YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Yellowstone National Park (YNP) will open for the winter season this Wednesday, Dec. 15. Most roads in Yellowstone National Park will open to the public for motorized oversnow travel. Due to limited snow, travel will be restricted to snowcoaches until conditions improve.
Annually 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.
As the winter season commences, YNP released 10 things visitors should know before a winter visit.
1. Most Park Roads are Closed to Automobiles
Check the road status map before you leave. The only exception is the road between the North and Northeast entrances, which is open to automobiles all year, conditions permitting. Drive cautiously and watch out for snowplows. Do not stop, stand, or walk in the road. Use a pullout if you need to stop for any reason.
2. Want to See Old Faithful?
Park partners and concessioners offer a variety of guided trips throughout the park during the winter months. Authorized businesses also offer guided tours for a variety of activities.
3. Services are Limited
Most facilities are closed during winter. Check winter operating hours for visitor centers, stores, restaurants, campgrounds, lodges and warming huts. Fill up on fuel and pack extra food and water.
4. Camping and Lodging
Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hotel are open during winter. Make reservations as far in advance as possible. Lodging is also available in nearby communities. The only campground in the park open year-round is in Mammoth Hot Springs, located 5 miles south of the park’s North Entrance.
5. 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, especially at night and at higher elevations. Check current weather conditions, pack proper clothing and equipment, and review winter safety tips!
6. Do Not Approach or Feed Wildlife
The safest way to view wildlife is through a telephoto lens, a spotting scope or a pair of binoculars. Stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23 m) from all other wildlife. Animals always have the right of way. Expect to encounter bison and other wildlife on park roads. Slow down or pull over until they pass or move off the road.
7. Stay on Boardwalks
People have been severely injured or killed by breaking through thin ground in thermal basins or falling into hot springs. Snow-packed boardwalks can be slippery, especially near thermal areas. Wear traction aids over your shoes or boots.
8. Protect Yourself and Others
Consistent with CDC guidance, visitors to Yellowstone National Park, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission levels, are required to wear a mask indoors, on snowcoach and road-based tours, and in crowded outdoor spaces.
9. Enhance Your Experience
Download the free National Park Service app (and offline content) before you arrive.
10. Connectivity is Limited
You will likely not receive calls or texts, even in the few areas you have cell reception.
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.