We dreamed of visiting Yellowstone National Park in winter for years, and in 2021 we finally took the plunge. Visiting in winter is a such a different experience from summer that it’s practically a different park. Yellowstone receives about the same number of visitors in the entire month of December that it sees in a single day in July. Let that statistic sink in…
Park access by car is limited to Mammoth Hot Springs/Lamar Valley in the north, and West Yellowstone, Montana in the west. All other access is by large-wheeled snow coach or snowmobile, as roads are snow-covered and groomed, but not plowed. In a departure from our normal style of do-it-ourselves trip planning, we bought a five-night, six-day “Winter Couples Adventure” package through Xanterra Lodges. It included bus transportation from the Bozeman Airport, two nights in Mammoth Hot Springs, three nights in the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, our amazing guide Kristi, snowshoe rental, and all meals. There were also little bonuses like a gift basket in the room (post-hike champagne!) and $50 to spend in the gift shop. Group size is limited to 10. We would definitely recommend it as the best way to see the park in winter.
We flew from Chicago to Bozeman, Montana a couple nights early in hopes of skiing at Bridger Bowl, but drought conditions meant not enough snow for the resort to open in time, so we settled for a day of hiking, breweries and museums in town.
Here’s the trip gallery: