9 Reasons Why You Should Embrace West Yellowstone in Winter
West Yellowstone, Montana, is a winter adventure seeker’s snow-covered playground. To be here is to embrace and respect that winter lasts longer in Montana, nearly six, sometimes eight, months of the year, than in most places in the contiguous United States.
And that is just fine with all who live here or visit and make West Yellowstone their premiere destination for winter adventures the whole family can enjoy. Because when the temperatures drop and frosty mornings demand you pull out the parka, you can sense the growing excitement in knowing that winter is soon on its way.
Like Seattle-ites and their many terms for rain, the locals here have a variety of names for snowfall. Whether it’s a flurry, a fresh pow morning, or a bluebird-kind-of-day, no matter what type of snow is blanketing the surrounding area — when winter finally arrives; West Yellowstone, Montana, becomes a bustling community of activity and happenings. If you are in search of snow and wanting to explore more, here are nine reasons why West Yellowstone is absolutely amazing in the winter.
Winter Adventures That’ll Make You Wish You Were Here Already
1. Old Faithful and Beyond by Snowcoach
West Yellowstone, Montana, is known as the heart of adventure. It is the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, a perfect basecamp 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.
2. Bison to Bears: You Won’t be Bored
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 no one ever forgets. When not observing bison in Yellowstone 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. The Thrill of The Sled
West Yellowstone, Montana, is a premier destination for snowmobiling. Home to over 400 exciting miles of groomed trails, top conditions, and 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. Out on 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. 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. The Kids are Alright
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. This year’s Back to Basics program hosts afternoon movie specials and Saturday Night S’mores and Sledding.
6. Fish On!
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 into the thousands. Get in on the action and enjoy a weekend of world-class competition.
7. Come Gee! Come Haw!
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.
8. 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? 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.
9. Celebrate Like You Own The Place
West Yellowstone’s Annual Christmas Stroll is an event the entire family will love and ask to come back to year after year. Join in as the whole community joyfully celebrates the holidays. It’s the best time to shop for the perfect gift or grab a hot cocoa from a local coffee shop and stroll down the sidewalks while admiring the brilliantly lit storefronts.
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.