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A Photographer’s Information to Visiting Yellowstone in Winter


If Yellowstone Nationwide Park is in your bucket record, right here’s a bit of secret – take into account visiting this epic outside playground, stuffed with geological wonders, pure magnificence and considerable wildlife, throughout the winter months. Chilly? Certain. Value the additional layers? You wager. 

Significantly for shutterbugs, Yellowstone Nationwide Park winter visits are legendary. From early-morning photograph shoots within the Lamar Valley, zooming in on elusive grey wolves as they creep throughout the glowing white snow on the hunt, to fascinating angles on stunners like Outdated Devoted, these cooler months are a implausible time to doc life throughout a Yellowstone winter. That ethereal silence that snow begets, non-existent crowds and roaming wildlife make a Yellowstone Nationwide Park pictures journey in winter some of the immersive experiences for a critical photographer. Rise up shut and private with bison alongside the Madison River, capturing their ice-encrusted coats and nostrils blowing steam within the frigid air. Catch a second in time as herds of elk graze on the ground of Jackson Gap or a geothermal geyser reveals off with a magical crystalline spray. 

Aerial view of Grand prismatic spring in Yellowstone national park in Winter, Taken from a small plane, Wyoming, USA

Is West Yellowstone Open in Winter?

Sure, West Yellowstone is open to hardy vacationers in wintertime. Between November and March, you’ll charge as in case you’ve walked right into a winter wonderland. That is as peaceable as Yellowstone will get and it’s your reward for braving “brrrr”-inducing temperatures. The next roads are open to over-snow journey by snow coach and snowmobile most winters: 

  • West Entrance to Outdated Devoted
  • Mammoth to Outdated Devoted
  • Canyon to Norris
  • Canyon to Yellowstone Lake
  • Outdated Devoted to West Thumb
  • South Entrance to Yellowstone Lake
  • Yellowstone Lake to Lake Butte Overlook

The winter sun rises over the Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Is Winter a Good Time to Go to Yellowstone for Pictures?

So, what’s Yellowstone throughout winter actually like? Some may say that is essentially the most real time to go to considered one of America’s most beloved nationwide parks. Pure forces are at play, making a spectacular backdrop for wildlife and nature photographers. That is the time to witness the Better Yellowstone Ecosystem and get dramatic photographs in opposition to winter’s snowy backdrop of elk, bison, bighorn sheep, coyote and extra. 

After all, visiting Yellowstone in winter means there will likely be a good quantity of snow to take care of, so your wintertime Yellowstone safari will depend on personal snow coaches to entry the park’s inside, the place you’ll be able to seize pictures of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone Falls and the cosmic colours of Grand Prismatic Spring. You’ll journey in winter-worthy automobiles with massive facet home windows and pop-top roof hatches permitting for 360-degree views of the panorama and animals – and there’s at all times loads of house on your digicam tools and winter gear. It’s doubtless, too, that you simply’ll have the prospect to entry elements of the park that the majority vacationers by no means see, facilitating the one-of-a-kind photographic alternatives you covet. 

Even when the drifting snow and rugged landscapes aren’t accessible by land, your Yellowstone safari firm can prepare for personal helicopter excursions for thrilling aerial surveys of the park. Seize uncommon views from on excessive, like Mammoth Scorching Springs, spectacular ice shows on frozen Yellowstone Falls and grazing bison and elk herds from above. 

Put together to be taught a bit of (or lots) when you’re visiting Yellowstone in winter, too. Your superlative information and expedition leaders will share their limitless data of the pure historical past and wildlife of Yellowstone and Grand Teton nationwide parks. They’re not solely naturalists, however photographers, as effectively, in order that they know simply the place to take you to make sure the absolute best photographic alternatives. 

Gray Wolf in Winter in Yellowstone National Park.

The place Can I {Photograph} Wild Wolves in Yellowstone Throughout Winter?

The Lamar Valley is called the wolf-watching capital of the world – and certain the place you will notice the Junction Butte pack of 19 wolves. Forty-one grey wolves from Canada had been reintroduced to the park throughout the winters of 1995-1996 they usually’re now effectively established not solely in Yellowstone, however within the Northern Rockies of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. After all, with greater than 2.2 million acres in Yellowstone itself, plus the encircling wilderness areas, it’s not at all times straightforward to identify these wild wolves. 

Winter is actually the simplest time to identify the wolves, after they’re extra energetic than within the sluggish days of summer season. You could be lucky sufficient to see them out searching or having made a kill and out within the open feeding on elk or bison. A lot of the wolves in Yellowstone are black, whereas helps you spy them in opposition to the snowy backdrop. Versus summer season, after they’re looking for out shade, you’re extra prone to see the wolves protecting a number of floor within the winter, howling, posturing and chasing one another round. 

Your Yellowstone photograph information is involved communication with native wolf researchers, to allow them to achieve insider data on the place the Yellowstone wolves are hanging out. Most photograph professional expedition leaders additionally obtain extra coaching from the WWF’s prime scientists, permitting them to share up-to-date data with you throughout your safari and get proper to the wolves’ habitats. In some instances, you could even have the prospect to go to the house and gallery of a famed native naturalist-photographer or have them by your facet as you purpose to seize photographs of those elusive animals. 

Regardless of the place your safari is headed that day, put together to rise up early – wolves are crepuscular, which suggests they’re most energetic at nightfall and daybreak. This implies attending to your chosen viewing spot earlier than dawn, if doable, and within the winter which means it’s going to be chilly. Bundle up, prep your sizzling drinks and head on the market. The reward is unquestionably value it. 

Along with Lamar Valley within the park’s northeast nook, the most effective places to see wolves throughout the winter in Yellowstone are:

  • Slough Creek, simply east of Lamar Valley (Junction Butte pack)
  • Valley of Little America, close to Slough Creek (Junction Butte pack)
  • Elk Creek, close to Tower Junction (Wapiti Lake pack)
  • Hellroaring Overlook (Wapiti Lake pack) 
  • Blacktail Plateau, west of Lava Creek on highway between Mammoth and Tower Junction (8 Miles Pack)
  • Hayden Valley (Wapiti Lake Pack)
  • Grizzly Overlook, Hayden Valley (Wapiti Lake Pack) 
  • Northeast Park Entrance alongside Soda Butte Creek (Lamar Canyon Pack)
  • West Entrance Street or close to Outdated Devoted (Cougar Creek Pack) 

Winter at National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming, near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

What Are the Greatest Places to Take Footage of the Grand Tetons?

Yellowstone winter pictures journeys, similar to this one from Pure Habitat Adventures, sometimes embody Grand Teton pictures and Jackson Gap pictures alternatives. The parks go hand in hand, because of their shut proximity and equally tantalizing views and wildlife. 

These conveniently positioned places in Grand Teton Nationwide Park are a brief drive from Jackson, most being off Freeway 89. Pull over and seize beautiful, wintery photographs at:

  • Mormon Row – T.A. Moulton Barn: Well-known for its historic barns and landmarks and sumptuous backdrop 
  • Snake River Overlook: Probably the most iconic views, made well-known by Ansel Adams. Arrive early to catch the solar rising over the snow-covered peaks. 
  • Nationwide Elk Refuge: Witness 1000’s of elk within the valley throughout the winter, simply noticed in opposition to the snow within the morning and night hours. (You’ll be able to even take a sleigh trip to see them up shut.) Hold a watch out for moose, coyote, bighorn sheep, bison, bald eagles and wolves, too. 
  • Freeway 89: Quite a few pull-outs for views between Jackson and Yellowstone Nationwide Park, notably moose on the aptly named Moose Junction. 
  • Jackson Lake: Snowshoe or cross-country ski alongside the shore and on the icy floor of the lake for epic snowy pictures. 

Prepared to go out and seize the great thing about winter? While you’re dwelling afterward, cozied up round a roaring hearth with a mug of one thing heat at hand, you’ll be so pleased with your self for braving the chilly temperatures. Bison trudging throughout a snowy plain, steamy geothermal springs and hopefully a sly wolf or two – these are the pictures that may inform tales for years to come back. 

In regards to the creator: Michelle Peters View all posts by

From her dwelling workplace in northwest Seattle, Michelle has been crafting compelling content material about journey locations worldwide for greater than 20 years. In these 20 years, she made the leap from editor for the resort and resort division at Virtuoso to a full-time freelance editor and author—and by no means appeared again.




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