Unique Places To Stay During Your Visit To West Yellowstone
Situated virtually in the backyard of Yellowstone National Park, Americas first national park, the outdoorsy town of West Yellowstone is home to a wide array of visitor-centric shops, restaurants, and lodging, all topped off with a hearty dose of old-fashioned Western hospitality. The towns proximity to many of Yellowstones main draws including the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Firehole River, Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithfulensures its a must-stop destination for regional visitors. Despite its small size , West Yellowstone offers a host of lodging options, ranging from traditional hotels to unique glamping experiences.
Here, eight recommended spots that make for an excellent home base after a day of adventure in the outdoor playground around West Yellowstone.
Bozeman The Best Place To Stay In Montana On A Budget
Located a 3-hour drive away from Missoula, this city in Western Montana wears the name of the person who helped found the town. John M. Bozeman also established the Bozeman Trail, a historic overland route that ends in Virginia City, Montana.
A long time has passed since then. Now, the city is a popular travel destination, especially for people who want to visit Yellowstone National Park, situated only a 2-hour drive away.
Bozeman is one of the top college towns in the USA, so most of the area is filled with students. Thats why I recommend finding accommodations in Bozeman if youre traveling on budget or backpacking. Most hotels and restaurants will be cheaper than in other parts of the Big Sky Country.
Youll find many museums around, but the Bozeman Hot Springs is the star of the show! Many travelers from all over the county come here to relax in one of the 12 indoor and outdoor pools. Or, if youre feeling adventurous, you can try fly-fishing along the Gallatin River located right outside Bozeman.
I think history enthusiasts will also like the city. The historic downtown area is pretty exciting for anyone interested in this subject. Who doesnt enjoy admiring unique and old architecture? Im up for it anytime!
- Shop until your drop in the downtown area
- Try fishing or rowing at the Gallatin River
- Learn new things at the Gallatin Museum
- Go for a hike in Burke Park
- Catch an exhibition at the Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture
How Many Nights And Hotel Rooms
Yellowstone is an extraordinary geothermal landscape with dozens of unmissable attractions. In our opinion, 4 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Yellowstone for a first time visit.
In an ideal world, you would fly in, spend a night near the park, stay one night in Mammoth, Canyon and Old Faithful, then spend another night near the park and fly out the next day.
Total of 5 nights and 5 hotels.
But in truth, very few visitors will be able to book the perfect rooms in the perfect order.
Yellowstone loop road is longer than you might imagine, which means greater driving times and going back on yourself if staying in the same places for more than one night.
And that is why Yellowstone can be difficult to plan.
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Where To Stay In Yellowstone On A Budget
Heres an example of how you could stay in Yellowstone if youre traveling on a low to mid range budget but dont want to sleep in a tent :
- Fly to Salt Lake City or Bozeman and drive to Gardiner.
- Choose a budget hotel like Yellowstone Basin Inn for night 1.
- Explore the entire park spending nights 2, 3 and 4 in a West Yellowstone budget hotel such as Kelly Inn.
- Check out of the hotel, drive to Jackson to stay in a budget hotel like Elk Country Inn and explore Grand Teton.
- Fly out of Jackson, Salt Lake City or Denver. Alternatively, continue South on an epic Utah Road Trip!
In summary, use the guide above as an example of the places to book your hotels in or near Yellowstone based on a low-mid range and mid range-high budget.
Finally, no matter where you end up sleeping, we hope you have the most amazing vacation to Yellowstone National Park.
Read More About Yellowstone and Grand Teton
Jim and Susan McCormick
Friday 26th of February 2021
I love your blog for Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. I would love your opinion on the closed roads and what is not accessible this summer. I would also love your thougths on accessing the Lamar Valley from the Canyon area and the best time to see it. Thanks!
Friday 26th of February 2021
Please let us know if you have any more questions about either park or planning your trip, wed be happy to help!
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Create A Seamless Customized Tour And Activity Schedule
Choosing your activities and booking with several different tour companies from afar can be time consuming stress less when you book each part of your Yellowstone adventure directly through the knowledgeable folks at the Three Bear Lodge. After spending decades in the park, weve developed a deep passion for introducing our guests to all the excitement the local area has to offer. Contact us now to schedule winter and summer park tours, plus activities such as hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, museum trips, photography excursions, and more.
A Once In A Lifetime Experience
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An Overview Of Yellowstone National Park
With 2 million acres of land and five park entrances, Yellowstone National Park is enormous. In terms of area, this is the second largest national park in the United States, outside of Alaska. Yellowstone sits in three states: Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, with most of its land located in Wyoming.
If you look at Yellowstone on a map, there are two main loops in the park. Many of the best things to do in the park can be found along these two loops.
On the map below, I labeled the five park entrances, the lodge locations in Yellowstone National Park , and recommend places to stay outside of the park .
Should I Stay In One Hotel To See Both Yellowstone And Grand Teton
I dont recommend staying in one hotel to visit both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. If you want to take advantage of your time in Yellowstone, I suggest staying closer to Yellowstone.
Some people day trip from Grand Teton up to Yellowstone, or vice versa, and thats fine if its the only way you can make time to see the parks. But its about a 1.5-hour drive from the town of Jackson to Yellowstones South Entrance, and driving that route each day will significantly cut into your sightseeing time in Yellowstone.
If you have the time, it makes more sense to book separate hotels for each park.
I hope you find a fabulous place to stay while visiting Yellowstone National Park happy trails!
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Best Hotels Near Yellowstone West Entrance
Staying in West Yellowstone may be your best bet to access the most popular places to see in Yellowstone Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Norris Geyser Basin, etc.
West Yellowstone is the most visited gateway to Yellowstone National Park because of its easy access to the park in both summer and winter .
The hotels near Yellowstone National Park West Entrance are abundant, and while you probably wont find any cheap hotels near Yellowstone National Park, West Yellowstone had the biggest selection of hotels.
For Yellowstone adjacent places to stay, West Yellowstone is a popular choice. In addition to its proximity to the park, the western-styled town is full of souvenir shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants, and activities like zip-lining and horseback riding.
Its a little crowded in the summer, so if you are looking for solitude or a nature escape, you might want to look elsewhere.
Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone
The staff at the Explorer Cabins will organize a tour into the park or get you set for hiking, rafting, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice fishing nearby. And the bonus is, when you get back to the Explorer Cabins you can roast marshmallows around campfire.
Holiday Inn West Yellowstone
Best Western Yellowstone
Vacation Rentals in West Yellowstone
If you want to scan all the places for rent in West Yellowstone, check out this page.
A few of the best places to stay in or near West Yellowstone:
Best Hotels Near Yellowstone Park East Entrance
For where to stay when visiting Yellowstone, East Entrance, Cody can be the logical choice. One thing to know about Cody is that it is about an hour drive to Yellowstones East Entrance and then another 50 minutes to Fishing Bridge Visitor Center at Yellowstone Lake. To Old Faithful, its almost three hours from Cody.
That said, there is a lot to do in and around Cody. You can horseback ride, visit a dude ranch, tour the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, watch a shootout on Main Street, and so much more Western fun.
It might not be the best place for lodging near Yellowstone National Park if all you want to do is tour the park. Honestly, there is so much else to see, though, that I think its worth it.
There are a bunch of things to do in Cody, Wyoming without even heading into the park. You could start your vacation there and then move into Yellowstone.
Buffalo Bills Irma Hotel
When we want hotels around Yellowstone National Park and want to be in Cody, we stay at the Irma. Its a cool, historic hotel with an authentic Western feel.
The historic Irma hosted Buffalo Bills Wild West show tryouts and European nobility who headquartered there for hunting trips. The historic section of the hotel offers 15 renovated rooms that housed some of the most famous personalities the world has ever known. We found our room a little clanky . Still, we think it is a fun place to stay.
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Travel Tips For Eating Out In West Yellowstone
Before you head into the restaurants to grab a bite, you may want to keep a few things in mind.
Tipping in Montana
- Montana, like most states, welcomes tips for the service industry personnel. Most folks rely on these tips to help make a decent living wage so a recommended 15 to 20% is the norm in West Yellowstone, as well as throughout the state. This tipping goes for all sorts of service industry workers, from restaurant servers to fly fishing guides.
Peak Restaurant Hours & Meal Times
- Peak dining hours in West Yellowstone are similar to those in other parts of Montana, particularly near tourist destinations such as Yellowstone National Park. Most breakfast hours run between 8 am and 10 am, with lunch hours running between 11 am and 2 pm, and dinner served from 4 to close. Closing time may be anywhere from 9 pm to 1 am, depending on the style of the dining establishment.
- Unless they serve breakfast all day, most menus will shift to lunch at around 10 am. Lunch menus shift in portion, cost, and options to the dinner menu typically around 4 pm.
- In some cases, restaurants are closed for periods between menu shifts, allowing staff to clean, sanitize, and shift the menu preparations between 2 and 5. This varies greatly by restaurant.
East Entrance Cody Wy
Cody, WY is a much larger town with a host of hotel and dining options on offer. You will have far greater control over your stay in Cody and you can visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum, which is really interesting.
We spent 2 days in Cody and have recommendations. Rawhide Coffee is great for a morning coffee and Fat Racks BBQ joint is awesome for dinner.
Cody is 1 hour and 45 minutes from East entrance and even longer if you enter via Northeast entrance as we had to due to road closures.
Therefore, we dont recommend you use Cody as a place to stay between days inside Yellowstone. The night before or the night after, Cody works perfectly.
Cody is the perfect place to spend a night on a road trip from Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone. Spend a night here, wake up early and enter via East entrance.
Lets take a look at your top hotel options in Cody, WY:
- Big Bear Motel Rated 8.5 / 10
- The Cody Rated 9.1 / 10
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Calculations Of Sunrise And Sunset In Westyellowstone
- Three Bear Motel – Three Bear Motel is located in the heart of WestYellowstone, 5 minutes’ walking distance from Yellowstone Historic Center. Offering a bar and a cable flat-screen, the villa is set in proximity to Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.
- Stage Coach Inn WestYellowstone. 7.7. Based on 1407 reviews. 209 Madison Ave, WestYellowstone, United States. Reservation hotline: 18554586230. Check-out date:
- WestYellowstone, MT 59758. Get Directions. Yellowstone Trading Post. The Yellowstone Trading post is open from 2:30 PM to 8:00 PM every day. Feel free to arrive early and have a look around before your movie begins. Giant Screen Certified. Call Us: 646-4100. Links. Now Playing
- Oct 14, 2020 · West Yellowstone, Mont., sits at the West Entrance to Yellowstone, the closest entrance to Old Faithful. Find out why this town is a great basecamp for winter fun in and out of the national park. Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing Cross-country skiers break trail at Gardners Hole in Yellowstone NPS/Jacob W Frank
- See All WestYellowstone Web Cams on the edge of yellowstone national park a virtual tour of web cams to see enjoy the beauty of this country. tourism information, available on the world wide web.
Bonus: The Best Lodges To Stay In Montana
I have to admit, as much as I love fancy hotels that have a fine dining restaurant or super elegant decor, I would switch that anytime for a rustic lodge or cabin! But hey, thats just me! However, I thought that since Montana is filled with so many natural spots, some of you might share my thinking and want to stay in a lodge somewhere near a forest!
So come along, and lets discover the best ones in Montana:
Luxury: Grouse Mountain Lodge Just look at the views of the mountain ranges! The Grouse Mountain Lodge has located nearby the Whitefish Lake State Park and it offers a free shuttle service to downtown Whitefish! Spend late summer night outside near the firepit and the cold winter days in front of the indoor fireplace.
Mid Range: Yellowstone River Lodge Located in Columbus, near Yellowstone River, this lodge offers cozy and comfortable rooms for your stay in Montana. The accommodation has all the facilities you need including a kitchen, heating, and air-conditioning. Guests will also have access to a picnic area and barbecue facilities.
Budget: Judith Mountain Lodge Tucked away between the trees, this great lodge has a rustic design and room with a balcony! The accommodation has a restaurant on-site, a fire pit outside, and guests can go horseback riding nearby the lodge.
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Important To Know When Booking Yellowstone Accommodation
Accommodation inside Yellowstone is very popular and, despite high prices, it sells out very soon after its available for booking.
So if you are visiting Yellowstone in high season you really should try to book Yellowstone hotels well in advance. If you want to stay inside Yellowstone in the high season, youll usually have to book your accommodation more than a year in advance. Yes, the best Yellowstone hotels have to be booked about 12-15 months in advance!
Good to know! Yellowstone National Park accommodation not only gets sold out quickly, but it is also much more expensive than accommodation outside the park. Therefore, the best price/quality hotels near Yellowstone are quickly sold out as well.
No matter if you are planning to stay inside or near the park, I advise booking your Yellowstone hotels as soon as you know when you are planning to go. Or, as we did, look at whats available and secure your Yellowstone accommodation first, before planning the rest of the trip.
Best Hotels Near Yellowstone South Entrance
Honestly, there are not many Yellowstone South Entrance Hotels. Thats because the Roosevelt Parkway and then Grand Teton National Park are immediately adjacent to the South Entrance. Thats awesome, of course, because it means there is a whole lot of public land to explore.
For hotels near Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park, you can stay at a few places that hold Forest Service leases or inholdings on National Forest land. Ill share a couple of my favorite Yellowstone resorts and dude ranches that will allow you to easily access both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Brooks Lake Lodge and Spa
Brooks Lake Lodge is one of the closer places for lodging near Yellowstone South Entrance, though it is still a bit of a drive.
My family and I spent a couple nights here and had a great mountain getaway. We rode horse, shot arrows, hiked, relaxed in the spa, and ate like Western royalty. You can read about our adventures in this Outdoor Families Magazine article.
This dude ranch is ideal for a family vacation near Yellowstone on your way to or from the park. And thanks to all the amenities and activities, its our favorite lodging near Yellowstone south entrance.
Headwaters Lodge and Cabins at Flagg Ranch
There is a restaurant, saloon, convenience store, and morning coffee bar, so you dont have to totally rough it. Read more reviews and find the best deal on Headwaters Lodge and Cabins at Flagg Ranch.
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