Winter Sports in 10 National Parks

December 29, 2015Pursuits
Cross country skiing in Acadia National Park

Winter has arrived in our national parks, and with it comes a whole new world of possibilities. Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean you have to stay in. From skiing to snowmobiling, some of our country’s best winter sports opportunities are offered at these 10 national parks.

Acadia National Park

Winter camping is available in Maine's Acadia National Park for any daring souls ready to brave sub-freezing temperatures. Camping isn’t absolutely necessary for park visitors, though. The park also includes 45 miles of backcountry roads great for snowshoe hiking and cross-country skiing, which are usually open on a daily basis.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is famous for more than just its spectacular scenery — it’s also home to the oldest downhill ski resort in the state of California, Badger Pass. The park includes miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking trails that are usually open from December to March.

Mount Rainier National Park

People snowshoeing in Mount Rainier National Park
National Park Service

Mount Rainier National Park in Washington is one of the most popular destinations for winter family fun in the northwest. Sledding and snow-tubing are a thrill for both kids and adults, and ranger-led snowshoe hikes bring fresh insight into how plants and animals cope with the park’s frigid winters.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

California’s Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks offer great opportunities for sledding, as well as cross-country skiing. Skis and snowshoes are conveniently available for visitors to rent daily in both the Grand Grove and Wolverton areas of the parks.

Yellowstone National Park

People snowmobiling at Yellowstone National Park
National Park Service

Lots of roads and trails in Yellowstone National Park are open to snowmobiles during the winter months. However, the number of snowmobiles allowed in the park each day is limited, so be sure to check the regulations before you go. 

Grand Teton National Park

The spectacular winter landscape of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming makes the park a picture-perfect destination for sightseeing, wildlife-viewing, and photography. The park's main roadways are plowed and maintained all winter long, while many back roads are reserved for snowshoe hiking and cross-country skiing. 

Lassen Volcanic National Park

A group of people cross-country skiing through snow-covered trees

Ski patrollers at Lassen Volcanic National Park

National Park Service

The backcountry of Lassen Volcanic National Park in California provides an ideal place to experience the solitude of winter. Camping has become increasingly popular at this park, since regulations here only require each visitor to obtain a free backcountry wilderness permit. Also, the park's main road typically remains snow-covered throughout the winter, which makes it a perfect cross-country ski route.

Voyageurs National Park

Winters in Minnesota can be some of the harshest in the country, but the lakes in Voyageurs National Park are an ice fisherman's dream. Ice roads and snowmobile trails provide easy access to popular spots like Lake Kabetogama and Rainy Lake, famous for their walleye, pike, and panfish.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Two bulls in the snow at Rocky Mountain National Park
National Park Service

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is home to some of the best cross-country skiing, sledding, and free ranger-led programs in the country. Many park roads stay open in the winter, providing easy access to scenic mountain views and great wildlife-watching opportunities.

Glacier National Park

Cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking bring thousands of visitors to this Montana park during the winter, but use caution: Glacier National Park's landscape can be unforgiving during the colder months, and the difficult conditions mean even experienced skiers can run into trouble if unprepared.

National parks all over the United States offer some of the best winter sports opportunities in the country. Want more ideas on how to enjoy your national parks during this picturesque time of year? Download your free copy of our Winter Wonderlands guide today and get out to enjoy the season while you can! Your blankets and hot chocolate will still be waiting for you when you get back.

Photo credits: National Park Service

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