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Things to Do In & Around Yellowstone In Winter



Yellowstone in winter is a magical place full of fun, wonder and adventures!  

You can snow coach in Yellowstone, try cross country skiing at the Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone, enjoy Yellowstone snowmobile tours to Old Faithful or the Canyon Area, experience winter in a very different way on a two-horse open sleigh ride, and even have the opportunity to yell “mush!” while dog sledding in West Yellowstone – plus a whole lot more! 

One thing’s for sure, visiting Yellowstone in winter is a white powder adventure worth having every year!

                                   


On this page you’ll find our Local's Guide to Winter Fun - a full list of things to do in and around Yellowstone in winter that’s sure to appeal to a variety of interests.

The most popular, of course, are the West Yellowstone snow coaches and Yellowstone snowmobile tours, both of which provide the most convenient access for visiting the Canyon Area and Old Faithful in winter.  

(So, staying in West Yellowstone is definitely a smart way to go.  And we’d love to help you with that too!  You can view our family and pet friendly vacation rental Cabins & Mountain Homes here.)

                                    


A FEW IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT VISITING YELLOWSTONE IN WINTER:


If you’re visiting Yellowstone in March, April, November or December, keep in mind that the Park gates at the west, south and east entrances are closed to all vehicular traffic during parts of those months while park staff transition the roads before and after the winter snow season.   

Use this link to view opening/closing dates for roads and gates throughout the Park.

Also keep in mind that winter activities generally operate from December-ish to March for most vendors, with exact dates depending on snow conditions.  

However, some vendors operate into April, and some operate year ‘round.  Contact each vendor for specific dates of operation. 

Another thing to be aware of is that most, but not all, shops and restaurants in West Yellowstone follow the Park’s open and closing dates.   Use this link to view a list of West Yellowstone Restaurants open in winter.

All Services in Town (like grocery stores, the post office, churches, etc.) operate year 'round.

                                   


Winter Activities:


West Yellowstone Snowmobile Rentals & Snowbike Rentals (plus Parts & Service) – High Mark Rentals

The folks at High Mark Rentals are ready to help you with all your West Yellowstone snowmobile needs.  They offer snowmobile and snowbike rentals, as well as clothing and avalanche gear rentals.  And they will deliver to Island Park for free.

If you have your own sled, they can also provide service, parts and accessories for all makes and models.

Plus they're happy to share their local knowledge of area snowmobile trails as well as trail conditions, so be sure to stop by and see them.  Tell them Bill at Brook Trout Inn sent you, and they’ll take good care of you.


633 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-7855

Yellowstone Snowmobile Tours – Backcountry Adventures

For snowmobile tour fun, Backcountry Adventures is a 3rd generation, family owned tour outfitter that provides personalized service from guides who live here.  They offer guided Yellowstone snowmobile tours to Old Faithful and the Canyon Area on environmentally friendly snowmobiles, and they also offer guided snowmobile tours for the over 200 miles of groomed trails that surround West Yellowstone.  

Ride the trails with an experienced guide and enjoy the best of what our winter playground has to offer.


224 Electric Street, West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
406-646-9317

Snow Coach in Yellowstone – Backcountry Adventures

Take one of two guided Yellowstone snow coach tours to Old Faithful or the Canyon Area in a heated snow coach!  See herds of bison trudging through snowdrifts while foraging for grasses.  Spot bald eagles soaring above looking for prey.  Watch coyotes delicately prancing across snow covered prairies.  And if you’re lucky, witness wolves revel in their favorite season.  Sit back and enjoy the scenery as your experienced guides share intimate knowledge about the Park and its history.

Backcountry Adventures is a 3rd generation, family owned tour outfitter offering personalized service from fun and friendly guides who live here.


224 Electric Street, West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
406-646-9317

Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoe Rentals, Lessons & Guide Service – Free Heel & Wheel

Growing up in West Yellowstone, the girls of Free Heel & Wheel really know their stuff when it comes to cross country skiing and snowshoeing.  Whether you need to rent equipment, be taught the ropes or be guided on the best trails in the area – or if you need all three – Free Heel & Wheel is ready to help you have a great winter adventure!  And with the world renowned Rendezvous Ski Trails just down the road, you’ll be traversing the trails in no time!

They also offer a full service ski shop, winter gear, clothing and accessories.  Plus they’re happy to share their local knowledge about trails and trail conditions, so be sure to stop in.  And while you’re there, you can enjoy a hot beverage from their coffee bar as well.


40 Yellowstone Ave, West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
406-646-7744

Cross Country Skiing in West Yellowstone: Self-Guided – Rendezvous Ski Trails

This is a premier cross country ski area with groomed trails from November through March (and sometimes April).  Trail options can be from as little as 0.5 miles to a seemingly infinite combination of intersecting loops. You can ski it every day while you’re here and have a different experience each time. Be sure to check out the maps at the trailhead.

Daily passes can be purchased at the trailhead, and daily, season and family passes are available at Free Heel & Wheel (see above), the Hebgen Lake Ranger Station and the Chamber of Commerce.


This large trail system is located at the south end of Geyser Street behind the Povah Community Center in West Yellowstone.

Rendezvous Ski Trails, West Yellowstone, Montana

Cross Country Skiing in West Yellowstone (& Snowshoeing): Self-Guided – Riverside Trail

This trail provides access to Yellowstone National Park where you can treat yourself to the splendor of the Gallatin Mountain Range and keep your eyes open for elk, bison and moose grazing along the Madison River.

The full trail is a 7.7 mile loop trail that can be divided into three sections and takes you to and along the Madison River.

For a shorter trail (fully groomed), you can simply go the first part of the trail that takes you to the actual loop. This part is flat and straight and takes you through forest for about a mile. Once you reach the intersection for the loop parts of the trail, turn back. (About 2 miles round trip.)

For a medium distance trail (not groomed), turn right when you get to the intersection and follow the upriver loop. This will circle back around to the point where you started, and you can turn to head back to the straight part of the trail you came in on. (About 3.5 miles round trip.)

For the longest trail (partially groomed), turn left at the intersection and follow the downriver loop. When you come back to the intersection you can either continue on with the upriver loop or turn right and head back out along the straight section of the trail. (About 5.6 miles if you just do the downriver loop, and 7.7 miles if you do both loops.)

You can also pick up a free trail guide at Free Heel & Wheel or the Rendezvous Ski Trails (see above for both).  If you’re unfamiliar with this trail or new to skiing or snowshoeing, always find out about trail conditions before you go.  The staff at Free Heel & Wheel are great sources for trail knowledge and trail conditions.


The trailhead is located on Boundary Street at the end of Madison Avenue. (Look for trailhead signs visible through a gap the snow bank.)

West Yellowstone, Montana

Cross Country Skiing in West Yellowstone (& Snowshoeing): Self-Guided – Boundary Trail

The Boundary Trail is fully groomed and runs about 3 miles along the boundary of Yellowstone National Park to Baker’s Hole Campground. (About 6 miles round trip.)

You can also pick up a free trail guide at Free Heel & Wheel or the Rendezvous Ski Trails (see above for both).  If you’re new to skiing or snowshoeing, always find out about trail conditions before you go.  The staff at Free Heel & Wheel are great sources for trail knowledge and trail conditions.


The trailhead is located at the north end of Boundary Street.

West Yellowstone, Montana

Cross Country Skiing in West Yellowstone (& Snowshoeing): Self-Guided – Trails in Yellowstone’s Northwest Corner

There are four great trails a little north of West Yellowstone on Highway 191: Telemark Meadows (near mile marker 18), Big Horn Pass Trail (near mile marker 20, ski only), Fawn Pass Trail (near mile marker 22, ski only) and Specimen Creek Trail (near mile marker 27).

For a free map with descriptions of these trails, stop by Free Heel & Wheel or the Rendezvous Ski Trails (see above for both).  And always find out about trail conditions and possible avalanche areas before you go.  The staff at Free Heel & Wheel are great sources for trail knowledge and trail conditions.

There is no fee and you do not need a Park Pass to access this part of Yellowstone National Park.

Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding – Big Sky Ski Resort

If you’re looking for a downhill skiing or snowboarding adventure, Big Sky Ski Resort is the place to be with its 5850 skiable acres and short to non-existent lift lines.  You can purchase full day lift tickets on line or half day lift tickets at the lift ticket window.  (57 miles, 1 hour north of West Yellowstone)


50 Big Sky Resort Road, Big Sky, Montana 59716
406-995-5749

Dog Sledding in West Yellowstone – Spirit of the North Sled Dog Adventures

Dog sledding in West Yellowstone is a wonderful way to tour our surrounding National Forests in all their winter splendor.  Imagine yourself gliding through a winter wonderland of majestic mountains with a team of beautiful huskies pulling you down the trail.  The only sounds you hear are the panting of the dogs and the swish of the sled runners.  No other method of travel over snow can compare with dog sledding.  This is a trip back in time that you will never forget!

Trips are offered 7 days a week with start times at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm.  Making your reservations early is recommended to guarantee your day and time.


For the West Yellowstone area call 406-682-7994

Sleigh Rides – 320 Ranch

Snuggle up for a fun evening under the big Montana sky in a two-horse open sleigh.  This unique adventure includes a round-trip ride to Mountain Man Campsite, appetizers, hot beverages and adult beverages.  Private sleigh rides are also available.  (36 miles, 39 minutes north of West Yellowstone)


205 Buffalo Horn Creek Road, Gallatin Gateway, Montana 59730
(406) 995-4283

Ice Fishing on Hebgen Lake – Kirkwood Marina

For a different kind of fishing adventure, try your hand at ice fishing.  Hebgen Lake is full of trout including rainbow and browns.  Spend an afternoon on the lake and create a one-of-a-kind family memory.  Call the marina for more information.


11500 Hebgen Lake Road, West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
406-646-7540

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

See live bears, wolves, river otters and raptors at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center - West Yellowstone’s non-profit wildlife park and educational facility. Explore the interactive, indoor bear exhibit, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to watch the bears test products for official “bear-proof ratings." There’s also a movie room that shows videos about the area’s wildlife and natural environment. Open 365 days a year.


201 South Canyon Street, West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-7001

West Yellowstone IMAX Theater

Watch movies about Yellowstone on the giant IMAX screen and learn about the Park’s unique features. The theater also offers movies on other topics, as well as current feature films, making it your best and only choice for a West Yellowstone movie theater. Concessions are available, plus Yellowstone exhibits and a gift shop too.


101 South Canyon Street, West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-4100

Historic Walking Tour of West Yellowstone

For a scenic stroll around town, click on the photo to access a digital version of the free West Yellowstone Historic Walking Tour map. You’ll learn about the early days of West Yellowstone life, the significance of 21 landmarks located within a 4 block radius in town, plus the history of fire in West Yellowstone.


104 Yellowstone Ave, West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-1100

Events: November – West Yellowstone Ski Festival

For over 40 years, cross country skiers from across North America and around the world have traveled to West Yellowstone, Montana’s Yellowstone Ski Festival to begin their Nordic ski season on the Rendezvous Ski Trails. The West Yellowstone Ski Festival takes place during Thanksgiving week. The event's highlights include a series of Nordic skiing clinics, competitive races, Biathlon races, the On Snow Gear Demo, an Indoor Ski Show, and a variety of presentations, clinics, and classes.

Whether you are a beginning skier or an experienced racer, West Yellowstone is THE place to start your ski season.


Rendezvous Ski Trails, West Yellowstone, Montana (see above)

Events: November – Annual WYSEF Ski Swap

If you’re in the market for some great prices on used non-motorized winter gear and clothing, the Annual WYSEF Ski Swap is an event you don’t want to miss!  Or if you have winter gear and clothing you’d like to sell in the Swap, you can do that too.  This event benefits the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation which maintains the Rendezvous Ski Trails and supports the West Yellowstone Nordic Ski Team.


Rendezvous Ski Trails, West Yellowstone, Montana (see above)

Events: December – Annual Christmas Stroll

The Christmas Stroll is a West Yellowstone tradition which lasts all day and includes fun, food and games provided by numerous merchants in town, the lighting of the town Christmas tree, a parade and of course a visit from Santa.  It also coordinates with our Shop Local initiative and is a great time browse the stores for unique Christmas gifts.

This joyful, family-friendly event happens on the Saturday that falls around the middle of December each year.


You will find events happening at various locations around West Yellowstone.  Most stores and restaurants that are open at this time of year will have Christmas Stroll schedules on display.

Events: December, January & February – Annual Spam Cup Citizen Races

This is a ski race that gives skiers of all ages and abilities the opportunity to try Nordic ski racing for a low cost and without the pressure of a Super Tour or other national race affiliation.  Whether you’re a skier or a spectator, it’s all about having fun.  The 3 Cup Races take place in December, January and February each year.


Rendezvous Ski Trails, West Yellowstone, Montana (see above)

Events: December, January, February, March – Kids’N’Snow Weekends

The Kids’N’Snow Weekends provide kids and their families with an opportunity get outdoors in the winter and try a new activity - like ice skating, sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and much more.

It's a great way to get kids outdoors and teach them how to remain active, even in the winter.


West Yellowstone Town Park & other locations around West Yellowstone
406-646-7701

Events: January – Free Ski Day & Try Biathlon Day

In honor of National Winter Trails Day, the Custer Gallatin National Forest waives trail fees on the Rendezvous Ski Trails, so come out and try cross country skiing and biathalon shooting for a day.  Free lessons & free equipment rentals are provided by local businesses.


Rendezvous Ski Trails, West Yellowstone, Montana (see above)

Events: January – NAIFC Ice Fishing Tournament Qualifier Event

If you like fishing and winter, then you may enjoy the NAIFC Ice Fishing Tournament qualifier event that’s held in West Yellowstone each year.  The tournament is located on Hebgen Lake just north of West Yellowstone at Kirkwood Marina.  The Saturday of the event offers a Free Kid’s Ice Fishing Camp plus a meet and greet with ice fishing pros.  And the tournament event itself takes place on Sunday.


Hebgen Lake at the Kirkwood Marina
11500 Hebgen Lake Road, West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
406-646-7540

Events: February – Annual Taste of the Trails

Taste of the Trails is designed to encourage skiers of all ages and abilities to try cross-country skiing in a simple and festive format. A 5K (3.1 mile) course will take skiers and snowshoers around the Rendezvous Ski Trails where four feed stations offer snacks and beverages to participants. Skiers can casually stride from spot to spot, revel in the winter landscapes, refuel with friends, and explore the trails in a relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere.


Rendezvous Ski Trails, West Yellowstone, Montana (see above)

Events: February / March – Skijor West, Equine Skijoring

Equestrian skijoring consists of a team of a single horse, generally guided by a rider, pulling a person on skis who carries no poles and simply hangs onto a tow rope in a manner akin to water skiing.  This is definitely a different kind of “winter rodeo,” so come out and join the fun!


West Yellowstone, Montana