Life's Sweet Journey: Is Snowmobiling in Yellowstone Worth the Cost?

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Is Snowmobiling in Yellowstone Worth the Cost?

Are you looking to snowmobile in Yellowstone? Here are a few things to consider.

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone

When we were in Big Sky Montana for a ski trip, we took one day for an excursion and did a snowmobiling tour in Yellowstone National Park with Two Top Vacations. To be honest, after visiting Yellowstone in the summer, I wasn't sure a winter snowmobile tour of Yellowstone would be worth the cost. If you are looking for things to do in Montana this winter, this post breaks down what you need to know if you are thinking of snowmobiling in Yellowstone, as well as if it is worth the cost or not.

Yellowstone National Park in Winter

Winter in Yellowstone
Winter in Yellowstone

Yellowstone is a completely different world in the winter, so even if you have been in the park in the summer your experience will be entirely new. The park is open to the public, but unlike the summer it is not as easy to get in - though you won’t be fighting crowds like other times of the year, there are some things you need to know if you are going to visit Yellowstone National Park in winter.

Can you take your own snowmobile into Yellowstone?

Yes, you can take your own snowmobile into the park. However, if you are not very familiar with the park it will be hard to navigate. Certain parts of the park are closed, and while the roads are well groomed everything looks the same in the snow. For this reason paying for a guided tour is helpful. 

Also, only over the snow vehicles are allowed in Yellowstone in the winter. You can not just expect to drive in by car like you can in the summer. You can hike into the park, but you will need to find a place to park if you don’t have a snowmobile.

When is snowmobiling season in Yellowstone?

The winter snowmobiling season typically runs from mid-December to mid-March, just depending on when there is enough snow. You can roughly count on 3 months of snowmobiling fun throughout the park.

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone
Snowmobiling in Yellowstone
Snowmobiling in Yellowstone

How much does it cost?

While each tour group will vary slightly with their rates, most costs range between $200 and $400+ per person depending on if you are doing single or double riders on the snowmobiles. If you can double up with someone it will save you significantly. We booked with Two Top Yellowstone Vacations and their cost breakdown was:

$322.40 for a single rider (cost per snowmobile)

$343.40 for a double rider (roughly $175 per person)

*This cost includes a lunch, but does not include tax, tip, or park entry. 

*If you want to rent a snowmobile and tackle the park on your own the cost of snowmobile rentals ranges from $167-218.

Additional Costs for Your Snowmobile Tour

  • Park Entry: If you have a national park pass your fee is covered (make sure to bring it with you). However, if you don’t have a pass there will be an additional $20 per person fee that is paid at the park entrance.

  • Tip: Tour guiding is considered a service and much of your guides earnings comes from the tip. Tipping is customary and is not included in your tour rate. 

  • Extras: There is a chance to stop at a warming hut and grab a snack and coffee or hot chocolate. While your lunch is part of the tour cost, this is not. Make sure to bring cash or a credit card on the tour with you if you would like to grab a snack or beverage.

Is it worth it to snowmobile in Yellowstone?

While it is expensive, at the end of the day it is 100% worth it to snowmobile Yellowstone National Park at least once. For what you get to see and experience, plus having the park almost all to yourself, it might even be considered priceless. If you break it down into the amount of time you are on the tour (8-9 hours) the cost doesn’t seem so bad. It’s an excursion for a reason and you will leave with countless memories.

More Things to Know

This is NOT a Normal Snowmobile Experience

If you have been snowmobiling before and are used to getting a bit of an adrenaline fix, do NOT expect that when snowmobiling in Yellowstone. This is a tour that happens on a snowmobile. You will not be doing circles at top speeds or gunning the snowmobile as fast as you can. There is a strict speed limit in Yellowstone. I think the fastest we got was maybe 30-35 miles per hour. Is it still fun? Absolutely! Just know that if you are looking for a true, adrenaline-seeking snowmobile experience you will want to try that elsewhere.

What to Wear on Your Yellowstone Snowmobile Tour

Dress warm!! That should probably come as a given, but dress even warmer than you think you will want to dress. We wore our ski gear and we’re fine, but if you don’t have ski clothing you can also rent a snowmobile suit from your tour outfitter. You will wear your regular clothes under the suit. The snowmobile does have hand warmers and heated seats but that’s not enough when you are facing the wind and elements. If you don’t have heavy ski clothes, RENT THE SUIT!

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone

Yellowstone Kind of Stinks

If you are sensitive to smells, just know that Yellowstone is a little stinky. The majority of the geological features you will be seeing smell like sulfur. Be prepared for ensuing fart jokes- haha! 

If you love winter travel I would definitely consider adding a Yellowstone snowmobile tour to your bucket list. We were there in February and enjoyed seeing the bison frolicking in the snow. Other options for winter in Yellowstone include staying in the park at one of the few open accommodations or riding a snowcoach, which is an enclosed snow vehicle. No matter how you plan to enjoy the park this season, I promise you will be awed by the experience.

If you found this helpful you may also like: 

Visiting Yellowstone in the Summer

Booking Grand Canyon RV Sites Last Minute