Yellowstone X-Country Skiing
Cross Country Skiing In Yellowstone

X-Country Skiing in Yellowstone National Park

There are a handful of cross-country ski trails located throughout the park that are accessible by automobile or snowcoach. The area surrounding Mammoth Hot Springs has a nice variety of established cross-country ski trails for all levels and capabilities. Tower Falls, Canyon Village, Old Faithful and the northeast area near Cooke City are exceptional for ski touring as well. If you prefer perfectly groomed ski trails, the Rendezvous Ski Center in West Yellowstone has over 21 miles of beautiful, rolling terrain for every level of Nordic skier.

Click the following links or the orange dots on the map below for PDF versions of the cross-country ski trails available in each area.

Canyon Ski Trails (PDF) Accessible by Snowcoach Only
Mammoth, Bunsen Peak & Indian Creek (PDF) Accessible by Road/Snowcoach
Northeast Area Ski Trails, Near Cooke City (PDF) Accessible by Road
Old Faithful Ski Trails (PDF) Accessible by Snowcoach Only
Tower Ski Trails (PDF) Accessible by Road
Gallatin Area Ski Trails (PDF) Accessible by Road
Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone - Accessible by Road

The hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs provides cross-country skiers with a snowcoach shuttle (fee) to the Indian Creek Campground. There are a number ski trails located at the Indian Creek Campground as well as a small warming hut located at the entrance to the campground. The Sheepeater Trail and the Bunsen Peak Loop Trail are also located in this region which is south of Mammoth Hot Springs.

There is also a shuttle bus from the Mammoth Hotel to Tower Junction which operates three times a day between December 21st, 2015 to February 26, 2016.

NOTE: If you plan to snowshoe on or near trails frequented by cross-country skiers please be courteous and walk beside the cross-country ski tracks.

Access by motor vehicles is limited to the northern and western regions of the park during the winter. The are only two roads open to automobile traffic at this time of the year. The Grand Loop Road takes visitors from Gardiner, MT to Cooke City, which is also a very popular destination for snowmobilers. The second road is located along U.S. 191 on the western edge of the park. Highway 191 runs north and south between West Yellowstone, Big Sky and Bozeman. This section of road does not require an entrance fee and there are a handful of trailheads located in this area that offer great skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. See the list below.

NOTE: A number of the trailheads along U.S. 191 receive little maintenance during the winter months and may be covered with snow.

Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Rentals in West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs

Freeheel & Wheel in West Yellowstone rents and services Nordic skis and snowshoes.
Parks Fly Shop in Gardiner offers cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals.
Bear Den Ski Shop next to the Mammoth Hotel

Winter Trailhead Locations

The following trailheads in Yellowstone are accessible by automobile during the winter months and are great places for both backcountry skiing and snowshoeing.

Northern Section Starting From Gardiner and Heading East to Cooke City
• Rescue Creek - Near the North Entrance and Gardiner
• Lava Creek - Between the North Entrance and Mammoth Campground
• Beaver Ponds - Near Mammoth Hot Springs
• Sepulcher Mountain - Near Mammoth Hot Springs
• Upper Terrace Loop - Ski Trail Only - Near Mammoth Hot Springs
• Snow Pass - Ski Trail - Near Mammoth Hot Springs
• Bunsen Peak Loop - Ski Trail - Near Mammoth Hot Springs
• Sheepeater Cliff - Ski Trail - Near Mammoth Hot Springs
• Indian Creek Loop - Ski Trail - Shuttle from Mammoth Hot Springs
• Blacktail Deer Creek - Between Mammoth and Tower
• Blacktail Plateau Drive - Ski Trail - Between Mammoth and Tower
• Tower Junction - Ski Trail - Tower Junction toward Dunraven Pass
• Specimen Ridge - Between Tower and the Lamar Valley
• Slough Creek - Between Tower and the Lamar Valley
• Soda Butte - Lamar Valley
• Barronettee - Ski Trail Only - Between the Lamar Valley and the Northeast Entrance
• Warm Creek - Between the Lamar Valley and the Northeast Entrance
• Bannock - Ski Trail Only - Between the Lamar Valley and the Northeast Entrance

Western Section Between West Yellowstone, Big Sky and Bozeman
Most of these trails offer great skiing and snowshoeing. If you're planning an overnight backcountry trip in this section of the park you'll need to obtain your backcountry permit in West Yellowstone at the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center. Some trailheads along this section of route 191 may not be cleared of snow during the winter.

Daly Creek
Black Butte/Bighorn Peak
Specimen Creek
Fawn Pass
Bighorn Pass
Gneiss Creek

Traveling the Park Roads During the Winter

Most roads to the interior of the park are only open to snowcoach or snowmobile traffic from December 15th to March 15th and winter tours are offered in West Yellowstone or Mammoth Hot Springs. The road from the North Entrance near Gardiner, Montana is open year-round. This road provides access from Mammoth Hot Springs to the NE Entrance and Cooke City, Montana.

The Snow Lodge at Old Faithful is open year-round and makes a great base camp for ski or snowshoe tours in and around the thermal areas near Old Faithful. Access to the Old Faithful region is only available by snowcoach or snowmobile during the winter. Click here for an overview map of Yellowstone National Park.

Winter Lodging

Visit these websites for information on lodging in and around West Yellowstone.
Visit Yellowstone
West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce
Snow Lodge (Old Faithful)

Gardiner & Mammoth Hot Springs Winter lodging information.
Gardiner Chamber of Commerce
Mammoth Hot Springs

Cook City lodging information.
Cook City Chamber of Commerce

No matter what time of year you travel in the backcountry, always practice the seven Leave No Trace principles; plan ahead, camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave things as you find them, reduce the impact of campfires, respect wildlife and be considerate of other visitors.

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