Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone, Grand Teton are perfect for winter

October 20, 2009, 7:05 am
America's National Parks are high on our interest list.

We travel in the summertime to national parks or visit the parks in the South during the winter.

As a travel agent, some great winter destinations I recommend are Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Not only do the snowmobile riders enjoy seeing the parks in the winter, but they are joined by snowshoers and cross country skiers.

The pristine beauty of the snow-capped granite peaks of the Tetons, the steaming geysers and the wandering elk and buffalo can create an awesome experience. The snowmobilers have the roadways to themselves. Except for the major park entrances, there is no road plowing in the winter.

It's been a while since I traveled with my family to the parks in Wyoming and Montana. The last time, we camped along the way in the Black Hills and traveled across the plains of Wyoming to reach Yellowstone National Park.

My oldest son, who was 8 as the time, said, "Did we drive all this way just to see water gush out of the ground?" We were waiting for Old Faithful to put on its show. I can only imagine how spectacular that geyser eruption is with a background of snow-covered evergreens and the quiet that comes from that thick blanket of snow. I truly think it is worth the drive.

The snow already has arrived in the Rocky Mountains. The skiers are hitting the slopes right now in the Jackson Hole basin. The park accommodations are closed in Teton but the park is open to day visitors. The Craig Thomas Discovery and visitors center located at the south entrance to the Teton Park provides up-to-date trail maps for snowmobiling and other activities.

Flagg Ranch Resort is situated just north of the Tetons. The name Flagg originates from the many flags that flew over the resort when it was a U.S. military base. The privately operated resort, located on national forest land, offers guided snowmobile tours and multi-day tours. The machines and warm clothing can be rented from its store that is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 1-800-433-2311.

Two roads remain open into Yellowstone Park during the winter. The entrances are at Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo., or Cooke City, Mont. Mammoth Springs Hotel opens for winter visitors Dec. 21 and closes March 8 to ready for the spring and summer seasons. It is the only lodge accessible by motor vehicle. Old Faithful Lodge, renamed Snow Lodge, is open from Dec. 18 to March 7. For more information about the hotels, call Xanterra at 1-800-439-7375. There are snowcoach tours available throughout the park.