Winter season begins at nearby National Parks
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
December 14, 2004
Winter season begins on Wednesday, December 15th at nearby Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, less than two hour’s drive from Pinedale.
Winter fun includes snowmobiling, guided snowcoach tours, cross-country skiing and skating, ice fishing, snowshoeing, hiking, backcountry camping and wildlife viewing. Information is available at both parks showing open & closed areas, wildlife restrictions, pet use requirements, hours and fees. Below is more information about specifics for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK:
The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, to the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City, Montana, is open all year to automobile traffic. Other park roads will open at 7:00 a.m. on December 15, 2004, to commercially guided snowmobile and snowcoach use.
During the 2004-2005 winter season, the following changes will be implemented:
• A total of 720 snowmobiles will be allowed in the park each day: 400 through the West Entrance, 220 through the South Entrance, 40 through the East Entrance, 30 through the North Entrance, and 30 at Old Faithful.
• All snowmobiles must be commercially guided.
• All commercially guided operators will be required to use snowmobiles that meet the NPS best available technology (BAT) requirements. The list of approved BAT snowmobiles is available on the park’s website.
• Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park will continue to be restricted to traveling on roads and parking lots specifically groomed for their use. Off-road travel, sidehilling, or berm-riding is prohibited.
• Snowmobiles will continue to be prohibited on specific side roads including the Fountain Flat Road, Virginia Cascades Drive, North Canyon Rim Drive, Riverside Drive and the road from Canyon Junction to Washburn Hot Springs Overlook. Snowmobiles would be allowed on the Lake Butte Road and, after 12:00 p.m. each day, on the Firehole Canyon Drive.
• All snowmobile operators are required to have a valid driver’s license; no learner permits are allowed.
Xanterra Parks and Resorts provides lodging, food service, cross-country ski rentals and lessons, snowmobile rentals and snowcoach tours of the park.
Information on other authorized winter operations providing guided interpretive tours can be obtained by calling the Business Management Office in Yellowstone at (307) 344-2271 or by visiting the above-noted Web site. Lodging at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge will be open from December 18, 2004, to March 13, 2005; food services will be available at the Geyser Grill from December 15, 2004, to March 13, 2005. All services at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel will be open from December 23, 2004, to March 6, 2005. The Xanterra reservation number is (307) 344-7311.
Fuel Fuel will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily at Canyon and by credit card pumps at Old Faithful from December 15, 2004, to March 13, 2005. Fuel will not be available at Fishing Bridge. Warming huts will be open throughout the park during the winter season. Snacks will be available at the Madison warming hut. The Mammoth General Store is open all year, and in addition to grocery, gift, and snack items, will be serving lunch from 11:30-1:30, Monday through Friday, until April 29, 2005. The Mammoth Clinic is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The clinic is closed on Friday afternoons. The Mammoth campground is open year-round.
End of Winter Season Groomed roads will begin to close to oversnow vehicle use at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, 2005, with the closure of the Mammoth-to-Norris road. At 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, Norris Junction to Madison Junction, and Norris Junction to Canyon will close. All remaining groomed roads will close to oversnow vehicle use at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2005.
Winter Visitor Centers Park visitor centers will be open at Old Faithful and Mammoth. Naturalist-led activities and evening programs will be available throughout the winter. For information on programs call (307) 344-2251. Visitors are encouraged to call park headquarters at (307) 344-7381 for the latest road and weather conditions.
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK:
The Moose and Moran entrance stations and Flagg Ranch Information Station in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway will reopen for winter operations. The Granite Canyon Entrance Station opens Monday, December 20. Daily operations for both the Moose and Flagg Ranch visitor centers will be from 8 am until 5 pm. Both locations will be closed Christmas day. A $5/vehicle Single Day Entrance Pass is available at both entrance stations (valid only at Grand Teton, not at Yellowstone).
Ranger-led Snowshoe Hikes begin Sunday, December 26 at the Moose Visitor Center. This free, 2-hour activity is offered at 2 pm everyday except Wednesday. Previous experience is not necessary, and snowshoes are provided for participants. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 307-739-3399.
Backcounty users and mountaineers planning to stay overnight in the backcountry must obtain a non-fee permit at the Moose Visitor Center before their trip. Permits are not required for day users. To obtain weather forecasts and avalanche condition information, stop at the Moose Visitor Center or visit the Avalanche website at www.jhavalanche.org. Avalanche phone hotline: 307-733-2664.
Park cross-country skiing and snowshoeing Trails are marked with orange flagging, but not groomed. The Teton Park Road (TPR) is a designated winter trail, open to non-motorized use only. After sufficient snow accumulates, the park will groom the unplowed roadway twice a week from Taggart Lake parking area to Signal mountain for cross-country touring and skate skiing. The TPR winter use trail consists of two sections; one designated only for diagonal track skiers and skate skiers, and the other for multiple-use for snowshoers, hikers and leashed dog use. Walkers are asked to stay off the groomed set of ski tracks. Skiers and snowshoers are not required to stay on designated trails, but must observe winter wildlife closure areas if they go off-trail. Maps are available at the Moose Visitor Center showing open and closed areas, as well as online.
Pets Leashed pets are allowed on Grand Teton Park’s plowed roads and turnouts, the frozen surface of Jackson Lake, the unplowed Moose-Wilson road, and the Grassy Lake road. Pets are not allowed in the backcountry, which includes all other park areas and beyond the defined roadways and Jackson Lake. In areas where dogs are allowed, they must be restrained on a leash not more than 6 feet in length. Pet owners are required to clean up their pet’s waste and properly dispose of it. Pet stations are located at the TPR trailheads with disposable plastic pet waste bags and waste receptacles. Pet owners who do not obey the pet leash and waste disposal laws may be factor in causing pets to be barred from the area in the future.
Dogsleds are not allowed on the Teton Park Road, however they are allowed on the Grassy Lake road and in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
Snowmobilers The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail runs through Grand Teton National Park. When snow conditions permit, snowmobile operations are from 7 am to 9 pm. The park portion of the trail opens when sufficient snow has accumulated to allow grooming. Access is from the Moran Entrance Station. Trail condition information is available by calling 307-739-3614. Snowmobilers may use the frozen surface of Jackson Lake only for ice fishing access. A Wyoming fishing license and appropriate fishing gear must be in possession. Snowmobilers must make certain their sleds meet the current approval standards for allowed machines in the park. A list of approved machines is available on the park website.