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Yellowstone National Park announces winter season opening date

Limited snowfall on park roads could impact commercial snowmobile and snowcoach tours.
Posted at 11:00 AM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-13 13:22:54-05

Yellowstone National Park will open for its winter season on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, according to a park press release.

The release said there is currently limited snowfall on roads in the eastern, western, and northern parts of the park, meaning visitors can travel in the park but snowmobile and snowcoach tours will depend on road conditions.

Park staff will coordinate with commercial snowmobile and snowcoach operators throughout the winter season and provide updates as conditions change, according to the release.

Yellowstone's winter season ends in mid-March when plowing crews begin clearing the roads to prepare for the return of automobile traffic in mid-April.

Park officials shared the following list of "Top Things to Know in Winter" when visiting Yellowstone:

Most Park Roads are Closed to Automobiles

The only roads open year-round are between the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, and the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana (via Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction and Lamar Valley). Anticipate possible road closures due to quickly changing weather and dangerous driving conditions. Check the road status map [] before you leave. 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.

Want to See Old Faithful?

Park partners, concessioners and authorized businesses offer a variety of guided tours [] throughout the park during the winter months.

Services are Limited

Most facilities are closed during winter. Check winter operating dates [] to see which visitor centers, stores, restaurants, lodges and warming huts are open.

Camping and Lodging

Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are open during winter. Make reservations [] as far in advance as possible. Lodging is also available in nearby communities []. There are no campgrounds open for the 2023/2024 winter season.

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 [].

Do Not Approach or Feed Wildlife

Animals 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. Stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23 m) from all other wildlife. The safest way to view wildlife [] is through a telephoto lens, a spotting scope or a pair of binoculars. Store food properly and be aware that in some areas, ravens have learned to unzip backpacks to obtain contents.

Stay on Boardwalks

People have been severely injured or killed by breaking through thin ground in thermal basins or falling into hot springs. Exercise caution and wear traction aids over footwear when navigating snowy or icy boardwalks.

Enhance Your Experience

Download the free National Park Service App [] (and offline content) before you arrive.

Connectivity is Limited

You will likely not receive calls or texts, even in the few areas you have cell reception [].