Here’s What It’s Like to Visit a National Park in the Winter

We’re about a month away from spring, but there are still ways to enjoy this winter. One unique experience is planning a winter visit to a national park. The seasonal change delivers a dramatically different landscape. Visiting a national park in the winter is like seeing a new park altogether. 

Here’s a quick look at recent winter updates from some popular national parks.

Yosemite National Park

(Source: NPS)

California has seen plenty of extreme weather this year, and some of that brought snow to places like Yosemite. The national park relies on the winter weather to help bring a greener park in the spring. Earlier this week, the park announced they were below average snowfall. However, strong winds have created slabs of snow, so visitors should take avalanche precautions.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

GSMNP snow
(Source: NPS)

There’s a similar story on the other side of the country. Park rangers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park say they’ve seen about 29 inches of snow on Mount Leconte this winter. While that’s more than two feet, it’s far below the record snowfall from winter 2010 to 2011. That’s when the area saw 152 inches of snow, more than 12 and a half feet. Guests are reminded to drive slowly through the park, especially when there are slick roadways.

Yellowstone National Park

winter national park visits
(Source: NPS)

Yellowstone officials called their winter weather “lackluster” this year. Many parts of the park in Wyoming and Montana are not very accessible in the winter. However, other sections allow for snowmobiles and snowcoaches as a unique way to explore this national park in the winter.

Bryce Canyon National Park

winter visit to a national park
(Source: NPS)

It’s hard to argue with the beauty of Bryce Canyon in the summertime, but it may be even more astonishing in the winter. 

Park officials took this photo from the park after they received 27 inches of snow last week. When visiting in the winter, guests should be careful of ice on roads, sidewalks, and trails. Proper traction devices for your shoes can make a difference. 

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley in the winter.
(Source: NPS)

Winter in the desert can look different, and sometimes it can come with snow. Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks saw snow at higher elevations this year.

One of the unique attractions in Death Valley right now is a lake that popped up from a storm last year. Continuous rain has helped the lake keep thriving.

Acadia National Park

Visiting Maine’s Acadia National Park is a great way to beat the crowds the park sees in the summer. There are also plenty of winter sports like these ice boats. 

However, park officials say, “Your safety depends on your own good judgment.” Visitors should have proper gear to deal with freezing temperatures and early darkness. They want to remind people to have a trail map and be prepared to turn around if they must. 

Do you have your winter gear set for the outdoors? Check out our store for winter gear, like base layers.

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