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CX skiing
Getting There
There is more than a week of activities to keep you busy while you're staying at Old Faithful Snow Lodge. We absolutely recommend you come for at least a week because that will give you time to sample as many of these activities as possible. Most people only come once, so we advise you to spread your time across as many activities as possible. Yes, you could spend the whole week taking a different snowmobile trip each day, or cross country skiing or snowshoeing out a different trail each day, or taking a different snow coach tour each day. But don't. Try one of each. This will give you the widest possible variety of experiences, memories and photos. If you decide to come back for a second or third Winter, you can specialize in only one activity. We even recommend using only half a day on some acrivities so you can do two in one day and try even more. snowshoeing

Snow Lodge sits at 7350 ft. altitude with bitter cold. That's high enough and cold enough that you need 24 hours to acclimate, so take it easy. Spend your first morning walking the area, watching the activity and taking photos. Snow Lodge and Old Faithful Inn are adjacent to the Upper Geyser Basin. The Basin is famous for Old Faithful, which erupts frequently and very predictably. But the Upper Basin has the largest collection of active geysers in the world plus the largest geysers in the world, so you have plenty to see. Stop at the Visitor Center, study the exhibits, watch the film and pick up a map plus a schedule of geyser eruptions for that day. Take one of the ranger led walks. In addition to Old Faithful, the must see geysers are Castle, Daisy, Grand and Riverside, plus Morning Glory Pool. It's a 1.5 mile walk from the Visitor Center to Morning Glory Pool on the paved walkway. That will take you past many of the geysers. Then take the boardwalk back past the others. Be sure to take the side trail up to Observation Point for an overview and some amazing photo ops. You'll walk about four miles total.

A good lunch and maybe a nap at the Snow Lodge, and you should be ready for an afternoon of wildlife watching. And don't worry : You won't have any trouble seeing wildlife. It's Deep Winter and everything is under snow and frozen solid. For tens of thousands of years, animals here have learned to come to the Geyser Basins. This is where they find liquid water to drink and grass and vegetation exposed for grazing. Of course, where the grazers are, the predators will follow, including some you might think would be hibernating. And in their focus on finding water and food, the animals mostly ignore people, unless someone tries to come too close and pet, feed or pose for photos. Bring a good camera (your cell phone won't be good enough given the cold, strange and shifting light, and steam) and telephoto lens. There are many people who come to Snow Lodge every Winter and spend a full week just taking photos. On later days, you can see more wildlife and take more photos much further from the Lodge, but this afternoon you're just concentrating on this area. wolves in winter
CX skiing

A good night's sleep and you should be ready for Cross Country Skiing. Yellowstone Park is a high plateau surrounded by even higher mountains but itself level and gently rolling terrain. Much of this terrain is open meadow, with the rest in forest and wetland. This makes Yellowstone one of the world's finest cross country skiing areas. Over a century an extensive network of service roads and hiking and backpacking trails has been developed which when covered in snow make for outstanding CX skiing. These trails radiate out from Snow Lodge, Mammoth Hot Springs and West Yellowstone. The Bear Den, an outdoor shop and service center in Snow Lodge, offers equipment rentals, lessons and guided trips. You can schedule hour long, half day and all day trips. We highly recommend you register in advance of your trip. Call 1-866-439-7375. If you're an experienced cross country skiier, you can bring your own equipment and just set out from the edge of the Lodge parking lot. Trips also run out of Mammoth and West Yellowstone. Some private companies offer overnights and 3-4-5 night trips, some of them staying in Yurts or cabins in the park backcountry.

Snowshoeing is similar to CX skiing in many ways. The park is one of the world's great snowshoeing areas and the same CX trails are ideal for snowshoeing. The dry powder snow here is perfect for snowshoeing. Bear Den rents equipment and offers lessons and hour, half day and all day guided trips. Call 1-866-439-7375. Trips also run out of Mammoth and West Yellowstone. Since snowshoers can't cover as much ground as skiiers, some trips take them to far corners of the park by snow coach, snowshoe in a circular route all day, then bring them back to the Lodge. People coming here primarily for snowshoeing rotate where they stay, one year spending a whole week 'shoeing out of Snow Lodge, another year a week 'shoeing out of Mammoth, another year 'shoeing out of West Yellowstone and sometimnes even a fourth year 'shoeing out of Jackson,, Heart Six Ranch or Brooks Lake Lodge along the southern edge of the park. Snowshoe equipment is cheaper, easier to use, and easier to transport than skiis so has become popular among Millenials. Yellowstone Expeditions shuttles snowshoers to trailheads. snowshoeing
snowmobiling Yellowstone does not officially provide snowmobiling. Instead it licenses Yellowstone Adventures out of West Yellowstone. Call 1-800-231-5991. West Yellowstone is the snowmobiling capitol of the world (mostly due to its deep powder snow), and the company can set you up with any kind of experience you might want. They can teach you how to drive a snowmobile, rent you a machine for your own trip, or take you on a half day, all day, overnight, or multiple night trip into either Yelllowstone or the surrounding national forests. If you're new to snowmobiling, you need to stay with guided tours on established routes. The park service spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year searching for and rescuing novice snowmobilers who got their machines stuck in snowdrifts, creeks or lakes 15 miles from the nearest road.
In addition to the snow coach ride you took to get to Snow Lodge, you should take at least one all day snow coach tour of the park. There are various destinations : the Canyon, The Falls, Hayden Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, etc. If you didn't come in through Mammoth, you certainly should do that trip. The translucent travertine terraces are an amazing sight, steaming in the Winter air, surrounded by Elk, Bison, and other wildlife. Yellowstone Expeditions. 406-646-9333. snow coach

The most unique experience at Yellowstone in the Winter is dogsledding. Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures (406)223-5134), Continental Divide Dogsledding Adventure (307-222-0421) and Iditarod Sled Dog Tours (307-733-7388) can acquaint you with this mode of travel. Yellowstone is located on a ranch that runs along the western boundary of the park, just north of West Yellowstone. Continental Divide is located in Jackson Hole just south of the park, and Ititarod is in Idaho. They'll teach you to stand on the rear runners and drive the sled, or sit in the basket under blankets and enjoy the ride. Continental Divide can take you on an overnight. The other two do strictly day trips.

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