Mammoth-Gardiner = YES

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Posted by Granite Head ( on 06:10:53 08/23/19

In Reply to: Lodging posted by Ram

I certainly would recommend staying at the north end of the park! A good place for colorful aspens is Blacktail Drive - photo from September 26, 2015, which is close to Mammoth. The corridor from north to northeast entrance, generally referred to as the Northern Range, is a great place to look for wildlife. But wildlife happens whenever, and wherever (starting with the cliffs high above the Gardiner River in Gardiner Canyon, which you drive through between the entrance kiosk and Mammoth, where bighorn sheep are very common), so always drive slowly, keeping your eyes peeled. Also watch for people set up with spotting scopes on the roadsides, they're most likely looking for wolves.

The northern-most quick-and-easy thermal feature is of course Mammoth Hot Springs, which is lovely. For lots of major thermals, though, you'll want to get to the southwest quadrant of the park (Norris, and the major geyser basins culminating with Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin); West Thumb Geyser Basin, in the southeast quadrant and right on the shore of Yellowstone Lake, is also very lovely.

Lots of good motels, cottages, b&b's in Gardiner, MT, and it won't take you 2 minutes to get into the park. I would suggest making reservations, to be sure you get what you want. Most places have reasonable cancellation policies, just in case your itinerary changes.

If your budget is just a little bigger, see if you can get a room at the brand-newly-renovated historic Mammoth Hotel. It is just re-opening, after a two year down-to-the-rebar rehab, on the 30th of this month. It's a great experience to stay in the park, and if you do stay there, please post a report here! The lobby and gift shop have been open since last spring, but it's the new sleeping rooms that we haven't seen yet. They also have cabins.

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