Asbury Snowmobile Trip to
Yellowstone National Park

December 29, 2009 - January 2, 2010
 

 


Above photo courtesy of  www.yellowstonesnowmobiles.com/

Reserve your spot for an exciting winter wonderland adventure in Yellowstone country.  Snowmobiling is for all ages.  We will begin our adventure the first day by going to see Old Faithful and view the magnificent scenery and wildlife that Yellowstone has to offer. Two days in the park and one day outside the park or 1 day in the park and 2 days outside of the park. Over 500 miles of groomed trails outside of the park with great scenery.  Guides not required outside of the park.

Plan is to arrive in West Yellowstone, MT on December 29 and snowmobile on Dec 30, 31, and Jan 1st with departure on Jan 2nd. If you only wanted to ride two days that can be arranged, whatever works best for your situation.  With the 3 day ride, you will get the maximum exposure of great scenery and wildlife, both in and out of the park trails system.

Accommodations:  Stay in West Yellowstone Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort.  Entrance to the park is just a few blocks from the hotel.   The Holiday Inn has packages rates which includes:  one welcome prime-rib dinner, breakfast buffet each morning, full clothing/helmet package and 1 day of guide service into Yellowstone (usually Old Faithful) and the snowmobile rental and lodging.

 

 

Snowmobiles:  The snowmobiles included in the package rate will be the 4-Stroke Touring - Double Riding Arctic Cat when riding in Yellowstone National Park.  This double riding model has a sculptured seat for two, or the passenger portion can be removed for added storage. Front and rear hand warmers, reverse, mirrors and electric start come standard with this sled.   When riding outside of the park, the Holiday Inn may swap the snowmobile for one that that does not meet the park regulations.  For those that want to venture off of the trails when outside of the park (not recommended unless you have a guide), you may want to upgrade your snowmobile to a higher performance snowmobile for a small additional charge.  The Holiday Inn has its own snowmobile garage on the premises and it is very easy to change sleds if you want to upgrade.   All snowmobile drivers must have a valid drivers license in the park and on the streets of West Yellowstone.  When you rent snowmobiles for more than 1 day, you keep the snowmobile just like you would with a rented car.  In other words, you do not have to turn it in each night, except for the last days riding, when it has to be turned in by 5:00 pm.  Lots of room in the Holiday Inn parking area to park the snowmobiles.

Other Costs:  $45 for group guide service for each snowmobile a guide is used in the park, park pass and optional snowmobile insurance.

Click here for web cam at Old Faithful Geyser - Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park:  Guides are required in the park and the guide can have up to 10 snowmobiles.  You may encounter lots of buffalos, elks and possibly wolves and coyotes on the trails. They like walking on the trails rather than deep snow.   You should also see lots of these animals off of the trails.  Look for elk along the river beds.   Several eagles nest can be seen in the park.  The guide will stop when there are good photos opportunities.  Warming huts and rest rooms are located about every 15 miles or so.  The main points of interest is Old Faithful and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  Due to the distance, the guide will likely not go to both places on the same day so if you want to see both places you will have to ride 2 days in the park.     Click here for a map of Yellowstone Park snowmobile trails.

Click here for pictures of our snowmobile trip to Yellowstone NP in 1999

Click here for pictures of our snowmobile trip to Yellowstone NP in 2000.

Click here for pictures of our snowmobile trip to Yellowstone NP in 2001.

Click here for pictures of our group snowmobile trip to Yellowstone NP in 2002.

Click here for pictures of our group snowmobile trip to Yellowstone NP in 2003.

Click here for pictures of our group snowmobile trip to Yellowstone NP in 2004.

Click here for more great photo

Trails outside of the park:  There are over 500 miles of groomed trails and the scenery is excellent but little wildlife is seen.  Unlike the Park trails, the trails outside of the park are more narrow but you feel like you are closer to nature while you wind you way through the snow covered forest, along the rivers and up and over the mountains.  On this day, we usually have lunch at Meadow Creek Lodge which is only accessible by snowmobile and is located on the Meadow Creek trail.  Click here for a trip report about the Lodge.  You do not need a guide outside of the park as the trails are marked and a map of the trails are available free at the Snow Desk in the Holiday Inn.  A guide will eliminate the need to consult the map and he will take you off trails for some different riding experiences within the limits of your snowmobile.  A cost for a guide outside of the park will depend on the number of snowmobiles.   You can access the national forests trails system in West Yellowstone. 

Click on the below photos for map trails in the national forest:
      
                                                         
      Northwest of W. Yellowstone                       Two Top Area                                                 Big Springs Area                                        Ponds -  US Highway 20                             Mesa Falls - South of Ponds

The following are links to some of the trails:
http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/twotop.htm            Two Top snowmobile trail.  Best known trail and must be done on a sunny day or you will need a guide.  On a cloudy day, the top of the mountain may be in the clouds and the visibility will be very low and you could get lost without a guide.  The trail should be ridden first thing in the morning for best chance of clear skies.  It is about 25 miles to the top of the mountain.

http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/bigskytrail.htm      Big Sky trail

http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/horsebutte.htm       Horse Butte trail

http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/lionhead.htm          Lionís Head trail.  This should also be done on a sunny day.

http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/southplateau.htm   South Plateau trail

http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/valleyview.htm      Valley View trail 

http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/idahotrails.htm      Idaho Trails

Transportation:  Everyone is responsible for their own transportation to West Yellowstone.  Suggest the following itinerary:

Itinerary #1

For the ultimate winter trip, I recommend the following itinerary:

Saturday - Fly to Salt Lake City and rent a car. Try to get into SLC by 2 pm or earlier and take a free tour of the Mormon Square. If the Utah Jazz is in town, take in the game Sat night.

Sunday - Attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sunday morning live 30 minute TV program, rehearsal begins at 8:30 (open to the public) and the live program starts at 9:30 am. The choir is accompanied by a 120 piece orchestra. Program is free and you do not need tickets and casual dress is OK. The program is held in the Mormon Tabernacle. We stay at the Salt Lake Plaza hotel and the Tabernacle is right across the street from the hotel and the basketball arena is about 3 blocks away. After the Sunday program, depart for West Yellowstone, MT about 300 miles, all interstate except for the last 80 miles or so.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park and in the national forest around West Yellowstone.

Thursday - Depart West Yellowstone for Jackson, WY (130 miles)

Friday - Jackson, WY free day to explore Jackson - sightseeing, skiing, elk refuge etc.

Saturday - Depart for Salt Lake City (275 miles) and attend the Utah Jazz game if you missed it earlier and if the team has a game in town. Lots of other things to see in SLC.

Sunday - Depart for home.

Itinerary #2

Day 1 -  Arrive Jackson, WY and rent a car for those that fly in.
 
Day 2 - Depart Jackson for West Yellowstone.  Couples can get together and share a car for the trip to West Yellowstone.   There is a shuttle bus to West Yellowstone but you will at least 20 people to be cost effective.  Bus runs on request.

Day 3, 4 & 5 -  Snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park or outside the park on the trails of Idaho and Montana.  Make sure you visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discover Center in West Yellowstone.  They have around 12 live bears and usually have 3 on display at a time in an outside enclosure.  Bears do not hibernate in the winter as long as they have food. There is also a den of several grey wolves in the same complex.  For more information about the Grizzly and Wolf Discover Center, click here.

Day 6 -  Leave West Yellowstone, arrive Jackson Hole, WY for flight back to Bossier City.  Make sure your departure flight on Saturday is late enough to allow you time to get from West Yellowstone to Jackson.  Suggest a noon departure of later.

 One of the main attractions in Jackson during  the winter is to ski, shop and visit the National Elk Refuge where around 7,500 elk reside for the winter.   There is an Elk Museum where you can take a mule drawn sled ride out into the middle of the elks for great close up photos of the herd.  For more information about the Elk Refuge go to: http://bart5.com/bar-t-5,_inc_-_covrd_wgn_ckout_home_page_014.htm

There are also several ski resorts in the area with one located near downtown Jackson and lots of neat stores to shop in. 
 Click here to see the web cam in downtown Jackson Hole.   Great view of the elk antlers arch at the entrance to the downtown park.

  


Travel By Car:  We always have driven and feel that it is part of the fun in getting there. Recommend departure be started on Saturday, Dec 26th or no later than Dec 27th.   There are several ways you can go and we have tried them all and have found the following one to be the fastest and easiest if the weather is ok.  This route avoids Dallas and Denver where traffic can be bad.  Speed limits in most western states is 75 MPH on interstate highways and traffic is not very heavy so you can make good time if the weather permits.

Sat, Dec 26 - Depart the local area and go to Texarkana and pick up I-30 to Exit 198, then via US-82 to Paris, then US-271 to Hugo, OK and pick up the Indian Nation Parkway (toll), at Henryette pick up US-75 to Tulsa, then pick up US-412 (Cimarron Turnpike - toll) to I-35, then north on I-35 to Wichita, KS, them I-135 to Salina, KS (about 600 miles) 

Sun, Dec 27 - Depart Salina, go north on I-135 to US-81 stay on US-81 to York, NE.  (US-81 is a 4 lane highway - very little traffic), at York, go west on I-80 to Kearney, NE.  At Kearney, there will be a large archway built over the interstate which is the The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument  - Click here to learn about the Archway  To visit the Archway, get off at the next exit after going under the Archway.  Well worth the time to tour the Archway.  There is a small charge.  After the tour, stay on I-80 to Laramie.  600 miles from Salina.  You will pick up an extra hour of driving as you will cross into the Mountain Time Zone so you would have an additional hour of daylight driving.  An option would be to stop at Cheyenne.

Mon, Dec 28 - Depart Laramie on I-80 to Rock Springs then US-191 to Jackson, WY. (375 miles). 

Tue, Dec 29 - Depart Jackson around 1pm to arrive at West Yellowstone, MT around 4pm.  Jackson to West Yellowstone is 130 miles.

If you depart on Sunday, Dec 27, you will need to skip the overnight stay in Jackson and drive from Laramie through to West Yellowstone (505 miles)

What Do I Need to Bring? - The snowmobile clothing that will be provided by the Holiday Inn will be a one piece snowmobile suit, boots, gloves, helmet and nylon head cover.  This will keep you warm along with thick socks, and other warm clothing under the snowmobile suit.  

Clothing items you may want to consider bringing:

Thermal underwear
Sweat pants or jeans and warm-up shirt or sweaters
Warm outer wear and gloves to wear when not snowmobiling
Boots to wear when walking around town.  Academy Sports has carried some inexpensive boots (around $20) which are easy to get on and very warm and comfortable walking in the snow.  We have used them outside at home on cold rainy days.
Thick wool socks, turtle neck shirts, scarf or neck band (Keeps the cold air from going down your neck)

Face mask - usually available at Academy Sports -   This mask cost around $18 and will protect your nose and mouth.

 

 

 


Ear muffs if your outer wear does not have a head cover
Toe/foot/hand warmers. Available at WalMart and Academy Sports
Ski cap or other head gear to wear when not snowmobiling.
Sun glasses
 
Food:  Rooms at the Holiday Inn have a small refrigerator and a microwave.

Snacks, crackers, small candy bars, microwave popcorn etc
Bottle water
Any other food items you desire.  There is a grocery store 2 blocks from the hotel that has beer and wine if desired and other food items.

Other Items:

Back pack to store items in when snowmobiling
2 Bungee cords to hook back pack to luggage rack on snowmobile
Camera, film, video etc.  Film will be expensive in the park.

Donít forget your National Park pass if you have one.