Yellowstone 101 - Part One
In helping people plan their travels to the Yellowstone area, I've noticed a lot of people are confused about the layout of Yellowstone, why I suggest staying in Gateway communities of Yellowstone (and for that matter, what is a Gateway community of Yellowstone), what the best time of the year to visit and what they can expect during their visit. So, here is an attempt to help you with at least some of those questions…and that may bring more questions, but just post them in comments and I'll do my best to answer those as well!
Where is Yellowstone National Park?
The majority of Yellowstone is located in Wyoming, but parts of it also lie in Montana and Idaho. A lot of people want to know the address of Yellowstone so they can Google it. Yellowstone doesn't have a physical address. Technically, Yellowstone National Park is in Yellowstone National Park, WY, 82190.
The following GPS Coordinate's might be helpful to you in locating specific locations throughout the park:
- Canyon Lodge - 44 Degrees 44.063 N 110 Degrees 29.385 W
- Grant Village - 44 Degrees 23.385 N 110 Degrees 33.328 W
- Lake Yellowstone Hotel - 44 Degrees 32.987 N 110 Degrees 24.21 W
- Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel - 44 Degrees 58.572 N 110 Degrees 42.098 W
- Old Faithful Inn - 44 Degrees 27.605 N 110 Degrees 49.881 W
- Roosevelt Lodge - 44 Degrees 54.760 N 110 Degrees 24.99 W
What are Gateway Communities, and why should I stay in them?
Gateway Communities are the towns that are located near each of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park. These include: Jackson Hole, West Yellowstone, Cody, Gardiner and Cooke City. To some extent, you could also say Bozeman, Big Sky and Red Lodge are gateway communities, they are not the most immediate to the park, but within driving distance, and have their own draws.
I like Gateway Communities for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious is that lodging within Yellowstone is EXTREMELY difficult to obtain from April on. The phone lines always seem to be busy, and the availability is limited unless you started planning 6 months or more out. If you have children there are a few more reasons:
- The majority of room types are rooms with 2 queen beds.
- After spending a day driving through the park it is nice to unleash your kids onto a pool and let them blow off some steam
- Some kids need television.
And this sort of goes along with the final reason why Gateway lodging is suited well for people – for $100/night, some people expect amenities. Yellowstone lodging has one unbeatable amenity: it's proximity to the wonders in the park. It does not have television, air conditioning, or internet hook ups. Also, if you are traveling with a pet, your options are also very limited (cabin lodging only).
Each Gateway has it's pros and cons. Cody and West Yellowstone are quite a bit more affordable then Jackson Hole, but Jackson Hole is also located next to Grand Teton National Park, which is a nice draw all on its own! A big favorite of mine is Big Sky, MT. Only 45 minutes from West Yellowstone, you can get some great deals on lodging with fantastic amenities (I'm talking a gorgeous 2 BR cabin with a private hot tub on the back deck overlooking the Sawtooth Mountain Range for the same price as a nice hotel room with 2 queen beds in West Yellowstone and half the price of one in Jackson Hole). Visit ALLTrips.com for this and additional deals!
Part Two is next week, where I'll talk about the seasons of Yellowstone, the best times of the year to save money and how much time you should allocate to your Yellowstone vacation.
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