Explore Better with Gareth Leonard: Winter Activities to Do in Yellowstone National Park
In the winter, Yellowstone National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I was lucky enough to experience it in January. The absolute best part about coming to Yellowstone in the winter is that you get a fraction of the visitors — we’re talking hundreds versus millions.
How To Get To Yellowstone
I flew into the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport from San Diego, CA. There are many flight options to get to the airport, and Bozeman is a great place to spend time at the beginning or end of your journey—I chose to spend my last night there. It’s a scenic hour and a half drive to West Yellowstone, so be prepared to snap some shots (unless you’re the one driving, of course).
Where To Stay In Yellowstone
We stayed at the Explorer Cabins in West Yellowstone and made this our jumping-off point into Yellowstone National Park. While West Yellowstone is a small cozy town focused on Yellowstone Tours and accommodations, it also has great restaurants and things to do outside of Yellowstone.
What To Do In Yellowstone
Snowmobiling: You can’t go to West Yellowstone and not rent a snowmobile from Yellowstone Vacations. Since the roads are all closed off to private cars, getting around by tour bus or snowmobile is the way to go. Not to mention, touring the incredible snowmobiling trails outside the park is a must.
We attempted to tackle Two Top Trail; A popular 30-mile loop that crosses into Idaho, with a 2,000-foot elevation gain and plenty of open space to take it all in.
Geysers: In case you didn’t know, Yellowstone National Park is home to the densest concentration of geysers anywhere in the world, the most famous one being Old Faithful. We couldn’t plan our visit without carving out some time to watch nature do its thing. Our only goal that morning was getting to Old Faithful in time before she blew, and it was a race to make it happen. We made it there and had the pleasure of watching it front row with two bison.
Wildlife: Did you know there was once an estimated 60 million bison roaming free across the Great Plains? Once at the verge of extinction when only some 500 bison were alive in the United States, laws were finally passed to protect them. Today, there are about 5,000 bison alive and roaming in Yellowstone, which makes seeing them in real life that much more special.
In the afternoon, we covered as much ground as possible. Searching high and low for wildlife, and taking in this majestic landscape of Yellowstone National Park!
White mountains are lined with snow-covered pine trees with ice blue rivers cutting through the valley and smoke rising from the geothermal activity below. Swans, geese, and eagles soar ahead and herds of bison push through snowfall to graze along the valley.
The Nation’s oldest National Park, all of her 2.2 million acres, is truly incredible and I have only just begun to scratch the surface. You will most definitely see me back here again soon.