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Best hotel pts for Yellowstone?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Hotel Programs' started by italdesign, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. italdesign

    italdesign Level 2 Member

    The only chains hotels I see are in West Yellowstone, which is about 1hr drive. Is that a good base for exploring the park, or should I stay closer (maybe even camp)? Did I miss anything closer?
  2. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    I've been to Yellowstone twice. Don't forget Grand Tetons which is "almost" connected. They are distinct and different but both areas beautiful.

    We all are here to figure out how to maximize points which allows us to go to more places for less money. However, this is a case where being IN the park is the best idea. Staying 1 hour away is definitely better than not going at all, but that's 2 hours a day in travel taken away from actually experience the place.

    I camped both times; that was all we did as 20-year old guys many years ago. My last trip took my 2 teenage boys with me and we mixed camping with "cheap" lodges. At that time (which was now 10 years ago) the lodges were relatively cheap. No, not the fancy lodges with the huge picture windows (the one in the Grand Tetons is spectacular!), but there are always more hotel/motel-like accommodations to choose.

    This trip predates my creation of trip reports so I'm working only from memory. I do have pictures; I'll review these for clues. I'm sure others will offer insight ... it's a very popular park. And for good reason.
  3. italdesign

    italdesign Level 2 Member

    Definitely. I went to Grand Teton recently and really enjoyed it. Even the drive from Idaho Falls (not daily; just to fly in/out) was extremely liberating. America has some great open roads.

    This is so true and took me a while to grasp. It's put me in a difficult situation now because I *love* to discover and book good deals, but almost dread actually staying in them due to missing out on the full experience.

    I had a feeling this might be the case. How close are the cheap hotels to the park? Although, I really should just camp.

    In Grand Teton our daily drive into the park was 15-50 minutes, depending on where in the park we wanted to go. The town was freaking expensive even in mid Sept. We paid $150 for Motel 6.

  4. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    Again, it's been a long time, but I did a quick check ONLY on this site, which may not be the right one, but use the prices as a guide:

    There is a wide price range, but if you look, most of these are INSIDE the park. In 2006 we stayed in Grant Village, which I don't remember being as expensive as the current $230 price tag. However, a black bear walked right behind the complex while one of my sons was staring out the window. We got out back to catch it walk slowly into the woods. This trip turned out to be a great one for bear sightings.

    Note that this is currently the highest-priced one. There are much cheap options both inside and outside the park.

    We stayed in a cabin outside (but next to) Jackson Lake lodge in the GTs, which was way cheaper than the main lodge itself and worked out well. However, a quick peak at their prices show that the park lodges (which are NOT run by the park but rather an outside third party) have figured out what the market will tolerate. There is still a $69 cabin at Colter Bay (again, in the GTs), so hope is not lost.

    Camping would be your cheapest option and I miss doing this. My wife refuses to sleep in a tent. My kids are out on their own (which is absolutely a good thing :)), and none of my friends can no longer fit trips like this into their schedules or family-life in general!
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
  5. milesfortravel

    milesfortravel Level 2 Member

    How long will you be in Yellowstone? I was a permanent ranger in the Tetons and could give you some recommendations, depending on your interests, time, etc. With the help of a friend who was a long-time permanent ranger at Yellowstone, I also set up an itinerary for some French folks (with whom I did a home exchange a few years ago), and I'd be happy to send that to you. It's great to do some advance planning because otherwise you can end up doing a lot of backtracking while sightseeing. Let me know what time of year you are going and how long you will be there and I will send you info.
  6. heavenlyjane

    heavenlyjane Level 2 Member

    You can use cash-point cards to pay for non-brand lodging. We used to use our Chase Arrival credit for park cabins and Airbnb. Not all travel cards have a broad definition of what constitutes a travel expense so be vigilant.
  7. atravels

    atravels New Member

    Although it is tempting to think that driving an hour might not be such a bad idea, I will second the thought that staying in Jackson can cut into your day when traveling to Yellowstone. When bison cut across the road near the Tetons, the one hour drive can easily turn into two hours. On our most recent trip, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Jackson. Nice property, great customer service, but as others have mentioned, Jackson is always overpriced. We have also entered through the West Yellowstone entrance, and that is one of the areas with heavier traffic. Delays of up to an hour, and that was in the shoulder season. We decided to check out hotel properties near the north entrance when we visit again.
  8. projectx

    projectx Level 2 Member

    I lived/worked in Yellowstone for a full summer when I was in college. The first thing you need to understand about Yellowstone is that it is HUGE. Really, freakin, huge. West Yellowstone might be an hour from some of the main areas of the park, but it is NOT an hour from the park. You are just minutes from the west entrance as it sits adjacent to it. Keep in mind that even when staying in the park you will still likely be an hour or more from some of the main areas.

    For example, if you're staying in Canyon Village, it's over an hour drive to Old Faithful. From WY (west yellowstone), it's about 45 minutes. The Tower/Roosevelt area (which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful area of the park with, at least in my experience, the fewest amount of people) is just as far from the Old Faithful Lodge as it is from WY. Firehole River, which is a great swimming hole with huge rocks to jump from and a natural "waterslide" (ascend up river just a bit to some rapids. Jump in and it will suck you under for a few seconds and then spit you out maybe 20 yards down) is just 30 minutes from WY, but over 90 minutes from Tower/Roosevelt.

    All that said, I would say staying in the park is preferable to outside the park. But don't feel like you're missing out if you stay in WY, or you'll be driving significantly more than if you stayed in the park boundaries. Bottom line is no matter where you stay, you're going to be doing a lot of driving if you want to see a lot of different areas. But the scenery is amazing, so the drives are quite enjoyable.
  9. James from BNA

    James from BNA VR Jacket Guy

    I've stayed at the Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone on IHG points 4 times during winter snowmobiling trips. Great property, nice people.

    Comfort Inn in Gardiner is a good choice, I've stayed there a couple times as well. For summer, I'd pick Gardiner over West. More scenic and more wildlife.

    This is a my favorite accommodation in the Tetons, http://www. moultonranchcabins.com/ . Book a year in advance, it fills up quickly.

    In summer, I've found that I like to move around every 1-2 nights. The Yellowstone/Teton area is much too large to explore from one or even two base camps.

    For non-points options in the park, I've stayed at all of them. My favorite was the Roosevelt cabins. Less people, really pretty area, lots of good hiking, and fantastic wildlife viewing in nearby Lamar Valley. http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lodging/summer-lodges/roosevelt-lodge-cabins/

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