Winter visitors can enjoy up to 200 miles of groomed snowmobiling trails within Yellowstone National Park if they are part of a guided tour. While seeing the park's many features in their "winter attire" is truly a unique experience, snowmobiliers will enjoy a bit more riding freedom just outside of the park in West Yellowstone.
Snowmobiling within Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone restricts the number of snowmobiles that enter the park, and everyone must be accompanied by a guide. This is due to excessive speeding and off trail riding that used to occur when guides were not required. The good thing is that the park is more tranquil this way, but you have to go with a guide or a tour, and the speedlimit is low. This is fine if your goal is to see the amazing geothermal features and wildlife of the park. Think of it as using the sled to access the scenery, not for adventure and excitement. Tours within Yellowtone National Park typically range from $250-$350/person.
Snowmobiling outside Yellowstone National Park
On the other hand, in West Yellowstone there is perfect high meadow type terrain which is great for off trail snowmobiling. You can either rent a sled and go on your own, or again hire a guide/go on a tour. In this scenario, you'll ride in national forest, not national parks, so you can go pretty much anywhere you want at whatever speed you can handle. This is more geared towards adventure seekers. National Forest Tours typically range from $200-$250/person. Rentals typically cost between $100-$200, depending on the model.
What should I do?
Perhaps go for one day of each. Yellowstone is a really magical place and you will definitely see wildlife. However, snowmobiling outside of the park adds a level of excitement.
Current Winter Use Status
For the latest information about Yellowstone National Park snowmobile access click here.
Stay up to date on snowmobiling conditions with these Snowmobile Reports.