Yellowstone Wonderland

January 26, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

ReliableReliableOn very cold winter days, it's not unusual for Old Faithful to toss snow and/or ice high into sky during an eruption.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

Whenever I'm in Yellowstone in the winter I can almost hear Andy Williams crooning his signature song - at least the first line of it. That's exactly how I feel about the park this time of year.

Snow is piled high and the thermal features are even more dramatic in frigid temperatures. Beautiful hoarfrost clings to vegetation, ghost trees are caked in white, and wildlife is easier to see.

In winter, the place feels almost - gloriously - empty.  Lodging in West Yellowstone can be secured for a fraction of what it costs during the summer months, and most of the time you can book on short notice. What's not to like?

With the exception of the road between Gardiner and Cooke City, the park is closed to over-road traffic from November until April. The only way you LonerLonerBison sport thick, wooly coats during the frigid winter months to protect them from harsh conditions.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
can get inside is via snowcoach, snowmobile, or on foot (snowshoes or cross country skis) - so yes, you've got to work a little harder. It's worth it, though.

The roadways are in great shape; they're groomed daily. Each afternoon at about 3:30 the groomers begin making their rounds; all visitors have to be out by 5pm to make way for road crews. In the morning - pristine!

A few things to be aware of if you're considering visiting Yellowstone in winter:

Dress Appropriately
Expect it to be very cold. Daytime temperatures typically range between 0° and 20°F, while overnights can drop well below zero. Make sure you've got the proper clothing. Wear layers; when the sun comes out and especially if you're moving around a lot, you can still get overheated. 

Services are Limited
Most of the park is closed for the season. If you're looking for food, your only real option is at Old Faithful. There's a coffee shop at Mammoth, and vending machines at both Mammoth and the Canyon Visitor Center Lobby.

Snowmobile fuel is available at Mammoth and Old Faithful.

You'll find warming huts at Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Indian Creek, Madison, West Thumb, and Mammoth Hot Springs. There are yurts at Old Faithful.

Use Traction Aids
It's slippery! Especially on boardwalks near thermal features, you're going to run into lots of ice. It's much easier to get around with microspikes on your boots.

Like the rest of this area, Yellowstone is having a very good winter so far in terms of snowfall. The current snowpack is 38 inches, which is 121% of normal.

The park is worth seeing any time during the year, but for my money nothing compares to winter. Yellowstone in winter truly is a wonderland. 


No comments posted.
January February March April May June July (1) August (3) September (1) October (4) November (2) December (2)