Yellowstone in winter almost a different place

By Terry Thomas
Idaho Falls Post Register/The Spokesman-Review
February 17, 2016

We were headed out on a 100-mile round trip to see Upper and Lower falls of the Yellowstone River by snowmobile, and bison were an accepted trip hazard just like bison jams during the summer months.

“If we pass bison on the road, pull your machine up tight to the one in front of you, like a fence. If you leave a gap, a bison may try to cut through it,” advised snowmobile guide Len Tillim.

Some say that you haven’t seen Yellowstone National Park until you have seen it in the winter. After spending two consecutive days seeing Yellowstone from this new perspective, I can understand that.

Although I am intimately familiar with the summer park, winter in the park is almost like being in a different place. Steamy thermal features and subzero temperatures create ghostly trees rimed with thick frost. In Hayden Valley, a perfect blanket of snow – unmarred by snowmobile tracks – covered the landscape. Wildlife is even easier to spot against this white background and there are only a fraction of the summer visitors on any given day.