5 Reasons to Visit Yellowstone in the Winter

Norris Geyser Basin in winter
Norris Geyser Basin

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK receives over 3 million visitors every year but most people visit in summertime. Want to have an extraordinary experience? Visit Yellowstone in the Winter!

No Crowds

Firehole River in snow with 2 photographers standing on the edge.  Wter Blur.
Firehole River

YELLOWSTONE IS HUGE! 3,500 square miles of winter wilderness is yours to explore. No traffic jams to irritate you, no jockeying over parking spaces, no campground clutter.

A Photographic Paradise

Two Coyotes in Yellowstone snow looking at the camera
Coyotes in Yellowstone

Wildlife photography is boosted to whimsical levels as the snow is a high key backdrop for the animals. Just make sure to set your exposure compensation a notch higher than usual.

Approaching Storm at Elk Antler Creek

Idyllic landscapes surround you: Rivers, waterfalls, forests, prairies and lakes. Don’t forget! Yellowstone has 1/2 of the world’s geothermal features and they gush steam in wintertime.

Easier to Spot Wildlife

River Otter on the Madison River

Tracks in the snow make it easy to track and spot animals such as wolves, fox, and bobcats. Perhaps you will see river otters playing under the ice falls.

Bison surrounding a car in Yellowstone in winter.  Photo taken from inside the car and shows the bison through the window
Yellowstone Traffic
Elk crossing the road in front of a Chevy truck on a snowy road.
Elk Crossing

Enjoy the Park in a Warm Vehicle

Many of the park roads and iconic attractions are open! Using specially outfitted vehicles with a driver/guide, you can safely see iconic sites. Guided tours enter through the West Yellowstone Entrance and the Gardiner Entrance. If you want to drive your own vehicle, the North Entrance at Gardnier is the only option.

Snowmobile Adventure

The many of the Park’s roads are plowed making a great surface for smooth snowmobile rides. Ride to Old Faithful in a heated outfit on a comfortable snowmobile. Most visitors need to join an outfitter to enter for safety reasons.

Yellowstone is a true winter wonderland.

Yellowstone Winter Packing List

Temperatures can drop below zero while you are in the park. Even though you might be in a heated vehicle or in a warm snowmobile suit, be prepared for extended outdoor time as you enjoy the sights.

  • Layer, layer, layer!
  • Warm Jacket
  • Warm Sweater
  • Warm base layer
  • Snow pants
  • Snow Boots
  • Hand-Warmers
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera Gear
  • Plenty of Snacks/Drinks

Trip Planning