Something special happens to Yellowstone in the winter. The snowy forests take on a mystical silence, clouds of steam billow up gently around deserted hot springs and an air of solitude permeates the pristine, snow-covered wonderland. Experience the serenity of the season by exploring Yellowstone National Park this winter. Here’s what to keep in mind.
Is Yellowstone open in the winter?
The winter season in Yellowstone National Park begins Thursday, Dec. 15. Conditions permitting, most park roads will open to oversnow travel.
From mid-December until mid-March, visitors travel most of the park’s roads by commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches and via the non-commercially guided snowmobile program.
Top Things to Know in Winter
❄️ Most Park Roads are Closed to Automobiles
The only exception is the road between the North and Northeast entrances, which is open to automobiles all year, conditions permitting. Check the road status map before you leave (in our “Road Status” highlight) and drive cautiously.
❄️ Want to See Old Faithful?
Park partners, concessioners, and authorized businesses offer a variety of guided trips and tours in the park during the winter.
❄️ Services are Limited
Most facilities are closed during winter. Check winter operating hours, fill up on fuel and pack extra food and water.
❄️ Camping and Lodging
Due to the historic flood event this summer, the Old Faithful Snow Lodge is the only winter lodging in the park. Lodging is also available in nearby communities. There are currently no campgrounds open for the winter.
❄️ Prepare for Winter Conditions
Winter temperatures range from zero to 20°F (-20°C to -5°C) throughout the day. Sub-zero temperatures are common. Check current weather conditions, pack proper clothing and equipment, and review winter safety tips!
❄️ Do Not Approach or Feed Wildlife
Expect to encounter bison and other wildlife on park roads. Animals always have the right of way. Slow down or pull over until they pass or move off the road.
❄️ Stay on Boardwalks
Snow-packed boardwalks can be slippery, especially near thermal areas. Wear traction aids over your shoes or boots.
❄️ Enhance Your Experience
Download the free National Park Service App (and offline content) before you arrive.
❄️ Connectivity is Limited
You will likely not receive calls or texts in the park.
Winter travel ends in mid-March when plowing crews begin to clear a winter’s worth of snow. Roads will start to re-open to automobiles in mid-April.