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.
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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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.
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:
- Old Faithful Snow Lodge
- Old Faithful Visitor Education Center
- Old Faithful and Grant Service Stations – credit card fueling only 24-hours
- 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
- 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!
- Wicking clothing
- Fleece jacket
- Winter hat
- Winter gloves
- Insulated jacket
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Waterproof hiking shoes
- Insulated boots
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.
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.
Our tour began in West Yellowstone. The road follows the Madison River along this route.
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.
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.
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.
Be sure to watch for the small details around the hydrothermal features in Yellowstone, like this Needle Ice we saw in a mudpot.
We continued south to the Midway Geyser Basin. From the parking lot, you’ll pass trees covered with hoarfrost.
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.
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!
The steam from Excelsior Geyser was thick and made it very slippery along the boardwalk, but it creates a cool effect from a distance!
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.
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!
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!
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.
Knowing we were interested in Yellowstone winter photography spots, our guide stopped along the road for us to photograph the pattern of tree trunks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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