Plan a Snowy Getaway to Yellowstone National Park

image of a snow machine with 2 people being passed by a snow coach in yellowstone national park in winter.

Heat things up in Yellowstone National Park!

During the winter, geothermal features release massive clouds of steam, the sounds of boiling water and bubbling mud intensify, and you can see the heat rising off roaming wildlife. 

If you want to visit, you can't get there by car! The National Park Service restricts regular traffic on Park roads starting in early November and around mid-December, access to iconic features is limited to "over-snow" travel only.

Only 2% of Yellowstone's 4 million annual visitors choose to explore the Park from December to March. It's time to brave winter and see sights that few ever get to! Here's how ...

Win the Lottery! Non-Commercially Guided Snowmobiling

Experience YNP on your terms. You can apply for a snowmobiling permit through the Park Service, and anyone over 18 can qualify to guide their party. But you have to win the lottery to gain access! Apply through the lottery system between August 1st and 31st. Permit winners are announced in mid-September.

Did you miss the lottery or have a sudden change of plans? No worries! October 1st marks the start of unclaimed or canceled permits on a first-come, first-serve basis. Keep an eye on the Recreation.gov website for spontaneous openings and snag an unplanned winter escapade.

Make your Yellowstone journey even more enjoyable over Valentine's Day. Planning for a romantic getaway? Include your honey's name when you submit your permit application!

Snow machines at the ready! Check out Yellowstone snowmobile rentals in the area and plot your excursion.

Source: Enjoyyourparks.com. Yellowstone Falls in winter.
Source: Destination Yellowstone. Snowmobilers crossing the frozen lanscape in Island Park, Idaho.
Source: SnowGoer. Bison laying in the frozen fields of Yellowstone National Park surrounded by gysers.

Wind your Way through Winter: Guided Snowmobiling and Snowcoaches

Rev your Yellowstone experience into high gear! Tour companies like Yellowstone Vacations and Back Country Adventures will lead the way with professionally certified guides. Want to head into the park for multiple days? Plan a trip with Yellowstone Snowmobile Tours

Guided snowmobiling into Yellowstone is a natural wonder and wildlife adventure. Whether you are witnessing the winter power of Old Faithful, viewing billows of frosty mist rising from Grand Canyon of Yellowstone or embarking on your own customized tour, journeying into Yellowstone is the wildest of winter adventures.

Prefer a more relaxed approach to the Park? Let the professionals take the wheel in the security of a heated snowcoach for the ultimate modern sleigh ride. Enjoy the flexibility to stop at your leisure for photos, ensuring a comfortable experience for couples, friends and families. Use a private guide company like West Yellowstone Snowcoach Tours or schedule over-snow transportation to and from Old Faithful Snow Lodge in the Park.

Source: BrushBuck Wildlife Tours. Snowmobilers watching a bison along the river in Yellowstone National Park.
Bright yellow snow coach in Yellowstone National Park giving winter tours.

Specialty Tours: Yellowstone Wolves and Wildlife

Discover Yellowstone National Park's winter wildlife wonders with Tied to Nature's specialty tours. As temperatures drop, elusive species become more active in the Park, offering a unique spectacle not seen in the summer months. While sightings aren't guaranteed, keep your binoculars handy for possible encounters with foxes, coyotes, moose, elk, bison, otters, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and wolves. Join us for a howling good time of unforgettable exploration in Yellowstone's winter wilderness.

close up image of a wolf laying in the snow in winter

Get cozy after Yellowstone

If you are not staying in the Park, snuggle up overnight in Island Park or West Yellowstone . Want a classic lodge experience? Make reservations at the Lakeside Lodge & Resort where you can dine at the restaurant onsite for a perfect romantic hideaway.

Or! Soak up some local color. Head out for live music and fun nightlife at the Shotgun Bar in Island Park or The Buffalo Bar in West Yellowstone.

If you are including a Yellowstone tour as a part of your Valentine's Day travel, stay a few days longer for the American Dog Derby in Ashton , ID, the oldest all-American dog sled race in the country! Spend the night at the Fishing Bear Lodge within walking distance of Ashton's quaint downtown. Insider tip: It's never too cold for a milkshake at Ashton's famous Frostop Drive-in !

Let YTT be your Guide

Check out our Travel Guides, especially our Eastern Idaho Snowmobile Guide , to see the Region's sledding options. The guides are an excellent resource for planning your trip, finding the best places to eat and choosing where to lodge for the night.

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Where to go
in Eastern Idaho