Yellowstone National Park
Only at Yellowstone -- Skiers
with geyser action in the background.
(See a larger version of this photo.)
Yellowstone National Park is obviously the anchor attraction of the region. There is, of course, much more to do and see in the area, and volumes could be written about the winter recreational opportunities in Yellowstone National Park alone. Cross Country Skier has been there before, and we expect we’ll be back to continue to explore the depths of the park and the many nuances of its exquisite wilderness.
There are only a few groomed trails in the park, but that is beginning to change. The National Park Service has begun setting track along the road from West Yellowstone into the park. Because of snowmobile traffic the tracks don’t always survive, but at times it is possible to connect with the Riverside Trail, which starts near West Yellowstone and make a loop back.
As more skiers rediscover the park – the result of the diminished impact of snowmobiles on the quiet experience -- it is expected that more trails will be groomed over time. And since most of the snowmobile trails are groomed at night, an early riser can get out and skate the snowmobile trails before the ’bilers begin to appear in the morning.
The Old Faithful Snow Lodge is one of the few park accommodations to remain open in the winter. Built in 1997, this facility is definitely positioned for a higher end experience. It is a classy place – a Shangri-la in the wilderness.
There are in the neighborhood of 70 miles of cross country ski trails in the Old Faithful area. Several trails emanate from the lodge, providing access to the numerous thermal features that dot the area, where bison, elk and deer congregate to take advantage of the warm ground. Trails in the immediate area include Biscuit Basin Trail, Fern Cascades Loop and the Lone Star Geyser Trail. You can also take a snowcoach to other more distant trails and to ski back to the lodge. Yellowstone Ski Tours offers ski and snowshoe tours from Old Faithful Snow Lodge with expert and knowledgeable guides.
The majority of trails in the area are skier tracked, but with the usually abundant deep snow, they’re almost as good as groomed trail. I had the opportunity to sample a few of the trails in the immediate Old Faithful area.
More on the next page