Backcountry Situation Report

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Last Updated: November 4, 2019

This Backcountry Situation report will not be regularly updated throughout the winter. Up to date conditions will start back up in early May. Before heading out on the trail, please review the winter backcountry camping regulations, current avalanche conditions, and road conditions.

General Information

Backcountry Permits

  • Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry.
  • Due to extreme temperatures and weather conditions overnight winter trips should be attempted only by experienced and well-equipped parties.
  • Permits can be arranged at the Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth, the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center, and the South Entrance. Because there is limited staffing this time of year, it is recommended that you call or email the Central Backcountry Office about a week prior to your arrival.
  • Trails are not marked for winter travel. Make sure to carry a map/compass/gps.

Backcountry Access

Many of the parks roads and trailheads are inaccessible this time of year. Review the roads page,and current snow levels around the park. There is a currently an area closure around Stephens Creek.

Wildlife & Pets

  • Bears are out. We recommend that you hike / ski in groups of three or more, Be alert for bears, make noise, carry bearspray, and if you see a bear do not run.
  • Survival during the long winter is difficult for wildlife. Human contact only adds unnecessary stress. Avoid approaching or startling any animals or birds. Exercise extreme caution in bear and mountain lion country.
  • With exception of service animals, pets are not allowed on trails, unplowed roads, in the backcountry, or off leash. Dog sledding and ski-joring are prohibited.
  • Do not leave food unattended at any time. All food, trash, and odorous items must be properly stored (hung 10 feet above ground and 4 feet from side supports or kept in one of the installed metal bear proof boxes, or an approved bear resistant food container) whenever the items are not in immediate use. See the list of bear resistant food containers (canisters, panniers, and coolers) that are approved for use in Yellowstone.
  • On March 10th, several Bear Management Areas go into effect. if you are traveling during that time make sure to familiarize yourself with these closures.

Other Notable Regulations

  • Fires are not allowed in the backcountry during the winter.
  • Bicycles including bicycles modified for oversnow travel, are prohibited on oversnow routes.

Contact Us

Please email the Central Backcountry Office if you have any questions about specific areas.


Last updated: November 4, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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