Yellowstone National Park Winter Pictures + Travel Guide

Yellowstone is truly a winter wonderland, a place where the serenity of the snow-covered landscapes is nothing short of enchanting. We’ve created this gallery of Yellowstone National Park winter pictures to inspire you to add this location to your bucket list!

On a Yellowstone winter vacation you’ll find the landscape covered with snow. The steam from the hot pools and geysers is more pronounced in the cold air. And the wildlife stands out against the white snow.

Yellowstone Winter Pictures

Use this picture gallery and Yellowstone National Park travel guide to know all the best things to see, do, and photograph at the park in the winter!

We live only hours away and visit Yellowstone often. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the park during the winter.

When planning a winter trip to Yellowstone, our number one tip is to pack and wear winter clothes so you can enjoy your time in the park!! You’ll also need specific winter camera gear for the cold conditions. Grab your free Yellowstone winter packing list by clicking the image below!

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Taking pictures at Yellowstone in the winter

Things to Know Before Visiting Yellowstone in the Winter

There are limited services and ways to enter Yellowstone in the winter so be sure to plan ahead for a winter vacation to this park!

Yellowstone Roads in the Winter

All roads except from the north entrance in Gardiner to the northeast entrance in Cooke City are closed. Be sure to read the fall and winter Yellowstone road closure dates for the most updated year-to-year information.

You can access the park from West Yellowstone and the south entrance near Grand Teton by snow coach tourssnowshoeing, cross country skiing or snowmobile tours.

Yellowstone Winter Lodging

You’ll find all types of Yellowstone winter lodging options to choose from in the park, as well as in the towns near the park entrances. Whether you’re seeking rustic cabins or luxurious hotel rooms, Yellowstone provides a variety of winter lodging options to suit every taste.

Yellowstone Services in the Winter

Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance is the only part of the park open to wheeled vehicles in the winter. The road is open up to Cooke City, Montana, after which the road is closed (no through-traffic to Red Lodge, Montana or Cody, Wyoming). Services are very limited between Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City, Montana.

Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt areas:

  • Albright Visitor Center
  • General Store
  • Mammoth Campground
  • Mammoth Clinic
  • Post Office
  • Mammoth and Tower-Roosevelt Service Stations – credit card fueling only 24-hours

Old Faithful area:

Canyon Area:

  • Canyon Yurt Camp
  • Canyon and Fishing Bridge Service Stations – credit card fueling only 24-hours

Warming Huts available in the winter:

  • Canyon Visitor Education Center Lobby
  • Fishing Bridge
  • Indian Creek
  • Madison
  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Old Faithful Yurts
  • West Thumb

Always check the Yellowstone operating hours and seasons for the most updated information.

Yellowstone Weather in the Winter

The Yellowstone National Park weather in the winter is cold and snowy. Average temperatures range from highs in the upper 20s and lows close to 0.

Layers are key when exploring the park in the winter. Reference our winter clothing guide so you can enjoy the outdoors, even when it’s cold!

winter hiking gear

Yellowstone National Park Winter Pictures

Here’s a gallery of our favorite Yellowstone winter pictures taken on a Snowcoach Tour with Alpen Guides from West Yellowstone to Black Basin.

Alpen Guides bombardier snowcoach with a top hatch

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND booking a Yellowstone National Park winter tour via snowcoach or snowmobile to see areas of the park that only accessible with a guide.

As photographers, we found a guide who let us cater the stops based on the things we wanted to see and take pictures of.

Madison River in the winter
Madison River

Our tour began in West Yellowstone. The road follows the Madison River along this route.

Wolves and Bison at Yellowstone in the winter
Wolves and Bison at Yellowstone in the winter

We got to watch a few wolves harass a bison along the river. Due to the distance and low light, we didn’t get the best photos, but it was thrilling to see nonetheless. Be sure to have a wildlife photography lens to capture subjects in the distance.

tree in a hot spring at Yellowstone
Tree in a mudpot area

We proceeded along the Yellowstone National Park Southern Loop and made our first stop at Fountain Paint Pot. This area includes hot springs, geysers, and mudpots.

hot pool at Yellowstone in the winter
Silex Spring at Yellowstone in the winter

At this stop our guide told some Yellowstone National Park facts. Did you know that hot springs are the most common hydrothermal features in the park? The circulation of super hot water coming to the top cools when it reaches the surface, then sinks. This constant flow prevents water from reaching the temperature needed to set off an eruption.

ice formations at Yellowstone in the winter
Needle Ice at Yellowstone

Be sure to watch for the small details around the hydrothermal features in Yellowstone, like this Needle Ice we saw in a mudpot.

Yellowstone winter landscape
Yellowstone winter landscape

We continued south to the Midway Geyser Basin. From the parking lot, you’ll pass trees covered with hoarfrost.

Hoarfrost on the trees at Yellowstone in the winter
Hoarfrost on the trees at Yellowstone in the winter

Hoarfrost is a winter phenomenon that occurs on cold, clear, and humid nights with little wind. The water vapor in the air skips the liquid phase and forms as a crystal, sticking to surfaces of trees, grass, and manmade structures. 

Grand Prismatic in the winter
Grand Prismatic in the winter

Visiting Grand Prismatic in the winter is so different from our Yellowstone vacations at other times of the year. We we the only people walking along the boardwalk! It was so quiet and serene!

Grand Prismatic reflection in the winter
Grand Prismatic reflection

The steam from Excelsior Geyser was thick and made it very slippery along the boardwalk, but it creates a cool effect from a distance!

Hot pool in the winter at Yellowstone
Opal Pool at Yellowstone

You can easily see the “hot spots” around the features where there is no snow. The stark contrast of white snow against the blue pool was a cool thing to photograph.

photographer and guide at Yellowstone in the winter
Dave and the tour guide near Opal Pool

During the winter, it’s possible to use your tripod along the boardwalk in the Midway Geyser Basin area. We were the only ones there!

River in Yellowstone in the winter
River in Yellowstone

The next stop was Biscuit Basin to see more pools and small geysers. You just can’t beat the winter landscape you’ll see at Yellowstone covered in snow!

small geyser at Yellowstone in the winter
Jewel Geyser

There were other tour groups at this location, but it still wasn’t crowded. It’s amazing how quiet the park is during the winter even with snowmobiles and snowcoaches driving around.

trees in the winter at Yellowstone
Trees in the winter

Knowing we were interested in Yellowstone winter photography spots, our guide stopped along the road for us to photograph the pattern of tree trunks.

Fun photography spot at Yellowstone

The necessity of winter-specific photography gear in cold temperatures cannot be overstated. We use a lens warmer to protect the lens from freezing so the camera and lens function properly when it’s cold.

Don’t forget about personal gear too: photographer gloves and rechargeable hand warmers can help keep you comfortable and focused on getting that perfect shot.

Firehole Falls in the winter
Firehole Falls

And of course, no trip to this park is complete without taking pictures of Yellowstone waterfalls! Our route for the day allowed us to see Firehole Falls.

There are other guided tours that take you to the Canyon area of Yellowstone so you can photograph Upper and Lower Falls.

Bison head digging in the snow at Yellowstone
Bison head digging in the snow at Yellowstone

You may not think that winter is the best time to visit Yellowstone for wildlife, but we loved how the bison really stand out against the white snow!

And it was fun to watch them swinging their head in the snow digging to find vegetation.

bison with snow on its head at Yellowstone
Bison at Yellowstone in the winter

We were able to get these shots of the bison in the road because the bombardier snowcoach we were in had the opening in the top.

The guides will not let you get out of the snowcoach to take pictures if wildlife is too close.

bison in the winter at Yellowstone
Winter is one of the best times to visit Yellowstone for wildlife

There you have it! A gallery of Yellowstone National Park winter pictures to show you what it’s like when you visit during this unique time of year!

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