The Ultimate Guide To Yellowstone National Park

The Ultimate Guide To Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming
The Ultimate Travel Guide To Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park , a true icon of must-see nature!

Yellowstone, home to several geysers, colorful thermal pools, bubbling hot mud pots, steaming vents, majestic peaks, waterfalls, and wildlife, is a landscape like none other! 

One of the world’s first National Parks, Yellowstone, contains the highest concentration of thermal features found anywhere in the globe. The several geothermal areas in Yellowstone feature various geological formations and features, including frequently erupting active geysers, colorful steaming hot springs, bubbling mud pools, limestone travertine terraces, deep valleys, and abundant wildlife, making it a supremely interesting landscape!

The geothermal features and activities in Yellowstone National Park are indicative of the turbulent and hot magma that lies below the surface at Yellowstone. Yellowstone is actually a supervolcano, a large volcano with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of eight. Three massive volcanic eruptions dating back to several thousand years shaped this monumental track of land! The magma that caused the eruptions at Yellowstone continues to power the geysers, hot springs, and other volcanic features in the Park. 

Yellowstone, with its fascinating volcanic features, its own Grand Canyon, roaring waterfalls, and wildlife, offers a very unique landscape and an unparalleled experience and is one of the must-see places in the US! 

Located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park is enormous and slightly extends into the neighboring states of Montana in the north and Idaho in the west. With its unique combination of fascinating geothermal features, wildlife, and natural beauty, Yellowstone is one of the most sorted after destinations globally and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yellowstone National Park is open year-round, but spring and summer are best for sightseeing, hiking, and camping in the Park. The Park remains open in winter and offers cross-country skiing and a few other snow sports in some sections of the Park. However, the Park’s interiors can only be accessed via snowmobiles or snow-cat tours during the winter months. 

Here is my ultimate guide to Yellowstone National Park, featuring essential trip-planning information, attractions map, hiking trails, suggested itinerary, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants in Yellowstone National Park!

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Planning Your Trip To Yellowstone National Park

Planning Your Trip To Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is open year-round, summer being the peak season for sightseeing, hiking, and camping, and in winter, it’s more about snow sports as most of the roads remain closed!

Best Time To Visit Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone National Park receives a good amount of snowfall, so most of the roads in the Park are closed in the winter, except the Mammoth section in the northwest corner of the Park. Road closures for winter begin around late October and are in effect through late May, making June through mid-October the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park. 

June, July, and August are the busiest months in Yellowstone, and due to its popularity, the campgrounds and the lodges are often sold out during these three months. So, if you’re planning to visit Yellowstone during the peak seasons, you must make your lodging reservations in way advance. If you don’t mind a little cooler weather, the shoulder months, May, September, and October, are a great choice to beat the crowd in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park Operating Hours & Seasons: The Park is open all year-round and 24 hours a day. However, some of the park facilities, including the visitor centers, park entrances, and lodges, are seasonal and are open only outside the winter months.

  • Yellowstone National Park Entrances: There’re five entrances to Yellowstone National Park, one on each side and two on the north side of the Park. However, all entrances are seasonal except the North entrance that leads to the Mammoth Hot Springs area, which is open year-round.
  • Yellowstone National Park Visitor Centers: There’re eleven visitor / information centers in Yellowstone National Park. However, only the Albright Visitor Center, near Mammoth Hot Springs, is open year-round, and the rest are seasonal.
  • Yellowstone National Park Lodges & Campgrounds: Yellowstone offers twelve campgrounds, but all are seasonal except the Mammoth Campground. The Park also has nine lodges, but only two are open during winter – Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in the northern section near Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful Snow Lodge in the west-central region of the Park.

Getting To Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone National Park, located in northwest Wyoming, is quite far from the major international airports, making the regional and domestic airports the best choice to get to the Park. There’s no direct Amtrak train service to Yellowstone or Wyoming, and the closest Greyhound bus stop is about 250 miles from the Park.

  • Flight: Yellowstone Airport (WYS), West Yellowstone, Montana, just next to the Park’s west entrance, is the closes airport to Yellowstone National Park, but it’s seasonal and has limited service. However, there are a few other airports near Yellowstone, including Jackson Hole Airport (JAC), Jackson, Wyoming, about 90 miles from the Park, Yellowstone Regional Airport (COD), Cody, Wyoming, around 125 miles to Yellowstone, and Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN), Bozeman, Montana, approximately 130 miles from Yellowstone National Park.
  • Train: There’re no direct Amtrak train services to Yellowstone National Park or anywhere else in Wyoming. The closest Amtrak station to Yellowstone is in Salt Lake City, Utah, about 320 miles from the Park’s west entrance.
  • Bus: Greyhound offers bus services connecting a few cities in southern Wyoming to other cities and states in the US. However, the closest Greyhound stops near Yellowstone National Park are located about 250 miles in Evanston and Rock Springs in southern Wyoming.
  • Tours: Visting Yellowstone requires a good amount of driving, but if driving is not an option or you like the luxury of a coach and guided tours, several tour companies in Wyoming offer guided tours of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Here’s the list of the several authorized tour companies and their contact details – Yellowstone Authorized Tour Providers.

Transportation & Parking Inside Yellowstone National Park: The Park has several parking lots at every vista point and trailheads. However, during the peak seasons, there’s a ton of traffic in the Park, and it might become challenging to find parking, especially during the late morning and afternoon. Unlike many other National Parks in the US, Yellowstone does not offer shuttle services inside the Park. You need a car to access the several vista points in the Park or use one of the authorized tour companies I mentioned above. 

Time Required At Yellowstone National Park: While it is possible to see the major highlights of Yellowstone in one day, I highly recommend spending a minimum of three days in Yellowstone National Park so that you have enough time to explore all the major geothermal features, hike a couple of trails, and watch wildlife in the Park.  

Lodging & Dining In Yellowstone National Park: There are several lodging and dining options inside Yellowstone National Park, including twelve campgrounds, nine lodges, and many restaurants & cafes, but most of them are seasonal open outside the winter months. There are a few other lodging and dining choices outside the Park, which I have discussed in the later section of the post.

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Things To Do In Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park Attractions Map

Yellowstone National Park Attractions Map

Yellowstone National Park Entrances

There’re five entrances to Yellowstone National Park, one on each side and two on the north side of the Park. However, only the North entrance, close to the Mammoth Hot Springs area, is open year-round, and others are all seasonal entrances open outside the winter months.

  • North Entrance: The only entrance to Yellowstone that’s open year-round, the North Entrance, is located in the north-central region of the Park, entering the Park through the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The North entrance is best suited for people coming from southwest Montana, including Bozeman, Missoula in Montana. Yellowstone North Entrance Address: Yellowstone National Park North Entrance, N Entrance Rd, Gardiner, MT 59030
  • Northeast EntranceLocated on the northeast corner of the Yellowstone, the seasonal Northeast Entrance enters the Park from the Lamar Valley section and is best for people coming from southeast Montana, including the Billings area in Montana. Yellowstone Northeast Entrance Address: Yellowstone Northeast Entrance Station, US-212, Cooke City-Silver Gate, MT 59081.
  • West EntranceThe West Entrance, a seasonal entrance located on the west side of Yellowstone National Park, is the busiest of all entrances and an excellent choice for people coming from Idaho or southwest Montana. The seasonal West Entrance is just 4 miles from the Yellowstone airport and leads to the main geyser basin of the Park. Yellowstone West Entrance Address: West Entrance, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
  • East Entrance: The East Entrance to Yellowstone is best for people arriving from western Wyoming or Western South Dakota. The East Entrance is a seasonal entrance near Yellowstone Lake and provides easy access to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. East Entrance Address: Yellowstone East Entrance, East Entrance Road, Yellowstone National Park, WY.
  • South Entrance: Located in the south-central region of Yellowstone, the South Entrance is best for people coming from southern Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. The South Entrance is a seasonal entrance, open only outside the winter months, and enters the Park through the central geyser basin. Yellowstone South Entrance Address: Yellowstone South Entrance, South Entrance Road, Yellowstone National Park, WY.
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Yellowstone National Park Visitor / Information Centers

Yellowstone National Park is huge and is accordingly equipped with several visitor centers and rangers stations to help visitors navigate the Park and plan their trip. However, out of the eleven visitor / information centers in Yellowstone, only the Albright Visitor Center is open year-round, and others are open only outside the winter months.

Most of the visitor centers & ranger stations in Yellowstone features an information desk, maps, displays, and exhibits related to the Park’s geology and history. Anytime you feel you’re lost or need help planning your hike, get a fishing or backcountry permit, or need information about other activities, you could stop at any of the following visitor centers in Yellowstone National Park.

  • Albright Visitor Center: This is the only visitor center in Yellowstone that’s open and staffed year-round. The Albright Visitor Center, located near the North Entrance of Yellowstone, features a ranger station, several exhibits, and a park store.
  • Canyon Visitor Education Center: Located in the Canyon Village complex near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Canyon Visitor Education Center offers several exhibits and plays a film about the geology and turbulent past of the Park.
  • Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trailside Museum: The seasonal Fishing Bridge Museum and Visitor Center near the East Entrance along the north shore of Yellowstone Lake offer exhibits and information about Yellowstone Lake.
  • Grant Visitor Center: Located near the West Thumb Geyser Basin in Grant Village, the Grant Visitor center offers an information desk, a park store, and several exhibits related to the massive Yellowstone wildfire in 1988.
  • Madison Information Station: This is a seasonal information center located close to the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, offering a staffed information desk, a souvenir shop, and a bookstore.
  • Museum of the National Park Ranger: Located about 30 miles east of the West Entrance close to Norris Campground, the seasonal Museum of the National Park Ranger has rangers to help plan your trip and exhibits and videos related to the Norris Geyser Basin.
  • Norris Geyser Basin Museum: Overlooking the Norris Geyser Basin, the seasonal Norris Geyser Basin Museum offers several geological exhibits related to the Norris Basin and also features an information desk and a park store.
  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center: The most popular visitor center in Yellowstone, the seasonal Old Faithful Visitor Education Center is the gateway to the Old Faithful Geyser and offers several exhibits, a store, and a ranger station.
  • West Thumb Information Station: Located along the west shore of Yellowstone Lake, the West Thumb Information Center is a small facility with an information desk and a park store. The West Thumb Geyser Basin boardwalk starts at the West Thumb Information Station.
  • West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center & NPS Desk: Located in Montana, half a mile from the West Entrance, the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center is shared by National Park Services and West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce. The facility is open year-round with access to maps, guides, and restrooms, but rangers are available only outside the winter months.
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Yellowstone Geyser Basins & Vista Points

Yellowstone Geyser Basins & Vista Points

Unquestionably, the geothermal features take center stage in Yellowstone, but its Grand Canyon, waterfalls, and wildlife viewing opportunities are equally marvelous!

Yellowstone National Park has several geyser basins, including the Upper Geyser Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Lower Geyser Basin, Norris Geyser Basin, West Thumb Geyser Basin, and few others. The geothermal features, including the geysers, colorful hot springs, mud pots, and steaming vents, are all located in these geyser basins. 

The geothermal features like the colorful hot springs, mud pots, and steaming vents can be visited any time of the day. However, the geysers erupt only after a certain interval, and to see the geysers in action, you need to time your visit. The National Park Service maintains the latest geyser eruption predictions on their website – Geyser Eruption Predictions, which is very useful for planning your visit to the geyser basins.

Here’re the most spectacular and must-see geyser basins and vista points in Yellowstone National Park! 

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful Geyser | Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful / Upper Geyser Basin

Located in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone, the Old Faithful is one of the most predictable geysers in the Park, erupting approximately every 90 minutes. The Upper Geyser Basin is home to the Old Faithful Inn, a national historic landmark, and other features, including Castle Geyser, Grand Geyser, Daisy Geyser, Riverside Geyser, Morning Glory Pool, and Black Sand Basin.

West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb Geyser Basin

Located about 20 miles east of Upper Geyser Basin, the West Thumb Geyser Basin sits along the shores of Yellowstone Lake. The Lake is shaped like a human hand, with West Thumb Geyser Basin sitting on the thumb portion of the hand. The area has several hydrothermal features along the shore and in the Lake, including Abyss Pool, Black Pool & Fishing Cone geyser.

West Thumb Geyser Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring / Midway Geyser Basin

The Grand Prismatic Spring, located in Midway Geyser Basin, is the largest hot spring in the US and the third-largest in the whole world. The changing vibrant colors of the spring are from the bacteria that dwell in the hot pools that change color depending on the water temperature. There Midway Geyser Basin is also home to Excelsior Geyser, Turquoise Pool, and Opal Pool.

Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin

The Norris Geyser Basin, located about 25 miles northeast of Grand Prismatic Spring, is the hottest thermal area in Yellowstone. The area has three sections – Porcelain Basin, Back Basin, and One Hundred Springs, with several volcanic features, including Steamboat Geyser, the tallest active geyser globally, but eruptions are not as regularly as other geysers in the Park.

Norris Geyser Basin | Yellowstone National Park

Mud Volcano

Mud Volcano | Yellowstone National Park

Mud Volcano

The Mud Volcano area lies north of Yellowstone Lake, about 22 miles east of Norris Geyser Basin along the Grand Loop Road. Mud Volcano area’s primary hydrothermal features are steam vents and mud pots, including Mud Volcano, Churning Caldron, Mud Geyser, Black Dragons Caldron, Sour Lake, and Dragons Mouth Spring.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

The enormous deep valley canyon, located 11 miles north of the Mud Volcano area, is called the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. There are several vista points located along the South and the North Rim Canyon Drive, including Inspiration Point & Grand View accessible from the North Rim Drive, and Uncle Tom’s Point & Artist Point along the South Rim Drive.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone | Yellowstone National Park

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs | Yellowstone National Park

Mammoth Hot Springs

The Mammoth Hot Springs area, located close to the North Entrance of Yellowstone, contains several hot springs and limestone travertine terraces formed by minerals from the hot springs. Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the most remarkable geothermal features in Yellowstone and can be explored by hiking the Lower Terrace area or driving the Upper Terrace Drive.

Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley

Located in the northeast corner of the Yellowstone along the Lamar River, Lamar Valley is the gateway to wildlife viewing in the Park and home to various wildlife, including bears, wolves, bison, elk, and others. There’re several pullouts along the road, but be prepared for traffic delays during the peak seasons and occasional roadblocks by herds of bison.

Lamar Valley | Yellowstone National Park
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Hiking in Yellowstone National Park

Hiking in Yellowstone National Park

Hiking is a popular activity in Yellowstone National Park and the only way to access some of the vista points and stunning geothermal features in the Park!

Yellowstone National Park has several hundred miles of hiking trails, including hiking trails around the Geyser Basins, wilderness walks, deep canyon treks, and waterfall hikes. Day hikes don’t require permits, but if you’re planning to explore the backcountry of Yellowstone, you would need to obtain a permit from one of the visitor centers in the Park.

While there’re several hiking trails in Yellowstone, the most popular hikes are the day hikes around the Old Faithful / Upper Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring / Midway Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Spring, and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Below I have listed the popular trails in each area along with some details about the hike, but if you would like to explore all hiking trails in Yellowstone, you will find them on the NPS website.

Hiking Trails In Upper Geyser Basin / Old Faithful: Undoubtedly, Old Faithful is the main draw in the Upper Geyser Basin, but there’re several other astounding geothermal features located in the Upper Geyser Basin. One of my favorites is the Morning Glory Pool, a gorgeous turquoise hot spring. Here’re the most popular hiking trails in the Upper Geyser Basin, starting from the Old Faithful Visitor Center.

  • Old Faithful Geyser Loop, an easy 0.7-mile loop
  • Geyser Hill Loop, easy 1.3 miles loop
  • Observation Point Loop, a 1.1 miles moderate hike
  • Morning Glory Pool, an easy 2.8 miles roundtrip hike
  • Black Sand Basin: an easy 3 miles roundtrip hike
  • Biscuit Basin Geyser, a moderate 4.2 miles roundtrip hike

Hiking Trails In Grand Prismatic Spring / Midway Geyser Basin: The Fairy Falls Trail and the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trails are the most popular hikes in the Midway Geyser Basin. The Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook shouldn’t be mistaken with the Grand Prismatic boardwalk that takes you close to the heart of the Grand Prismatic Spring. Instead, the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, located at a higher altitude, offers the best and holistic views of Grand Prismatic Spring. The Fairy Falls and Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook trail both start at the Fairy Falls Parking Lot. 

  • Fairy Falls Trail, a moderately strenuous 5 miles roundtrip hike
  • Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, an easy 1.6 miles roundtrip hike

Hiking Trails In Mammoth Hot Spring: There’re several hiking trails in the Mammoth Hot Spring region, including waterfall hikes and creekside trails. However, the most popular hike in Mammoth Hot Spring is the hike along the limestone travertine terraces. The Mammoth Hot Spring Lower Terrace hike, starting at the Lower Terraces – North Trailhead, meanders through several mounds, springs, and terraces. However, the Main Terrace Overlook is the main draw of the region, which is a one-mile roundtrip hike from the Lower Terraces – North Trailhead.

  • Main Terrace Overlook, an easy one-mile roundtrip hike
  • Osprey Falls Trail, an 8 miles roundtrip hike from Golden Gate
  • Wraith Falls, 1-mile easy roundtrip hike from Lava Creek Picnic Area

Hiking Trails In Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: The hikes in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone region are longer and strenuous canyon trails, and most of them require half a day or more. The canyon trails are an excellent way to explore the wilderness of the vast canyon carved by the Yellowstone River but require extra care and preparation as it’s home to various wildlife, including Grizzly bears.

  • Ribbon Lake Trail, 5.8 miles roundtrip from Uncle Tom’s Point
  • Seven Mile Hole Trail, 10 miles roundtrip from Inspiration Point
  • Mount Washburn Trail, 16.2 miles roundtrip from Inspiration Point
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Yellowstone National Park Suggested Itineraries, Hotels & Restaurants

Yellowstone National Park Suggested Itineraries, Hotels & Restaurants

Yellowstone National Park Trip Itineraries

I recommend spending at least three days in Yellowstone National Park, but if you are pressed for time and just have a day, do consider the Yellowstone day tours.

Yellowstone National Park is enormous and, with several vista points and hiking trails, it can get overwhelming when planning your trip to Yellowstone National Park. Unquestionably, the geothermal features are the most popular attractions in Yellowstone and should be on top of your list. However, a trip to Yellowstone isn’t complete without watching some wildlife in Lamar Valley and visiting the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

While it’s possible to see the major highlights of Yellowstone in a day, I highly recommend spending at least three days in Yellowstone National Park and exploring all major geyser basins, hiking a couple of trails, and spotting wildlife in the Park. I have organized my Yellowstone National Park itineraries and recommendations based on the number of days you plan to spend in the Park.

1 Day Yellowstone National Park Trip Itinerary: If you’re visiting Yellowstone National Park just for a day, your best option is to stick to only the major attractions in the Upper and Midway Geyser Basin and a quick stop at Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Another great alternative to see the most of Yellowstone in a day is by doing a day tour offered by authorized Yellowstone Tour Providers.

  • Old Faithful in Upper Geyser Basin
  • Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway Geyser Basin
  • Artist Point / Inspiration Point in Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

2 Day Yellowstone National Park Trip Itinerary: If you have two days in Yellowstone National Park, you could spend a day leisurely exploring all geothermal features in the Upper Geyser Basin & Grand Prismatic Spring. And the second day exploring the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs.

  • Day 1 – Explore all geothermal features in Upper Geyser Basin, including Old Faithful and a hike to the Morning Glory Pool, and then head to the Midway Geyser Basin to see the Grand Prismatic Spring.
  • Day 2 – Start your day at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and then head to Mammoth Hot Springs to see the limestone travertine terraces.

3 Day Yellowstone National Park Trip Itinerary: Same as the 2-day itinerary, plus exploring the geologic features in the West Thumb Geyser Basin and wildlife watching in Lamar Valley.  

  • Day 1 – Explore all geothermal features in Upper Geyser Basin, including Old Faithful and a hike to the Morning Glory Pool, and then head to the West Thumb Geyser Basin, located about 20 miles east of Upper Geyser Basin.
  • Day 2 – Start your day at Grand Prismatic Spring and then visit the Mud Volcano area and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
  • Day 3 – Start your day at Mammoth Hot Springs by exploring the limestone travertine terraces and then head to Lamar Valley, located east of Mammoth Hot Springs, to watch wildlife.
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Lodging & Dining In Yellowstone National Park

I recommend staying in one of the Yellowstone lodges or campgrounds for easy access to the Park and an authentic Yellowstone experience!

There are several lodging and dining options inside Yellowstone National Park, including nine lodges and twelve campgrounds. You will find a few lodging options in the nearby towns of West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cody. However, with easy access to several geyser basins and vista points, staying in one of the lodges within Yellowstone National Park is my first choice. 

Yellowstone National Park Lodges: There’re nine lodges in Yellowstone National Park, two are open year-round, and others are seasonal open outside the winter months. Undoubtedly, staying inside the Park is the best lodging choice when visiting Yellowstone, but these lodges are often sold out, especially during the peak seasons – June through August. You must plan and make your reservations way in advance, which can be done online on the Yellowstone National Park Lodges website.

  • Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins: Located near Mammoth Hot Springs, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins is open year-round and offers guest rooms and cabins with modern decor and amenities, inhouse restaurants, a few guided tours.
  • Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins: The Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins, located in the Upper Geyser Basin, offers year-round hotel rooms and cabin style accommodation, restaurants, and seasonal shuttle services to and from the Bozeman Airport during the winter months.
  • Canyon Lodge and Cabins: Located on the east side of the Yellowstone National Park, the seasonal Canyon Lodge and Cabins is a large establishment with several lodge rooms, cabins, and several dining options.
  • Old Faithful Inn: Old Faithful Inn, a national historic landmark and a seasonal lodge, is located a few steps from the Old Faithful Geyser. Old Faithful Inn offers hotel rooms and suites complemented with several dining options and easy access to the iconic Old Faithful Geyser and several other geothermal features in the Upper Geyser Basin.
  • Lake Lodge Cabins: Located close to the northern shore of Yellowstone Lake, the seasonal Lake Lodge Cabins offers log cabins and rooms with several dining choices and spectacular views of the Yellowstone Lake.
  • Old Faithful Lodge Cabins: Right next to Old Faithful Inn, the Old Faithful Lodge Cabins offers rustic cabins, and guests have access to the restaurants and cafes of the Old Faithfull Inn and obviously great views of Old Faithful Geyser.
  • Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cabins: The seasonal Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cabins offers the most luxurious accommodation in Yellowstone National Park. Located on the north shore of Yellowstone Lake, the sprawling property offers guest rooms, cabins, and a few great dining options.
  • Roosevelt Lodge Cabins: Located about 18 miles east of Mammoth Hot Springs and 15 miles west of Lamar Valley, the Roosevelt Lodge Cabins offers rustic cabins with an Old West vibe and a more wilderness experience.
  • Grant Village Lodge: The Grant Village Lodge, located on the west shore of Yellowstone Lake near the West Thumb Geyser Basin, offers well-furnished lodge rooms with a full-service restaurant. 

Yellowstone National Park Campgrounds: There’re 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park with over 2000 campsites, which might sound like a lot but are often sold out during the peak seasons! There’re five campgrounds that are managed by Yellowstone National Park Lodges, a concessionaire of the Park, and can be reserved online. The rest seven campgrounds are managed by National Park Service, and out which one is open year-round, and reservations are allowed for only three campgrounds that can be reserved online on Recreation.gov.

Campgrounds managed by Yellowstone National Park Lodges

  • Bridge Bay Campground, located on the north shore of Yellowstone Lake
  • Canyon Campground, located near Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
  • Fishing Bridge RV Park, also located on the north shore of Yellowstone Lake
  • Grant Village Campground, located close to the Grant Village Lodge
  • Madison Campground, located near the west entrance of Yellowstone

Campgrounds managed by National Park Service

  • Mammoth Campground, near North Entrance, reservable & open year-round
  • Norris Campground, located near Norris Geyser Basin
  • Slough Creek Campground, located 10 miles northwest of Lamar valley and reservable
  • Pebble Creek Campground, located north 5 miles northeast of Lamar Valley and reservable
  • Tower Fall Campground, located about 20 miles west of Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Indian Creek Campground, located 8 miles south of Mammoth Hot Spring
  • Lewis Lake Campground, located approximately 11 miles north of the South Entrance

Hotels Near Yellowstone National Park: If you’re unable to get a room in one of the Park lodges, your only other option is to stay in one of the bread and breakfasts located in the nearby town of West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cody. Here’re my top picks for hotels outside the Yellowstone National Park

Restaurants In Yellowstone National Park: There’re ample dining options inside Yellowstone National Park, including restaurants, cafeterias in the Park lodges and vending machines, and Park stores at the visitor centers and ranger stations. If you’re staying outside the Park, you will find a few local restaurants in the town of West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cody. However, as you would spend most of the time inside Yellowstone National Park, I have listed the popular dining options offered in the Park.

  • Dining Options In Mammoth Hot Springs: The Mammoth area, the north section of Yellowstone National Park, is open year-round and has few great dining choices, including Mammoth Hotel Dining Room, Mammoth Terrace Grill, Mammoth Hotel Map Room Bar, and Mammoth General Store.
  • Dining Options In Old Faithful / Upper Geyser Basin: There’re several restaurants and cafeterias in the Upper Geyser Basin area, including the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room, Bear Pit Lounge in Old Faithful Inn, 
  • and Obsidian Dining Room, Geyser Grill in Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and two general stores.
  • Dining Options In Lake Village: The north shore of Yellowstone Lake is home to a few good eateries in the Park – Lake Hotel Dining Room, Lake Hotel Deli, Lake Lodge and Cabins Cafeteria, and two general stores.
  • Dining Options In Grant Village / West Thumb Geyser Basin: The dining choices near the West Thumb Geyser Basin includes the Grant Village Lodge Dining Room and the Lake House at Grant.
  • Dining Options In the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: The dining options here are limited to the Canyon Lodge’s eatery and cafeteria.
  • Dining Options In Northcentral Yellowstone: The best place to eat in the northcentral section of Yellowstone is the Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in an Old West setting.
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The Ultimate Travel Guide To Yellowstone National ParkI hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Yellowstone National Park, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to Yellowstone National Park. You can find other Wyoming attractions in my Wyoming Travel Guide.

Happy feeding your soul!
Shreyashi

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2 comments

Santosh Reddy June 13, 2024 - 1:18 pm

Thank you so much for the detailed information. Very helpful!

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Travel The Food For The Soul June 17, 2024 - 10:15 pm

Thanks, Santosh! I’m happy that you found the article useful, and I wish you an amazing time at Yellowstone!

Reply

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