Glacier and Yellowstone

Three trip ideas from travelers who ventured into Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

  • Hot springs combine with cold mountain runoff to create a perfect winter soak.
  • Steam from Yellowstone’s thermal features condenses and freezes on the fur of bison, making them appear even more powerful and prehistoric.
  • Lower Yellowstone Falls is a winter treat for those who reach it via cross-country skis or snowshoes.
  • 1. Boiling River—Yellowstone

    Andrew K., Bozeman, Montana

    Andrew K.

    “My favorite spot in Yellowstone is definitely the Boiling River. It’s completely natural, non-commercialized—just right on the Gardner River. It’s kind of shocking at first: it’s below zero and you’re stripping down to a bathing suit.

    “You can find water from 104 degrees on down to 60. People have built up little stone walls to capture the perfect temperatures. I lost myself out there.”

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    Andrew’s can’t-miss places …

    1. Pine Creek Lodge, Store & Café

      PINE CREEK, MT

      Take the East River Road for a scenic view of Paradise Valley. There will be a fire waiting for you.
    2. Two-Bit Saloon and Café

      GARDINER, MT

      The Two-Bit Saloon is a classic old-timey watering hole where locals gather in its antique decor.
    3. Bridger Bowl Skl Area

      BRIDGER BOWL, MT

      Bridger has something for everyone. There’s a ton of great terrain, including the ridge; you can hike with the locals for some really epic turns on steep slopes.
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  • Under a blanket of snow, Glacier’s massive peaks make it easy to understand why they call this Big Sky Country.
  • Wildlife like these bighorn sheep can be much easier to spot against the winter whites of Glacier National Park.
  • This horse bridge on Upper McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park makes a good snowshoe bridge, too.
  • 2. Glacier Backcountry Skiing

    Steve C., Chicago, Illinois

    Steve C.

    “The further back we skinned, the better the views got—peak after peak, covered in snow and ice. Skiing down made the workout worth it. It was the kind of snow you just float through; you really can’t make a mistake. And if you do, it’s a soft landing.”

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    Steve’s can’t-miss places …

    1. Bulldog Saloon and Grill

      WHITEFISH, MT

      Get a history lesson from the memorabilia lining this 1903 establishment.
    2. Jagz

      KALISPELL, MT

      I ordered the beef rib-eye, which was wonderful, but my wife ordered the “Exotic Platter,” which included a bison filet mignon, duckling and quail. It was absolutely fantastic!
    3. Snow Slip Inn

      ESSEX, MT

      Snuggle down for the night (or just a nightcap) in this motel/bar/café in Essex.
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  • The Geyser Basin is a popular winter hangout for bison like this lone bull.
  • Curtains of steam shroud visitors along the boardwalks at Geyser Basin.
  • Snowcoaching into Yellowstone gives you an entirely new view of the Park and its wildlife.
  • 3. Yellowstone Geyser Basin

    Danielle T., Murfreesboro, Tennessee

    Danielle T.

    “Snowcoaching into the Park is extremely special—you feel like it’s just you floating over untouched land. Arriving at Old Faithful, the sun was setting, and there wasn’t a soul around. Right on cue, Old Faithful began to erupt, and I was the only one there to see it. There‚Äôs nothing like Yellowstone in the winter. You can’t help but be happy.”

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    Danielle’s can’t-miss places …

    1. Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa

      PRAY, MT

      Eat a garden-grown brunch, soak in mineral water and stay in a cabin (or caboose).
    2. Freeheel & Wheel

      WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT

      Grab a coffee while renting ski gear and shopping for sporty duds.
    3. Cinnamon Lodge and Adventures

      GALLATIN GATEWAY, MT

      Sopapilla cheesecake, tamales and roasted tomato salsa round out the menu at this Mexican steakhouse.
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