CASPER, Wyo. — Yellowstone National Park’s winter season starts on Friday, Dec. 15, ushering in a unique period of exploration and adventure for visitors.
From mid-December until mid-March, most of the park’s roads will be accessible via commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches, and through the non-commercially guided snowmobile access program.
However, the current limited snowfall in the park’s eastern, western, and northern parts will influence the type of transportation used.
Road Conditions and Updates
Visitors can traverse the park, but transportation methods depend on road conditions. Park staff will continuously collaborate with operators to update conditions throughout the winter.
Winter travel concludes in mid-March as plowing crews start clearing snow. Roads will re-open to automobiles in mid-April, signaling the end of the winter season.
Essential Winter Travel Tips
- Road Closures: Most park roads close to automobiles. The only year-round open roads connect the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, to the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana. Travelers should anticipate possible road closures and check the road status map before departure.
- Visiting Old Faithful: Various park partners and concessioners offer guided tours to iconic spots like Old Faithful during winter.
- Limited Services: Most facilities remain closed in winter. Visitors should check operating dates for available visitor centers, stores, and restaurants.
- Camping and Lodging: The Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are open, but advance reservations are recommended. No campgrounds will be open for the 2023/2024 winter season.
- Preparing for Cold Weather: Expect sub-zero temperatures, especially at night. Visitors should pack appropriate clothing and review winter safety tips.
- Wildlife Safety: Always maintain a safe distance from wildlife and avoid feeding them. Store food securely to prevent wildlife access.
- Boardwalk Safety: Visitors must stay on boardwalks in thermal areas and wear traction aids over footwear on snowy or icy boardwalks.
- App and Connectivity: Download the National Park Service App for enhanced park experience. Cell reception is limited within the park.