Podcast Episode – Need-to-know Yellowstone National Park tips
In this podcast episode we get into everything we love about Yellowstone National Park. It’s America’s first National Park and is quite the experience. Here we dish about the need-to-know Yellowstone tips and tricks for having an awesome visit. Not sure if camping in the park or choosing a hotel in a nearby town is right for you? We can help!
What you'll find...
Need-to-know Yellowstone NP Tips
In this episode… [time in playback of episode noted on the left]
1:00 – Why Yellowstone? What do we love so much about Yellowstone National Park? Truly, it’s the geothermal activity with the many geysers and hot springs, but then also the abundance of wildlife. And you can’t forget the views! Epic landscapes cover all of Yellowstone National Park.
3:05 – You need to know Yellowstone’s climate before a visit: the weather can change drastically in a day or overnight, from a heat wave to a snow storm. Being prepared for Yellowstone National Park means planning for any weather.
4:50 – Chris picks his favorite aspects of spending time in Yellowstone National Park. Mammoth Hot Springs and all the elk tops his list.
7:40 – Rob’s most favorite Yellowstone National Park memory: realization that I got to take my own kids to Yellowstone. We didn’t even think that we’d get to have kids, so taking them to a place that’s so special to me we really emotional.
9:00 – Where to stay and need-to-know tips for having a stress-free Yellowstone trip. Top pick for the easiest Yellowstone vacation is camping at the Canyon Campground. It’s the most convenient and is centrally located to most Yellowstone activities. **Episode audio refers to recreation.gov, but all in-park camping has been moved to the link below.
10:50 – Yellowstone National Park Lodges options:
- Canyon Lodge for a retro stay
- Mammoth Hotel is newly renovated and open in the winter
- the Lake Hotel is at the top end of the budget (book it here)
- Roosevelt Cabins at Tower Junction is mid-line budget
- Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge, and the Snow Lodge (open December through March)
13:30 – Staying outside the park: need to know Yellowstone towns. West Yellowstone is a very popular place to stay, with the West Yellowstone gate being the busiest of the five entrances to the park. Our West Yellowstone hotel recommendations:
- Best Western Weston Inn or Best Western Desert Inn (BW is our travel partner)
- Holiday Inn West Yellowstone – we stayed here using points for travel. Loved the huge hotel rooms
14:30 – There are five entrances to Yellowstone National Park:
- West Yellowstone – busiest entrance, goes directly into the Madison Valley
- North entrance in Gardiner through the Roosevelt Arch – second busiest, closest to Mammoth Hot Springs
- Cooke City / Silver Gate from the Beartooth Highway – takes you directly down into the Lamar Valley (great wildlife viewing in Yellowstone here!)
- Cody, Wyoming entrance on the east side, you have to drive around Yellowstone Lake
- South entrance / exit to Grand Teton National Park
15:45 – Yellowstone need-to-know: staying in West Yellowstone will add an hour to your projected travel time both in and out of the park because there is so much wildlife along the road. It’s mostly bison and elk, but there are eagles, swans, coyotes, and even moose. The drive is beautiful, but the traffic is really bad.
18:00 – Staying in Gardiner or on the north side of Yellowstone. Gardiner has chain hotels and boutique options. Search for a Gardiner hotel here!
- My #1 pick for north Yellowstone: the Sage Lodge. Gorgeous property, incredible setting, great food. Favorite hotel of 2019!
19:20 – If you want to drive the Beartooth Highway, it’s beautiful with the most epic views I’ve seen in North America. This takes you to the Cooke City entrance and into the Lamar Valley. Search for a Cody, WY hotel here!
20:00 – Staying in Cody, Wyoming – it’s a really cool old west town, but it’s far from most of the Yellowstone National Park attractions. Search for a Cody, WY hotel here!
20:20 – Big Sky, Montana is another option for accessing Yellowstone. This is north of West Yellowstone, so you’ll have a longer drive into the park, but Big Sky on its own is an incredible destination. There are so many things to do in Big Sky, MT!
21:45 – Our top wildlife picks and need-to-know Yellowstone wildlife tips:
- Bison in Hayden and Lamar Valleys
- Elk in the Madison Valley and at Mammoth Hot Springs – always be aware of wildlife safety!!!
- Moose in Yellowstone – the population in the park has dwindled and migrated to the Tetons
- Bighorn Sheep – cliffs of the Lamar Valley
- Trumpter Swans on the Madison River, Yellowstone River and in Swan Valley – get to the river EARLY to watch swans!
Thanks for hanging out with us. Clearly we love Yellowstone National Park and there’s a lot that you need to know and consider before planning a trip to the park. It really is a remarkable place and no matter how you approach it, you’ll enjoy. Please let us know if you have any questions!
Be sure to listen to our Yellowstone Geysers podcast episodes (there are two)!
What do you want to hear about from us on our podcast? Please leave us a comment below or send us a note with your questions and what you’d like to hear. We are excited to share!
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Rob Taylor is the founder of 2TravelDads, the original LGBT Family Travel blog. Focusing on ecotourism and education, 2TravelDads inspires LGBT families (and traditional families also) to go beyond their usual getaways and use travel to learn about and be part of a bigger world. “Traveling the globe and giving the kids a broad worldview.”