is open year-round to tents and RVs. Mammoth Campground is managed by the park and is first-come, first-serve. The campground does not take reservations.
Getting to the Park in Winter
You can drive to the North Entrance of Yellowstone and park your car in Mammoth to catch your snowcoach shuttle to Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins. Or leave the driving to someone else and take the Xanterra airport shuttle. See park map.
Xanterra, the company that manages all lodging in the park, offers an airport shuttle from the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport to Mammoth Hotel and back every day during the winter only. Reserve your seats when you book your lodging, and get a special package rate of $44 per adult and $22 per child ages 3-11, one way. Otherwise, airport shuttle rates are $56 per adult and $28 per child one way.
For the 2016-17 season, shuttles leave Bozeman airport for Mammoth at 9 a.m., arriving at 12. They leave Mammoth at 1:15 p.m. daily, arriving in Bozeman at 4 p.m. In Bozeman, the shuttle also stops at the Holiday Inn to drop off overnight guests.