Winter is a time when you can find solitude in Yellowstone and Grand Teton with only a handful of people instead of a thousand at Old Faithful Geyser. Most lodges inside both parks close for winter. Only Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Snow Lodge stay open in winter.

snowy path leading to Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone

Mammoth Hot Springs is a breathtaking sight, even in winter. Photo © kwiktor/iStock.

  • Snowcoach Tours: Snowcoaches outfitted with special wheels, tracks, or skis take visitors into Yellowstone National Park’s interior in winter. They depart from Mammoth, West Yellowstone, and Flagg Ranch for day trips to Old Faithful and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Snowcoaches also convey riders from Mammoth or Flagg Ranch to Snow Lodge at Old Faithful for overnighting.
  • Snowmobiling: Snowmobile day tours go from West Yellowstone, Mammoth, and Flagg Ranch into Yellowstone’s interior to Old Faithful and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
  • Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding: Four downhill skiing and snowboarding areas are the big places to go in winter. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort flank opposite sides of the Teton Mountains, while the smaller Snow King Mountain borders the town of Jackson. Northeast of Yellowstone, Big Sky Resort offers a home base for skiing and exploring Yellowstone.
  • Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing: Roads and trails in both national parks turn into cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Rendezvous Trails in West Yellowstone Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky and Grand Targhee in Teton Valley groom trails for skate and classic skiing.
  • Wildlife Watching: Sure, some animals migrate, but many are still out and about in the parks and wintering in areas adjacent to the parks. See bison, elk, wolves, coyote, moose, and raptors. Many animals winter in the Paradise Valley north of Gardiner and Yellowstone, while others go for lower elevations around West Yellowstone. The National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole is home to thousands of elk in winter, plus other wildlife.
  • Sleigh Rides: You can bundle up and travel in old fashion style in sleigh rides. Find them in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Big Sky, Montana in winter.

Excerpted From the Seventh Edition of Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton.