From Gardiner: Yellowstone Old Faithful And Hot Springs Tour
Old Faithful is the worlds most famous geyser, a must-see highlight in Yellowstone.
This tour, departing from Gardiner, takes participants to the geyser and other hot springs to watch nature do its thing through boiling waters and shooting eruptions.
The tour also visits the Yellowstone volcano and features hikes that travel off the beaten track. Wildlife is commonly spotted on the tour, with the experienced guide pointing out signs of bison and elk.
Participants travel in a touring vehicle with large viewing windows, and breakfast pastries, hot drinks, snacks, and a full picnic lunch are provided.
The tour departs from Gardiner and entrance fees into Yellowstone are not included.
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Inside The Park Accommodation Sell Out Ridiculously Far In Advance
For some travelers, nothing else will do but to stay within the parks boundaries. This gives them a choice of historic national park inns like the Old Faithful Inn and the Lake Yellowstone Hotel.
In all, the National Park Service operates nine hotel or cabin-style lodging facilities within the park. Several of these are quite luxurious and gracious, but some of the cabins give visitors a more rustic flavor.
All of these lodgings operate between the late spring and throughout the fall. Wintertime visitors have their choice of either the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel or the Old Faithful Snow Lodge.
Many of these lodges include all sorts of services and amenities, including swimming pools, playgrounds, restaurants, guided tours, shops and other things that you might expect.
Because they are located inside the park, these are among the most popular places to stay in Yellowstone. Accordingly, the wise traveler plans well in advance of their arrival date and is prepared to pay a premium price, especially in the summer.
If you prefer a more rustic experience, Yellowstone also boasts numerous campgrounds.
This is a much less expensive option than staying in a lodge, but be aware that these campgrounds fill up fast and early.
Just as you would if you were reserving a room or cabin at a lodge, be sure to book your campsite as early as you can.
Staying Inside Of Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is a large and complex national park, with many different roads that travel to the most popular boardwalks and trails. I recommend staying inside of the park if you want to have more opportunities for sightseeing without the crowds. If you can cut down on your drive time by staying near a point of interest, youll be able to get out at sunrise or sunset when the main crowds have cleared out.
Hotels and Lodges in Yellowstone
There are nine lodges in the park, so youve got a lot of options of places to stay while visiting Yellowstone! Experiencing the park before everyone gets there or after everyone has left is the very best thing about staying in one of these lodges.
National park lodges typically arent known for their amenities or comforts, so youre usually paying for location and ambiance. Yellowstone lodges are no different you may not find any televisions or air conditioners in these rooms, and bathrooms are shared in some hotels. Its all about the location and historical significance for these options.
I recommend trying to stay in the middle of the park if youd like to be in the same lodge for your entire trip Canyon Lodge, Lake Lodge, or Lake Hotel and Cabins are good for that.
Yellowstone lodges are some of the most competitive places to stay in any national park! To book a room, youll need to be ready to make your reservations 13 months in advance of your trip.
Planning a trip to Yellowstone can be overwhelming.
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Hotels Outside Of Yellowstone
We think Livingston, Montana is one of the best places to stay around Yellowstone, but that might be because we live here. Its about an hour drive north of the park, and a scenic one at that. For hotels in Montana near Yellowstone, its not as close as Gardiner, but it has a lot to offer, including incredible fly fishing, art galleries galore, tasty restaurants, and scenic beauty.
A Stones Throw Bed and Breakfast
If you are kid-free and looking for a bed and breakfast near Yellowstone, you need to stay at A Stones Throw Bed and Breakfast. I wrote about our stay at A Stones Throw on my other site. For beautiful, comfortable rooms, local art, and gourmet food, you cant beat A Stones Throw. You can make your reservation on their site.
Sweetwater Guest House
Because we sold our house to travel the world, whenever we are home in Livingston, we have to find a place to stay. We have spent many months in the Sweetwater Condo. Its right on the edge of downtown and just blocks from the Yellowstone River.
The renovated, historic, modern, Western townhouse is incredibly comfortable and has everything you need in lodging near Yellowstone. You can read more about it and make a reservation here.
On the other end of Yellowstone, about an hour and fifteen minutes south of the South Entrance is the town of Jackson, Wyoming. You dont get much more Old West meets the Great Outdoors, than Jackson Hole. I used to live there, too.
Where To Stay Near Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is our planet at its most communicative. At the Brink of the Lower Falls â in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone â you can listen to the rage of the water, a chorus of 635,000 gallons spilling over the falls edge every second. On the maze of boardwalks surrounding the Midway Geyser Basin, tune your ears to the bubbling and boiling beneath and above the surface. Move your attention to somewhere far away in the distance, where a coyote howls from the calderas ridge and the wind rushes through the lodgepole pine.
Here, the Earth is alive. Youre standing on an active supervolcano, a hot spot thats formed one of the largest calderas on the planet. Look at the rim above you â a remnant of a massive explosion 640,000 years ago â as you scan for bison and gray wolves in the grasses of the Lamar Valley. Under foot, the planet is churning, blowing off steam at Old Faithful, forming hot, bubbly mud pots and multi-colored travertine terraces at Mammoth Springs, and creating rainbows at Grand Prismatic Spring. Its alive with people, too. Traffic builds up in âbison jams, hundreds gather every hour or so to witness Old Faithful, and crowds flock to magnificent overlooks like Artists Point â especially in the warmer months. But with an area bigger than both Rhode Island and Delaware combined, you should be able to carve out your own Yellowstone adventure.
Rv Camping At Yellowstone
RV camping at Yellowstone is available at every campground, but planning is key. Rigs less than 40 feet will have more options for camp spots. If you want a full hookup with all the trimmings of an RV park, theres only one full RV campground in Yellowstone.
Fishing Bridge RV Park: Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only campground with electrical hookups, and visitors report that RV spaces can be a bit cramped. Enjoy the views of Yellowstone Lake‘s northern side, freshen up with on-site laundry, or grab a snack from the general store. One more thing: Its smack-dab in the middle of grizzly country, so tent camping is not permitted.
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.
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South Yellowstone Old Faithful
Old Faithful is quintessential Yellowstone and you have 3 choices for accommodation within the same village area. Those 3 choices are Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge Cabins and Old Faithful Snow Lodge.
Old Faithful Inn
Old Faithful Inn is listed as a national historic landmark and as a result is the most requested lodging option in all of Yellowstone. Which means you need to get in even earlier for this one!
The Inn was built in 1903-1904 from materials sourced around the park and is labelled the largest log structure in the world. You will find a lounge, restaurant and spectacular lobby area with stone fireplace.
Opening dates are from early May to mid October.
- Check availability at Old Faithful Inn for your dates.
- See if you can beat the price on Tripadvisor.
Old Faithful Lodge Cabins
Old Faithful Lodge Cabins is your budget option within the Old Faithful village. You can pick up a frontier cabin or cabin without bathroom if you prefer to save money on accommodation.
Views of Old Faithful are prime time from the lobby and you have access to a cafeteria style food court.
Opening dates are from mid May to early October.
- See if you can beat the price on Tripadvisor.
Old Faithful Snow Lodge
Quite confusingly, Old Faithful Snow Lodge is not open for Winter, it just has slightly longer opening dates than the other accommodation options around Old Faithful village.
Opening dates are from end April to end October.
Jackson Hole One Of The Most Popular Places Where To Stay In Yellowstone
This is one of the most famous cities in the Yellowstone region. Situated to the south of Yellowstone National Park, many people like to stay in Jackson Hole because it also is really close to Grand Teton National Park, offering plenty of bang for their buck.
Jackson Hole is a year-round destination. It boasts three famous ski areas and the National Museum of Wildlife Art featuring works by Georgia O-Keeffe and Andy Warhol.
The city even has a thriving arts scene, so if youre interested in seeing a play or a concert, this is the place to stay in Yellowstone.
Jackson Hole grants access to many of the same outdoor recreation that is available in other communities surrounding Yellowstone. These include whitewater rafting, ziplining, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and more.
Be certain to set aside some time to visit the Town Square where you can take pictures of the four arches made of elk antlers. This is also the place to be to find all sorts of shopping and dining options.
At Granite Hot Springs, which also features a campground, you can soak away your cares in the warm waters. You also can visit the National Elk Refuge to observe the worlds largest herd of wild elk.
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the main attraction outside of the two national parks. This is a great place to hike in the summer or ski in the winter. Additionally, youll find multiple choices as far as dining or lodging right in the resort.
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Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins
This property on the northern end of Yellowstone National Park is a short walk from the tiered Mammoth Hot Springs . Much like the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, the aptly named Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins is one of the few in-park properties that stays open in the winter. Just keep in mind that the accommodations are simple, and basic rooms have shared bathrooms. Arguably the hotel’s biggest perk is the herd of elk that’s known to come graze on the property’s grounds.
Where To Stay In Cody Wyoming
Get your lasso around the Western spirit by staying in this classic prairie town. Cody calls itself the rodeo capital of the world, and it’s an excellent launchpad for visiting the less-traveled eastern side of Yellowstone.
Trot into the cowboy lifestyle by unwinding at the Cody Cowboy Village, a neighborhood of cabins known for its luxurious bedding and large pool. To stay in the heart of town, pull your caravan into the historic Chamberlin Inn, a boutique hotel with guest rooms and cottages where the clawfoot tubs fit right in. A few miles out, the kid-friendly Big Bear Motel has both a heated pool and pony rides.
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The Best Yellowstone Ranches
Really want to splurge? The best Yellowstone ranches are gorgeous properties and designed to get you out on adventures, whether that’s on-location or beyond.
Bar-N-Ranch: At this grassy creek-side oasis 15-minutes from the West Yellowstone Entrance, you can hike, fly fish, white water raft or head out on guided tours. Get warm by your own fireplace or consider getting closer to nature with one of their glamping options.
Mountain Sky Ranch: Bask in stunning mountain views at Mountain Sky Ranch, an hour from the North Entrance. Whenever you’re not exploring the park, sign up for horseback riding, fly fishing, clay shooting, golf, rafting, or try your hand at cattle ranching. Check out their packages for all-inclusive options.
Lost Creek Ranch and Spa: Looking for personalized service? This all-inclusive ranch has two staff members for every three ranch guests. Gaze upon the mighty Tetons, indulge at a campfire cookout, or feel like a real ranchhand on a guided horseback ride all without leaving the property. Just remember youll be about an hour from Yellowstone, so plan your itinerary accordingly.
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.
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Calculations Of Sunrise And Sunset In Westyellowstone
- Three Bear Motel â Three Bear Motel is located in the heart of WestYellowstone, 5 minutesâ 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 Â· 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.
How Far In Advance Should You Make Your Reservations For Yellowstone
Reservations open May 1 the prior year for summer and March 15 the prior year for winter. Lodges get fully booked one year in advance but cancellations are common, so keep checking back if you cant reserve the lodge you want.
So, if you are planning a trip for 2023, you should make your reservations in May 2022. If you cant get a lodge inside the park, I recommend booking a hotel outside of the park. On Booking.com, you can book many properties as refundable, meaning you can cancel up to a certain date and get your full payment back. Keep checking the Yellowstone Lodging website for cancellations. If something opens up, make your reservation for the the Yellowstone lodge and cancel your reservation outside of the park.
A word of advice from one of our readers
Terri from Traveling with Terri is a frequent traveler to Yellowstone. She recommends calling the park 6 to 8 weeks before your trip to get a reservation. As people cancel their plans, the rooms open up, and you can reserve them by directly calling the park. Terri recommends to avoid the online reservation system since it is difficult to use and often does not show the available rooms. You can read her full message in the comment section below. Thanks Terri!
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