Winter Activities

48 Hours in Winter in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Two days of sights and activities in a winter wonderland.

Visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks during the winter, the most uncrowded season when you may feel like you have the parks to yourself. Our vacation itinerary for you includes sights of elk, art and views in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole. Then spending the second day among Yellowstone’s wildlife and geysers.

Day 1: Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

Cross-Country Ski below the Grand

Grand Teton National Park in Winter
Grand Teton National Park in WinterNPS Tobiason Public Domain

Beautifully groomed trails beneath the world-class Tetons set the bar high for any skiing you do afterwards in your life. Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake to Signal Mountain Lodge is closed to vehicles in the winter, but it is groomed for classic and skate skiing.

See World-Renowned Artists

National Museum of Wildlife Art
Sculpture garden outside the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson.Deposit Photos

At some point, you’re going to want to warm up indoors. Head to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Stop in here to see TINY: Charismatic Minifauna from the Permanent Collection, an ode to the tiny creatures through the eyes of artists like Pablo Picasso.

Sleigh Ride in the National Elk Refuge

Sleigh ride through the National Elk Rufuge near Jackson, Wyo.
Thousands of elk migrate to the refuge every winter.Lori Iverson USFWS

Established in 1912, the National Elk Refuge is located just five minutes from downtown and the park and offers rides mid-December through early April. When was the last time you rode a sleigh to see between 6,000-7,000 elk up-close and safely? Don’t miss this opportunity.

Snowshoe with a Park Ranger

Snowshoeing

Go on a guided snowshoe hike led by a ranger that begins at the Taggart Lake trailhead in Grand Teton National Park. Rent snowshoes beforehand at Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center from the Grand Teton Association ($5/adult;$2/child). Tours are offered four days per week Dec. 26 through mid-March, snow conditions permitting. Reservations are required at 307-739-3399.

Day 2: Yellowstone

Go on a Wildlife Safari

Snowcoach near Tuff Cliff in Yellowstone
Snowcoach near Tuff Cliff in YellowstoneNPS Jacob W Frank

Wake up in Yellowstone and head out on the Lamar Valley Wildlife Tour. From the heated snowcoach, you’ll look for magnificent bison, wolves and eagles in Yellowstone’s winter wonderland.

Kick Back and Ice Skate

Ice skating at Yellowstone's Snow Lodge
Ice skating at Yellowstone’s Snow Lodge (Photo: NPS/Jacob W. Frank)

Yellowstone has small ice skating rinks at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. Ice skates are free to rent. Start practicing those figure eights.

Explore on Skis or Snowshoes

A cross-country skier at Orange Spring Mound on the Upper Terrance of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone
A cross-country skier at Orange Spring Mound on the Upper Terrance of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone (Photo: NPS/Jacob W Frank)

Rent skis and take Xanterra’s Mammoth skier shuttle to the Indian Creek Cross Country Ski Area in Yellowstone. Or leave from the Snow Lodge via snowcoach to the Canyon area and go on a guided ski or snowshoe tour of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Hop on a Snowmobile

Snowmobiles passing bison on a road in Yellowstone
Snowmobiles passing bison on a road in YellowstoneNPS Jacob W Frank

Make advanced reservations and see the park via snowmobile with one of Yellowstone’s authorized guides listed on nps.gov/yell. You’ll see wildlife and some of the park’s most iconic sights like Old Faithful.

Dine at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge

Old Faithful Snow Lodge in Winter
Old Faithful Snow Lodge in WinterNPS Jim Peaco

Warm up and fuel up for the next day at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge‘s Obsidian Dining Room. The menu includes local sustainably harvested food whenever possible, so you’ll discover items like bison short ribs. Afterwards, head to the Snow Lodge’s lobby where you can sit by the fire and listen to live music. Reservations are required at 307-344-7311.


Winter Trip Planner cover

Start planning a winter vacation by downloading the Winter Trip Planner for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park today.