Visitors flock to West Yellowstone during the winter months to experience the seasonal beauty of Yellowstone National Park and take advantage of world-class opportunities for winter recreation. With an average of more than 150 inches of snowfall each year, the Greater Yellowstone region transforms into a winter wonderland complete with snow-draped mountains, icy waters, and hardy wildlife. Whether visitors are in search of picturesque vistas or thrilling adventures, West Yellowstone is a thriving winter destination that offers activities for every traveler.
Snow coach tours, snowmobiling, and cross-country-skiing are just a few of the activities that West Yellowstone visitors can experience during the winter season. When planning your next visit, check out the following options to maximize your winter adventure in Yellowstone Country:
- Tour Yellowstone National Park in a snow coach
Snow coaches offer area visitors the opportunity to experience Yellowstone National Park in its winter glory from the comfort and safety of a heated vehicle. Local concessionaires customize vans for over-snow travel, resulting in a unique variety of winter vehicles outfitted for a comfortable touring experience. Visitors can even tour the park in historic bombardiers—the classic, low-profile snow coaches first used to tour Yellowstone in 1955.
Full-day, guided snow coach tours enter through Yellowstone’s west entrance and transport visitors to scenic park destinations, including Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Knowledgable tour guides provide participants with information about the wildlife, geology, and area history along the way. Guests enjoy plenty of photo opportunities, such as snow-covered bison, trumpeter swans, and steaming thermal features. Depending on the tour, visitors may also have the chance to cross-country ski or snowshoe while in the park.
- Adventure in snowmobiler’s paradise
The invention of the modern snowmobile in the 1960s jump-started West Yellowstone’s winter tourism and transformed the area into a premier snowmobile destination. Visitors can cruise along hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails or venture into the backcountry for a rush of adrenaline.
A guided trip can heighten the snowmobile experience for area visitors, especially beginners or those new to the area. Guided snowmobile tours give visitors the opportunity to journey along scenic trails in a controlled environment—participants must stay with their tour guide, adhere to required speed limits, and maintain riding formations. Those seeking to explore Yellowstone National Park by snowmobile must participate in a guided tour. A guided snowmobile tour through Yellowstone National Park allows participants take in the park’s dramatic scenery and wildlife while fostering a sense of independence and adventure outside of an enclosed snow coach.
Want to venture out on your own? Whether you are a beginner or experienced snowmobiler, West Yellowstone businesses offer snowmobile rental options for every rider. Most offer gear rentals as well, including snowmobile suits, insulated boots, gloves, and helmets. Visitors don’t need a guide to operate rental snowmobiles outside of Yellowstone National Park—just pick a trail in the surrounding national forest and start riding!
- Cross-country ski on the famous Rendezvous Trails
Cross-country skiing is both a relaxing and invigorating activity to get the most out of the winter experience in West Yellowstone. Beginners and experienced skiers alike can immerse themselves in the quiet solitude of area trails while reveling in scenic views of mountain landscapes and winter wildlife. West Yellowstone is home to more than 50km of easily accessible groomed cross-country ski trails with even more options available in Yellowstone National Park. The area’s abundant trail options and long winter season have built West Yellowstone’s reputation as a world-class destination for cross-country skiing.
West Yellowstone’s premier trail system is the Rendezvous Ski Trails. The trail system features 40km of trails groomed daily for classic and skate skiing. The terrain is relatively flat, allowing beginners to gain confidence. Gentle hills throughout offer entertaining challenges for advanced skiers. New to the sport? In search of gear? Freeheel and Wheel, West Yellowstone’s local bike and ski shop, offers gear rentals and lessons for skiers of all levels.
West Yellowstone’s breathtaking winter landscapes and rich opportunities for winter recreation have shaped the town into a winter haven for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you are in search of cozy nights by a fire or bluebird days out on the trail, West Yellowstone is the ultimate destination for an unforgettable winter experience.
AUTHOR: CAILTIN STYRSKY