Christmas in Yellowstone

NATURE presents Christmas in Yellowstone, a breathtaking look at wintertime deep within America’s first national park.

Stretching across more than 2.2 million acres of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho is one of the greatest expanses of unspoiled nature and wildlife anywhere on Earth — Yellowstone National Park. Designated America’s first national park in 1872, Yellowstone now receives almost three million visitors each year. Yet only a small fraction of those who glimpse the park’s stunning vistas, geological wonders, and animal residents do so during the winter months, a time when nature’s inhospitality is matched only by its serenity.

NATURE follows in the snowy footprints of Yellowstone’s red foxes, spies on the predatory warfare of wolves and elk, and climbs into the den of a grizzly bear that gives birth to two cubs while deep in hibernation. In addition to mesmerizing footage of landscapes and wildlife, trail alongside author and photographer Tom Murphy, who has been coming to Yellowstone for the past 26 winters, camping and photographing amid the silence and solitude of the park. And go behind the scenes with filmmaker Shane Moore to find out how he kept up with Murphy during an at times harrowing trek, reminiscent of the legendary John Colter’s first journey into the park nearly two hundred years ago. Buy the DVD. This film premiered in November 2006.

Photo © Tom Murphy

  • mw humphries

    What is the name of the woman who did the narration for this production?

    Thank you.

  • Mark Hollingsworth

    This is spectacular in High Def. Why did KERA broadcast this show on 11/23/08 in what appeared to be reduced resolution? The TV screen was not filled and the picture did not look as sharp as before.

  • DJ

    Hopefully this gets shown on KTCS HD sometime close to Christmas. The last two years this beautiful program has become as much of a tradition at my place as a certain movie with Chevy Chase…

  • Producer

    To MW – the narrator is Linda Hunt.

  • Mark R. Albertson

    The Nature series is the best programming on television. My wife and I look forward to each Sunday evening at 8 PM. Of all the great shows in this series, Christmas in Yellowstone is our favorite. I am so pleased that you broadcast this show each year. It really is a spendid way to start the Christmas season. I want to thank PBS and the producers of “Nature” for such a wonderful contribution of enlightening and wholesome entertainment. It is my retirement dream to one day spend a Christmas in Yellowstone and experience its beauty and splendor.

  • Sam

    It’s a nice documentary for sure, but… I had the great privilege of working three winters at Old Faithful, and nothing compares to being there. The best years of my life, for sure.

  • Mari de Wit

    Just saw the documentary. In one word: beautiful. I was in awe. Absolutely stunning cinematography.
    Just wondering how cold it was and how did you and Tom keep your equipment performing properly? What camera and lenses did Tom use?

  • D.M. Miller

    Saw it this evening. Very sweet Christmas message. As an artist, I was especially impressed with the visuals (they were stunning). And the lesson in basic camping equipment was appreciated as well.

    Great show!

  • Karls

    Will the entire episode be shown online? I hope so because it did not air in San Juan last night. I’m dying to watch it!!

  • julianne Bradford

    The only channel I get through Cox cable in Oceanside California is KPBS. Will it be aired on this channel?

  • NATURE Online

    To find out if a program is airing in your local area, please check your local listings by clicking “schedule” at the top of the site.

  • Karen

    What was the name of the lodge where the visitors were staying?

  • Jodi

    Last night @ Midnight the dawn of Christmas Eve morning~ I watched this show in awe. Spectacular photograpy and footage, it made me want to buy it to share with family and friends!The beauty of the trees and scenery around the hot springs in the cold glistening with Christmas magic was extrordinary and the animals beautiful! The red fox was a funny little creature iI though6. **Happy Holidays**

  • Annette M. Deschamps

    I also would like to know the name of the lodge the visitors were staying at. Thanks.

  • Mike Erb

    The narrator, Linda Hunt, was the principal in the movie “Kindergarten Cop” with Arnold Schwarzenneger.
    I watched this documentary in amazement. It was AWESOME!

  • producer

    We stayed at the Old Faithful Winter Lodge. We made our reservations at least 6 months in advance, including our dinner reservations! The highlight was an all-day snow mobile tour of the Park. We saw bison, wolves, eagles, otter, foxes and coyotes. An unbelievable experience that I will never forget. Fortunately the temp was in the 30s unlike the week week before when the temp was 30 below.

  • Elsa Kendall

    What a spectacular show. Stunningly photographed and superbly written; beautifully narrated by Linda Hunt. Thank you PBS/Nature for inspiring us so much during this season.

  • D Tyrfter

    I too would like to know the name of the lodge where the visitors were staying.

  • Darcy Little

    The Old FAithful Lodge was our honeymoon destination in December 1981. We skied within a few feet of bull elk, buffalo and steaming rainbow pools. We saw (and heard)trumpeter swans, and even a few eagles (their numberw were low then). We enjoyed every second of our 1-week stay. The wolves had not yet been re-introduced and I’d love to go back to see/hear them. It was a glorious trip and this documentary provided a spectacular memory jog. Thank you!

  • Garrett Trotter

    Absolutely breathtaking. I felt as if i was in the yellowstone. I have made a dream to do what that photographer did, being an amateur photographer myself. It gave me shivers of elation up my spine and a smile from ear to ear.

  • BobbyAnn Loper

    I saw this and then had my family watch with me the next time. We all loved it. Is the music available by itself?

  • Art Herman

    After seeing this several times I will always watch it again. I have been to Yellowstone seven times but will probably never get to see it like this in winter.

  • Ned

    This is Awsome work thanks to all who contributed, i hope and pray many people will strive to protect and preserve our wilderness.

  • Kellie

    Is there an educational lesson plan to go along with this video for high school students?



  • Chi

    I’ve been to Yellowstone this summer with my family at Old Faithful Inn. It’s such a beautiful place with all the wildlife and geysers! I’ve always wanted to see it during the wintertime, and now I have!! But it would be even better up close in person.

  • Bob D/

    I’m almost positive the narration was done by Linda Hunt.

  • brian

    They always show this episode around Christmas!

  • Anita N

    It is narrated by Linda Hunt. Shows up in her biography on

  • D Frank

    Having lived near Yellowstone a number of years ago, I have visited the park many times. Since I am now living on the east coast, this show takes me back to the beauty and grandeur that is Yellowstone. I purchased the DVD of the show last year and I enjoy it year round.

  • Josh

    Can this entirer episode be posted online. This is one of my favorite episodes and has become kind of a chirsmas tradition for me but i missed it like night

  • Mysticalmtnman

    My wife and I have spent many summers in the Rocky Mountains and some in Yellowstone. We have had a life long dream to take a sleigh ride in Yellowstone. We have just booked the flight and made all the arrangements…..I can’t wait

  • DJ

    Thanks again for showing this. This is a great holiday tradition to have.

  • shelley

    I went to yellowstone this June. I was stunned by its nature beauty. I watched the Christmas at Yellowstone last night with excitement and great enjoyment.

  • Gail

    We have been to Yellowstone twice. The last being this July ‘09. My dream to is to do a winter time trip. Everything looks so peaceful and tranquil.Then to retire from my job and work in YellowStone National Park.

  • Dee

    I LOVE this program! Thank you for running it again…and again. It’s become one of my holiday favorites. I would like to know the full name of the photographer (John?)who was featured and who stays in Yellowstone.

  • Dee

    Nevermind…I just read the blurb above and see the man’s name is Tom Murphy.

  • Fred

    what location would you pick for Nature’s next “Christmas in ______” show?

  • Russ Peterson

    Truly an inspiring documentary! I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the Yellowstone backcountry in January and February, and there is nothing like it. The solitude is so compelling and inspiring, it defies description. Thanks for helping me relive some wonderful memories!

  • Ronnie Byrd

    I needto know the name of the book the camper and photographer wrote. Something like Peace and Solutude in Yellowstone. Can you Help? RByrd

  • ginny johnson

    saw the winter in yellowstone tape and want to order it how can i do that and any more that shane moore has done. exceptional!!!!!

  • NATURE Online

    Ginny – You can find DVDs of this and other NATURE programs by clicking the Shop link at the top of the site.

  • david

    What was the name of the lodge featured in this special? The one with the big fire and great room in the lobby?

  • Secret Yellowstone

    @David, it is the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. That’s the only lodging in the interior of the park that is open in the winter.

  • Mike

    Interesting program! I hope that everyone’s Sunday was great and I hope that they have a great week and I also hope that they have a Merry Christmas!

  • Michele

    Love this, but love the 3 hour version of video with classical music playing, no narration, even better but have not seen this on tv in awhile and have not been able to find it available in DVD to order. Wish they would bring this one back or make available for sale…remember having it on all afternoon a few years ago, right before Christmas, while wrapping and making cookies.
    If you ever have the opportunity to make a YNP winter trip, DO IT! It is a wonderful experience and I highly recommend :)

  • Sandi

    Just watched “Christmas in Yellowstone.” What an absolutely phenomenal production. Exquisite photography which puts you right into the scene…feeling the sense of coldness and fortitude of the animals. Thank you for this great series. Can’t wait to see more.

  • Jon

    I would love to see this show on OPB in Oregon.

  • Mark

    Awesome show. I am from Wyoming and have been to Yellowstone many times. It is really hard for me to explain just how awesome it is to someone who has not been there. In the winter and the summer it is the most incredible place on earth. I hope to go there again. If any of you go “anywhere”….you must go to Yellowstone.
    Thank you PBS for the show.

  • Doug Hackett

    Yes! I will gladly empty my pockets any day to hear wolves howl in Yellowstone again! Thanks for the reminder :D

  • Nico

    I’m looking at all the positive feedback for this show, and well, I guess I’m going to be the party-pooper. I don’t know if anyone will read my entry, but here it goes. First of all, as far as the show’s aesthetics: the visuals were amazing…. beautiful scenery and animal shots. I think I would have enjoyed this show much more if there had been no or very little musical score. Somehow I felt like it was insulting to have “thematic” music set to different animals and scenes. It just didn’t work for me. I am not sure how I feel about the narrator’s voice. Then, the script. Sigh. I’m the party-pooper. What kind of ridiculous statements about “the park is much like it was 2000 years ago”…. what a load of crap. The decimation of a previously abundant carnivore population (wolves) has changed the eco-system and erosion of the park’s river banks. Not to speak of the near “domestication” of grizzly bears vis-a-vis human park visitors. The park has without a doubt changed dramatically in the past 200 years. I’m sorry, but the whole script/text about “light versus dark” just was silly. I know, I’m spoiling the party. Now, let’s get to Tom. Tom, I feel is a responsible visitor to the park. What kind of impact does Tom make? Minimal. Then there are the snowmobilers. There is evidence that loud engines (not to speak of fireworks???) disrupts hibernation patterns of the threatened Grizzly Bear.

    Honestly, I think I’ve said enough. This show was meant to romanticize a park that is in trouble – animal species that are in trouble. As much as I like nature shows to be optimistic, I felt this was childish. I was insulted by the music scores “animating” animals who are precious enough to watch in silence – whether in real life or through the screen.

    Kudos to all of you who really loved this.

    Changes from human impact

  • Rob Rudd

    How can I view the entire episode—-caught the end and was in awe. BTW the narrator is the perfect choice for this episode.

  • Anna

    Hi, I’m having trouble viewing the video. It plays for a minute or so, then stalls (and has the white spinning wheel in the middle). I tried pausing it for a while, but even after that, it keeps stalling and chopping up. Any idea as to why that’s happening? I love the bits I’ve seen, just wish I could watch the whole thing smoothly. (I’m on a Mac, with Safari. I’ve tried on Firefox and it’s the same problem – up until a month or so ago PBS videos always played straight through; now I get the stalling on Nature, Frontline, and others.).

  • Hedy Pardey

    I have just seen this on late tv in Australia ( 8/06/2011) on ABC1. I thought it was pretty good. All the above comments are interesting, even the critical one. Nico has a point; however, the visuals over-ride any of the downfalls. I think to positive aspects of the filming are enough to sustain one..

  • Fujiwara Tamami

    My name is Fujiwara Tamami. I am a first year student at Takaski City
    University of Economy.

    In our English class, we are conducting research on National Parks. We
    would be most happy if you could answer the following questions.

    On one hand, you must prevent people from destroying nature. On the
    other hand you have to keep the park attractive to tourists. How do you
    balance the two opposite needs? What is your guideline to keep that

    Thank you for your help

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  • salt

    Very pretty! I should be more brave and hop on the other side of the lens sometime to.

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  • LilaGG

    @mw humphries: Linda Hunt!

  • David

    Linda Hunt was the narrator.

  • Rick Bray

    So glad to have caught this on…was like a snowy hug! Yellowstone, as are all our national parks, treasures to be protected and nurtered. Happy Holidays!!

  • Lenore

    I just saw “Christmas in Yellowstone” and am appalled at the religious affiliation made between an exquisite phenomenon of nature and an apparent celebration of a Christian holiday. One has nothing to do with the other. Any day of the year, any season should rather be utilized to showcase the beauty and splendor of the Yellowstone environment.

    Please think before you replay this show and produce the next series on any phenomenon of nature. No man-made religion should be immortalized with the natural, evolutionary beauty of our Earth and the Universe.

  • Carolyn S Lovell

    sure enjoyed the show – would like to purchase the book. had a phone call and did not get the ordering info. thank you!

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  • Francisco d’Anconia

    I use to live in Yellowstone and all I can say is its the best place on the face of the earth. Winters are brutal..

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  • Patrick

    Geez. Where did all those spammers come from?

    Anyway, just saw that this will be on tonight. I’m so excited. I love this episode, and watching it has become something of a Christmas tradition for me.

  • S. Smith

    Winter is a great time to visit Yellowstone. Crowds are smaller but the scenery is just as stunning. The contrast between the frigid cold and the steaming geysers is like no place on earth. Truly breathtaking.


  • Wanda

    Christmas in Yellowstone was a brilliant program.

  • moosedupont

    I was wondering if anyone can tell me the name of the chalet that everyone was staying in?

    Also, is it a place where people can plan trips and stay over the Christmas hollidays or was this done just for the filming of the show?

    Thank you


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