It is absolutely gorgeous in Yellowstone in the wintertime. Most roads inside Yellowstone are closed to personal vehicles, so you can relax and let a winter guide show you around via snowmobile, snowcoach or even skis and snowshoes. Knowledgeable local guides will make the day a memorable one for your family.
Snowcoach and Snowmobile Tours
The West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park is located in West Yellowstone, Mont., and it's known as the "Snowmobiling Capital of the World" when the snowflakes start to fall. There are more than 400 groomed trails accessible from town.
During winter, the West Entrance of the park is closed to vehicular traffic, but you can snowmobile into the park, as long as you are part of a guided expedition or have your own permit. You can apply for a permit in August through a park lottery system at www.recreation.gov or 877-444-6777. Otherwise, go with a guide based in West Yellowstone.
Here are some of the businesses in West Yellowstone that provide snowmobiling guided tours and private snowcoach tours into the park.
Yellowstone Snowcoach Tours of West Yellowstone seeyellowstone.com
Backcountry Adventures www.backcountry-adventures.com
Buffalo Bus Touring Company www.yellowstonevacations.com
Targhee Snowmobile Tours tetonvalleyadventures.com (Snowmobile only)
Two Top Yellowstone Winter Tours www.twotopsnowmobile.com (Snowmobile only)
The South Entrance of Yellowstone backs up into Grand Teton National Park. But the nearest town is Jackson, Wyo., 64 miles south of the entrance. This entrance is closed to the public during winter. But you can go into the park with authorized concessionaires from this entrance via snowmobiles or snowcoach. Here are some companies that operate out of Jackson to consider.
Scenic Safaris www.scenic-safaris.com
Teton Science Schools www.tetonscience.org/wildlife-expeditions/yellowstone-winter (Snowcoach only)
Old Faithful Snowmobile Tours www.snowmobilingtours.com (Snowmobile only)
The North Entrance is the only entrance to Yellowstone National Park that is open to the public all year long. In fact, it's the only entrance you can use in the winter to drive into the park.
The North Entrance sits in Gardiner, Mont., a small but vibrant town that's a little sleepy in the winter. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins sits in the park down the road from downtown Gardiner and offers accommodations during the winter, fall and summer.
You can drive from Gardiner to Cooke City in the winter, as well as to the Roosevelt Lodge area. If you park near the stables on the road here, you can snowshoe or cross-country ski to Tower Falls.
To ride a snowcoach deep into the park for a tour or to get to the Snow Lodge in the Old Faithful area, reach out to Yellowstone National Park Lodges, the authorized concessionaire for this entrance.
Yellowstone National Park Lodges www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com (Snowcoach only)
Ski and Snowshoe Tours
Get out and explore Yellowstone's magical landscape in the winter with people who know the park's best sights. Here are four companies and organizations to consider.
Yellowstone National Park Lodges www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com
Teton Science Schools www.tetonscience.org/wildlife-expeditions/yellowstone-winter
Wildland Trekking www.wildlandtrekking.com/yellowstone/winter-trips.html
Yellowstone Forever Institute www.yellowstone.org/experience/yellowstone-forever-institute
Sled Dog Tours Near Yellowstone
Experience the snow from a dog's perspective when you go dog sledding in the Yellowstone area. There are two dog sled companies to consider for your next adventure, both of which are relatively near West Yellowstone.
Spirit of the North Sled Dog Adventures in Big Sky, Mont.: huskypower.com
Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures near Big Sky, Mont., www.yellowstonedogsledadventures.com
Wolf Watching in Wintertime
Longing to see Yellowstone’s most elusive major predator, the wolf? There’s no better time to get a glimpse of these beautiful animals than in winter, when their dark coats stand out against the white snow. Go on a wolf-watching tour for the best chance to spot one.
Only have one day? Opt for the 8-hour tours from Yellowstone Forever, which explore Yellowstone’s northern range in search of wildlife. Try a short hike, snowshoe or ski outing as part of the day.
Yellowstone Safari Company (www.yellowstonesafari.com) offers a two-day trip to Yellowstone’s northern range, the Winter Wolf and Wildlife Safari. Participants get a long evening to look for the wolves, and then get an early-morning start the following day.
If you want a longer trip, check out Wolf Tracker (www.wolftracker.com), which offers five-day trips, including Wolf Watches in Gardiner, Mont. as well as a Wolf Retreat in Bozeman, Mont. Outings are led by a knowledgeable husband and wife team: He’s a Yellowstone native who’s studied wolf and elk ecology and she’s a researcher and conservationist.