Yellowstone National Park: Freezing Temperatures Cause Wild Ice Formations

by Samantha Whidden

Yellowstone National Park officials report that freezing temperatures are causing wild and bizarre ice formations throughout the park.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (December 28th), the Yellowstone National Park officials shared a snapshot of rime ice at the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. “Wild, moisture, and freezing temperatures together form some beautiful scenes and interesting sculptures in winter,” the officials write. Rime ice is formed when supercooled water droplets in the air freeze onto surfaces while are also supercooled. This is all done usually in a light wind.

“Good places to see this type of frost in Yellowstone is in thermal basins. Where hot springs and geysers put water vapor into the air,” officials continue. “The water vapor condenses into tiny water droplets and freezes onto objects.”

The Yellowstone National Park officials further shared that another good place to see the rime frost is along a river or create as the river creates a mist and the water droplets. Then freeze onto plants and objects along the bank. “The frost grows on the object on its windward side (wind-facing) during the coldest night or days.” 

Yellowstone Issues Warning That Most Roads Are Open to Oversnow Vehicles Only

With winter now officially upon us, Yellowstone National Park has announced that most of the roads inside the park are only open to over-snow vehicles only. Officials revealed that most park roads are closed to regular vehicles from early November to late April. This is when the park switches to oversaw travel. Which are snowmobiles and snow coaches.

Yellowstone National Park officials also reveal that the only road opens year-round to automobiles. This is from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana through the park to Cooke City, Montana through Tower Junction. It was noted that the park has five entrance stations and it takes hours to drive between them. Open roads are not gated at night, so people may enter and exit the park 24 hours a day. Seven days a week.  

Yellowstone officials also revealed the 2022 winter closing dates. The roads listed will close to over-snow travel by snowmobile and snow coach at 9 p.m. for the following dates. March 6th is for Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris; The 8th is for Norris to Madison and Norris to Canyon Village; March 13th for Canyon Village to Fishing Bridge; and March 15th for all remaining groomed roads are to be closed. 

The Park officials add that the Beartooth Highway (US-212) between the Long Lake barricade, near the Top of the World store, and the Montana/Wyoming state line is closed for the season. It was also noted that during the winter, temperatures range from zero to 20°F (-20°C to -5°C) throughout the day. Sub-zero temperatures are common, especially at night and at higher elevations. The record low temperature is -66°F (-54°C).