2012 opening dates for Yellowstone lodges announced

The opening dates for the lodges inside Yellowstone National Park were announced earlier this week giving travelers an opportunity to start booking their accommodations well in advance of any planned visits later this year. While largely shut down for the winter months, the park’s historic and iconic lodges will open in stages throughout the spring in order to meet demand for the busy summer travel season ahead.

Starting in late April, the roads leading into Yellowstone will be cleared of snow, allowing vehicle access to the park once again. The exact dates for when those roads open can’t be predicted, as late season snow storms and heavy accumulations can present unexpected challenges. Once those roads do begin to open, however, park restaurants and gift shops near Old Faithful and Mammoth will soon follow.

The first lodges to resume operation for the season will be the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, both of which open on May 4. A week later they’ll be joined by the Lake Yellowstone Hotel and the Old Faithful Lodge, which are now accepting reservations for arrivals starting on May 11. The rest of the Yellowstone accommodations, including the Old Faithful Inn (May 18) and the Roosevelt Lodge (June 8), will open in the weeks that follow.

Spring and early summer are the perfect times to visit Yellowstone as the park returns to life following a long winter. In addition to blooming flowers and budding trees, the park’s abundant wildlife is generally more active too and sharp-eyed travelers will often catch a glimpse of newborn bison, elk and even bear.

If you have plans to visit Yellowstone this year you can check for room availability and book your stay by clicking here.

Exploring the Canadian Rockies on Cross Country Skis

Stretching into Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies form the backdrop for one of the best settings for winter outdoor adventure in North America, if not the world. The region can be explored by sled dog or on snowshoes, and offers some of the best skiing, both downhill and cross country, anywhere.

With that in mind, outdoor enthusiast and writer Peter Potterfield recently made the trek up north to take in the amazing terrain and sample the best Canadian lodges in the area as well. He wrote about his expedition over at GreatOutdoors.com, sharing all the details of his mid-February cross country ski trip across miles of backcountry trails.

The trip begins with a flight into Calgary, followed by a quick one-hour drive to the mountains and the Num-TiJah Lodge, the first of five that Potterfield would visit on his journey. Over the course of the next few days, he spent the daylight hours exploring the trails, which range in difficulty from relaxed and easy to challenging and strenuous, depending on the chosen route. Evenings are spent in comfortable accomidations, sipping wine and dining on fine cuisine, with the beautiful, remote scenery just outside the window.

The article has all the details on how to get to the area, including links to all the lodges as well. There is also information on what equipment to bring or rent while you there, as the varying conditions allow for the use of a wide variety of winter gear.

Winter isn’t over for a few more weeks, and the skiing up north should be great for well into the spring. If you’re looking for a remote getaway for some backcountry skiing, the Canadian Rockies will offer everything you need.