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. Not only will we have you gliding over the snow in a snowcoach or snowmobile - your choice - but we've also got a way of showing you a spectacular part of the park, with much wildlife, by road as well!
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.
Please let us know if we can book your hotel for you the night before the tour starts. We can generally get a better rate than you.
The route to Yellowstone goes up Interstate 15, past the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains, before entering Idaho. At Idaho Falls you will leave the freeway behind, and start making your way through rural parts of the state. About 10 miles (16 kilometres) from West Yellowstone you go over the Continental Divide and into Montana.
If there are fewer than six people on this tour, we may have a shuttle take you from Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls, where one of our guides will pick you up in a tour vehicle, and bring you to West Yellowstone. The six people we mention refers to a total of six, and not six in your group.
Day 1 - Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center - Approximately an hour
We'll take a break in West Yellowstone for about an hour, to visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, a wildlife park and educational institution. This is a chance for you to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. The entry fee is included in the tour price.
A sack lunch is provided today, which your guide will give you.
Montana is known as the Big Sky State, and you'll see why on the road between West Yellowstone and Bozeman. In addition, the route actually cuts into Yellowstone National Park for a short while! There will be stops along the way to enable you to take pictures and admire the views.
Leaving Yellowstone, we enter the Gallatin National Forest, with the Gallatin River winding its way alongside the road. Towering mountains, endless forests and clear rivers line the route.
We'll go past the small town of Big Sky, and then through Gallatin Gateway as we make our way towards Bozeman, where you will spend the night. On some tours we may travel another 27 miles (43 kilometres) to the east, and stay in Livingston instead.
Leaving Bozeman we'll be on the Interstate for a short way, until we reach the small town of Livingston, where we'll head south. The scenery is once again picturesque and depending on the time of the day, we may see wildlife as we approach Gardiner, which is located right at Yellowstone's north entrance.
Not many people know this, but Yellowstone's north entrance is open during the winter, and we'll enter the park under the famous Roosevelt Arch. With this being one of the lower parts of Yellowstone, we can expect to see wildlife here. Mammoth Hot Springs is just a few miles up the road, and we'll take a slow drive there, stopping to take photographs on the way.
A sack lunch is provided today, which your guide will have for you.
Mammoth Hot Springs is one of Yellowstone's top attractions. The winter snow adds extra beauty, while the clouds of steam rising from the springs are spectacular in the winter months. Mammoth is also known for its elk and you are almost certain to see some in the area.
Mammoth Hot Springs comprises of a series of terraces that are continually evolving. We'll take you towards the top, from where you can stroll some of the trails through the dormant terraces, to the ones that are still growing. The landscape is at times eerie in its desolation, with the dark, dead trees a stark contrast to the snow and the white terraces.
After visiting the terraces we'll return to Mammoth's lower area, where there are other trails to walk. You will find almost limitless photographic opportunities. There is also a General Store here, where you can buy souvenirs and snacks.
Yellowstone's north entrance provides access to the park's upper loop. Fortunately, the portion that is open to regular traffic in the winter months is the area where a lot of Yellowstone's wildlife is to be found, and this will be our focus. From Mammoth we'll make our way down the hill and across a bridge high above the Gardiner River.
We're making our way towards the road that leads to Cooke City, which is the north east entrance to the park. The route takes us along the Lamar River, and through the Lamar Valley, which is known for its wildlife. With any luck, the animals you may see include bison, big horn sheep, elk, coyote and pronghorns. Wolf sightings are more common in the Lamar Valley than anywhere else in the park, and we're going to do our best to try and find one.
You will see that the scenery is spectacular with snow covered valleys leading to the Lamar River. The towering Absaroka Mountains provide a splendid backdrop to nature's beauty. Depending on how much we do that day, and how often we stop, we may or may not make it all the way to Cooke City. The road beyond Cooke City is closed, and at some stage we will need to turn around and retrace our steps.
One of the beauties of Yellowstone is that you literally never know what may be around the next corner or behind the next snow bank. On the way back to Mammoth you can fully expect to see animals and sights you did not see on the way out!
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.
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.
After your day in the park, and depending on the number of people on tour, you will either spend the night in West Yellowstone again or in Rexburg, in east Idaho. If there are fewer than six people total on tour, not in your group, you will now be taken to Rexburg, which is about an hour and a half away. You will stay at a motel in Rexburg, from where you will shuttle back to Salt Lake tomorrow morning, making stops at a few towns along the way.
You can choose from several departure times from Rexburg. The shuttle will pick you up at your hotel, and drop you off at the Salt Lake City airport, or at a central downtown location opposite Temple Square, where the tour ends.
Depart 2.05 a.m. Arrive 6.40 a.m.
Depart 3.35 a.m. Arrive 8.10 a.m. (Not available on Sundays)
Depart 5.05 a.m. Arrive 9.40 a.m.
Depart 6.35 a.m. Arrive 11.10 a.m.
Depart 8.05 a.m. Arrive 12.40 p.m.
Depart 9.35 a.m. Arrive 2.10 p.m.
Please note in the comments section which one you want.
If there are six or more in the group, you will once again stay in West Yellowstone, and will be taken straight to Salt Lake tomorrow morning.
Assuming there are six or more in the group, your guide will now take you from West Yellowstone to Salt Lake, crossing from Montana over the Continental Divide into Idaho, and eventually on to Utah. There will be stops along the way to enable you to buy food.
If there are fewer than six, you will shuttle from Rexburg, as previously mentioned, and end the tour in Salt Lake.
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!
The days and dates this tour runs can be seen in the calendar at the top right of this page.
Between the dates of December 24th and January 3rd inclusive, there is a surcharge of $80 for each snowmobile trip.
The entrance fee to Yellowstone is excluded and needs to be paid on arrival.
All times are approximate. We are not responsible for the consequences of any delays, and this itinerary may change without notice.
One night's lodging is included at a Comfort Inn or similar in Bozeman or Livingston. Three nights' accommodation are included at a self catering studio at a West Yellowstone motel called West Yellowstone Lodge. If lodging there is sold out, you will stay in a two star hotel with breakfast included.
Two days of snowcoaching inside Yellowstone are included in the price. You can pay a surcharge and take a snowmobile instead. There are no taxes.
A four person minimum may be required for this tour to operate. That is a total of four and not four in your group.
The meals which are included are three sack lunches and two hotel breakfasts. 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 departs from and returns to major downtown Salt Lake City hotels. If there are fewer than six people on your date, the tour may start at the Salt Lake airport. A shuttle will bring you to Idaho Falls, from where one of our private vehicles will pick you up. On the way back to Salt Lake, if there are fewer than six people on the tour, your guide may drop you in Rexburg, from where a shuttle may take you the rest of the way, as detailed in the tour description.
Portions of this tour are subcontracted 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. Snow conditions at the start and end of the season may prevent portions of this tour from being run.
It will be cold on this tour, and 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. Snow conditions at the start and end of the season may prevent portions of this tour from being run. If it becomes necessary to cancel part of a tour all that we will refund is the cost of that part that is missed.
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: Half of the total will be charged any time from when you make the booking. The other half will be charged 30 or fewer days from the tour date, at our discretion.