With 3,472 square miles of land, 290 waterfalls and more than 10,000 active hydrothermal features, Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place to explore. It’s larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined – so big that most travelers are only able to see a fraction of the park, even if they hike all day and every day for a week!
Winter trips here are magical. Few tourists ever set foot on the snowy park grounds in the colder months, and roads are closed except to “over snow” vehicles like snowmobiles and snow coaches. Luckily, Scenic Safaris offers several wintertime guided tours of the park that take guests up to 90 miles round-trip into the heart of the park. Travelers will see Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone along the journey. You’ll also have the chance to check out these 5 lesser-known sites:
1. Lewis Falls: Tucked about 10 miles inside the park, from the South Entrance, this 30-foot waterfall is a popular photo-op site. In summertime, the Lewis Falls Trail is dominated by campers and fishermen from among the 700,000+ visitors who come in the South Entrance. In winter, the falls are quiet and pristine, the heavy movement of the water keeping them from freezing over.
2. West Thumb: The first Yellowstone feature to be discussed in print, West Thumb Geyser Basin is one of the largest hydrothermal features at Yellowstone Lake. By early December, this area is typically blanketed in white snow, making the steamy turquoise water pools appear even more beautiful. Look for fun features like the Fishing Cone hot spring and sparkling Abyss Pool.
3. Kepler Cascades: This breathtaking waterfall was named for the teenage son of an early Wyoming state governor. It plummets 150 feet down over craggy rocks, with several steep drops. The cascades are located about two-and-a-half miles from Old Faithful, along the course of the Firehole River. Like most waters of the park, they continue to flow during the cold winter.
4. Black Sand Geyser Basin: Part of Upper Geyser Basin, this group of geothermal features includes a handful of geysers in brilliant jewel tones. It was originally dubbed Emerald Group by explorers, but later earned the name “Black Sand” because of tiny fragments of obsidian that color the basin. Highlights include Opalescent Pool with its white silica-crusted trees and Handkerchief Pool, a spring where turn-of-the-century visitors once tossed their pocket squares for a quick, natural cleaning.
5. Shoshone Point: Located between West Thumb and Old Faithful along Grand Loop Road, this popular stop-off has a view of nearby Shoshone Lake. On your guided tour of Yellowstone, you’ll hear about the famous 1914 stagecoach robbery that took place on this road. More than a thousand dollars were taken from a caravan of wealthy travelers. While that doesn’t sound like much, that would equal nearly $25,000 today!
Because of seasonal limitations, winter visitors to Yellowstone National Park are encouraged to book a tour in advance of your vacation. With snow drifts up to 15 feet deep in some parts of the park, a guided tour can help you stay safe (and in the case of our snow coach, toasty warm) while visiting these hidden gems. Call 888-734-8898 for reservations, or book your Yellowstone tour online today.