Yellowstone in December: Things to Do, Weather, and More

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Although you might not think the winter season is a good time to travel, there are a number of reasons why visit yellowstone in december. This national park is beautiful during the winter season, and there are a number of activities you can enjoy as long as you don’t mind the cold! But what can you expect from a trip to Yellowstone National Park during this time of year, and how can you best prepare?

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Yellowstone National Park if you choose to visit in december. We’ll cover some of the main activities as well as the average weather. Finally, we’ll go over some possible places to stay and some other insider tips to know before you go on a trip. Let’s start now!

Yellowstone in December
Contrary to popular belief, there are a number of fantastic things to do in Yellowstone during the month of December.

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yellowstone national park December
Best Activities Geyser viewing, wildlife viewing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobile rentals, guided snow coach tours, visitor center and museum
Average weather 5 degrees Fahrenheit-24 degrees Fahrenheit, with nearly 30 inches of snow and 9.5 hours of sunshine per day
popular fauna Bison, elk, antelope, wolves, deer, foxes, bighorn sheep, weasels, rodents
Accommodation Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins, accommodation outside of Yellowstone
Things to know Snow activities and guided tours are a must!

Activities in Yellowstone in December

Yellowstone in December
In case you haven’t already guessed, the weather in Yellowstone throughout December is quite chilly.

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Contrary to popular belief, there are a number of fantastic things to do in Yellowstone during the month of December. For example, snow trips open on the 15th of the month, which means you can travel to most regions by snowmobile or guided snowmobile. This is a great activity to consider if you’re looking for more guidance on your trip.

Plus, you can rent snowshoes and cross-country skis to venture into the park and hike many different trails, although the weather may be a bit mild for some of you! If you are concerned about the cold temperature, there is still an open road through the northern part of the parks, which means you can see the beauty of Yellowstone from the comfort of your vehicle.

The museum and visitor center remain open in Yellowstone National Park through the month of December, and you can also visit the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins. Plus, the Old Faithful Snow Lodge also opens during this month, giving you more places to stay and more places to explore!

Weather in Yellowstone in December

Yellowstone in December
Oversnow Travel opens in Yellowstone on the 15th of the month, which means you can travel to the majority of areas using either snowmobiles or guided snowcoach tours.

Kris Wiktor/Shutterstock.com

In case you haven’t already guessed, the weather in Yellowstone throughout December is quite cold. It’s a winter wonderland in every way, with temperatures ranging from 5 degrees Fahrenheit to 24 degrees Fahrenheit. Although there are less than 10 hours of sunshine per day at this time of year, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty of time to explore the park. However, keep in mind that Yellowstone experiences up to 30 inches of snow in this month alone!

Wildlife in Yellowstone in December

Yellowstone in December
Some accommodation options in Yellowstone National Park remain closed in early December, but they open in the middle of the month.

Caroline K. Smith MD/Shutterstock.com

You probably won’t see any grizzly bears in yellowstone during the month of December, as they hibernate for the winter. However, a number of animals choose to spend the winter season in lower valleys and higher elevations, closer to where you could explore. This means there are plenty of opportunities to see other species, in addition to bears!

You can expect to see any of the following animals during your trip:

For your own safety, Yellowstone Park Rangers recommend that you stay at least 100 yards away from the nearest large animal, especially bison, wolves and bears. Keep in mind that although they may appear accustomed to humans, they are indeed wild animals in one of the wildest national parks in America!

Getting to Yellowstone in December

Yellowstone in December
While Yellowstone National Park in December may not be the ideal vacation for everyone, it does mean that the park is relatively empty if you choose to visit during this time of year.

Warren Metcalf/Shutterstock.com

You should exercise caution when traveling to Yellowstone in December, as the weather can be particularly temperamental. In reality, most roads in and through Yellowstone are closed during this time of year, keep the north and northeast entrances. There is a road connecting these two gates, but all other roads are closed to residential traffic. However, you can rent a snowmobile or enjoy a guided snowcoach tour after the 15th of the month.

Accommodation in Yellowstone in December

Some accommodation options in Yellowstone National Park remain closed in early December, but they open in the middle of the month. This includes the Mammoth Hot Springs Inn and Cabins, as well as the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. These locations are booked up quickly, so be sure to check them out well before your trip! Alternatively, you can stay in the local towns surrounding Yellowstone for a warm and cozy place to rest after a long day in the cold.

Yellowstone in December
You should exercise caution when traveling to Yellowstone in December, as the weather can be particularly temperamental.

iStock.com/SL_Photography

Tips and Tricks for Yellowstone in December

While Yellowstone National Park in December may not be the ideal vacation for everyone, it does mean that the park is relatively empty if you choose to visit during this time of year. You can explore at your leisure and see the park in a new light, including many animal species and natural wonders. Stay warm and take your time, and reach Yellowstone National Park if you are interested in a guided snowcoach tour or snowmobile rental!

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