Got Cabin Fever? Try Yellowstone in Winter!

It happens every year at this time. You start to feel irritable, unmotivated and lethargic. No matter how comfortable your home, after months of being holed up, it’s easy to succumb to cabin fever.

The solution? Get out and explore one of the world’s most spectacular places, right outside your door. We’re talking about Yellowstone, of course! Yellowstone in winter offers the perfect antidote to seasonal doldrums.

The following clip from the National Park Service presents a taste of the adventure that awaits you:

Reasons To Go

Yellowstone during the off-season is transformed into a winter wonderland. Wildlife abounds in the winter months, and people are few and far between. In fact, it may feel like you have the park all to yourself.

Up to 7,000 elk spend their winter in the National Elk Refuge, a 24,700-acre sanctuary between Jackson and Grand Teton National Park. The refuge was originally established in 1912 to protect one of the world’s largest elk herds. At this time of year, you can see them up close from the safety of a horse-drawn sleigh.

Yellowstone in winter is also the best time to observe wolves in their natural habitat, because the snow makes them easier to spot. Yellowstone Forever, the park’s non-profit education partner, even offers guided snowshoe tours with a wolf ecologist.

Say “Mush”

If you prefer canines that are a little less wild, why not try dog sledding? Though not permitted within the park itself, the greater Yellowstone region has become a dog sledding destination for both recreational fun and serious racing.

You’ll marvel at the power and spirit of the huskies, who thrive on the exhilaration of the journey. For more information, including a list of dog sled tour companies near Jackson, click here.

Getting Around

Most of the park’s roads are closed to automobiles during the winter months, but they’re still accessible via snowcoach, snowmobile, skis and snowshoes. (All the more adventurous!)

If comfort is important, then probably the best way to see the sights (while staying toasty warm) is a guided snowcoach tour. Several outfitters run trips from each of the park’s entrances, with certified Yellowstone experts as your guides.

If gliding through the wintry landscape on cross-country skis or tromping through the silent forest in snowshoes is more your style, Yellowstone has trails that range from easy groomed tracks to wild back-country routes.

One popular trip, the Biscuit Basin Trail, snakes through the Old Faithful geyser basin. The hissing, bubbling geysers and hot springs are fascinating, even when they’re not erupting.

And speaking of hot springs, don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, as you’ll definitely want to take a dip in the Yellowstone’s Boiling River. Its soak-friendly pools are open all winter long.  Perfect after a long day of hiking, sledding, skiing and snowmobiling.

There now… don’t you feel better already?


Boston Globe

Snowshoe Magazine

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