West Yellowstone, Montana- The world’s first national park is worthy of all the hype. Established in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant, Yellowstone has become known for its geysers, waterfalls, and wildlife. However, most tourists see the park when it’s swarmed by crowds. Rather than finding solitude and being one with nature, people wait in lines and take videos of idiots who think that petting bison or walking onto a geyser is a good idea.

While I was in Montana for a ski trip a couple of weeks ago, I decided to drive down to West Yellowstone to take a guided snowcoach tour.

The main thing you should know about Yellowstone in the wintertime is that a good portion of the gates are closed to private vehicles. The only gate that is open to private vehicles during the wintertime is the Northeast one. To get past the other gates, you’ll need to take a guided tour.

While this was my first time visiting the area, I’d have to imagine the town of West Yellowstone is a lot quieter in the winter compared to the summer. There are some, albeit not a lot of tourists in the area, with some restaurants shutting down for the offseason. There’s a variety of hotels to stay at, but I ended up picking the Gray Wolf Inn & Suites. Nice hotel, but they had an animatronic wolf that would howl every time the front door opened, which has haunted my dreams since.

To get into the park, I was able to book a last-minute trip on a Backcountry Adventures snowcoach. The tour guide was very nice and informative, as she taught us a lot about the history of the national park and the animals that call Yellowstone home. The tour bus itself was comfortable, with heating and well-spaced-out seats. The buses come equipped with huge tires that are designed to handle the snowy roads in the winter at Yellowstone.

One of the highlights was getting to see bison in the wild. Due to the lack of snow, their migration patterns have been altered, which resulted in some up close and personal interactions. We ended up being in a thirty-minute traffic jam because of the bison.

A good portion of our day was spent at Old Faithful. As we drove into the Old Faithful Visitor Center parking lot, it erupted, so our group decided to hang around until the next one. We grabbed lunch at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge grill, and then had a bunch of time to check out the Visitors and Education Center. Various trails wrap around Old Faithful and show off other geysers like the Blue Star. There’s also an extensive trail network for Nordic skiers.

It’s hard to describe the awe you get when you see Old Faithful erupt. The eruption was magnificent to see in person, as it’s one of those bucket list items that you won’t forget.

Outside of Old Faithful, we saw some other remarkable geysers. The highlights included Silex Spring and Red Spout over at the Fountain Paint Pots. I also enjoyed seeing the tiny geysers throughout the park, as it truly makes you realize how special this place is.

The Waterfalls in Yellowstone are also worth checking out. The one that we saw was the Kepler Cascades. Its size is tough to tell due to trees interfering in this photo, but it has an impressive 150-foot drop over its three tiers.

While you don’t get to check out every neat nook and cranny of the park in the winter on a guided tour, you get to experience the place in solitude, something you can’t say for every other season at Yellowstone. Visiting Yellowstone in the winter is something you should do at least once in your lifetime.

Image/Video Credits: Ian Wood

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Have any post ideas or corrections? Reach out to me: ian@unofficialnetworks.com.