Staying in the park - staying outside the park

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Granite Head ( on 16:42:58 03/22/14

In Reply to: I would highly recommend that you posted by John

In the park, as John suggests, is always best, but my guess it that everything is full by now. You should give it a try though - Xanterra is the only in-park lodging concessionaire. Try on line, if nothing, then call, sometimes the inventory is different. With luck you might nab a stay at one of the in-park cabins/hotels for a couple of nights, and the other nights outside the park.

Having said that I'd also suggest you reserve your rooms once you decide where to say outside the park as well, as things do fill up. Most either don't require a deposit, or will refund part or all in case you cancel (be sure you ask what their policy is!) in case a room in the park opens up, for example.

Silver Gate, i.e., North East Entrance, is an easy drive through spectacular scenery to Lamar Valley, the "Serengeti" of North America. There's a little town a couple of miles farther east, Cooke City, which is also OK. Driving into the park you are certain to see massive numbers of bison, plenty of pronghorn antelopes, maybe coyotes, badgers, and foxes, but, depending on when in the summer you go, you may also see elk, bighorn sheep, black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, and birds such as osprey and eagles, both bald and golden. Having said all that, you can sometimes drive through and it looks pretty empty. Take binoculars, and watch, especially early mornings and evenings, for people at the pullouts with spotting scopes set up. Everybody is willing to share and point out what they're watching. It can be very rewarding. There are also plenty of nice hikes in the area, long and short, but please be bear aware, hike together and make noise when you're in woodsy or brushy areas. You don't necessarily need to carry bear spray if you hike in a large group. Three or fewer should carry and know how to use bear spray on trails that take you any significant distance away from the road or that aren't busy with other walkers.

However, if wildlife-watching isn't your priority but geysers and hot springs are, then one of the best entry towns to stay in is West Yellowstone. It's a little tourist town, the closest outside the park to Old Faithful, Norris Geyser Basin, and the large number of other thermal features in that area of the park.

The other entry town where you might find suitable accommodations is Gardiner, North Entrance. Mammoth Hot Springs, just inside the park, is a must-see, then it's a beautiful drive from there to the Lamar area, and not extremely much farther to Canyon in one direction, and to the geyser areas in the other direction.

Note that I particularly do not recommend Flagg Ranch outside of South Entrance. It's simply too far from everything. Pahaska Tepee outside of East Entrance is a fun stop for a burger and the gift shop, but it's likewise not a great place to stay (the accommodations aren't very pleasant in my view) and it's a long commute to most of the interesting features within the park. The various guest ranches east of there are an even longer drive to park activities. Within the park you may find rooms at Grant Village. It's not too far from the Lake, the beautiful little West Thumb Geyser Basin, Mud Volcano thermal area, and Hayden Valley, but it's a really long drive to other parts of the park.

Please let us know what else we can help with! We love nothing more than yakkin' endlessly about our favorite park!!

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:
Please enter the following value as your Submit Key:     
Submit Key:
Note: The Submit Key is Case Sensitive. Do not Copy and Paste!

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]