You'll love Yellowstone in winter

The thermal waters that bubble up the travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National parkYellowstone, the nations oldest National park.Northern Range, Yellowstone National ParkElk in Yellowstone National ParkOld Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins, accessible by either snowcoach or snowmobile.Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National ParkThe wily coyote, found in all areas of the park, feeds on rodents, rabbits and other small animals.Old Faithful, Yellowstone National ParkOld Faithful, Yellowstone National ParkThe hot springs of Yellowstone Northern Range, Yellowstone National ParkMadison River, Yellowstone National Park
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The thermal waters that bubble up the travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs, near the north entrance to the park, are constantly shifting.  A series of boardwalks among the terraces is the best way to enjoy the vibrant colors and patterns that are characteristic of these step-like formations.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

Yellowstone, our nation’s first National Park, is much more than a summer destination. During the winter season, it turns into a magical winter wonderland perfect for wildlife watching (bison are abundant), snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and photography opportunities.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

The landscape of the Northern Range is one of vast open snowfields punctuated by the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek. It’s a favorite bison hangout in the winter.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

While the herds of elk within Yellowstone during the warm season number between 10,000 and 20,000, during the winter those numbers are down in the 5,000 range as elk move into lower elevations outside the park to survive.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

Currently, the only option for lodging within the park during the winter season is the cozy Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins, accessible by either snowcoach or snowmobile.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

Midway Geyser Basin affords a walk through the sometimes steamy, sulfuric-smelling mist that arises from the hot springs.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

The coyote, found in all areas of the park, feeds on rodents, rabbits and other small animals.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

Old Faithful is a reliable crowd pleaser as it erupts about 20 times per day. People will gather and patiently wait for a show of steamy water shooting up from 100 to 180 feet, and lasting anywhere between 1.5 to 5 minutes.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

Park rangers can predict fairly accurately when Old Faithful's next eruption will occur, which can range anywhere from 35 to 120 minutes. During winter, the Old Faithful complex is accessible either by snowcoach or snowmobile.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

The hot springs of Yellowstone are often characterized by a deep beautiful turquoise that turns to yellow orange hues at the outer edges, a result of bacteria that live in these scalding waters.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

The only road to remain open to traffic within Yellowstone in the winter stretches from the park's north entrance at Gardiner, Montana, to the small hamlet of Cooke City (one of Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in America), just outside the park's northeast entrance. This portion of the park is known as the Northern Range.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

Many of Yellowstone’s rivers, such as the Madison, don’t freeze in winter, a result of warm thermal waters that mingle with the rivers.

Photograph by Donnie Sexton

America's first National Park is a gorgeous and inspiring vacation destination in spring, summer, and fall. But a uniquely serene beauty takes hold during the long cold season. Join us on a photo tour of this spectacular winter wonderland.

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