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Best way to see Yellowstone in winter?

Santa Clara...
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Best way to see Yellowstone in winter?

Hello all tripadvisor experts,

Me and my wife would like to explore Yellowstone NP in winter (around 21-24 Dec 2017). We are not into Skiing or any snow activities, so we are currently exploring Coach tour options. Could you please guide us for the following:

- What would be the best airport to fly into coming from SJC or SFO?

- What are some good coach tour companies?

- Where to stay?

- Is there public transport or any other options available to reach from airport to the accommodation and the tour operator's pickup points? Is renting car and driving ok with no prior snow/ice driving experience?

Thanks a lot for your help as always!

4 replies to this topic
N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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21,868 posts
110 reviews
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1. Re: Best way to see Yellowstone in winter?

There are different options. To me the *best* way is to spend 2 or 3 nights at Old Faithful Snow Lodge so you have some time to walk the geyser basin and see the thermal features in the snow.

If I were doing it, I would fly in to Bozeman, rent a car and drive down to Gardiner/Mammoth. Spend the night there. Take the snow coach in (if there are openings), stay overnight 2 nights at the Snowlodge, then back out to Mammoth for an overnight. You probably cannot make a flight on the same day you come from Old Faithful.

Do your days include travel days? I am not sure that if you just have 4 days which include travel days that this is a good idea! YOu can also have air travel delays this time of year if a storm moves thru. If you are talking about THIS month you'd need to check and see about availability.

Snowlodge and Snowcoach transportation (thru the Yellowstone NP concessionaire):

www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

Pam

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2. Re: Best way to see Yellowstone in winter?

Flying into Idaho Falls and staying in West Yellowstone will likely provide the best options for tours and shuttles. There seems to be more tour operators in West Yellowstone and the distance to Old Faithful is a bit shorter from the west Yellowstone park entrance. I also like the sight seeing along that section of road from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful a little better. Other options are Mammoth and Jackson Hole.

You can rent a car and drive from Idaho Falls, on most days the roads are decent. Roads around West Yellowstone in mid winter are usually snow covered. There is always a chance of finding yourself in a snow storm as well. There are some public transportation options from Idaho Falls and once in West Yellowstone you can get by without a car.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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21,868 posts
110 reviews
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3. Re: Best way to see Yellowstone in winter?

Here also is a link to the permitted outfitters for snowcoach tours based on which gate they are allowed to enter.

https:/…snowmobiles-snowcoaches.htm

Pam

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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4,606 posts
3 reviews
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4. Re: Best way to see Yellowstone in winter?

Idaho Falls is probably not as good a choice to fly into compared to Bozeman. Longer distance and US20 is more prone to being closed or at least impacted by winter snow storms. Xanterra also does a daily shuttle to/from the Mammoth area so you can do without a rental car. There is also a shuttle/bus from Bozeman to Big Sky and West Yellowstone by Karst Stage.

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