Winter by Foot
There’s one way to walk through the serenity of winter in Yellowstone Country and listen to the sounds of nature and the crunch of snow underfoot, witnessing the true grandeur of the season. Trekking Yellowstone by snowshoe is, quite possibly, the easiest way to explore the snow-covered landscape. It’s simple, inexpensive and doesn’t require a lot of gear. It’s also one of the best ways to tour Yellowstone National Park in the winter when it’s closed to vehicles (except snowcoaches). Anyone can strap on a pair of snowshoes and tour the terrain, making this a perfect adventure for groups and families.
Snowshoeing is the winter parallel to hiking, and it’s a great way to be outside in the winter without having to learn a whole new sport. This family-friendly activity can be done by every age group, and almost everyone can snowshoe on the first try. Make sure you get the right gear, as the snow gets quite deep and you’ll often find yourself sinking to your waist without a set of snowshoes; poles can be quite helpful too. You can rent snowshoes at any local outfitter or gear shop.
Winter Snowshoe Walk in Yellowstone
Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
Discover Yellowstone’s winter ecology while snowshoeing. Join a park ranger for a 2-mile walk along the Riverside Trail.
Refuge Point - From West Yellowstone, drive north on Highway 191 to Highway 287 (8.5 miles). Turn left and drive 9 miles to the plowed and signed pullout for Refuge Point (on the south side of the road).
Gneiss Creek - From West Yellowstone, drive north 10.5 miles on Highway 191 (38.4 miles south of the Big Sky turnoff). Look for a sign for the Fir Ridge Cemetery on the east side of the highway. Turn east and drive into a large plowed parking area.
Riverside Trail - The trails start on the east side of Boundary Street between Yellowstone and Madison Avenues. Look for the trail sign through a gap in the snowbank.
Boundary Trail - The trail can be accessed at the north end of Boundary Street, the truck pullout on Highway 191/287, and Baker’s Hole Campground. Park on Boundary St. along the side of the road, being careful not to get in the way of any plowing efforts. (If you plan to leave a vehicle at Baker’s Hole, drive north from West Yellowstone on Highway 191, 2.8 miles to a plowed pulloff on the right (east) side of the road.)
Lake Fork Trail - Eight and a half miles south of Red Lodge, turn right/west off Highway 212 at the “Lake Fork” sign. This paved road runs 2 miles to the trailhead.
Park Side Recreation Trail – 10.5 miles south of Red Lodge on Highway 212, turn right/west at the “campgrounds” sign; turn right again less than ¼ mile in and park in the first parking lot. Look for the Parkside Recreational Trail sign on the south side of the lot. This trail is less than 2 miles of gentle, mostly open terrain, paralleling Rock Creek. Another short hike (1/4 mile), goes from nearby Greenough Campground to Greenough Lake.
Stone Creek Trail - This mellow tour follows a logging road and parallels Stone Creek as it heads up a drainage in the Bangtail Range. From Bozeman, drive north on Bridger Canyon Road. Stone Creek Road is on the right, 12 miles from Main Street. Turn right and either park just over the cattle guards, or continue 1.2 miles to the trailhead parking at the Forest Service gate.
Fairy Lake Road - The Fairy Lake Road is often used by snowmobilers—many of whom are backcountry skiers looking for quick access to the east side of the Bridger Range. However, if a nice, long walk on a road is what you are looking for, this may be the tour for you. Go on weekdays to avoid many of the snowmobiles. Drive 4.5 miles north of Bohart Ranch and just past the Battle Ridge Campground look for Fairy Lake Road on the left. Park just beyond the turnoff on the right.
Bohart Ranch Ski Center - Most people head to Bohart for their 30 miles of scenic ski trails on private and Forest Service lands. Bohart also has a few miles of snowshoe trails.