Winter in Yellowstone means fewer crowds, frigid temperatures, and steaming geyser basins. Skis, snowshoes, snowcoaches, and snowmobiles become the primary modes of transportation as roads close, rivers and lakes freeze, and snowstorms transform the park into a winter wonderland.
In winter huge balls of snow dangle from the bison’s’ beards and especially in geyser basins they get a frosty covering. That, combined with the beasts’ breath hanging in the frigid air like fire, make the formidable animals look even more impressive.
Against the snowy background, the elk, bison, wolves and other animals become relatively easy to spot and you can also see their tracks in the snow. This is a bit depending on the weather as we had a few feet of snow in the days we were there.
With most park roads closed in the winter, the best way to see the sights (and stay warm while doing it) is a guided snowcoach tour.
Up to 7,000 elk spend their winter in the National Elk Refuge, a 24,700-acre sanctuary between the town of Jackson, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. And when snow blankets the ground from mid-December to early April, you can see them up close from the safety of a horse-drawn sleigh.