Wyoming is the least populated state in the US but is filled with dense wilderness and natural wonders like its national parks. The mountainous state reaches freezing temperatures and has many days of snow in the winter. The first snow in Wyoming may occur as early as September or happen later in October.
Wyoming’s first snow in 2022 was in the northern region of the state and occurred on September 9, 2022. This summer snow was one of the earliest recorded in the state’s history, but how does it compare with other years? First snows in Wyoming have been recorded throughout history, and the areas around Wyoming begin to snow at different times of the year.
Winter Temperatures in Wyoming
When winter is in full swing Wyoming is one of the coldest places in the United States. December 21 to March 20 is Wyoming’s winter season. The state has a high altitude, with elevations ranging from around 3,000 to 14,000 ft. above sea level. Early freezes occurring in the fall, and early spring are common in Wyoming, making the winter feel very long.
In winter the temperature in Wyoming tends to stay below 50°F. The low temperatures in the winter are around 5 to 10° F. January is the coldest month. In snow storms, places like Cody Wyoming have been recorded to reach lows of -46°F. The lowest recorded temperature ever reached in the state is -66° F, which was taken on February 9, 1993, in Yellowstone National Park.
The Earliest and Latest Snow Fall on Record in Wyoming
Early September is the earliest that snow typically falls in Wyoming, and the latest places get their first snowfall in December. The earliest and latest snowfall has been recorded by several of Wyoming’s weather services, with a recording of the state’s weather dating back to the 1800s.
The five National Weather Service offices responsible for monitoring the weather in Wyoming today are the Riverton, Cheyenne, Rapid City, Billings, and Salt Lake City offices. The time of year it snows, and how much, varies greatly depending on the region of Wyoming.
Wyoming’s Earliest and Latest First Snow Statistics
|Region||Earliest First Snow||Latest First Snow||Average First Snow of Area|
|Rock Springs||9/8/2020||11/26/2005||October 29|
Snow first begins to fall in lower elevation regions in Wyoming. On average October and November are when the first snow occurs in Wyoming, but over the years there have been several outliers. September is still considered summer in Wyoming, but the first snows sometimes occur in this month.
Snowiest Areas in Wyoming
March and April are the snowiest times of the year, with the mountains, and surrounding area getting the most snowfall. The snowiest region of the state is the Jackson Valley near the Grand Teton mountains. The Grand Teton Mountain ranges get over 100 inches of snow yearly. The high-elevation mountain ranges such as Yellowstone are where snowfall is the heaviest.
Places like the Bighorn Basin and lower elevations in northeastern and eastern Wyoming are where snow is not as heavy. Big Horn Basin’s lower elevations receive around 15 to 20 inches of snow falls and at its higher elevations, 30 to 40 inches of snow falls.
The amount of snowfall depends on the area. The lower elevations of Wyoming on average get around 60 to 70 inches of snow. Snowfall reaching 5 inches deep only occurs around 5 times a year in Wyoming’s lower elevation regions.
Winter Wildlife in Wyoming
The cool weather of winter and the unique snowy landscapes make it a fun time to explore the wilderness in Wyoming. In the winter fewer people get out into nature. Wyoming’s winter offers activities like snowboarding, skiing, dog sledding, and cold-weather hiking.
Places like the Grand Teton National Park, National Bighorn Sheep Center, Yellowstone National Park, and other wildlife centers are still some of the best places for witnessing Wyoming nature.
Some of the animals still active in the winter include bison, coyotes, antelope, foxes, wolves, and bighorn sheep. Winter offers a better chance to view these animals since in the season they come down from the mountains to the snowy valleys.