The Best National Parks to Visit During the Winter

by Vibrant Management


Dec 30, 2020

While many theme parks close their doors and tourist activities stay shuttered until warmer weather returns, our country’s national parks are open all year long.

Planning a winter visit to your favorite park or perhaps one that’s still on your bucket list is a great way to experience fewer crowds, exciting winter sports, snow-covered landscapes, and more.

If you’re thinking about visiting a national park this winter, keep reading to learn a few of the best to see this time of year.

Grand Teton National Park

One of the most beautiful national parks in the country no matter the time of year, Grand Teton is a bucket-list destination for outdoor-lovers of all ages. But if you’ve only ever visited the park during the warm, sunny summer months, it’s time to add another trip to that bucket-list.

A winter visit to Grand Teton National Park reveals an entirely different side of this natural treasure. Snow-laden evergreen trees, icy lakes, and stunning landscapes blanketed in white make for stunning photographs. The park is also a destination for a number of winter sports. Swap hiking on the park’s remote trails for snowshoeing. Hit the backroads on cross country skis instead of taking a rafting trip down the Snake River.

If you prefer a faster-paced adventure, there’s also no shortage of ski slopes a short distance from the park.

Zion National Park

While you may not be able to go snowshoeing or take an off-road ride through the park, there is another big reason to visit Zion National Park during the winter; the lack of crowds.

This popular southern Utah gem is the fourth most-visited national park in the U.S. Every year, more than 4.5 million people make their way through the gates. In fact, Zion is so busy during much of the year that many of the roads in the park close to guest traffic. With the exception of a few weeks in December, and from January to March, the only way to get to many of the most popular overlooks and trailheads in the park is via a shuttle.

Booking a private guided tour of Zion can help you make the most of your visit, even if the shuttles are running and crowds are heavy. But visiting Zion during the off-season winter months is a great way to see a side of the park few visitors ever get to experience.

Being cautious of ice on cold days, this is the perfect time of year to climb to Angels Landing, Zion’s most famous trail. Spot wildlife in the snow and rent a drysuit for a hike up The Narrows.

Yellowstone National Park

Another park that’s known for its heavy summer crowds of tourists is Yellowstone. In fact, it falls just two spots behind Zion on the list of the most-visited national parks, with 4 million annual visitors.

Of that number, around 780,000 people visit the park in June, over 900,000 in July, and more than 800,000 people in August. By comparison, November, December, January, February, and March each see less than 30,000 visitors a month.

Besides having fewer crowds, Yellowstone National Park is an incredible sight in the winter months. Icy landscapes are accented by rising plumes of steam from geysers. Bison hunt for grass in snowy fields. White-capped mountains are accented by lush evergreen trees.

On our Winter in Wyoming tour, you’ll get the chance to hit Yellowstone’s snow-covered roads in a specially-designed snow coach that can cross over ice and snow with ease for an intimate, comfortable tour of the park. Then, bundle up and hop on a snowmobile for a heart-pounding adventure to some of Yellowstone’s most famous historic sights and views.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Less well-known than the other parks on this list is Bryce Canyon. This relatively hidden gem is nearly empty all winter long. Known for its incredible natural amphitheater and towering hoodoos, Bryce is also a winter sports paradise.

Many roads and trails in the park closed due to snow cover in the winter. That means that you’ll need a snowmobile, cross-country skis or snowshoes. But if you’re willing to put in a bit of work to get there, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of vibrant red rock landscapes accented by bright, white snow.

Planning a Winter National Park Vacation

Whether you want to enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowmobiling or you’re looking to capture the stunning snow-covered landscapes without the crowds, planning a winter visit to one of the national parks is a great choice.

Our customized private tours can help you experience these and other national parks any time of year. Choose the activities and pace that fits your group, for the ultimate winter vacation. Contact us today to start planning your next trip!

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