Yellowstone opens for winter season on Dec. 15

JACKSON, Wyo — Yellowstone National Park will open to the public for travel by snowcoach and snowmobile on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Between December 15 and mid-March, visitors can travel the park’s interior roads on commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches from the North, West, East, and South entrances, weather-permitting. Visitors who have proper permits can also take non-commercially guided snowmobile trips

Traditionally, the East Entrance Road to Lake Butte Overlook (Sylvan Pass) is open on December 22 and closed on March 1 as conditions allowed. In October 2020, Yellowstone sought comments from the public about adjusting the winter operating dates for that segment of road. After evaluating public comments and completing compliance requirements, the park recently made the decision to routinely open the East Entrance on December 15 and close it on March 15, weather dependent.

This change aligns operating dates for the East Entrance with other park entrances. The park annually opens roads in mid-December to oversnow travel only. 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.

The one exception is the road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana. This road is plowed and open to automobiles all year.

Additionally, the park asks each visitor to recreate responsibly to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you are sick, they ask not to visit the park.

Visitor services will be limited this winter, and dates may be subject to change. Check for updates at Explore in Winter.

The following list highlights what visitor services will be available and when they will open:

Canyon Village 

  • Lobby and restrooms only at the Canyon Visitor Education Center – December 15 

Old Faithful  

  • Geyser Grill and Bear Den Gift Shop – December 15
  • Restrooms only at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center – December 15
  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center – TBD

Mammoth Hot Springs

  • Mammoth Hotel & Cabins, Mammoth Hotel Map Room Barista/Bar, Dining Room, Mammoth Gift Shop and Ski Shop – December 15
  • Mammoth General Store, medical clinic, campground, and post office – Open year-round
  • Albright Visitor Center – TBD

Service Stations

  • 24-hour gasoline pumps at Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction, Canyon Village, Fishing Bridge, Grant Village and Old Faithful – Open year-round

Warming huts at Fishing Bridge, Indian Creek, Madison, Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, and West Thumb will provide shelter. Food, restrooms, and water will be available at some huts. All warming huts, except Mammoth Hot Springs, will open on December 15. Mammoth Hot Springs will open on December 16.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Jacob

Jacob Gore was born and raised in Cheyenne, the capital city of Wyoming. As a proud Wyomingite, he loves to share his home with visitors from around the world. Spending years in Jackson and Alaska as an interpretive nature guide, he remains a photographer, traveler, storyteller, and avid hobbyist of all-things outdoors. Jacob enjoys bridging the connection between Jackson and the rest of the state.

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