Yellowstone National Park, February 2015

Our first visit during the winter

Almost 3.5 million people visited Yellowstone National Park during 2014. This includes 100,000 who visited during the winter. Only the North entrance is open during the winter. Most park roads are closed to vehicles with wheels, so you need to travel by snowmobile or snow coach. It had been over a month since the last significant snowfall. Daytime high temperatures were not far below freezing. We avoided skiing on narrow trails with steep hills because of the snowpack conditions. But we enjoyed our winter visit without the crowds. Our group from the Oregon Nordic Club stayed in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel the first night, then traveled about fifty miles by snow coach to cabins at the Snow Lodge near Old Faithful, and then returned to the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel for the last three nights.

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Skiing in Yellowstone

  • President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance to the park in 1903. An inscription at the top reads, "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People."
  • Yvonne and George just inside the Roosevelt Arch at the entrance to the world's first national park.
  • George carrying skis to our cabin at the Snow Lodge near Old Faithful
  • Ted, George, and Leigh preparing to ski out to the Lone Starr Geyser.
  • With Ted in the lead, we skied out on the main road past Kepler Cascades to the Lone Star Geyser trail.
  • Vintage Bombardier snow coaches are still in use, but are being phased out by cleaner and quieter vans that can be used year-round.
  • Skiers and snowmobilers on the busy overlook at Kepler Cascades
  • During a lunch break, we watched Lone Star Geyser erupt.
  • George taking a break while skiing in the Lamar Valley

Geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, and more

  • George and Yvonne at Morning Glory Pool.
  • Steam rises from Morning Glory Pool. Bright blue colors have faded due to coins in the pool restricting the hot water inflow.
  • Old Faithful Geyser
  • Walking on the boardwalk near Old Faithful was difficult.
  • Bison are the largest land animal in North America.
  • Bison sometimes delay traffic.
  • Kepler Cascades
  • Gibbon Falls  (26 meters)
  • Firehole Falls
  • At Fountain Paint Pot, we saw geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots.
  • Bubbling mud at Fountain Paint Pot
  • Hot spring at Fountain Paint Pot
  • Yvonne and George near our cabin at Old Faithful
  • Large coyote in the distance
  • Terraces and boardwalks at Mammoth Hot Springs