Winter Escape to Yellowstone National Park from Bozeman, Montana

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Curated By

Katie McAvoy

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  • Montana

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  • Adventure Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

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  • Winter Activities

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  • National Parks

  • Wildlife

An orange, yellow, green and blue geysir in Yellowstone National Park with people standing around the outskirts.
Curator’s statement

Yellowstone National Park is on most bucket lists, for good reason. The vast majority of people see it in the warmer months. Visiting Yellowstone and Montana in the winter, though, provides a completely different view. Imagine Yellowstone with no cars, fewer people, blanketed in white. You can spot the famous wolves, eagles, bison, moose and maybe even a hibernating bear, to name a few. Yellowstone's geothermal features are even more spectacular and hot spring baths more welcoming. Montana is a perfect launching point for your winter adventure. Couple sightseeing with downhill or XC skiing, snow shoeing, dogsledding, snowmobile rides and more. There's no cabin fever here in Montana!

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Where to stay Yellowstone National Park

Montage Big Sky

Effortlessly blending Montana's rugged beauty with modern comforts, this luxury alpine hotel is set within the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club community, just a short drive from the slopes at Big Sky.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman

The new luxury digs in rapidly-changing Bozeman, your gateway to Yellowstone National Park, with mountain views in most rooms and a gorgeous rooftop pool.

Fora Perks
  • $50 hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome amenity.

  • Upgrade & late check-out whenever possible.

Sage Lodge

Upscale resort along the Yellowstone River with sleek rooms and cabins.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Unlock perks by contacting Katie to book your trip.

Things to do in Yellowstone National Park

Snow-capped Big Sky mountain in Montana at sunset.

Montana

In the winter, the destination provides an amazing range of cold weather activities. I can help you figure out which ones are right for you and your crew.

Explore Livingston, Bozeman, Gardiner or Big Sky: Explore local breweries, live music, local shops and restaurants. These towns have a lot to offer, despite their relatively small sizes.

Downhill Skiing: Big Sky (Ikon) is a huge mountain that provides all the lessons and amenities, but is not yet overrun. Hurry and experience it before it is! Bozeman is easy to fly into, and the resort is only a short hour away. There's also the local favorite and even more sparsely populated (sshhhh!) Bridger Bowl. You know there'll be snow and space here in Montana (pro tip: even in April!).

Cross Country (XC) Skiing: Most of the winter you can do this almost anywhere, including at Yellowstone or your ranch hotel. If the snow hasn't reached the valleys, there are other spots up the mountain to put your XC skills to the test, like Crosscut Mountain Sports Center.

Snow Shoeing: Opportunities abound, including taking your snowshoes inside Yellowstone.

Hot Springs: These natural wonders never stop and are even more enjoyable in the winter! Head to Yellowstone Hot Springs outside Gardiner, or Chico Hot Springs outside Bozeman for a soak.

Dogsledding: Head out for an exhilarating ride behind your very own team of beautiful dogs, with a guide of course!

Snowmobiling: Rent a sled (anyone with an unrestricted license can drive!) and enjoy the wilds of Montana! I can help you plan an organized snowmobiling tour of Yellowstone, or a more free reign backcountry ride.

There are so many more things to do like wood burning, star gazing, axe throwing, plus spa services and excellent dining. But moving on...

Yellowstone

Geysers, Grand Prismatic: Yes, you can actually see all of the cool geothermal activity in winter! Yes, it is even more spectacular, especially because you don't have to view it with 100 strangers. No, you can't drive your car to it. There are snow coaches and snowmobile tour options to get you to where you need to go throughout most of the park. Contact me to help you find the one that's right for you!

Wildlife Viewing: Yellowstone is renown for excellent wildlife viewing. Lamar Valley, which you can still drive to from the North Entrance in the winter, is remarkable in white when the animals become even easier to see. Take a "wolf tour" and learn about the famous reintroduction of these majestic apex predators. The whole family will be spellbound.

Day Trips

Montana and Yellowstone are BIG! Many of these activities can be done as day trips from various spots in Montana. If you want to primarily ski, with one day in Yellowstone, we can do that! If you want primarily wildlife oriented activities with a few hot springs and nice dinners thrown in, I've got you. Montana in winter is gorgeous, friendly and has options for everyone... well, unless you really hate snow and cold weather. If that's you, talk to me about beaches!

Places to eat & drink in Yellowstone National Park

A candy store in downtown Bozeman, Montana that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Big Sky

Horn and Cantle: Located at Lone Mountain Ranch, this is an exceptional spot to grab a local Montana favorite dinner. Or, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride (winter only!) for an unforgettable experience. The sleigh ride dinner keeps people coming back year after year.

Olive B's Big Sky Bistro: A classically beautiful favorite.

Bozeman


The Nova Café: In historic downtown Bozeman, this establishment is a mainstay and local favorite for breakfast and lunch. Colorful hip diner vibes and ever-changing local artwork compliment the creative kitchen.

Jam!: Serves a fantastic breakfast – controversial, since Nova reigns in many minds. Easy to accommodate vegan or gluten-free. Spike your breakfast bevies, too.

Try both Jam! and Nova, and let me know your vote!

MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub: Serves a solid pizza, even by Chicago standards.

Livingston


Stop in to Katabatic Brewing Company and order delish Mexican food from Fiesta En Jalisco next door. You'll enjoy Livingston immensely.

Gardiner

Chico Hot Springs' Historic Dining Room: Top notch fine dining destination in Montana. Executive Chef Dave Wells is a James Beard Award semi-finalist for “Best Chef in the Northwest” and the food is local when possible, or flown in fresh. Hollywood or local, you'll love the fine dining here. Reservations required – make them in advance to avoid disappointment.

Sage Lodge: The Fireside Room and The Grill are exceptional, but frequently booked by locals and guests staying there. Make reservations in advance!

The Old Saloon: A must! Serving "outlaws and cowgirls since 1902" is an iconic West experience, plus the food is good.

Wonderland Cafe and Lodge: The perfect stop after Yellowstone activities.

Need to Know

Prefer warmer weather? Check out my guide for 7 Days of Family-Friendly Outdoor Adventure on Maui.

Katie smiling in a black dress

Travel Advisor

Katie McAvoy

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