Yellowstone Weather in December: What to Expect

Written by August Buck
Published: May 30, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/mtnmichelle
Share this post on:

If you are comfortable traveling during the winter season, you may be wondering what Yellowstone weather in December is like. How much snow can you expect if you are planning a trip to this fantastic National Park, and what sort of things do you need to know before you book your upcoming travel adventures? 

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about visiting Yellowstone National Park during the month of December, including what the weather is like. We will also go over all of the pros and cons of visiting this park during this time of year, and give you some recommendations as to some popular activities, no matter how cold it is outside. Let’s get started and talk all about Yellowstone in December now! 

What is the Weather Like in Yellowstone in December?

Yellowstone Weather in December
The weather in Yellowstone in December is the coldest out of the entire year, with high temperatures averaging 24 degrees Fahrenheit and low temperatures reaching 5 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

sirtravelalot/Shutterstock.com

Yellowstone National ParkAverages
High Temp (F)24 degrees
Low Temp (F)5 degrees
Rainfall1.5 inches
Snowfall30 inches
Hours of Daylight8.5 hours/day
Elevation Changes in the Park7,000-8,500 feet

The weather in Yellowstone in December is the coldest out of the entire year, with high temperatures averaging 24 degrees Fahrenheit and low temperatures reaching 5 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. The shortest days of the year are also in December, with nearly 9 hours of daylight possible, and 30 inches of snow frequently falls during this month.

While this sort of winter wonderland may put a damper on your travel plans, there’s a lot to love about Yellowstone in December. With next to no visitors and plenty of wildlife to view, you will likely feel like you have the park to yourself. Plus, there are even more perks for you to learn about- let’s talk about some of those now!

Pros of Visiting Yellowstone in December

Yellowstone Weather in December
Yellowstone National Park offers a variety of guided tours and outdoor excursions, lending you the opportunity to see this beautiful natural area in a new light.

imageBROKER.com/Shutterstock.com

One of the main pros of visiting Yellowstone National Park in December has to be the fact that very few other people do this. Whether it is the cold or the snow that keeps people away, the park sees significantly fewer visitors during the month of December compared to its most popular summer months of July and August. This means that the park is yours, as long as you can handle the cold! 

In addition, Yellowstone National Park offers a variety of guided tours and outdoor excursions, lending you the opportunity to see this beautiful natural area in a new light. You can strap on your snowshoes and join a group of people on a fantastic winter excursion, full of beautiful natural wonders and wildlife! 

Cons of Visiting Yellowstone in December

Yellowstone Weather in December
You may be able to explore other parts of Yellowstone National Park if you are on a guided tour, but there is only one primary road for your car to be on during December.

massimofusaro/Shutterstock.com

You may have already guessed this, but one of the main cons of visiting Yellowstone in December has to be the fact that it is extremely cold. This is the coldest month out of the entire year in the park, and the snowfall can be extreme. You may not want to strap on snowshoes in order to do a hike, but you will have to during this time of year. 

In addition, there is only one main road is open to tourist traffic during this month of the year. You may be able to explore other parts of this National Park if you are on a guided tour, but there is only one primary road for your car to be on during December. While you can still access a number of hikes as well as wildlife viewing areas from this road, it can certainly feel like you are only exploring a small fraction of this huge park. 

What to Do in Yellowstone in December

Now that you have some idea of what to expect in terms of the weather in Yellowstone during the month of December, let’s take a look at what all you can expect in terms of the activities possible in this National Park! 

Wildlife Viewing 

Yellowstone Weather in December
Not only will you see an abundance of wildlife in Yellowstone, no matter the month you visit, but December has far fewer people to interrupt your photos and viewing pleasure! 

James Gabbert/Shutterstock.com

No matter the time of year, Yellowstone has wildlife to be seen. While most of the bears will be hibernating during the month of December, there are a number of other species that you can see on hikes, as well as from the comfort of your vehicle while driving along the main road. Not only will you see an abundance of wildlife, no matter the month you visit, but December has far fewer people to interrupt your photos and viewing pleasure! 

Some of the other animals you can expect to see during this time of year are: 

This also means that you should pay special attention when hiking or traversing the park, as you may stumble upon wildlife that you were not expecting to see. Always maintain a safe distance from larger wildlife, such as wolves and bears as well as bison and elk! 

Skiing and Snowshoeing Tours

Yellowstone Weather in December
Yellowstone National Park wants you to explore it throughout the year, which is why they offer a number of warming huts and lodges throughout the park.

moosehenderson/Shutterstock.com

If you are an avid hiker hoping to explore any of the 900 miles of trails possible in Yellowstone National Park, you’re not out of luck should you choose to visit in the month of December. Yellowstone National Park and other vendor partnerships offer a variety of skiing and snowshoeing tours throughout the park and throughout the winter season. Check out Yellowstone’s website and tour partnerships online for more details about these opportunities. 

Lodges and Warming Huts

Yellowstone National Park wants you to explore it throughout the year, which is why they offer a number of warming huts and lodges throughout the park. This means that there will always be a warm and safe place for you to relax, should your outdoor adventure get a bit chilly! Plus, you can even rent a room or a place to stay in a few historic locations throughout the park, starting December 15th. 

Share this post on: