If you think Yellowstone during the summers is magical, come and check it out in the winter! It is awesome and unlike any experience you have ever had! Most people think that Yellowstone is shut down in the winter. It isn't. But it is deserted. Instead of there being tens of thousands of people in the park, there are only a few hundred! You just about have Yellowstone to yourself.
During the winter months the vast majority of Yellowstone is closed to cars and buses. We will have you gliding over the snow in your choice of a snowcoach or snowmobile! It is so hard to describe the thrill of snowcoaching through the crown jewel of America’s National Park system. If you prefer to snowmobile, it’s just you and the elements. With nothing in-between, you are exposed to endless vistas of the most incredible beauty. Whatever you choose, you will get up close and personal with sights you could only have imagined!
And what a unique experience it is, with the landscape being painted white, as far as the eye can see. But don't worry. You'll be nice and warm as you enjoy sights that only a tiny number of people get to see in their lifetimes.
Like almost all of our trips, this is a small group tour. The vehicle will generally take between nine and 14 guests. Our guides are very knowledgeable about the areas you travel through, as well as the geology, traditions and customs of the local people. Feel free to ask any and all questions!
We will travel north up Interstate 15, leaving Las Vegas and its bright lights behind. You may be surprised to learn that Las Vegas is actually in the middle of a desert, which we come to as soon as we depart town.
After passing through the small casino town of Mesquite, on the Nevada Arizona border, we cross into the desolate Arizona Strip, before heading up the Virgin River Gorge and into Utah. Much of the route is scenic, and we may stop briefly in the Gorge to take pictures. There will be a comfort stop at either the small southern Utah town of St. George, or the even smaller one of Hurricane.
The Interstate is left behind just outside St. George, at the turn off to the small town of Hurricane, as we travel through really picturesque scenery, and a number of tiny towns, on the way to Zion National Park.
We tour through Zion on the way to Bryce Canyon, taking a leisurely drive through the park, stopping frequently to take photographs and enjoy the scenery. Zion's story is one of rock and water, with plenty of both to be seen. The relatively soft and porous Navajo Sandstone is often layered over impregnable Kayenta Shale, and the interaction of this rock with the water has created myriad amazing shapes and patterns.
The road goes past the Great Arch of Zion, which is a natural photo stop, before proceeding up a series of switchbacks and through an incredible tunnel that has been blasted into the rock. On the other side of the tunnel we will come across striking rock formations, with trees actually growing in the rocks, and see how massive sand dunes have been cemented into rock over the millennia. With any luck we may see some big horn sheep on the way.
We'll leave the park at the less traveled east exit, which most visitors don't even get to see.
As we traveled through Zion we climbed up to the top of a plateau, and we'll now drop down a little, through the pygmy forests of southern Utah, prior to climbing up again to Bryce. The road to Bryce is a particularly scenic one, through picturesque, rural countryside, first next to the Virgin River, and then alongside the Sevier River.
Bryce Canyon is situated at altitude, at over 8000 feet (almost 2500 metres), and it can be cold, even though Vegas and Zion are hot. Please check the weather forecast before you leave and bring appropriate clothing.
Many who have seen both Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon tell us that Bryce is far more spectacular. You will marvel at the weirdly shaped hoodoos, in an amazing array of colorful hues.
Bryce is not really a canyon, but a large amphitheater carved out of a variety of rock types. People tell us they have had a spiritual experience when they gaze out over the hoodoos for the first time. You will wonder not only how they got there, but also what carved them into those mythical shapes, in assorted colors.
You can take an easy stroll along the rim from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point. This is relatively flat, and provides amazing views! You will enjoy a sack lunch at Bryce.
There are two other main areas we will visit at Bryce, both of which are even more spectacular than what you've seen already. These are the aptly named Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. Please be aware that Bryce is at a high elevation. You may become breathless if you are not used to the altitude, and you shouldn't try and overdo it.
On the way out of the park we will stop briefly at the Visitor Center, where you can buy souvenirs of your trip.
The above description was written for our year round tours. In the winter, it will be cool at Zion, and it will almost certainly be cold at Bryce Canyon. There may also be snow on the ground at Bryce Canyon. Please dress accordingly.
Depending on how many people there are in the tour group, you will now either go from Bryce Canyon to Salt Lake City, or from Bryce Canyon to Cedar City. If there are six or fewer people in the group, we may, at our discretion take you to the Cedar City airport for a flight to Salt Lake City. The rest of the day will then be unescorted. In other words, you will not have a tour guide with you.
If there are more than six people, you will continue by road from Bryce Canyon to Salt Lake City. We will tell you ahead of time which option you will be taking. Please note that if you book the tour within three weeks of travel it is very likely that a higher price will apply, due to higher flight prices.
Whichever way you go, you will get to your hotel in the downtown Salt Lake City area this evening.
You will take a shuttle through northern Utah, into Idaho, and eventually Montana, before arriving in West Yellowstone. There are stops at several towns along the way. The vehicle is generally a mini bus.
Please note that today is an unescorted part of the tour. What this means is that although you obviously have a bus driver with you at all times, there is no tour guide providing a running commentary. You should also be aware that this trip can vary in length, depending on whether it is snowing, and whether the roads are snow packed or not.
Today you'll be doing something very few people get to do - travel over the snow to Old Faithful, the world's most famous geyser. You'll also see many other geysers, some amazing scenery, as well as wildlife.
Please remember that a trip by snowcoach is included in the price of this tour. If you would prefer to, you can ride a snowmobile instead. There is an additional charge for this, which can be seen elsewhere on this page. You can have either one or two people on a sled, as the locals call a snowmobile, and can select whichever option you prefer on checkout.
If you travel by snowcoach your driver/guide will pick you up, and take you into the park for your tour. If you ride a snowmobile yourself, you will first be kitted out with special clothing, and then be shown how to control your sled. You will also have park etiquette and regulations explained to you. The snowmobile tour is also led by a guide, who will show you where to go, and tell you all about what you are seeing.
West Yellowstone is located right at Yellowstone’s entrance, and in no time you’ll be riding across the snow into the park. You can expect to see endless stunning scenery, wildlife, plus, of course, geysers and other thermal features.
Once in the park, we’ll follow the Madison River east, stopping whenever we see anything of interest, and there will be a lot of interest! At Madison Junction we’ll turn right, or south, and start making our way towards the geyser basins. Where you stop will depend on your guide, but options include the Lower Geyser Basin, which is home to Fountain Paint Pot, the Midway Geyser Basin, Black Sand Basin, and Biscuit Basin, before reaching the highlight of the trip, Old Faithful. As mentioned before, you can buy some lunch here, and watch Old Faithful. Alternatively, buy something in West Yellowstone and take it into the park with you.
After a fun filled day you will return to West Yellowstone. You are on your own for the rest of the day, and for supper.
Day 4 - Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - About 6 hours, 30 minutes
Today we’re traveling by snowcoach to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which is an amazing canyon that the Yellowstone River has cut through the rocks. Just as you did yesterday, you are welcome to go by snowmobile instead. Please choose that option when you check out. Whatever you decide on, you will once again have a guide with you.
We’ll once again follow the Madison River into the park, but this time we’ll head north, or left, at Madison Junction. The Gibbon River will be alongside us, and you can once again expect to see wildlife, beautiful scenery and thermal features on the way.
Amongst the many highlights will be stops at both Gibbon Fall and Beryl Hot Spring, before reaching Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which will take your breath away. Because there is nowhere to buy food along the way, we provide a sack lunch today. Please remember to take it with you.
After another unique and fun filled day we will return to West Yellowstone, where you are on your own for dinner and the rest of the day.
There is the option of spending an extra day in West Yellowstone, to take a snowmobile on your own, outside the park. You will be able to ride your sled over your choice of hundreds of miles of trails through the forests and up and down the mountains of the area. This is really exhilarating fun!
Please order this option when you check out. It includes an extra night's stay and the use of a snowmobile. Note that you will not have a guide with you unless you want to pay extra for one.
You will be taking a shuttle back to Salt Lake City. Once again, this part of the trip is unescorted, which means there will be no tour guide with you, only a driver. You will travel through a small portion of Montana, before crossing into Idaho, and then eventually on to Utah, making several stops along the way.
Please let us know if we can help you book your Salt Lake City lodging for tonight. We can often get a better deal than you can.
Please be aware that the entrance fee to Yellowstone is excluded on this tour, and needs to be paid on arrival. As of mid 2020, the entry fee was $25 per person, but is subject to change without notice by the National Park Service.
If you are thinking of taking a winter Yellowstone tour, please be aware that tours for the period around Christmas and New Year sell out months ahead of time!
We regret that no cancellations or changes will be accepted, and no refunds will be given.
This tour is subject to a 3.00% per person fuel surcharge.
Payment And Cancellation Details: CANCELLATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR THIS TOUR. Changes will also not be accepted, and refunds will not be given. Please consider purchasing trip insurance as our cancellation policy is strictly enforced. The payment schedule is as follows: This tour has at least one air leg. The cost of the flight(s), plus half of the remaining balance will be charged any time from when you make the booking. The final balance will be charged 30 or fewer days from the tour date, at our discretion.
The credit/debit card used must be in your name and must be present, so we can take an imprint. Please contact us if this is not possible. Please ensure you have the card you used with you. If the card is not in your name please let us know ahead of time, as our credit card authorization process will need to be completed.
A purported or attempted cancellation will result in the entire amount being due, and being charged to your card immediately.
The entrance fees to Zion and Bryce Canyon are included. The entrance fee to Yellowstone is excluded and needs to be paid on arrival.
The name on your credit card statement will be USA Park Tours.
The days and dates this tour runs can be seen in the calendar at the top right of this page.
There is a surcharge of $65 for each snowmobile trip between the dates of December 24th and January 3rd, inclusive.
At our discretion, we may fly you to Salt Lake City, after you have toured Bryce Canyon. There is no additional charge if this happens.
If you leave it too late to book, the price of this tour may be higher due to higher air fares. There are no taxes.
All times are approximate. We are not responsible for the consequences of any delays, and this itinerary may change without notice.
One night's accommodation is included at the downtown Salt Lake Crystal Inn. Three nights' accommodation are included at a self catering studio at Yellowstone Self Catering Lodging in West Yellowstone. If that is sold out, you will stay in a two star hotel instead.
Two days of snowcoaching inside Yellowstone are included in the price. You can pay a surcharge and take a snowmobile instead.
Meals: Two sack lunches. One breakfast. There will be bacon, eggs, bread, etc, in your studio, so you can make yourself breakfast when you are in West Yellowstone. If you stay in a hotel instead, it will be one that includes breakfast.
This tour picks up from major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.
The tour drops off at the Salt Lake airport.
Portions of this tour are sub-contracted to other reputable vendors.
After ordering this tour please wait to receive a confirmation email from us before making any plans that are dependent on this tour.
It will be cold on this tour, and it may be very, very cold. Please bring appropriate clothing. It is important to dress in layers. That way you can remove a layer when hot, or put one on if you get cold. We suggest a selection of the following:
Thermal underwear for both top and bottom; a pair of waterproof boots, with ankle supports, into which you can tuck your trousers; gloves; a beanie; appropriate pants and shirts; and a ski type jacket. A useful tip is to carry a spare pair of socks with you, in case the ones you are wearing become wet.
If you decide to ride a sled, special snowmobiling clothing is included in the tour price.
There are rare times when the authorities close the roads because of high winds and/or a lot of snow. We cannot be held responsible for the consequences of delays or cancellations caused by this, weather, mechanical failure, acts of God, or other matters beyond our control. If it becomes necessary to cancel part of a tour all that we will refund is the cost of that part that is missed.