Field Notes

A Handy Guide To Yellowstone In Winter

by Mary BessJan 20, 2020

Yellowstone is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful National Parks in the country. With unparalleled views of geysers, hot springs and meadowlands, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to visit this gorgeous National Park. While most tourists visit Yellowstone in the summer, it’s the wintertime where the stillness, amazement and beauty of nature really shines. 

Explore some reasons why you should visit Yellowstone in the winter.

Stunning Snowy Landscapes: Streams sparkling with ice crystals, bison slowly walking through fields blanketed with snow, and steam rising from hot springs can all be seen in Yellowstone in the winter. The contrast of the white twinkling landscape with the blue sky, red of a fox, or a wolf making its way across a valley is something you will never forget.  Read about our winter photography tips before you go. 

Cross-Country Skiing: Yellowstone in the winter is a true adventure by snowshoes and cross country skis. Snow shoes are easy to learn to use and makes it possible to get off the beaten path a little more if you aren’t up for cross country skiing. At Old Faithful, you have 40 miles of cross-country trails available, all of which are interconnected.  If you don’t have ski or snowshoe equipment, you can join a guided tour.

Snowmobiling: For thrill seekers, snowmobiling is an unforgettable activity especially when you do it in Yellowstone. Since this is only allowed on certain roads in the park, you will need to sign up for a guided tour with one of the companies in the area.

Wildlife Viewing: During the winter, bears might be hibernating, but you can see an abundance of bison, elk, coyotes, and deer. In the Lamar Valley, the cold drives the wildlife to the open meadows from the high ridges, making this the perfect opportunity for wildlife photographers to visit. Along the Yellowstone River you may run into some trumpeter swans, otters, bison, elk and always a chance of seeing a bobcat hunting waterfowl along the banks! A visit to numerous thermal features will give you the opportunity to see bison with frosted white coats from steam settling and freezing on their thick coats, a classic winter Yellowstone image.

Our 3-Day Wolves and Wildlife Safari Tour highlights the beauty of the northern reaches of Yellowstone in winter.

Unbelievable Nighttime Skies: Being in one of the most undeveloped parts of the lower 48, the night sky can be so bright sometimes that the white landscape glows and a night walk can be taken without using a flashlight. The milky way  is so clear and bright, you’re in for a treat if you’ve never had the opportunity to stargaze with a true dark sky void of light pollution from cities. 

Soak in the Solitude: Since tourist season is in the warmer months, you enjoy Yellowstone with little disruption in the winter. The paths and roads stretch for miles and miles with a fraction of the  people to be seen. Even some of the most popular places in the park can be visited in solitude in the winter, like Old Faithful. 

Unwind in the Hot Springs: While the geysers are absolutely stunning all year, there’s nothing like getting out of the cold and soaking in a hot spring. Head to the banks of the Yellowstone River, and you’ll find an amazing place to soak. Take advantage of the lack of tourists and hop into a hot spring located just outside Yellowstone National Park!


Join Us on a Yellowstone Winter Tour

The team at Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris offers premier tours to choose from in Yellowstone, specifically in the winter. In partnership with our sister company in Bozeman, Yellowstone Safari Company, you’ll travel through the park interior to fully enjoy the solitude of winter.

We offer a 3-day Wolves and Winter Tour which offers you the chance to visit the northern areas of Yellowstone National Park to photograph wolves, coyote, fox, bald eagles, golden eagles, elk, bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn and mountain goats. Additionally, we’ll visit Paradise Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Blacktail Plateau, Little America and, of course, the famous Lamar Valley. 

Our Expert

Mary Bess

Do'er of Stuff
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Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris combines a love of adventure with a passion for wildlife and wild spaces to create a premium, once in a lifetime experience exploring the natural world.  It is our belief that active stewardship is the only way to ensure the same experience for future generations.  This is why Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris is committed to a culture of sustainability and is dedicated to purchasing products, establishing partnerships and educating the public in a way that values the protection and conservation of our most valuable resources.