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Winter in Yellowstone

An older Bombardier-style snowcoach, which has skis on the front and tracks on the back, pauses behind a Yellowstone bison jam. The park opens for the winter season on Friday, Dec. 15.

BRETT FRENCH, Gazette Staff

Yellowstone National Park roads will open to the public for motorized oversnow travel at 8 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 15. 

Visitors will be able to travel the park’s interior roads on commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches from the North, West, and South entrances. Visitors who have proper permits can also participate in the non-commercially guided snowmobile trips.

Travel from Fishing Bridge to Lake Butte is closed until more snow accumulates on the road. Travel through the park’s East Entrance over Sylvan Pass to Lake Butte is scheduled to begin Friday, Dec. 22, depending on the weather.

The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City is open to wheeled vehicle travel all year.

Winter travelers are always advised to be prepared. Carry personal emergency survival equipment and dress appropriately for outside activities in extremely cold weather.

Most stores, restaurants, campgrounds and lodges are closed during winter. The following list highlights when winter visitor services will open:

Old Faithful

• Dec. 15 - Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, Geyser Grill, and Bear Den Gift Shop (includes the ski shop)

• Dec. 16 - Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins and Obsidian Dining Room

• Open Year-Round - 24-hour gasoline pumps

Mammoth Hot Springs

• Dec. 15 - Mammoth Hotel, Dining Room, Ski Shop

• Open Year-Round - Albright Visitor Center, Yellowstone General Store, 24-hour gasoline pumps, medical clinic, campground, and post office

Tower Junction

• Open Year-Round - 24-hour gasoline pumps

Warming huts at Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Indian Creek, Madison, Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful and West Thumb provide shelter. Some huts are staffed during business hours. Food, restrooms, and water are available at some huts.

In addition to unique winter travel opportunities, Yellowstone also offers a variety of activities such as ranger-led programs, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.