If you love Montana's great outdoors and its recreation, even under a blanket of snow, consider a Yellowstone National Park adventure.

At 8 a.m. this Tuesday, December 15, Yellowstone National Park will open to the public for travel by snowcoach and snowmobile. Between December 15 and mid-March, visitors can travel the park’s interior roads on commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches from the North, West, East, and South entrances, weather permitting. Visitors who have proper permits can also take non-commercially guided snowmobile trips.

After evaluating public comments and completing compliance requirements, the park recently made the decision to routinely open the East Entrance on December 15 and close it March 15, weather dependent. This change aligns operating dates for the East Entrance with other park entrances. The park annually opens roads in mid-December to oversnow travel only. Winter travel ends in mid-March when plowing crews begin to clear a winter’s worth of snow. Roads will start to re-open to automobiles in mid-April.

The one exception is the road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana. This road is plowed and open to automobiles all year.

Winter weather is extremely unpredictable and road closures or delays can occur with little or no warning. Come prepared. Carry personal emergency survival equipment and dress appropriately for outside activities in extremely cold weather. Additionally, the park asks each visitor to recreate responsibly to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Visitor services will be limited this winter, and dates may be subject to change. If you're thinking about a journey, it's a good idea to keep the park's website handy for updates and more information.

But for now, we can tell you the following list highlights what visitor services will be available and when they will open:

Canyon Village: Lobby and restrooms only at the Canyon Visitor Education Center – December 15

Old Faithful: Geyser Grill and Bear Den Gift Shop – December 15

Restrooms only at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center – December 15

Old Faithful Visitor Education Center – TBD

Mammoth Hot Springs: Mammoth Hotel & Cabins, Mammoth Hotel Map Room Barista/Bar, Dining Room, Mammoth Gift Shop and Ski Shop – December 15

Mammoth General Store, medical clinic, campground, and post office – Open year-round

Albright Visitor Center – TBD

Service Stations: 24-hour gasoline pumps at Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction, Canyon Village, Fishing Bridge, Grant Village and Old Faithful – Open year-round

Warming huts at Fishing Bridge, Indian Creek, Madison, Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, and West Thumb will provide shelter. Food, restrooms, and water will be available at some huts. All warming huts, except Mammoth Hot Springs, will open on December 15. Mammoth Hot Springs will open on December 16.

 

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