Content Produced in Partnership with Destination Yellowstone
Chances are high you've heard of West Yellowstone, Montana if you love to snowmobile or you've visited Yellowstone National Park before. Pegged as the western gateway to Yellowstone National Park (it's less than 30 miles away from Old Faithful), West Yellowstone is also an under-the-radar hub for winter adventure. Cross-country skiing Olympian hopefuls come from miles away to train along its impressive network of trails, while snowmobilers dream of the 400 miles of snowmobiling trails located throughout the area. With an average snowfall totaling more than 150 inches each season plus 184 days of sun, it's easy to see why. But these athletes are also quick to let you in on another secret: this small town has a huge backyard and paralleling Yellowstone is just the beginning. There are three national forests within easy riding distance, too, giving West Yellowstone exclusive access to the finest backcountry in America. A cross-country skier's paradise and a snowmobiler's nirvana, West Yellowstone is proof that you don't have to visit a ski resort to enjoy the winter snow. Whether you prefer to cruise in style or cuddle up fireside in a cozy cabin, we think you'll find West Yellowstone has everything you could possible want out of a winter getaway — and then some.
Though snow begins falling as early as November, West Yellowstone's winter season officially begins mid-December and lasts through March 15th. The best time to visit is in late January or February, which means it's not too late to book your cabin in this adventure paradise. (Photo by Corinne Edmiston)
West Yellowstone boasts 50 kilometers of groomed ski trails — plus a 100 more in the national forests — for skiers of all ages to enjoy. The most popular and most accessible trail begins at Rendezvous Ski Trail where there are a variety of trails and terrains available. (Photo by Corinne Edmiston)
West Yellowstone is home to Two Top Trail, the first designated snowmobile trail in the Lower 48. Completely groomed, the trail gains 2,000 feet in elevation and offers spectacular views of the nearby mountains on a clear day. (Photo by Corinne Edmiston)
Yellowstone National Park transforms into a true winter wonderland each December. Guided snowmobile or snow coach excursions are available into the park through March 15th. (Photo by Corinne Edmiston)
National park visitors can enjoy prime wildlife viewing in the winter months when most of the animals naturally gravitate toward the western corners of the park, where the ground is warmer along the Geyser Basin and the snow is lower in the valleys. (Photo courtesy NPS / Jacob W. Frank via Flickr Creative Commons)
If you miss out on spotting a gray wolf or grizzly bear when you visit Yellowstone National Park, don't worry. The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is home to three gray wolf packs and seven grizzly bears. It's open seven days a week, 365 days a year with admission good for two consecutive days. (Photo courtesy The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center Facebook page)
Families, mark your calendar for Kids'N'Snow weekends. Held once a month from December through March, the program is designed to introduce families to young children to a new winter activity, like ice fishing or Nordic skiing.
After a long day in the snow, the locals hit the town for a Montana crafted brew and a hearty dinner before heading home to hunker down by a fire. Popular dining areas in West Yellowstone include the Buffalo Bar, the Slipper Otter, and Madison Crossing.