Yellowstone National Park’s winter landscape offers a magical experience for those willing to brave its cold temperatures. Most roads in the park are groomed for over-snow traffic via either snowcoaches or snowmobiles. The majority of visitors to the park travel these roads with commercially guided tours. However, the park has set aside four trips per day for groups that want to enter Yellowstone without commercial guides. This program, called the Non-Commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program (N-CGSAP), allows one group of up to five snowmobiles through each of the North, South, East and West entrances per day. Trips can be 1, 2 or 3 days in length. The leader, or guide, of each group is determined by lottery here on Recreation.gov. Groups may apply for permits for up to 3 days/2 nights and can leave and re-enter the park through any gate during that time. Group leaders must be 18 years old by the first day of their trip and all snowmobile operators must carry a valid driver’s licenses. Costs include a $6.00 application fee and a $40 reservation fee upon trip confirmation. Additional entrance fees will be collected at the time of your arrival.
Open dates/entrances (due to cancellations or spaces that were not filled through the lottery) will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on Recreation.gov beginning in October and throughout the remainder of the season; check this site often for reservation opportunities.
All snowmobiles must meet current Best Available Technology (BAT) standards. You most likely will need to rent these special BAT snowmobiles from vendors in nearby communities. Additionally, all snowmobile operators, including the trip leader, must complete the online free Yellowstone Snowmobile Education Certification course. If you are successful in securing a reservation, you will receive the link to the course when it is available this fall, 2014.
Park staff encourages N-CGSAP participants to secure lodging and snowmobile rentals as early as possible in your trip planning process.
Many visitors treasure opportunities to witness the park’s wildlife, thermal features, and snow-covered scenery without summer crowds. However, winter also offers unique challenges. Snow conditions can vary, leading to difficult riding conditions. Avalanche danger on Sylvan Pass, west of the East Entrance, can close the park road for hours or even days; there will not be refunds or rescheduling due to road closures. There are sometimes long distances between popular destinations and entrance stations, possibly leading to long days and fatigue. Sparse cell phone coverage may mean that help in times of emergency is a long time coming. Severely cold temperatures and sudden snowstorms can affect unprepared riders. Lodging and dining opportunities are rare. Before you commit to a trip through the Non-Commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program, we advise that you prepare an itinerary and give it to a responsible loved-one, use the lessons from the Yellowstone Snowmobile Education Certification course to assemble a well-stocked first aid and survival kit, and plan ahead to procure BAT snowmobiles and area lodging. Learn more about visiting Yellowstone during the winter.
Cancellation policy: Cancel more than 14 days before the beginning of your trip for a full reservation refund.
See rules and regulations for additional important information.
Know Before You Go
Things to bring on the morning of your trip:
Special Use Permit Application printed from Recreation.gov
Driver’s licenses for each snowmobile operator
Yellowstone Snowmobile Education Certification completion documentation for each snowmobile operator
Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles (you may be able to rent BAT snowmobiles in the surrounding area)
A complete survival and first aid kit for all members of your party.
Warm clothes, including a snowmobile helmet.
You must check in with a ranger at the appropriate gate on the morning of your trip. Snowmobiling hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.—plan to be out of the park by 9 p.m. on the last day of your trip. If you have a one-day trip, you must leave the park by 9 p.m. of that day.
Be aware of the weather—winter conditions can and do change rapidly in this high-mountain region. The park will not offer trip refunds due to poor or severe weather conditions.
Give a copy of your itinerary to a trusted friend or relative in case of emergency.
If travelling over Sylvan Pass, be aware that avalanche conditions could close the road for hours or even several days.
See rules and regulations
for additional important information.
Contact InformationYellowstone National Park
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190