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Yellowstsone National Park Winter Animals

Popular Winter Yellowstone National Park Animals

One thing that makes the winter season so special is the Yellowstone wildlife that can be easily spotted against the snowy landscapes. While many come to Yellowstone in winter to take advantage of the outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing or snowmobiling, we suggest setting aside time to observe the wildlife. There are fewer crowds during the colder season, which will allow you the opportunity to take your time while capturing photographs and watching the Yellowstone National Park animals. While bears hibernate and some birds migrate, you’ll still find a vast number of animals roaming the grounds. Keep reading to learn about the most popular winter Yellowstone wildlife animals.  


The rutting season for moose peaks in fall, which is usually the only time you’ll spot these up to 1,000 pound Yellowstone National Park animals in larger groups. Moose tend to wander alone or in small groups during winter and roam near lake shores, rivers and streams, forested areas, as well as in the marshy meadows. Moose shed their antlers during the end of the year to retain energy for Yellowstone in winter and grow new ones each April.  


One of the most photographed mammals you’ll find in Yellowstone in winter is the elk, and most migrate to the northern range near Gardiner, Montana, during the colder season. A healthy male’s antlers can reach an average of 55-60 inches in length and weigh in at around 30 pounds. This is perhaps the main reason they are the most photographed Yellowstone National Park animals out of all of the Yellowstone wildlife. Most bulls shed their antlers nearing the end of march and grow new ones shortly after.  


Year-round you’ll find a vast number of bison roaming around the Hayden and Lamar valleys, but during the winter, they tend to migrate to hydrothermal spots around the Madison River. A male (bull) can weigh a massive 2,000 pounds and can run-up to an incredible 30 mph! The Yellowstone National Park animals tend to travel in groups sizes of around 20 in winter, 200 in summer, and a max number of 1,000 during the breeding season, which happens mid-July.

Wolf, Coyote, Fox, Oh my!

Yellowstone National Park animals that often get mistaken for one another are wolves and coyotes. The main distinction between the two is their size, as coyotes are 1/3rd the size of an average wolf. Coyotes in Yellowstone tend to have a brown or rusty hue while wolves appear in a mix of white, grey, or black colors. Wolves will run coyotes away from their territory as they both compete for the same prey. While the coyote is smaller than the wolf, they are larger than the fox, which is the smallest of the dog family in the park.

East and West Yellowstone Accommodations

During winter, you’ll notice that the beautiful species linger around lower elevations and closer to the roads. You’ll find many of the Yellowstone National Park animals listed above, but you’ll also spot pronghorns, birds, bobcats, cougars, river otters, and many other critters during winter. No matter where you stay while Lodging at Yellowstone, we remind you to use precaution when observing the Yellowstone wildlife. Keeping the recommended distance and reading over the safety guidelines on how to handle wildlife encounters will ensure you have the best wildlife viewing experience.


Throughout winter, enjoy a stay in East Yellowstone at The Cody Hotel or in West Yellowstone at the Kelly Inn. Head to our Find Lodging page to select the area that’s perfect your trip, along with our hotel amenities! Please give us a call to learn more at 1-800-259-4672.
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Winter Adventure in Yellowstone

Best Winter Yellowstone Snowcoach and Snowmobile Tours

Don’t underestimate the beauty of a winter Yellowstone National Park vacation as the winter season will bring magic into your life while staying at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone. You’ll find pristine snow-covered landscapes, billowing steam mixing in with the blue sky from the geysers and hot springs, and a gentle silence will fill the air as you make your daily treks. There are many ways to experience the mystical winter in Yellowstone, whether you’re on one of the Yellowstone snowmobile tours or a snowcoach tour. Taking a guided adventure will be the best way to get the most out of winter in Yellowstone during your Yellowstone National Park vacation.

Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours

During winter in Yellowstone, the West Yellowstone entrance is only open to snow travel, which means if you don’t enter by snowmobile or snowcoach, you won’t be able to get in the park. For your convenience, we’ve partnered with two of the most experienced providers in the area for Yellowstone snowmobile tours. Backcountry Adventures features Arctic Cat or Polaris brand snowmobiles while Yellowstone Adventures features the Ski-Doo brand. In addition to West Yellowstone snowmobile tours, Backcountry Adventures also offers snowmobile rentals and guided snowcoach tours. Get the most out of your Yellowstone National Park vacation by opting to see the winter wonderland, Yellowstone wildlife, and unique views by a custom tour!  

How to Prepare

As you’re planning your Yellowstone National Park vacation during the winter, we suggest making a tour reservation on the same day that you book your stay. The snowcoach and Yellowstone snowmobile tours are widely popular and fill up fast. You’ll have the opportunity to explore over 400 miles of well-maintained trails in the Targhee and Gallatin National Forest. We encourage you to visit our Snowmobile West Yellowstone page to get all of the details, maps, trail conditions, and preparation necessary for snowmobiling in West Yellowstone.  

West Yellowstone Entrance Lodging

Don’t miss out on some of the best West Yellowstone National Park adventures while staying at the Kelly Inn West Yellowstone. Since winter in Yellowstone can be unpredictable, we’ll keep you updated on the weather conditions, park information, and road closures. We’d be happy to help answer any of your questions, all you have to do is pick up the phone call our staff at 1-800-259-4672. Our hotel features the largest pool in town, a dry sauna, and a hot tub that fits ten and features 16 jets. Stay cozy during your Yellowstone National Park vacation by opting for our Jacuzzi Suite, where you can unwind in your very own room! Check out our accommodations and amenities online to see what you’ll experience while staying at the Kelly Inn!

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Best West Yellowstone Restaurants

Best West Yellowstone Restaurants

As you begin to make a list of West Yellowstone restaurants to try near the Kelly Inn West Yellowstone, you’ll find everything from casual, quick stops, to upscale dining. Whether you're craving a slice of delicious pizza oozing with cheese or want to indulge in authentic Mexican fare, everything is within walking distance. We provide a full list of dining options under our Area Guide page, we'll give you just a bite-size sneak peek of our top 3 favorites that you must try while you're here!
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Grizzly Building: 61 room addition

When you're looking for West Yellowstone lodging during the busy season, at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone we are excited to announce we have officially opened our 61 room addition to the public! Our brand new addition is located in the Grizzly Building, which is directly adjacent to the main Canyon Building. Whether you're out exploring the Grizzly Wolf and Discovery Center, taking in the West Yellowstone Rodeo, or are driving the scenic routes to view wildlife, our West Yellowstone accommodations will give you a place to kick back and relax after a long day out.
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Snowmobile Adventures Await While Lodging near Yellowstone

You don’t have to be an expert to cruise around on a Ski-Doo snowmobile at Yellowstone National Park. All you need is a valid driver’s license! Wrap up winter with a snowmobile adventure when lodging near Yellowstone at the Kelly Inn West Yellowstone.

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