I sent this out to my Twtter feed over the weekend, but wanted to share it here as well. As many of you know, I spent a good portion of the early part of January in Montana and Yellowstone National Park, playing in the snow. This is the second time that I’ve visited the park in the past six months, and my winter adventure was very different from my summer one, although I did get a blizzard in September too. As a result of this latest excursion, I posted a list of Ten Great Things To Do In Yellowstone During the Winter at Gadling.
Now, some of the things on the last are bit more relaxed than others. For instance, I recommend soaking in the hot springs of the Boiling River, not far from Mammoth. Even when it is freezing cold outside, the river is warm and comforting. I also mentioned spending the night at the Snow Lodge, which is a fantastic place to stay and serves as a great base camp for your Yellowstone adventures. But there are also some amazing outdoor activities to take part in while you visit in the winter as well, such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
There are miles of groomed trails to explore in the park, and whether you’re on snowshoes or skis, there is plenty to see. In the article I mentioned the Geyser Basin, which is where all the geothermal activity takes place, including Old Faithful. One of my days in the park we spent snowshoeing off the beaten path behind Yellowstone’s most famous geyser, which gave us a view of the eruption that most don’t get to see. But that was just the beginning, as we continued further down the valley, there were plenty of other geysers, mud pots, and hot springs to see as well.
Spotting wildlife was especially fun and easy in the winter too. While we didn’t get the opportunity to see any wolves, we were able to spot plenty of bison, elk, and sheep, as well as coyotes and even a bright red fox. There were lots of trumpeter swans in the park this winter too, and the famed ravens of Yellowstone were making their usual rounds and being quite the nuisance. The Lamar Valley is a great place to go looking for critters, and I’m told there is an active family of otters in that area this year as well. The fresh blanket of snow makes it easy to see them all, and because there are no crowds during the winter, you’re likely to have much of the place to yourself. The park now boasts 3 million visitors a year, of those just 100,000 come during the winter.
So, if you don’t mind a little cold (It was -10ºF one morning) and you enjoy a little snow (Old Faithful gets about 200 inches per year!) then I can’t think of a better winter playground than Yellowstone. Just e sure to dress warmly and invest in a good pair of boots before you go. Then grab the camera and prepare for a great time, as Yellowstone is even more beautiful in the winter than it is in the summer.
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