View Full Version : Yellowstone Questions...Again
09-17-2010, 10:39 AM
We have been toying around going to Yellowstone for a couple of years now. We loved the Grand Canyon even tough we are not big hikers and stayed at the El Tovar.
I guess my first question is which hotel inside of the national park is the nicest, which one can be compared to the El Tovar? Which one has the best location?
Last question for now. Which International Airport is the closest and how far is the drive to the park. I do not do little planes. :D
09-17-2010, 12:52 PM
We Love Yellowstone! The closest airport and shortest drive to the park would probably be Billings, MT, from there you can drive towards Red Lodge, MT and then take the Scenic Bear Tooth Highway over into Cooke City, MT which would then be at the North East Entrace to Yellowstone. The Old Faithful Lodge is awesome, but we usually stay in the cabins at Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park. Make sure to make your reservations early as they fill up fast. We love to spend time in both Yellowstone National Park as well as Grand Teton National Park and spend time in downtown Jackson, WY as well.
We actually spent the first two weeks of July in that area!
09-17-2010, 01:34 PM
I'd try to stay at Old Faithful Inn if possible, especially if this might be your only visit to Yellowstone, but reservations are hard to come by except well in advance. It's a beautiful rustic lodge, the Wilderness Lodge main building (lobby) at WDW was patterned after this Inn.
09-17-2010, 03:52 PM
After I posted my questions I went on line to try to get a room at the Old Faithful Inn for 5 nights in Aug (a year from now) and they are already booked. They only had suites left for $587 per night. I looked into air fare to Jackson Hole and that was $450 a person. Now I remember why we keep putting this off :(.
I thought about driving but that is a 36 hour trip so we would have to drive 9 hours per day for three days. That's too much.
I don't know if this trip is going to happen. I know I can keep calling to see if there is a cancelation but I don't know if it's going to happen for next year.
09-17-2010, 04:36 PM
If you're willing to stay outside the park, there's a KOA Campground in West Yellowstone, MT. If you don't want to rough it in a tent, they also have cabins and cottages. The rates are no more than $155 per night and there is availability. There's another KOA campground in Jackson, WY.
09-17-2010, 05:20 PM
I'm not into roughing it and camping doesn't appeal to me. I loved it as a kid but not as an adult. I really had my heart set on the OFI and I have a feeling I won't be happy somewhere else.
09-17-2010, 07:30 PM
You might consider staying at Canyon Lodge. I'm looking right now and see most of August still available with rooms for $99 per night there. Old faithful lodge is beautiful, but it's everything outdoors that really holds all the beauty.
Flying into Jackson (or just about any Montana /Wyoming airport) is always on the pricey side. That's just the way it is with smaller, less busy airports. Your closest major airport (Salt Lake City) is about a 7-8 hour drive from the west entrance of the park if you choose to go that route.
09-17-2010, 11:15 PM
Your closest major airport (Salt Lake City) is about a 7-8 hour drive from the west entrance of the park if you choose to go that route.
It's a beautiful drive and you can drive through the Tetons on the way up to Yellowstone.
09-18-2010, 07:43 PM
We just took our first trip to Yellowstone this July, and it was fantastic! I say first because we will definitely be going back. I was not 100% on board with this trip at the beginning, but since DH was so excited about it, and he goes to Disney so often to make me happy, I knew we needed to make it happen. I got quite frustrated during the planning, but in the end, it was SOOOOO worth it! I did learn a few things that I would tweek in a future trip. We flew into Salt Lake, and took the less scenic route through Idaho (a 6-7 hour drive), stayed at one hotel for our entire time in Yellowstone, and finished the trip with the Grand Tetons. I would actually reverse the order next time, starting in the Tetons and then moving on to Yellowstone. I would also stay a night or two in a few different hotels throughout the park. It's such a huge park, I felt like we spent so much time getting to the places we wanted to explore, instead of actually exploring them. The Old Faithful Inn was great, but I did book it on May 1, 2009 for our July, 2010 trip. If you have the desire to go to Yellowstone, work to make it happen! You won't regret it!!!!
09-18-2010, 09:17 PM
Yellowstone has broken attendance records the past two summers. If possible try to avoid the peak travel season. You will see more wildflowers mid-summer and more wildlife earlier or later in the season.
If you have to stay out of the park the two choices are Cooke City and West Yellowstone with the later more central and Cooke City closer to the best Grizzly area the Lamar Valley. You will see bears there, they just may not be up close. Don't foreget binoculars.:thumbsup:
09-19-2010, 11:40 AM
Keep looking, and consider breaking up your stay between different areas of the park (it's so huge!). We just did a short trip and stayed one night at the cabins at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, one night at the cabins at the Mammoth Springs hotel, and one night in cabins at Grand Tetons. I spent some time online, and different places would pop up as people cancelled. Next time I'd probably try to stay at least two nights in one location, but this was a trip booked about 3 weeks before we went so we just took what we could get.
I would recommend Canyon Lodge if you're going in the summer. The reason I'm recommending Canyon Lodge is most of the animals were in Valley for mating season. As the park ranger said, "the valley is lousy with buffalo."
We stayed at Grant Village and it was quite nice. We really liked being on the lake. If I remember we were about 40 min to the Valley and about 30 min to Old Faithful.
You will be doing a lot of driving we put almost 1,500 miles on the car in the 9 days in Yellowstone.
We flew into Salt Lake and drove, it was a beautiful drive. You can also fly into Jackson Hole, WY. Delta flies in big planes into there, 757's and A310's.
It was one of the best vacations we've ever taken.
09-20-2010, 01:18 PM
Thanks everyone for all of the encouragment. I don't mind a challenge when planning a vacation but this one had a few. I will try to take a look at the web site again and get my bearings to where everything is. I really want to do this!
09-20-2010, 11:05 PM
There are some good suggestions posted here because Yellowstone is huge. It's more like 5 National Parks in one. Kinda like Disney World - you can't see the whole thing, unless you've got way more than a week.
We chose to visit the canyon area, the Old Faithful area and Mammoth Springs. We were camping in northern Teton Nat'l Park for almost a week, and felt we only hit the high spots at Yellowstone.
Not only is everything spread out, you don't drive very fast, because of all the wildlife viewing opportunities.
I seem to recall a variety of lodging choices in West Yellowstone, which would be mostly if not all on interstate from Salt Lake City.
Hope you can make it work. We always talk about wanting to go back.
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