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West Yellowstone, Montana, is a winter adventure seeker’s snow-covered playground. Come explore the area if you are in search of a snowy adventure: here are nine reasons why West Yellowstone is absolutely amazing in the winter. Pick your path and begin planning your wild exploration today.
West Yellowstone, Montana is not only brimming with heart-pumping winter recreation, but also unique entertainment for the entire family. Start your adventure with a sled dog tour, snowmobiling, or snowshoeing through our picturesque corner of Montana. After a day of snow-filled fun, catch a guaranteed sighting of grizzlies and wolves at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. Wrap it all up with the monthly Kids’N’Snow event, sure to bring happy smiles to everyone in the family.
This list will make winter your favorite season, and West Yellowstone your favorite place!
1. YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
West Yellowstone, Montana, is known as the heart of adventure. It is the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, a perfect base camp with access to amenities while day-tripping into the park. While the park is closed to regular vehicle traffic during the winter, it is open to guided snowcoach tours. Snowcoaches are passenger vehicles designed to traverse groomed snow trails, and they offer an exciting opportunity to explore the park in a unique way. Experience the park in a whole new way with a guided snowcoach or snowmobile tour to see popular park destinations, like Old Faithful.
2. BEARS, BISON & WOLVES, OH MY!
Seeing a bison, safely from a distance, with its shaggy beard full of snow and frost is undoubtedly a sight to behold. Watching its warm breath bellowing out and forming little white clouds around its wet nose is a breathtaking scene you will never forget. When not observing bison in Yellowstone National Park, visitors to West Yellowstone can also experience majestic animals such as grizzlies and wolves at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center — whose mission is to create a better understanding and appreciation of wildlife.
3. THRILL OF THE SLED
West Yellowstone, Montana, is a premier destination for snowmobiling. It’s home to over 400 exciting miles of groomed trails that stretch from Montana to Idaho, boasts top conditions, and is surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of three national forests. Here, you’ll find a winter playground waiting to be experienced — and a community that shares the streets with snowmobilers.
4. PULL OF THE CORDUROY
Escaping into the wild on snowshoe or cross-country ski is easy to do in West Yellowstone, and you can begin your adventures right at the edge of town on the Rendezvous Trails system, one of many trails bordering the town. This extensive trail is managed in partnership with the Forest Service, the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce, and the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation. Trail passes are necessary November 1 through March 31.
5. FAMILY FUN
A family fun event they’ll remember forever, Kids ‘N’ Snow is on a mission to share the excitement of winter with children. Here, kids learn how to appreciate winter activities in a safe and supportive environment. One weekend each month from December – March, an assortment of winter activities are offered, including ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, skiing, and winter learning programs. Saturday night S’mores & Skatin’ & Sleddin’ is everyone’s favorite way to wrap up the day!
6. ICE FISHING
As the snow starts to fall and the temperatures drop, anglers head to the lakes in search of big trout that can be caught through the frozen ice. With more than 200 lakes and ponds in the area, there are plenty of great ice fishing spots. Some of the most popular ice fishing sites include Hebgen Lake and Earthquake Lake. About fifteen miles long, four miles wide, and 13.3 miles from West Yellowstone is Hebgen Lake. Hebgen is considered a superlative stillwater fishing lake. In the winter, the lake hosts an official North American Ice Fishing Circuit with a prize pool in the thousands. Get in on the action and enjoy a weekend of world-class competition.
7. SLED DOGS
Not just for fierce competitors of the Iditarod, discover dog sledding within driving distance of West Yellowstone. Mushing into the wilderness behind a team of powerful huskies eager for the challenge is a thrilling adventure that lets you embrace the wild. Gliding over packed snow while a guide expertly drives the team into pristine places vehicles just can’t get to is a story you’ll share with friends and family for the rest of your lifetime. For a truly unique family experience, make this the year you enjoy the thrill of dog sledding! Sled dog tours are available daily with sleds that can handle up to a family of four.
8. TAKE A HIKE!
Snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and enjoy the winter scenery. It’s also a great workout! The best snowshoeing trails in West Yellowstone are the Boundary Trail and the Yellowstone River Trail, which both take you into Yellowstone National Park – but always check the conditions first. If you’re just getting started, we recommend renting a pair of shoes from a local outfitter, Freeheel & Wheel, who can also give you some brief instructions.
9. ONE HORSE OPEN SLEIGH
Maybe you’re looking for something a little more low-key, something that involves snow gently falling in big fat flakes as you try to catch each one on your tongue? There’s something about the crisp air and the sound of the horse’s hooves against the ground that makes the experience truly magical. Located a little outside of West Yellowstone, nothing compares to a magical winter sleigh ride when you are wrapped in warm blankets and experiencing the inspiring scenery and breathtaking landscapes. It’s truly the stuff to write postcards home about. Spend an afternoon or a starry evening getting carried away in a traditional horse-drawn sleigh.
Traversing trails, wildlife watching, or escaping into the wild — whether you are visiting for the first time or find yourself returning, again and again, West Yellowstone, Montana, voted a “Top 10 Winter Town” (National Geographic Traveler) and one of the “11 Coolest Winter Places in America” (Budget Travel), is a winter wonderland full of adventure for everyone to embrace.
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West Yellowstone offers a full range of lodging options, from personal cabins and family-owned motels to large, full- service properties. You are sure to find the perfect home away from home as you experience the winter wonderland of West Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park. Download a travel guide and set your adventure in motion!
In conjunction with West Yellowstone TBID