This Bozeman Hotel Will Help You See Yellowstone's Wolves This Winter
Most people visit Yellowstone in the summer, but a newly renovated hotel in Bozeman is upping the appeal of an off-peak-season trip. The Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman offers a package deal in the wintertime to witness some of nature's most spectacular sights: snowy wildlife sightings in the vast wilderness of Yellowstone National Park.
The Yellowstone Winter Wildlife Safari package includes overnight accommodations, $100 dining credit to use at any of the hotel's three onsite eateries (including Sky Shed, the glass-enclosed rooftop bar with unbeatable mountain views), two knit caps — and, of course, a Yellowstone Winter Wildlife Safari day tour for two from Yellowstone Safari Company.
The small group tour is led by a professional naturalist and includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks as well as a souvenir water bottle and the use of spotting scopes and binoculars so you don't have to pack your own gear. Depending on your preferred level of activity, you can choose a pulse-pounding snowshoe safari or a more relaxed (and warm) tour by car.
The snowy winter-season tour focuses on the Northern Range, located between Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City, as this 50-mile stretch is the only portion of the park's 300 miles of road that's open to vehicles from November to April.
Even beyond the natural splendor of this winter wonderland — think snowy woods, icy geyser "rain," and frozen waterfalls — the Northern Range offers some of the best wildlife viewing in North America, and when there's snow on the ground, it's arguably the best time of year to watch the park's most impressive apex predator: the gray wolf.
If you're lucky, your group may get to observe a pack of wolves play, hunt, and feed (from a safe distance!), but other common wildlife sightings in the winter include bison, elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, eagles, foxes, and coyotes.
Bozeman is a popular "home base" for visiting Yellowstone because it's about 90 miles from the park, making it easy to take short day trips into the park while returning each day to creature comforts (like the Kimpton Armory Hotel's Frette linens and rooftop pool). The hotel's recent refresh retained 98 percent of the original structure and sports a rugged charm updated with modern upscale amenities.
Nearby, downtown Bozeman has a classic mountain-town feel with nature, culture, dining, art, and lots of music, since Bozeman is home to Gibson guitars. One of the best local spots to enjoy music is Live From The Divide, which hosts songwriters in an intimate 100-year-old brick-and-wood building for no more than 50 audience members at a time.
Yellowstone is undoubtedly the main attraction of the area, but leave time in your itinerary for Norris Hot Springs — it's a Montana tradition. If you opted for a snowshoe safari, this geothermal wonder is the perfect place to relax, warm-up, and soothe your tired muscles afterward. While you soak in the 106-degree water, you can also order from a menu of locally sourced beer and wine plus food made from ingredients derived primarily from the on-property garden and greenhouses.
Yellowstone hums with activity even during the quieter winter months, but the natural happenings you observe here promise to awe and inspire, providing a reprieve from the frenetic pace of modern life.