Did you know that Yellowstone is open to the public in the winter? It is! The best part is you have the park to yourself during the winter months, because it’s EMPTY. Only 3% of Yellowstone tourists come in the Winter! If you’re a mom and you like to travel, then you need to add winter at Yellowstone National Park to your list of must-visit destinations! The park is covered in a thick blanket of snow, making it the perfect place for a winter getaway. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly activity or something more adventurous, Yellowstone has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Pack four layers of clothes and head to Old Faithful Snow Lodge at Yellowstone! You won’t regret it!
I am so excited you are considering a winter trip to Yellowstone National Park. Here is my step by step guide to help you plan your perfect winter trip to Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Now you are probably wondering, what exactly you should plan for. Ok, this is what you need to know! First, it starts to get dark at 4:00 pm. Second, be prepared for below freezing temperatures and long dark nights. And thirdly, dress and pack accordingly.
On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order requiring masks and physical distancing in federal buildings and on federal land. Yellowstone National Park is not strict by any means, but by law they are required to ask you to wear a mask. As long as you are socially distancing, they will leave you alone for the most part.
Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman Montana
The North Entrance is the only entrance to Yellowstone that is open year round. The closest airport to the North Entrance, is Bozeman which is about 90 miles away.
First Night Lodging
You should spend the first night at Mammoth Hot Springs, which is located at Yellowstone North Entrance. I will elaborate on this more later in the blog post.
Call Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. They will help you get airport transportation from Bozeman airport to the hotel. You need to make this reservation far in advance. The hotel will need your name and flight information. This is perfect for individuals who are from the south and are nervous about driving on ice or snow. Otherwise, if you are comfortable with driving on snow, you can rent a car. Keep in mind, your car will remain at Mammoth Hotel while you take the snow-coach up into the mountains. This is where you will be staying at Old Faithful Snow Lodge. You will NOT have access to your vehicle. If you rent a car, I suggest stopping at Bozeman Walmart and buying snacks, water, and meals for the family to save money. Once you are at Yellowstone you will be paying their prices for everything.
This is where the fun begins. In order to get to Old Faithful Snow Lodge during the winter, you are REQUIRED to take the snow-coach. How fun is that? The snow-coach runs daily, but only twice a day, once at 7:45am and next at 1:45am. It is a four hour ride to and from Mammoth to Old Faithful and it is a BLAST. You must buy a round-trip ticket in advance and it is the only way you can get to Old Faithful Snow Lodge located at the top of Yellowstone. They can be reserved through the reservation office by calling 307-344-7311.
During your Trip
What happens on the snow-coach? You will enjoy a comfortable ride through Yellowstone National Park in a massive heated snow-coach. We saw: wolves eating a buffalo carcass, coyotes walking down the road, buffalos digging holes for food, Trumpeter swans, bald eagles, geysers spewing water and steam, and the most stunning of views. During the drive, the driver did a fantastic job of telling us about Yellowstone, telling us about the local animals, and answering all our questions. Being a family from Texas, this was a once in a lifetime experience. I suggest bringing binoculars. Also, you are only allowed to bring one suitcase per person. I feel truly blessed to have had this experience.
Old Faithful Snow Lodge
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Make sure not to miss out on a stay in this beautiful hotel. The Snow Lodge is new and has been recognized as one of the best hotels around! If you’re looking for authentic Western ambiance, this hotel will fit the bill! The heavy timber walls form not only great scenery, but excellent insulation against extreme weather conditions; making it the perfect protection from snow and wind gusts that can come through the park unexpectedly.
We stayed in a cabin which seemed like a long walk to the lodge in the freezing cold and deep snow. If I ever decided to go back in the winter time, I would book a room in the warm lodge. There is no need to walk in the freezing cold back to the lodge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The cabins come with a coffee maker, coffee, tea, shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, and plenty of towels. Our favorite part is the adorable bar soap that comes in each room. There is no microwave or fridge in the room, but you can have one delivered to your room. * I suggest bringing hot coco mix and making hot coco in your room with the coffee maker. The kids will love it and it will save you $5 a pop.
Old Faithful Geyser
The hotel is named after the Yellowstone’s most famous geyser the Old Faithful. It’s only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the lodge. It erupts every 44 minutes and it… was very “faithful” with its eruption time. You can call down to the front desk to get the next eruption time. Once you know the time, head over the the geyser and enjoy her beauty!
You have several options and you should book these in advance. The prices are very reasonable.
Lone Star Excursion
Old Faithful Area Snowshoe Tour
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Snowshoe Tour
Steam, Stars, and Winter Soundscapes
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Ski Tour
Skier Shuttles – Snow Lodge
Firehole Basin Winter Adventure
Madison Wildlife Excursion
Across the Great Divide
Winter Photo Safari
Lessons and Rentals
We have small kids, so we went with the Firehole Basin Winter Adventures. You spend most of the time in the warm snow-coach. However, there are times the kids will be walking for an hour in the freezing snow. My youngest elected to stay in the warm snow-coach while the others went to look at the geysers after the first chilly hike was just too much for her. My middle child had a blast and enjoyed the walk.
I suggest bringing your own water, snacks, hot coco mix, and easy to make lunch items. You do not want to pay national park prices for these items. The lodge does have restaurants, Old Faithful Snow Lodge Obsidian Dining Room, The Bear Paw Deli, and Geyser Grill. We had breakfast and dinner at the Obsidian dining room, and the food is really good. I had no clue their was Geyser Grill, and I wish we would have tried it. I always love a good hamburger.
Lamb Burgers were good at the dining room.
What you need to pack?
Packing for a winter trip to Yellowstone National Park can be tough, but there’s some things that you’ll want with your essentials.
Ski Pants- water resistant
Ski Jackets- water resistant
Masks- Required by National Parks
Outdoor cold weather gator
In conclusion, do you love winter? If so, then Yellowstone National Park is the perfect destination. You can go on snowmobile rides or explore other parts of the park that are inaccessible during warmer months. The best part about visiting Yellowstone in the winter, is that it’s usually empty because only 3% of tourists visit this time of year! Plus, there will be no crowds for your family to contend with if you’re traveling with children. Whether you want something adventurous or more low-key, Yellowstone has what you need for a great staycation. So grab those ski clothes and book your next trip now before all the spots fill up! So what are you waiting for? Let Glam Escapes Travel Agency book your next stay.