Every snowmobiler dreams of snowmobiling Yellowstone—David and I included! When our Yellowstone trip hit the end of March we discovered Yellowstone Park was closed, but then we made an even bigger discovery.
All the great snowmobile trails everyone treks annually to Yellowstone to snowmobile are located in West Yellowstone, not Yellowstone Park, and are readily accessible until the snow melts! And there’s nothing more fun than hitting the trails when the thermometer is at 50+ degrees.
While Yellowstone Park, with its incredible geological features, is a good way to spend one of your days (do try out the snowcoach–they’re a great experience), West Yellowstone snowmobile trails provide lots to keep you busy for the rest of the time without park fees or permits beyond the usual snowmobile licenses and trail passes.
We booked our complete snowmobile adventure package through West Yellowstone Travelodge, and were pleased with everything. The hotel was comfortable, and since we’d booked one of the suites, had every convenience we were looking for. One of the key attractions at the Travelodge was the large outdoor hot tub—it’s a special design that holds a full crew, not a consumer model with a 6-person limit.
With two full days to explore the trails we decided to do the number one trail all of our snowmobile buddies had been talking about for years—Two Top. On the way up we took the Madison Arm Loop and Little Snowy. Two Top is on the Continental Divide at an elevation of 8208 feet.
Standing on top of the world sledders have a panoramic view of one of the most beautiful snowy terrains possible! On the way down we encountered snowmobilers doing the other number one thing our buddies talk about—hill climbing. Of course these guys ran into a little problem, so needed help to get the sled dragged off of a tree!
From Two Top we decided lunch was next on the agenda and headed off for Meadow Creek Lodge on the Meadow Creek Trail. The trails were great, well-groomed and fun. The Lodge was a popular spot, and we met various other groups stopping. We wouldn’t have needed all the fresh air to work up an appetite for Louise Enget’s cooking. The food was delicious!
We also went on down to Big Springs, meeting a pair of moose enjoying the open water on the springs. Hitting the Railroad Trail we headed back in on the Two Top loop. Since we still weren’t ready to quit for the day, we did the South Plateau trail along with Madison Arm loop as well. My top pick of scenery for the day was Two Top and Big Springs. Riding was through a lot of pine forest, great mountain scenery and easy to handle trails.
The next morning we got an early start and headed for the Lionhead Trail, the other key spot sledders who’d been there already said was not-to-miss. They were right. The twisting curves and winding trail along the mountainside in the thick bush were great, although the 3 miles passed too darn fast!
From Lionshead we took Valley View trail down through Sunset, topped off the gas tank, and cruised around through Big Springs again.We travelled down through the Elm Creek Trail, then took the Black Canyon loop. For scenic trails, that was certainly one of my favourites. The Black Canyon, as you might expect by the name, takes you along the ledge of a canyon with a drop-off over the side that was exhilerating!
One of the neat things we encountered was the charred remains of a burnt forest, which, when blanketed with snow, provided a surreal atmosphere, like we were snowmobiling on an alien planet. Of course, we also found lots of opportunities to take off into the soft powder or to climb straight-up hillsides. Our last trails included Rail Road trail and Mosquito Cutoff back to Two Top for the last miles into West Yellowstone.
Once again, we met snowmobilers ploughed off the trail into heavy snow and stuck, so got to be rescuers again. We left them with the advise that inexperienced drivers should always stay on the groomed, packed trails! Indeed, West Yellowstone trails offer snowmobilers from first-timers, to 30-year pros, like us, a great snowmobile experience.
Planning Your Trip:
For more information planning your trip to Yellowstone see: http://destinationyellowstone.com/