Yellowstone’s wild, staggering landscape, exploding with canyons, lakes, geysers, and abundance of wildlife, makes for surreal adventures. But you’re probably wondering: can you still go on epic explorations in winter? The answer is yes. Just imagine the already-magical scenery covered in snow, frosted trees while steam from the hot springs swirls with the chilly air.
Some excellent Yellowstone winter activities include snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, soaking in hot springs, and other crazy, fun explorations, which we will tell you all about in this article. Read on to find out all about the best accommodations and adventure deals, awesome activities, and what to wear in Yellowstone National Park in winter.
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Best Outdoor Winter Activities in and around Yellowstone
Yellowstone is a phenomenal place to visit year-round! We’ve gathered some of the best things to do around Yellowstone in winter for outdoor lovers. Take a look at the following, pick your favorites, and off you go on a memorable adventure.
Snowshoeing in Yellowstone National Park
What better way to immerse into Yellowstone National Park’s snowy bliss than to try out one of the most popular winter activities in Yellowstone: snowshoeing. Some notable trails include:
- The 7.2km Canyon Rim Ski Trail, which unveils views of Yellowstone’s grand canyon. This trail is located in the Canyon Village Area.
- Beginners or adventurers looking for an easier route will enjoy the North Rim Ski Trail, which is just 4.8km. This trail is located in the Canyon Village Area.
- Admire stunning landscapes on the 8.9km Bighorn Loop Ski Trail. This trail is in Mammoth Hot Springs.
- For a super difficult, long adventure, go to Pebble Creek Ski Trail. This 20.9km loop is in the Northeast Area and can take around 8-10 hours!
Keep in mind that Yellowstone National Park has five different entrances, so some of these trails are in various areas throughout the park. Also, don’t snowshoe directly on the cross country ski paths on these trails.
Cross country skiing in Yellowstone National Park
Cross country skiing is one of the most popular things to do in Yellowstone in winter. And most trails you can snowshoe on are also meant for cross country skiers! You can go on any of the routes mentioned above or try some others (which are also suitable for snowshoeing), such as the short 1.6km Old Canyon Bridge Ski Trail in the Canyon Village Area or the 11.3km Barronette Ski Trail in the Northeast Area.
Skiing and snowboarding in Yellowstone National Park
While there’s no official ski resort in Yellowstone National Park, you can find some nearby!
Located just an hour from West Yellowstone is Big Sky Resort. Newbies to experts will enjoy the variety of runs offered here. Ticket prices can range from $64 to $181, depending on when you go.
There’s also more nearby! Just over two hours from the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone sits Red Lodge Mountain. Beginners, intermediate level skiers, and families will enjoy coming here.
Bridger Bowl is another popular choice for skiers, especially those staying in Bozeman, which is only 25.7km from this ski area. It takes over 1.5 hours to reach Yellowstone from Bridger Bowl.
And 2.5 hours from West Yellowstone sits Jackson Hole. This hill is best for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. However, there are a couple of green runs, too. For most of the season, a day ticket for an adult costs $159, but it’s a little cheaper ($98) for the last week of November and the first few days of December.
Skating in Yellowstone National Park
Skating is an excellent thing to do in winter in Yellowstone National Park. Just head to the ice skating rinks around Old Faithful Snow Lodge or Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, lace up your skates, and off you go. You can rent skates too if you don’t own a pair. And you might as well enjoy some hot chocolate while you’re at it. Talk about a fun, cozy winter activity!
Hiking in Yellowstone National Park
For epic Yellowstone winter walks, go to Upper Geyser Basin. Hikes in this area wind to surreal views of the geysers emitting steam into the misty winter air. Start your walk from the Old Faithful Visitor Center and follow the Firehole River to view the geysers in action. This hike gives you a chance to view one of the best Yellowstone winter attractions (and all-year-round attractions): Old Faithful.
You can also find more hikes from the Lower Geyser Basin Trail!
Snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park
Snowmobiling is one of the most fun things to do in Yellowstone in winter! But you can’t just bring any snowmobile and enter the park; you need to get a permit via the park lottery system, which means you may not get in for the day you want. But you can take part in this thrilling activity by going on a guided tour!
Go on a snowcoach in Yellowstone National Park
Embarking on a snowcoach adventure is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Yellowstone. A snowcoach is a yellow bus with oversized tires built for snowy drives. You’ll need to book with a tour company to ride a snowcoach into Yellowstone.
Adventure zipline near Yellowstone National Park
Skiing at Big Sky Resort? You might as well head to the Adventure Zipline for up to 2.5 hours of pure, exhilarating thrill and adrenaline! Soak in the incredible views as you fly 46m above the forest sprawled below.
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
Do yourself a favor and make your way to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. This is also one of the best things to do with kids in Yellowstone!
Winter camping in Yellowstone National Park
Winter camping is a popular item on most outdoor lovers’ bucket list, and you can easily check it off by camping at Mammoth Campground in Yellowstone near the North Entrance. Pack your tent, winter-proof sleeping bags, and enjoy a memorable night stargazing! Just remember to dress warm and bring the appropriate gear, so it doesn’t become one of those nights that you look back on and think, “never again.”
Best Winter Deals In And Around Yellowstone National Park
Take advantage of the best winter deals in and around Yellowstone National Park by paying attention to the following special offers and packages. Why pay more for an activity when you can spend less, right? It’s simple logic!
Best Accommodation Deals around Yellowstone
Mammoth Springs Hotel: Book the Couples Winter Package and receive four nights at Mammoth Springs Hotel, including all meals. Guided tours for Yellowstone’s most epic sights: Old Faithful, Lamar Valley, Grand Canyon (Yellowstone’s). You’ll also receive a welcome bag and a gift basket! And a 10% off discount card for select items, rentals, and activities. It costs $1735 per person—just think of it as an all-inclusive resort type of deal. There’s also the Frosty Fun Package and the Winter Wolf Discovery Package at Mammoth Springs Hotel!
Best Ski Deals around Yellowstone
Big Sky Resort: Save 30% off rentals if you stay in one of the lodges at Big Sky Resort for two nights and book your rentals 30 days before arriving. There are some blackout dates in February and March, and you have to stay four nights if you book between Dec 27 and Jan 2.
Red Lodge Mountain: If you’re traveling with a group of 15 people or more, you can take advantage of this awesome special offer: receive discounted tickets, one free coordinator lift ticket, and a rental package. Everyone will get 15% off rentals and lessons. One person will have to pay for everyone to qualify as a group.
Winter Weather in Yellowstone
Prepare for brisk winter weather in Yellowstone! On average, temperatures range from zero to 20°F (-20°C to -5°C). It usually snows around 150 inches a year, but other areas within the park may experience double that amount. December and January are typically the coldest months. The bottom line: dress warm and get ready for supernatural scenery laden with snow.
What to Wear during Winter in Yellowstone National Park
When it comes to what to wear during winter in Yellowstone National Park, all you need to do is pack layers, layers, layers. Think about your outdoor activities in Yellowstone and dress appropriately. We advise packing wool socks (not cotton), a base layer (long johns), fleece, gloves, hat, scarf, and gaiters. You’ll also want to bring cozy clothes for when you’re just chilling at your hotel—and probably a bathing suit!
Fun Winter Facts about Yellowstone
Tune into the following fun winter facts about Yellowstone and tell them to your friends and family:
- The lowest temperature ever recorded in Yellowstone National Park is a horrendously cold -66F (-54C).
- This isn’t a winter fact, but Yellowstone has 500 active geysers!
- And another non-winter fact: Yellowstone has 290 waterfalls! Just imagine how magical these look amid snow.
Yellowstone National Park is a natural wonder year-round, but the snow elevates its enchantment and magic!