“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.”
Andy Goldsworthy, Photographer & Environmentalist
Don’t just “get through” winter – embrace it! While many people curse the winter and snow, here in Montana snow is a reason to celebrate. On our Yellowstone Winter Snowshoe Vacation, we snow-hike under the clear blue “Big Sky” on gorgeous trails through open valleys, in narrow gorges, along frozen creeks, among groves of Aspen trees, and near the steamy fumaroles and geysers in Yellowstone National Park.
If you can hike, you can snowshoe! We welcome all ability levels including those who have never tried it before. Snowshoeing is a blast and easy to learn. With these “all-terrain vehicles” strapped to our feet we can follow a trail or make a trail of our own anywhere there is snow.
We spend our first night in a town that is a winter gateway to the Park, West Yellowstone, and our last night in the Gallatin Valley near Big Sky at the 320 Guest Ranch. In between, we have two quiet nights in the heart of Yellowstone National Park at the Snow Lodge, just steps from the Old Faithful geyser.
Our country’s first national park is quite the tourist destination in the summer with millions of visitors, but in the winter it is home for only the hearty (like us!) and it is truly magical. The Park’s 2.2 million acres offer some of the best snowshoeing terrain you’ll find anywhere.
This is truly an unforgettable vacation with its steamy geothermal features, abundant wildlife, and Old Faithful erupting by the light of the moon.
Note, you have the option to rent cross-country skis and ski instead of snowshoe on two of our days – one day at the Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky and one day inside the Park.
Travel Montana is an authorized permittee of Yellowstone National Park
Trip Favorite Moments & Reviews
“The first trip I would consider doing again and again. I am so glad I chose this trip this time. I did not get enough time to explore this amazing piece of our country. I would love to see this area in every season!”Karen C.
“I have several favorite moments, but the one memory I know will stick with me is seeing two bison cross our path while we were walking the Geyser Paths at Old Faithful.”Amy S.
- Activities: Snowshoeing
- Duration: 5 days
Price Per Person
4 - 5 people: $2,850
6 - 7 people: $2,800
8+ people: $2,600
- Single Supplement: $700
-> This trip is limited to 8 participants.
-> $100 optional snowshoe rental (you can bring your own)
- Public Tour Date: February 22 - 26, 2021
- Experiencing a national treasure – Yellowstone National Park – in a season where there are few other visitors
- Seeing wildlife such as bison, elk, wolves, fox, coyote, bald eagles and more
- Taking a private snowcoach into the park's interior and snowshoeing along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
- Soaking in the Boiling River
- Staying in the cute small town of Gardiner at the northwest entrance of Yellowstone
- Snowshoeing at the B-Bar Ranch in the Paradise Valley
We reserve the right to alter our listed itinerary based on current snow conditions, to maximize your enjoyment!
Your guides will meet you this morning in Bozeman, Montana, where we begin and end your trip. We shuttle to Big Sky, 45 minutes away, and will spend the better part of our day at Lone Mountain Ranch, consistently voted one of the top cross-country areas in the entire country! There are miles of trails to explore by snowshoe, and if you choose to, you can rent cross-country skis today (extra cost) and opt to ski instead of snowshoe. When you are finished snowshoeing, a healthy skier’s lunch is available at Lone Mountain Ranch’s restaurant, and the fireplace beckons you to relax before we shuttle another hour to the epicenter of winter – the small town of West Yellowstone. Because it gets consistent and heavy snowfall and has a multitude of cross country trails, Olympic athletes often come to West Yellowstone for training. We walk in the crisp, squeaky snow to dinner tonight, stopping to make snow angels in the gigantic snowbanks! We bet you haven't seen this much snow since you were a kid!
After an early breakfast, we'll strap on our snowshoes for a three- to four-mile jaunt into the Park right from the back door of our hotel. Wildlife is abundant along the Madison River and you could encounter bison, elk, deer, moose, coyotes, fox, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and an occasional river otter. We then make our trail lunches, check out of our hotel, and depart via private snowcoach (a van fitted with either gigantic snow tires or special treads similar to a snowmobile instead of wheels so it can easily cross the snow-covered roads) for Yellowstone National Park. We stop for an easy two-mile snowshoe down the stunning Firehole Canyon, one of the most beautiful settings in the Park! From there, our snowcoach trundles along past several geyser basins and -- probably -- a few “buffalo jams” (our version of traffic jams) before arriving at our hotel near Old Faithful (even the name – the Snow Lodge – sounds enchanting, doesn’t it?), our home for the next two nights. If you have the energy, ice skates and a skating rink are available for an evening adventure. Dinner is fireside, right in the hotel. Have you ever seen Old Faithful erupt in the light of the moon? We have, and it is something else!
This morning a hearty breakfast is in order, as we’ll be out on the trail all day. And what a trail it is! We’ll tuck our lunches into our packs, pile into the snowcoach for a short trip to the trailhead, and begin our day near the Continental Divide. The day's seven-mile tromp will take us on a groomed flat trail flanked by fluffy piles of snow along the ice-sculpted Spring Creek all the way to Lone Star Geyser, a magnificent cone-shape geyser. If we’re lucky, we’ll be there while it erupts and see the plumes of steam and hot water rise high into the air. You’ll be happy to relax with a glass of wine or hot chocolate next to the fire tonight and regale one another with stories from the day. Your well-used muscles will appreciate how comfy and warm your bed feels tonight!
Tomorrow is Yellowstone's birthday! We celebrate by walking out to our favorite hot pool -- Morning Glory Pool -- to sing an early happy birthday to America's first national park before we bid a fond farewell to Yellowstone and our snowcoach deposits us back in West Yellowstone at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, where we experience the world of grizzly bears and gray wolves. All the animals at the Center are unable to survive in the wild and serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. Afterwards, we'll head back to the Big Sky area and check into our darling little cabins next to the Gallatin River. You’ll have some time to rest before our final dinner. If the skies are clear, we recommend a short outdoor walk guided by starlight, moonlight (or headlamp) after dinner.
This may be our last morning together, but there is still fun to be had! We can enjoy one last snowshoe walk together (an out and back of approximately four miles) along the creek after breakfast, with time afterwards to shower, pack up and check out. If you choose to continue your vacation in the Big Sky area (we think a couple days of downhill skiing is a great idea!) we’ll leave you here this morning. The rest of the group will continue the journey by completing our loop back to Bozeman, where we will bid one another farewell and either travel onward or depart for home.Book This Vacation
NIGHT 1 >> HOLIDAY INN / WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA Located right outside the entrance of Yellowstone Park, this comfortable hotel is also within walking distance of everything in town. We love soaking in the hot tub after being out in the snow!
NIGHTS 2 & 3 >> OLD FAITHFUL SNOW LODGE / YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK From our snowy haven, we can set out on a variety of adventures, including a three-minute walk to watch Old Faithful erupt! You can also borrow a pair of ice skates and take a spin around their outdoor rink. This elegant craftsman style lodge is the newest in the park and was designed to mimic the natural forest canopy surrounding it.
NIGHT 4 >> 320 GUEST RANCH / BIG SKY, MONTANA This 110-year-old homestead has been lovingly reshaped into a Montana guest ranch. We relive the early western atmosphere and down-home hospitality of this beautiful, historic property by staying in their intimate log cabins.Book This Vacation
Arrival & Departure
Your guides meet you in the cool mountain town of Bozeman, Montana the morning of the first day of the trip. If it’s possible for you to fly and arrive that morning before 9 AM, we will meet you at the airport. Otherwise, you can arrive any time the day before the trip begins. We’ll return to Bozeman’s airport the last afternoon of the trip by 12:15 PM, allowing you to fly out by 1:00 PM or so. We can also leave you in Big Sky or Bozeman so you can extend your stay. Bozeman (airport code BZN) is served by many major airlines: Alaska Air, Allegient, Delta, Frontier, and United.
- One local Travel Montana guide will accompany each trip. Additional guides added depending on group size.
- Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
- All of your dinners and breakfasts are included, as well as two trail lunches. Gratuity for these meals is also included. We leave two lunches open so that you have a little flexibility and time to explore.
- All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day. Cost for a private snowcoach into and out of Yellowstone National Park is not included, but we will book this for you and add this cost to your invoice.
- NOT INCLUDED: Equipment rental, beverages, desserts, some lunches, optional gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
When To Travel
Old Faithful is at 7,375 feet of elevation, so winter in Yellowstone can be cold and snowy. The key for a snowshoeing vacation is to pick the time period when there is plenty of snow on the ground and yet temperatures are moderate. In the early winter, in December and January, daytime highs average only 27 degrees and the snowpack is not yet full. So we prefer the months of February and March when there is usually more snow on the ground, temperatures are warmer, and we have more daylight hours. Keep in mind it is still cold and snowy in these months but that is what we expect with a winter tour! Note snow coaches stop running in mid-March.
While in Yellowstone, we’ll be taking the snowcoach to get from place to place. These fun and funky snow vehicles can get quite crowded as they fit all our gear and people from two vans into one! But they are definitely a part of the experience and allow us to do and see things that wouldn’t be possible without them. Plus we strive to be responsible citizens of this sensitive area and not waste resources for the 30-mile trip in! (Snowcoaches get about 2-3 miles per gallon of gas)
Since we’ll be transporting in the snowcoaches, and therefore have limited space, you’ll want to pack smartly. Wear what you want to wear for snowshoeing and pack your extra ski clothes, lunch, and x-c shoes in your ski backpack. This will be on your lap during the snowcoach ride. Your overnight bag should include only what you need for two days: toiletries, wallet, reading materials, pjs, dinner clothes for 2 nights, ski clothes for Day 3 (clean base layers), socks, and shoes (if you don’t want to wear your boots to dinner).
Changes to Your Itinerary
While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.