When guests visit Yellowstone National Park, they have many choices for lodging. Things to consider are proximity to the park, activities while outside the park, dining, and of course the type of accommodation desired. People can choose to stay within Yellowstone National Park or travel a few minutes to over an hour to an entrance gate. Each one has advantages and disadvantages.
When staying in Yellowstone you obviously check off the location, location, location box. You will avoid lines at the gate each morning, be near a popular site, and have the chance to stay in a historic building. Your evening activities and dining choices will certainly be limited and most of the hotels are quite old. While this makes them charming, some people find the trade off with comfort may make this option less desirable. It is also difficult for Yellowstone Excursions tours to pick you up at your accommodations due to your location. The exception to this Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. If you decide to stay at one of the 9 lodges/cabins, you should make your reservations early, as these book up quickly. Yellowstone National Park takes reservations up to 13 months in advance.
Staying outside a gate gives the visitors more options for lodging, dining, and activities and Yellowstone Excursions can typically pick you up at your accommodations for a Yellowstone private tour easily. The towns of West Yellowstone, MT and Gardner, MT will put you within minutes of an entrance gate. These towns have a great variety of overnight options and restaurants to enjoy. You will also find many other activities like fly fishing, whitewater rafting, ATV tours, or horseback riding nearby. These towns are quite busy during the summer months so again, plan early and be willing to wait for a table when dining out.
The town of Big Sky, MT is under an hour to the West Yellowstone gate. This ski town also has some wonderful lodging options in the summer months. Along with all the previously mentioned activities, you will also find golf, lift serviced mountain biking, and an opportunity to enjoy lift/tram rides to the top of Lone Peak. At a height of 11,166 feet, most guests find this view amazing! For those who wish to experience the finest in accommodations, Big Sky has The Montage. This hotel boasts everything from fine dining, spa, world class service to golf on an elite private course, and even bowling within the hotel. The town of Big Sky also has shopping, hiking, and events such as Music in The Mountains every Thursday evening during the summer months.
Bozeman, MT is another great choice when visiting the Greater Yellowstone area. This small city (about 50,000 in population) offers visitors plenty of lodging and dining choices. This area offers many activities, including The Museum of the Rockies and an active Main Street. Main Street offers many boutiques, restaurants, and bars. Being home to Montana State University, this area can provide plenty of nighttime fun. Bozeman is also only minutes from the Bozeman/Yellowstone International Airport. If you decide to stay at one of the hotels on or near Main Street, a rental car may not be necessary.
The entire Greater Yellowstone Area is a spectacular place to spend your vacation. You will find amazing sites and wonderful activities anywhere you decide to stay. And Yellowstone Exusions can pick you up at your lodging and provide you with a day or days filled with amazing sites, fun information, and first-class customer service. I hope you have the opportunity take a private tour with us and experience this area in a relaxing environment, without the hassles of driving or navigating, while your guide provides a fun and educational experience to some of the most incredible sites in Yellowstone and possibly in the word.
Joe V. Owner/Guide