Snowmobiling in National Parks 2023 Guide

Explore Some of America’s Most Iconic Parks on a Snowmobile

The vistas are familiar to every American: the Upper Falls of Yellowstone, the glittering blue of Crater Lake, and towering Mount Rainier. But cloaked in snow and viewed from the seat of a snowmobile? That’s a special treat for those willing to navigate park service regulations and brave the cold. From Acadia to Yellowstone, snowmobiling in national parks takes a little more prep work in the planning phase but pays off with unique experiences in our most iconic landscapes. 

Can You Snowmobile in National Parks?

Often, but not always. Rules and regulations are on a park-by-park basis with some allowing widespread riding while others strictly regulate non-commercial access and open trails. Luckily, the riding opportunities (and scenery) near national parks can be exceptional, so even parks with little or no snowmobile access can still make for stunning destinations. 

Plan Your Next Snowmobiling Tour

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone Park

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone is one of the best and only ways to enjoy the park during the winter months, as most of the roads are closed to vehicles. More than 200 miles of groomed trails are available to snowmobilers from Mid-December to Mid-March. There are several authorized tour companies, but Yellowstone also has a snowmobile access program that allows groups to visit without a commercial guide. Each park entrance allows one non-commercial group of up to five snowmobilers daily. Permits are awarded through a lottery system. Lottery application dates are August 1-31, and awarded in mid-September. You can fill out the application online


If you are riding without a commercial guide, you will need to obtain a permit through the lottery, understand and adhere to park rules and regulations and be operating a Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobile. Side-by-sides with tracks are not allowed. There are several companies that rent the appropriate equipment. Every rider in your group must also complete the Yellowstone Snowmobile Education Program online. Each rider must also present a valid driver’s license proving they are at least 16 years of age. The permit holder must be at least 18 and carry the N-CGSAP decal provided at check-in. For a complete list of rules and regulations, visit Snowmobile Access Program Logistics.

Favorite Trails

Snowmobiling inside Yellowstone is controlled, and you have less freedom than you would on terrain outside of the park, but the scenery is worth spending a day on a groomed trail. The most popular snowmobile destinations within Yellowstone are Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which features the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone. Depending on what entrance of the park you use, you may also have easy access to Yellowstone Lake or Mammoth Hot Springs.

a person snowmobiling on a trail through trees

Top Trips

If you use a guide service, they will be responsible for following the rules and regulations within the park. This definitely simplifies things and includes an experienced guide who knows the territory and can explain the park’s history and geology. But it also means less freedom to ride at your own pace, determine your destination and choose your own stops along the way. Of course, obtaining a permit through the lottery system isn’t guaranteed, so here are some authorized outfitters to consider.

Yellowstone East Entrance

Gary Fales Outfitting offers snowmobile rentals and one, two and three-day snowmobile tours leaving from Cody, Wyoming. Overnight tours include lodging in either the Stagecoach Inn, or Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and make stops at some of the most popular destinations in the park.

Yellowstone South Entrance

Scenic Safaris is an outfitter located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They offer daily snowmobile tours to Old Faithful, as well as snowmobile and gear rentals.

Yellowstone North Entrance

Yellowstone Vacations offers daily tours to Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, as well as custom tours of other popular spots like Madison Junction and the Fountain Paint Pot.

Yellowstone West Entrance

Backcountry Adventures offers snowmobile rentals as well as guided tours within Yellowstone. They also rent all of the gear you need to stay warm. Think boots, full-face helmets, gloves and full suits. Daily tours to Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone are popular and family friendly. 

bison in rocky mountain national park

Snowmobiling in Rocky Mountain National Park

Snowmobiling inside Rocky Mountain National Park is limited, just a two-mile stretch of the popular North Supply Access Trail cuts through the southwest corner of the park and is managed by the park. If you plan to use this trail, it’s a good idea to check the trail status first. It is often closed due to strict regulations regarding snow conditions.

Top Trips

If you are planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, and want to snowmobile, there are many options available in the area just outside of the park. Grand Lake, Colorado, is known as the western gateway to the park, and offers more than 300 miles of snowmobile trails, with about half of those being groomed. On the Trail Rentals offers snowmobile rentals with a trail system just outside of their gate. Grand Adventures offers guided snowmobile tours of Grand Lake trail system for all levels of riders.

Snowmobiling in Glacier National Park

Winter in the park can include activities like skiing and snowshoeing, but snowmobiling is not permitted inside of the park. If you’re planning a visit to the area and want to snowmobile, there are some excellent options just outside the park.

Top Trips

The Flathead Valley boasts more than two hundred miles of groomed trails, while the Flathead National Forest contains nearly 2,000 miles of snowmobiling access. Swan Mountain Snowmobiling offers rentals and a cool variety of tours in the area. If snowbiking happens to be on your bucket list, check out SnowBikeNation. They offer custom snowbike adventures just outside of the park.  

Other Parks that Allow Snowmobiling

The National Parks Service lists the parks that offer snowmobiling. Below are some of the ones we got excited about.  

A snowmobiler in Rocky Mountain National Park

Snowmobiling in Acadia National Park

Winter is the quiet season in Acadia National Park, and a beautiful time of year to explore. The winter season typically runs from December 1 through mid-April. When conditions are right, snowmobiling is allowed up Cadillac Summit Road, on most fire roads, and on a 27-mile loop within the park. There are no snowmobile rentals available in the area, so if you plan to ride, make sure you rent ahead of time or bring your own sleds. Currently, there are no guided tours within the park. The Hulls Cove Visitor Center parking lot is the best place to access the snowmobile routes in the park. Maps of snowmobile routes are available here:

Snowmobiling in Crater Lake National Park

At Crater Lake, snowmobilers have access to a beautiful nine-mile route to the rim of Crater Lake. Snowmobiles must stay on the unplowed section of the road. The park gets a ton of snow and the winter season can last as long as nine months, so planning a snowmobile adventure here is easy. There are options for both guided and unguided snowmobile rentals where you can get access to other trails in the area. Diamond Lake Lodge is just a few miles from the park entrance and offers multiple accommodations and fun winter activities if you decide to take a few days to explore the area.

Snowmobiling in Mount Rainier National Park

Snowmobiles are permitted on a six-and-a-half-mile stretch of road in the southwest corner of the park. It is also permitted in several areas along the boundaries of the park. Abundant annual snowfall makes the park and surrounding areas extremely popular with people looking for winter fun. A designated sno-park nearby offers additional room to ride. You can get more information on winter activities in the park on the NPS site. The Paradise Snowplay Area is also worth checking out if you are visiting the park.

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