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, closed to wheeled vehicles in the winter, is located in West Yellowstone, Mont. It's known as the "Snowmobiling Capital of the World" when the snowflakes start to fall, but most snowmobile tour operators offer snowcoach tours as well. 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)
Learn more about snowmobiling in Yellowstone and beyond.
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 wheeled vehicles 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 you can use in the winter to drive into the park.
The 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. Snowcoach and snowmobile tours pickup at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
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. Learn more about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Yellowstone.
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 Rides 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 near Yellowstone's West Entrance to consider for your next adventure.
Spirit of the North Sled Dog Adventures in Big Sky, Mont.: huskypower.com
Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures near Big Sky, Mont., www.yellowstonedogsledadventures.com
Staying south of Yellowstone in Jackson Hole? Contact Jackson Central Reservations at 307.733.4005 or visit www.jacksonholewy.com/things-to-do/dog-sledding-tours/ for local sledding companies.
Learn more about dog sledding near Yellowstone.
Wolf Watching Tours 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.
Winter Sleigh Rides near Yellowstone
Up to 7,000 elk spend their winter in the National Elk Refuge, a 24,700-acre sanctuary between the town of Jackson, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. And when snow blankets the ground from mid-December to early April, you can see them up close from the safety of a horse-drawn sleigh.
Or, take one of these top three sleigh rides near Yellowstone and Grand Teton on the west side of the Teton mountain range.
At Mountain River Ranch, guests are greeted with cider or hot chocolate before boarding the sleigh. You’ll sing along to holiday songs during the ride and then enjoy a live Old West holiday show after and served a prime rib dinner to boot! www.mountainriverranch.com
Who doesn’t enjoy ice, lights, and snow? La Belle Lake Lodge offers its guests the chance to walk through ice passages, slide down ice slides and sit on an ice throne, all before your sleigh ride begins. www.labellelake.com
Linn Canyon Ranch's guests are also greeted with their choice of hot chocolate or cider before boarding their sleigh. You’ll visit the local llamas and watch the horses get fed their dinner, all underneath the comforts of a warm blanket. linncanyonranch.com