One of the crown jewels of North America is the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Wyoming. Centered on Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, this immense multistate region encompasses a huge temperate environment that remains largely intact. I still treasure the memories of my first visit decades ago, and every time I return, I fall in love with the place all over again.
I’m hardly alone in my feelings, and high-season overtourism has become a problem. In the summer, it’s best to arrive as early in the morning as possible to start exploring, before parking becomes difficult at top trailheads and attractions. September is perhaps the ideal month to visit, when the weather is still pleasant, and the kids are back in school. But winter, too, can be magical, with otherworldly thermal features emerging from the snow and world-class skiing nearby.
Usually I avoid visiting places in high season, but on this occasion, I suspected that the number of visitors would be fewer than normal. I booked accommodations in the scenically magnificent valley of Jackson Hole, both in the small city of Jackson itself and in Teton Village to the north, the region’s principal ski resort.