GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Accompanying travelers to the national park since 2002

All posts tagged winter

Yellowstone closing for the autumn break, 2011

Categories: Trip planning, Winter
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As Hallowe’en excitement draws to a close, I’ll pass on to any of you thinking of visiting Yellowstone soon that you have only one more week before almost all the roads close for the autumn break. From 8 am Monday, November 7, until December 15, the roads will be closed except for the one across northern Yellowstone from Gardiner to Cooke City, Montana.

The winter season, when the Mammoth Hotel and Old Faithful Snow Lodge reopen and many roads will be prepared for snowcoaches and commercially guided snowmobiles, stretches from December 15 through March 15. This is a good time to make travel and accommodation reservations for the winter experience of a lifetime.

The National Park Service limits allowing 78 snowcoaches and 318 snowmobiles per day to enter the park will continue in effect this season.

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Yellowstone roads close for early spring break

Categories: Flora and Fauna, Trip planning, Winter
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I find it ironic that on the very first day of road closure, the most snow I’ve seen on the Old Faithful Webcam all winter has piled up around the Old Faithful Geyser sign, and it’s still coming down in mid afternoon!

If you use a PC rather than a Mac, you should be able to see the Old Faithful Webcam yourself at:
http://www.nps.gov/yell/photosmultimedia/yellowstonelive.htm. For the link I use on my Mac, write me at janet@yellowstonetreasures, and I’ll send it to you.

This has been a spectacular winter for snow cover in the park. I wonder what it will mean when it all melts—lots of flooding? many animal carcasses showing they didn’t make it through the winter? A ranger has reported that there are at least seven bison carcasses in the Old Faithful area right now. Time will tell what spring will be like.

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Winter travel in Yellowstone is almost over

Categories: Transportation, Trip planning, Winter
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[March 2011] Wanting to keep my readers informed, I’ll pass on the fact that you have only six more days this season to enjoy going through Yellowstone by snowcoach or snowmobile. All such travel ends at 9 pm next Tuesday, March 15, and plowing the roads will begin when conditions make it feasible, readying the roads for their gradual opening to cars and buses, beginning on April 15.

Hotels and cabins are already closed at Old Faithful and Mammoth; they are the only in-park winter accommodations.

The long-term plan for oversnow travel should be coming out in Draft Environmental Impact Statement form in a few weeks, followed by a sixty-day comment period. The National Park Service intends to finish the plan and issue any new winter use regulations before the start of the 2011-2012 winter season. I’m very interested to see what they decide upon and will keep you informed when decisions are made. 


Plans for my own summer visit have been made for some time already and will include an all-day book-signing in Old Faithful Inn on Sunday, July third.

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2009: A good year for Yellowstone and for “Yellowstone Treasures”

Categories: Trip planning
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Visitation to Yellowstone Park set a record of 3.29 million in 2009, despite the recession and last winter’s relatively low number of snow-time vacationers. According to the Billings Gazette (disclosure: that’s my hometown newspaper):

The previous record for visitation, 3.15 million people, was set in 2007. The numbers in 2009 were 7.5 percent above 2008’s 3.06 million visitors and 4.6 percent above 2007.
The increase in park visits could reflect free access on two summer weekends, attention from a new PBS television series on national parks and relatively low gasoline prices.

For the whole January 5th article, see: “Record number visited Yellowstone in 2009“.

Just for my own edification, I compared last year’s sales of Yellowstone Treasures with those of 2007 and 2008 and found that 41% more books were sold in 2009 than in 2007 and 38% more than in 2008. In addition to the factors mentioned in the Gazette article, I attribute that gratifying increase to a step-up in media publicity about the book and to word-of-mouth—especially when Amazon.com chose to include a copy of the guidebook in their sweepstakes week that offered a Yellowstone National Park tour and thousands of dollars of Canon photo equipment.

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Magic number 318

Categories: Transportation
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In recent Yellowstone news, we find that snowmobile permits to enter the park are now set at 318 per day for the next two winter seasons [2009 and 2010]. I haven’t learned how this number was picked, but it’s a step in the right direction. Since fewer sleds than that have entered on all but a few days in the past few winters, this limit should inconvenience very few people who want to ride them in Yellowstone.

For my money, though, 318 is still too high a number for the good of the park’s animals and to assure a prime experience for those of us who are not interested in riding snowmobiles. Fortunately, at the same time, up to 78 snowcoaches per day may enter the park.

The NPS ruling states: “Rules to implement the decision will be published in the coming weeks in the Federal Register, to allow the parks to open for the winter season as scheduled on December 15, 2009.”

NOW is the time to make your winter reservations!

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