Most people have heard of Yellowstone National Park and the majority consider the park a summer destination. However, Yellowstone offers a truly unique winter experience that is completely different from what visitors see in the summer months. In winter, the park is covered with foam, snow dust and the fresh mountain air is cold and clean. The cold air provides a perfect adjustment of the contrast with the hot steam rising from the countless geysers of the park, the mud and the air ducts. Yellowstone’s winter scenes provide legendary opportunities for artists, photographers and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a truly unique experience.
Without a doubt, Yellowstone National Park offers visitors a unique winter holiday experience. Nowhere else on Earth will you find a landscape as unique, awe-inspiring and mysterious as Yellowstone in winter. Winter visitors will definitely want to visit the Old Faithful Village, where they can observe and photograph the world-famous Old Faithful Geyser as the boiling hot water is forced high into the cold mountain air. In addition, the Old Faithful area hosts many other water heaters and hot springs, and the landscape is unlike any other as opposed to the increasing steam in the cold air.
The most popular attractions for winter visitors include the Old Faithful area, the Norris Geyser Basin and the Yellowstone Grand Canyon in Canyon Village. Winter transportation in most of the park is limited to snow-free vehicles such as snowmobiles and snowcoaches. However, guests can drive a car in the northern part of the park from Mammoth Hot Springs (north entrance) to Cooke City (northeast entrance). This information point is important because Cooke City is one of the best kept secret in the area. Unless you have your own snow machine, there is only one way to access Cooke City during the winter.
These visitors who do not bring their own snow vehicles (which are the majority) must have access to Cooke City by entering Yellowstone National Park through the northern entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs. To do this, visitors must travel to Interstate 90 in Montana, exit the interstate in Livingston, Montana and drive south on Highway 89 at the northern entrance to the park. Once visitors enter the park, they drive to Mammoth Hot Springs, an important attraction, and then turn east onto the only street in the park that is open to cars during the winter. They then follow the road to the northeast entrance, where they exit the park and drive about four miles to the end of the road to Cooke City, Montana.
As mentioned earlier, Cooke City is one of the best hidden secrets around Yellowstone National Park. Every year, countless visitors miss this impressive place simply because they don’t know it exists. Although Cooke City is absolutely beautiful in both summer and winter, it is best known as an incredible winter destination. There are three main things that attract visitors to Cooke City during the winter: wolf sightseeing, endurance skiing and snowmobiling.
Some of the best wolf display opportunities at Yellowstone National Park are available in the Lamar Valley during the winter. The Lamar Valley is a short drive from Cooke City. and in fact, it is closer to Cooke City than any other community in the park. Every winter, photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts travel to the Lamar Valley to watch the wolves hunt and interact socially. The Lamar Valley is a vast and open country and wolves are generally easier to spot in the winter as their bodies contrast with the pure white snow. Wolves come in all sorts of colors from white to brown to black, but in most cases, it’s easy to see in the winter landscape. Cooke City offers a close, convenient and beautiful location from where you can put a winter vacation with a wolf.
Another popular attraction in Cooke during the winter is the countless miles of perfect ground for endurance skiing. In fact, all the land south of Highway 212 is exclusively for cross-country skiers and snow is not allowed in this area. In addition, there are countless miles of ski trails in the park, just a few miles from Cooke City, and skiers can explore millions or acres of Yellowstone desert virgin.
Finally, the number one attraction of Cooke City in winter is the snowy snow. While the off-road snowshoe is illegal inside Yellowstone National Park, Cooke City is located four miles outside the park, surrounded by millions and millions of acres of wildlife. Located at an altitude of about 8,000 feet above sea level, Cooke City is famous for its snow-capped Mecca with countless acres of roadless roads to explore. Winter guests can literally do snowmobile just outside the hotel or resort to parking and head to the rugged country. For the less experienced snowmobilers, there are miles and miles of well-groomed and well-signed trails that wind down the forested mountains and open meadows. Beginners can follow the beautified paths, explore the picturesque country and escape the numerous open meadows of the route.
For the most experienced snowmobiler, Cooke City offers one of the best locations in the world for a challenging, avalanche. In the area there are steep pipelines, mountain slopes, open meadows, winding ravines, snowy cornices, creek bottoms and lakes. For experienced riders, Cooke City is known as steep and deep with its rugged mountain and icy snow. With an average of 500 inches of snow per year, Cooke City has plenty of “cold smoke”. Whether a visitor is interested in easy riding or difficult experiences, such as high grading or horseback riding, Cooke City has it.
One of the most popular snow trails is the Daisy Pass, which is accessible from Highway 212 (you can drive your car in the snow on the road east of Cooke). The Daisy Pass trail starts from Highway 212 to the north, a short distance east of the city. Riders can snowmobile up to the ornate two-lane trail at the top of the Daisy Pass. This magnificent passage offers panoramic views of the Beartooth Mountains and marks the beginning of the most advanced terrain. From the top of the Daisy Pass, experienced riders can travel north to the back of the pass in an open open area made up of any type of riding experience imaginable. There are open meadows, pieces of forest, ravines, creek bottoms and steep slopes. The area is known as the Abundance Valley and includes countless miles of different terrain. Whether you want to score high (climb as high as you can on a mountain slope), walk through trees or just carve a few pieces in fresh snow with deep dust, you can do so on the back of the Daisy Pass.
Another key Cooke City route system is the Lulu Pass Trail. Shortly after the Daisy Pass system, the Lulu Pass Trail takes off from Highway 212 to the north. Lulu Pass offers access to a completely different area of backcountry snowmobiling, although specialized snowmobilers can travel back and forth between Daisy Pass and Lulu Pass trails, crossing mountains and challenging terrain. However, for beginners, it is best to have access to each area while traveling on the beautified trails.
Lulu Pass provides access to both special and beginner riding areas. Beginners and intermediate riders can have an incredible experience with access to the Round Lake Trail, which escapes from the Lulu Pass Trail. Follow Round Lake Trail to the north until it reaches an ice and snow-covered body called Round Lake. There is also a forest service cabin where the trail meets the lake. From the cabin, riders can travel across the lake (it’s safe to drive during the winter months) in the woods on the other side. On the other side of the lake, there are several unpaved paths that lead through the forest and return together at the foot of a steep slope. The slope of the hill is curved like a “L” shape. In most cases, there will be snow paths on the snow showing the road, but even if you are the first to hit the fresh snow, just climb the northern slope (it will be one to the right). It’s a short climb to the top and you should stop instead of starting straight from the back. At the top of the ridge, turn right and follow the ridge down. When the slope is exceeded, just turn left and go through pieces of trees in an open meadow. The meadow is huge and you will know you are in the right place. From this large meadow, riders can access the mountain slopes for high grades, explore hills, climb near pipelines that are full of fresh dust or just donuts on the open meadow.
From the meadow, one can drive further north and reach Star Lake, which offers access to some “secret” places where few riders ever go. One of my favorite “secret” spots includes the pipeline that rises above Star Lake to the west. The duct can be difficult to climb without sticking if there is fresh dust, but you can continue to try until you finally reach the top. The standard procedure is to fully ascend with the throttle until the snow vehicle slows down and then turn back down and return to the bottom. Then follow your original pipe safety copies and climb even higher until you slow down, then turn and go back down. Rinse and repeat this process until you reach the top of the pipe. The expected reward will be worth it. In addition, climbing this pipeline is also part of the fun. At the top of the pipeline, you’ll find yourself in a network of half-pipeline ravines running in different directions. Most of the time, there are no traces there, and you will find yourself breaking fresh, undisturbed snow into dust that is so deep that it comes flying over the windshield of your snowmobile. I have enjoyed countless days of utopia for snow vehicles in this special place over Star Lake. Even on days when most areas were monitored by previous riders, the area above Star Lake is usually undisturbed simply because most people don’t even know they’re there.
Cooke City is special because it allows Yellowstone visitors to experience the natural wonders of the park and the amazing landscape in winter, but it also gives visitors the unique opportunity to enjoy the thrill and adventure of snow in the snow and other activities such as the wolf – seeing and skiing endurance. Remember that it is illegal to be off the road in snowy vehicles in Yellowstone Park. and as a result, park visitors will not know the true joy of the skiing experience unless they are planning their vacation to include some horseback riding in a gate community just outside the park. Many people consider Cooke a “Backcountry Snowmobile Capital of the World”. It is a place where visitors can take a walk in the snow around the city, where they can easily access priceless acres of wild mountainous land in its cleanest condition and where they can make the memories that last a lifetime. In fact, most visitors who try to visit Cooke City in the winter are fascinated and come back again and again.
There are some great accommodation options that include hotels, motels, accommodation and cabins in Cooke City. For car rentals with snow, visitors are encouraged to contact Cooke City Exxon. In addition to snow car rentals, they can offer you route maps, clothing rentals, helmets, grocery stores, fuel and mechanical services. For dinner, guests can choose from Prospector Restaurant at Soda Butte Lodge, Miner’s Saloon (pizza, burgers, etc.) and Bun’s & Beds (deluxe sandwiches and hot soup). Nightlife, such as live music and poker, is often available at Miner’s Saloon and Soda Butte Lodge.