One of America’s premiere national parks, Yellowstone opened for the winter season yesterday, with the South Entrance granting visitors access to the pristine backcountry that already seen plenty of snow this year. The East Entrance and Sylvan Pass will both December 22nd, offering even more access to this winter wonderland.
In recent years, it has become increasingly popular to explore Yellowstone’s stunning landscapes during the winter months, with many visitors taking in such sites as Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. But with so much snow in the region, travel by car is out of the question, which means that most will climb aboard a snowmobile to make the journey to those iconic places. The park puts strict limits on the number of such vehicles that are allowed in the park each day, and all riders must be accompanied by a commerical guide.
In preparation for the winter opening, Yellowstone employees have been very busy grooming roads and trails for winter travel. The park is already covered in various amounts of snow this season, with some areas remaining lightly covered for now, while others have experienced heavy snowfall already. Considering winter doesn’t officially begin for a few days yet, there is already plenty of the white stuff to play in.
For those that would prefer a more eco-friendly approach to visiting Yellowstone in the winter, there are other options besides snowmobiles and coaches. Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are not only great ways to explore the wilderness area, they are an excellent workout as well. The local park rangers also lead a number of great winter programs, which can be found by clicking here.
If you’re planning a winter escape to Yellowstone and would like to travel by snowmobile or snowcoach, you’ll find a complete list of authorized operators in the various regions of the park by clicking here.
Just because winter is about to set in doesn’t mean we have to give up on our outdoor adventures. Check out Gadling’s cold weather gift guide for plenty of winter gear to keep you warm all season long.