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When planning your adventure to Yellowstone National Park, the first question that often comes to mind is, where to stay when visiting Yellowstone? This iconic park, renowned for its geothermal wonders, pristine landscapes, and abundant wildlife, offers a range of lodging options inside and near the park, each with unique appeal.

In this blog post, we guide you through the 20 best lodging choices for your Yellowstone journey, whether you prefer to stay inside the park or nearby.

Yellowstone National Park At-A-Glance

Before diving in, here are a few Yellowstone National Park highlights to help you plan your trip:

  • When Is the Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park

The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April and May) and fall (September and October). The weather is relatively mild and the crowds are thinner. Wildlife is also active during these times, making it an ideal opportunity for viewing animals. However, if you’re looking to experience the park’s full range of activities and amenities, the summer months offer the most options despite larger crowds. On the other hand, winter provides a unique chance for a serene and snowy adventure.

  • Which Entrance Is the Best Gateway to the Park

Before you embark on your journey to Yellowstone, there is a pivotal decision to be made: which Yellowstone entrance is the best gateway for your adventure?

With a grand total of 5 entrances to Yellowstone to choose from, each offering its unique set of advantages and considerations, the task of selection might seem a tad overwhelming.

So here, we present your comprehensive guide to Yellowstone’s 5 entrances complete with insights on the optimal routes to reach each entrance, the nearest attractions to explore, and the best lodging options: 5 Entrances to Yellowstone (Which One Is the Best Gateway to the Park)

  • How to Get Around in Yellowstone National Park

Unlike many other national parks, Yellowstone does not offer a public shuttle system. There is an automated shuttle pilot program in Canyon Village that launched in 2021, and there could be more to come in the future. But for now, having your vehicle is the only way to get around the park.

  • How Much Does It Cost to Vist Yellowstone National Park

To visit Yellowstone National Park, you need to purchase a recreational day-use pass, which costs $35 per vehicle and is good for 7 consecutive days. You can purchase the pass right at the entrance to the park. If you are visiting several national parks then make sure to get America the Beautiful National Park Pass. This $80 pass is valid for 12 months and gets you into all 400+ national park sites!

  • Check Yellowstone National Park Website for Trail Closures and Road Construction

You must check Yellowstone National Park’s Website for any trail or road closures before going to the park. You can check for updates HERE.

STAYING INSIDE THE PARK: 6 Amazing Places to Stay

When it comes to experiencing Yellowstone at its best, nothing beats staying inside the park itself!

In this section, we will introduce you to some of the top lodging options within Yellowstone National Park.

However, it is important to note that these in-demand lodgings typically book up at least a year in advance, so reservations are an absolute must.

But fear not! If you find that everything inside the park is fully booked, we have got you covered with some excellent options near Yellowstone, which we will discuss later in this blog post.

So, let’s explore where you can make the most of your Yellowstone adventure by staying right in the heart of it all.

Old Faithful Inn

I wholeheartedly recommend Old Faithful Inn as your premier lodging choice in Yellowstone!

Nestled in the heart of the park, this historic gem offers rustic charm and unmatched proximity to the iconic Old Faithful geyser. With its rich history dating back to 1904, the inn not only provides a comfortable stay but also immerses you in the park’s captivating past.

From the inn’s welcoming lobby, adorned with a massive stone fireplace, to its cozy rooms that beckon with a sense of nostalgia, every corner exudes the park’s unique character.

And let’s not forget the prime location! You will have a front-row seat to the geothermal spectacles that make Yellowstone famous. Picture yourself stepping outside and witnessing Old Faithful’s regular eruptions right from your doorstep.

Moreover, staying at the Old Faithful Inn means easy access to major attractions like the Grand Prismatic Spring, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Hayden Valley, and the picturesque Yellowstone Lake!

Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone

Old Faithful Inn / Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone 

Snow Lodge and Cabins

Snow Lodge and Cabins offer a truly exceptional escape in one of the world’s most pristine natural settings.

Throughout the year, the lodge and cabins provide easy access to a myriad of activities, whether it’s wildlife watching, snowshoeing in the winter, or hiking in the summer.

Yellowstone Lake is just steps away, offering a serene backdrop for relaxation and exploration.

The cozy accommodations, including Western Cabins and Frontier Cabins, allow you to fully immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty while still enjoying modern amenities.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Lake Yellowstone Hotel, often referred to as “The Queen of the Lake,” is a true gem within Yellowstone National Park. Its historic elegance and idyllic location on the shores of Yellowstone Lake make it an iconic choice!

This early 20th-century hotel boasts timeless charm and offers a variety of accommodations, from charming rooms to elegant suites. Its setting along the largest high-altitude lake in North America means you will wake up to breathtaking views and easy access to outdoor activities like fishing, boating, and wildlife watching.

When it is time to dine, the hotel’s restaurant, with its large windows overlooking the lake, promises a delightful culinary experience. It is the perfect spot to savor delicious meals while soaking in the picturesque scenery.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Lake Yellowstone Hotel / Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone 

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins, situated near Mammoth Hot Springs terraces offers a unique blend of modern comfort and a front-row seat to the park’s geological wonders.

Accommodations here vary, from cozy hotel rooms to rustic cabins, catering to different tastes.

What makes this place truly remarkable is its location in Mammoth Village, offering direct access to the ever-changing travertine terraces and the geothermal wonders that define this area.

Dining at the hotel is a treat, with a setting that offers breathtaking views of the surroundings.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins make an excellent starting point for exploring the northern reaches of Yellowstone!

Canyon Lodge and Cabins

Canyon Lodge and Cabins offers over 400 guest rooms spread across five modern lodges and more than 100 cozy cabins.

What sets Canyon Lodge apart is its great location within the park, making it the perfect starting point for exploring the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Iconic viewpoints like Artist Point and Uncle Tom’s Trail are just a stone’s throw away.

And when it is time to refuel after a day of adventure, the lodge offers a range of dining options to suit your tastes.

Canyon Lodge and Cabins in Yellowstone

Canyon Lodge and Cabins / Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone 

Grant Village Lodge

Grant Village Lodge offers options for every type of traveler, including those who crave a room with a view of the lake or those who prefer a more rustic experience in the campgrounds.

One of the reasons I love Grant Village is its proximity to the pristine Yellowstone Lake. It is just a stone’s throw away from activities like fishing, boating, and scenic hikes. And if you are like me and fascinated by geothermal wonders, the nearby West Thumb Geyser Basin is a must-visit.

But what sets Grant Village apart is its peaceful ambiance.

GOOD TO KNOW: There is a tour that I want to recommend to you that I truly enjoyed: Yellowstone Lake Twilight Tour. This tour is a 4 to 5-mile journey and usually takes about 3 hours. After a brief orientation with your guide, your small group will paddle along the shore of Yellowstone Lake to the West Thumb Geyser Basin. After touring the Geyser Basin, where dozens of geothermal features are visible above and below the water’s surface, you will return along the same route, stopping for refreshment and a chance to explore the shore of the lake. But watching steam rise above the nearest geyser basin as the sun sets is an awesome experience.

STAYING NEAR THE PARK: Best Nearby Towns and Accommodations

The popularity of Yellowstone usually means that accommodations inside the park are in high demand, with reservations sometimes requiring booking up to a year in advance.

We understand that securing those reservations can be a challenge!

That is why we have got you covered with a guide to the towns nearby Yellowstone, each offering easy access to the park.

In this section, we will walk you through the best places to stay in these communities.

WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT (West Entrance): 6 Best Places to Stay

West Yellowstone, Montana, is my preferred entry point to Yellowstone for several compelling reasons. This picturesque town serves as a bustling hub for visitor services and offers a strategic gateway to both the Upper and Lower Loops of the park.

  • If you are flying in, then the Yellowstone Airport (WYS) in West Yellowstone facilitates air travel access to the region.
  • If you are driving, then West Yellowstone is strategically positioned, lying approximately 90 miles from Bozeman, Montana, and 115 miles from Idaho Falls, Idaho.

When you choose to stay in West Yellowstone, you are poised for swift and convenient access to Yellowstone’s premier attractions:

  • Old Faithful: A mere 55-minute drive from West Yellowstone will have you marveling at the world-famous Old Faithful geyser, which erupts with remarkable regularity.
  • Grand Prismatic Spring: Located just 40 minutes away, this mesmerizing spring showcases Yellowstone’s vivid geothermal wonders.
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: Within 1 hour and 10 minutes, you can explore the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, complete with its thundering waterfalls.
  • Hayden Valley: A short 1-hour and 20-minute drive will take you to Hayden Valley, renowned for its exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs: In just 1 hour and 25 minutes, you can reach the enchanting terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs.
  • Lamar Valley: For prime wildlife watching, Lamar Valley is accessible approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes from West Yellowstone.

Explorer Cabins

Explorer Cabins near the West Entrance are a top-notch choice that I highly recommend.

These cabins, just a stone’s throw from the park, offer a blend of modern comfort and rustic charm with the convenience of a kitchenette, cozy fireplace, and your very own private entrance.

And do not forget the outdoor fire pits – perfect for those evenings spent making s’mores under the starry Yellowstone sky.

During my stay, I was impressed not only by the cabin’s cleanliness and comfort but also by the welcoming staff, who were always ready with a friendly smile and helpful tips.

Explorer Cabins in West Yellowstone

Explorer Cabins / Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone 

1872 Inn

If you are looking for an adult-exclusive and upscale stay near Yellowstone’s West Entrance, the 1872 Inn in West Yellowstone is where you want to be.

With free WiFi, each room comes with a gas fireplace, flat-screen TV, coffee machine, and complimentary toiletries.

On top of that, you can relax in the sauna, use the fitness center, and make use of the guest computer and printer in the lobby. They even offer a daily continental breakfast and welcome you with complimentary snacks and water at check-in.

Kelly Inn

Kelly Inn in West Yellowstone is a fantastic find!

It is packed with amenities like an indoor pool, hot tub, and free WiFi, plus a complimentary breakfast. Rooms are comfy with AC, a satellite flat-screen TV, a microwave, and a fridge. There is also a sauna, business center, and 24-hour front desk.

Best of all, it is just a 2-minute walk to the National Geographic IMAX Theater and a quick 3-minute drive to Yellowstone Park’s West Entrance.

Clubhouse Inn

If you are planning a Yellowstone adventure, Clubhouse Inn is a fantastic choice, just a 3-minute drive from the West Entrance!

They offer an indoor pool, hot tub, and free Wi-Fi. Rooms feature a modern design with natural wood accents and come with essentials like a flat-screen TV, fridge, microwave, and coffee machine.

Each morning, enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast with yogurt, pancakes, fresh fruit, and coffee.

Clubhouse Inn in West Yellowstone

Clubhouse Inn in West Yellowstone / Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone 

Yellowstone West Gate Hotel

Yellowstone West Gate Hotel is just 5 blocks from the entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

There is an indoor pool, and complimentary Wi-Fi to stay connected, and they have a microwave and refrigerator.

And speaking of breakfast, they have got a hot continental spread in the morning to fuel your day. Plus, you can use their business center and chill in the indoor hot tub at no extra cost.

Grey Woolf Inn and Suits

Gray Wolf Inn & Suites, situated right next to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, is a fantastic choice here in West Yellowstone.

This hotel has quite a few perks, including an indoor heated pool and a hot tub to relax in after a day of adventure.

Speaking of rooms, they are well-equipped. You will find satellite TV for your entertainment, and they have thought of those little things that make a difference – like a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker right there in your room.

GARDINER, MT (North Entrance): 4 Best Places to Stay

Gardiner, Montana, at the North Entrance, is one of the most frequently used gateways into Yellowstone.

All in all, Gardiner is a quaint and friendly town with a welcoming atmosphere. You will find a range of lodging options, dining establishments, and shops.

GOOD TO KNOW: Nearby hot springs provide a soothing way to unwind after a day of exploration in Yellowstone. The Boiling River Hot Springs, where a hot spring mixes with the Gardner River, is a unique and popular attraction.

The area around Gardiner, including the nearby Lamar Valley, is renowned for its wildlife viewing opportunities. It’s a prime location to spot bison, elk, wolves, and other animals in their natural habitat.

Here are the drive times to some popular Yellowstone attractions:

  • Old Faithful: While a bit more of a drive, you can reach Old Faithful in approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes from Gardiner.
  • Grand Prismatic Spring: Grand Prismatic Spring is within a 1-hour and 25-minute drive from Gardiner.
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is conveniently accessible in just 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Hayden Valley: Within 1 hour and 25 minutes, you can immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of Hayden Valley.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs: Astonishingly, Mammoth Hot Springs is a mere 15-minute drive from Gardiner.
  • Lamar Valley: For prime wildlife viewing, Lamar Valley is a mere 1 hour and 10 minutes away from Gardiner.
The nearest airport to Gardiner is Bozeman (BZN). You can drive from Bozeman (BZN) to Gardiner in around 1h 24m!

Yellowstone Gateway Inn

If you’re seeking a warm and welcoming bed and breakfast experience, Yellowstone Gateway Inn is a fantastic choice.

The hosts here are known for their genuine Montana hospitality! They will not only make you feel at home but also provide invaluable tips for making the most of your Yellowstone adventure.

Wake up to the delightful aroma of a hearty Montana breakfast before setting out for a day of exploration.

Absaroka Lodge

Absaroka Lodge offers cozy rooms with a touch of modern comfort, and some even have kitchenettes for added convenience.

What sets it apart is its scenic riverside location. Imagine relaxing by the Yellowstone River, soaking in the tranquility of the surroundings!

It is the perfect spot to unwind after a day of park adventures, and it is just a short drive from the historic Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone’s North Entrance.

Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone

Absaroka Lodge / Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone 

Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel

Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel offers an extraordinary lodging experience that brings you closer to nature in the heart of the Rockies. This unique hotel allows you to spend the night in spacious and comfortable tipis.

These tipis combine the rustic charm of camping with modern comforts, including cozy bedding, heating, and electricity, ensuring a comfortable stay.

What sets the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel apart is its communal campfire area. As the sun sets over the mountains, guests gather around the crackling campfire roasting s’mores.

Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel

Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel / Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone 

Antler Lodge

Nestled along the banks of the Yellowstone River in Gardiner you will find Antler Lodge – a place that feels like a home away from home during your Yellowstone adventure. This cozy lodge offers a range of accommodations, from comfortable guest rooms to quaint cabins, each thoughtfully designed to provide a rustic and inviting atmosphere.

One of the lodge’s real gems is its stunning riverside location. Imagine waking up to the soothing sounds of the Yellowstone River just outside your window and enjoying your morning coffee with breathtaking mountain views.

The lodge’s proximity to downtown Gardiner means you can easily explore local dining options and attractions.

The Antler Lodge is my personal recommendation for those seeking a warm, charming, and conveniently located Yellowstone base camp.

COLTER BAY, WY (South Entrance): Best If Visiting Grand Teton and Yellowstone

South Entrance to Yellowstone is a fantastic choice if you are planning to explore both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

For accommodations, consider staying in the northern area of Grand Teton, like Colter Bay.

From Colter Bay, you can reach iconic Yellowstone attractions with relative ease:

  • Old Faithful: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Grand Prismatic Spring: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Hayden Valley: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Mammoth Hot Springs: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Lamar Valley: 2 hours 50 minutes

If you are looking for accommodations inside or near Grand Teton, then make sure to check out: WHERE to STAY in GRAND TETON (7 Best Places to Stay)

Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone

Colter Bay in Grand Teton / Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone 

COOKE CITY-SILVER GATE, MT (Northeast Entrance): 1 Best Place to Stay

Staying in Cooke City-Silver Gate, Montana offers several advantages for visitors to Yellowstone.

First and foremost, it provides access to the stunning Beartooth Highway, a scenic route ideal for road trips that winds through breathtaking landscapes.

Cooke City’s proximity to Lamar Valley, renowned for its wildlife sightings, makes it a prime location for those interested in observing Yellowstone’s diverse fauna.

The town’s remote charm offers a peaceful getaway away from the crowds that can be prevalent in larger gateway towns.

However, there are some downsides to staying in Cooke City. The town offers fewer amenities and services than larger gateway towns, so you need to be prepared for limited options in terms of dining and accommodations.

Additionally, some major park attractions are farther away from Cooke City, which may result in longer driving times to reach popular destinations.

Here are the drive times to popular Yellowstone attractions from Cooke City:

  • Old Faithful: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Grand Prismatic Spring: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Hayden Valley: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Mammoth Hot Springs: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Lamar Valley: 30 minutes (relatively close)

Alpine Motel

Alpine Motel in Cooke City is probably your best choice. It is conveniently located near Yellowstone’s northeastern entrance, providing easy access to Lamar Valley and the park’s wildlife.

It offers a range of room types, including standard rooms and suites, catering to various group sizes and preferences.

CODY, WY (East Entrance): 3 Best Places to Stay

Cody, Wyoming is situated near the East Entrance and provides access to the eastern part of Yellowstone, including the spectacular Sylvan Pass and Yellowstone Lake.

Cody is renowned for its Western heritage and museums, making it a unique starting point.

However, it is important to note that Cody is farther away from Yellowstone’s main attractions. Here are the drive times to popular Yellowstone attractions from Cody:

  • Old Faithful: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Grand Prismatic Spring: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: 2 hours
  • Hayden Valley: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Mammoth Hot Springs: 3 hours
  • Lamar Valley: 2 hours 10 minutes

Cody Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Cody, Wyoming, Cody Hotel is a modern gem that I personally recommend for a comfortable and convenient stay. During my visit, I was impressed by the contemporary design and cozy ambiance of the hotel.

The indoor pool and hot tub were a welcome respite after a day of exploring, and the proximity to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West added a cultural dimension to my trip.

My experience there was nothing short of delightful, and I believe it is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to explore Cody’s attractions while enjoying modern comforts.

Cody Cowboy Village

If you are yearning for an authentic Western experience during your visit to Cody, Wyoming, I cannot recommend Cody Cowboy Village enough.

This charming retreat offers cozy log cabins that truly capture the spirit of the Old West. During my stay, I was enchanted by the rustic charm of the cabins, which provided a unique and comfortable lodging experience.

Irma Motel

Irma Hotel in Cody is not just a place to rest your head; it is a genuine journey into the Old West.

This historic gem, once owned by the legendary Buffalo Bill himself, immerses you in the rich history and cowboy culture of Cody. During my stay, I was captivated by the charming atmosphere and the sense that I had stepped back in time to the days of outlaws and pioneers.

One unforgettable highlight of my visit was the nightly “gunfight” just outside the hotel. It is an exciting spectacle that brings the Wild West to life right before your eyes.

If you are looking for a lodging experience that’s as much a part of your adventure as the attractions themselves, The Irma Hotel is a must-stay destination in Cody.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for Where to Stay When Visiting Yellowstone

When embarking on your Yellowstone adventure, choosing the right gateway town and lodging can significantly enhance your experience.

Each entrance offers unique access to the park’s wonders, so consider your priorities and interests when making your decision.

  • Plan Ahead: Yellowstone is incredibly popular, so book your accommodations well in advance, especially if you plan to stay inside the park. Reservations can be tough to secure, but planning ahead ensures you will have a comfortable place to rest during your visit.
  • Stay Inside the Park: If possible, opt for lodging inside Yellowstone to maximize your time in the park and witness its unique beauty at different times of day.
  • Gateway Towns: If park lodging is unavailable or you prefer a different experience, gateway towns like West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cody offer a range of accommodations and services. Just be prepared for varying degrees of proximity to the park and possible seasonal limitations.
  • Explore Nearby Attractions: Many gateway towns have attractions of their own. Take time to explore the local culture, history, and outdoor activities, which can complement your Yellowstone adventure.

Read All Wyoming Posts in:

Wyoming Travel Guide 


Read All the Posts About the United States in: 

United States Travel Guide

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