Category Archives: Yellowstone

Yellowstone Report – 3 – Hotels

Yellowstone Report (a collection of brief notes about Yellowstone Park and neighborhoods)

(first entry, about the roads I have driven during my Yellowstone trip, available here)
(second entry, about the towns I have visited, available here)

Hotels

Best Western Garden Inn in Salt Lake City – Thinly spread out, double unguarded entrance means not everybody on its grounds is a guest or worker. Avoid room 419 if hoomping water heaters can wake you up.

Best Western Cross-Winds Motor Inn in West Yellowstone – Nicer than expected, pretty much motel-like plus jacuzzi and pool. Curiously worked at mostly by people from Slovakia.

Best Western Mammoth Hot Springs in Gardiner – Good but without free continental breakfast. You won’t want to go to Gardiner for the food anyway. Fantastic riverside views on wilderness from rooms 403 to 419.

Cabins in Canyon – Frontier-like with little amenities but best location to access the park from within.

Comfort Inn in Cody – Definitely upscale, most expensive and very comfortable but where is the elevator for the rooms upstairs?

Best Western Driftwood Inn in Idaho Falls – Pleasant surprise with great rooms and decors, pint-size easily-accessible pool, a few steps from the falls and with its own fall-in-the-wall by the entrance.

Best of the lot: Best Western Driftwood Inn in Idaho Falls

Not by a long shot: Best Western Garden Inn Salt Lake City, as it doesn’t check for stangers in its (enclosed but not locked) grounds.

Yellowstone Report – 2 – Towns

Yellowstone Report (a collection of brief notes about Yellowstone Park and neighborhoods)

(first entry, about the roads I have driven during my Yellowstone trip, available here)

2 – Towns and Cities

Bozeman, MT – upscale and relatively chic, perhaps due to the large University campus

Cody, WY – as artificial as West Yellowstone, but one does not really feel it. The “Nite Rodeo” is no fake wrestling competition

Cooke City, MT – this is the prototype Montana town one would expect, with a celebrated century-old general store still intact and a local cafe’ barbequeing hot dogs for you on the spot

Gardiner, MT – curiously tiny and spread over a long, winding road; somehow it looks like it should have some character, but it’s hard to find. Don’t go there for the the food, period.

Idaho Falls, ID – a curious place where the “downtown” area is also run-down, even worse than central Philadelphia. Then you cross a bridge and it’s a clean, quiet and fun place for the whole family, with impeccable riverside grass, views on the falls, plenty of restaurants.

Salt Lake City, UT – clean and easy to drive, too many strange characters walking about (and I don’t mean the Mormons)

West Yellowstone, MT – the most artificial of the lot, could be missed without missing anything

Visit again: Cooke City, Cody, Idaho Falls

Not by a long shot: West Yellowstone

Yellowstone Report – 1- The Roads

Yellowstone Report (a collection of brief notes about Yellowstone Park and neighborhoods)

(Second entry, about the towns and cities I have visited during my Yellowstone trip, is available here)

1- The Roads

West Yellowstone-Madison – gentle forested intro to the park

Madison-Old Faithful – spectacturlarly vaporous in the extreme

Old Faithful to West Thumb – short climbs through a variety of panoramas

West Thumb to Grand Tetons – heavily forested, good access to lakes

West Thumb to Fishing Bridge – perhaps the most boring; it veers on the left and on the right for no obvious reason, and forever

Fishing Bridge to Canyon – Hayden Valley, lots of animals (bisons) especially around sunrise. Plus mud volcanoes and sulphur cauldrons

Canyon to Norris – not much to see by the roadside, but it is short

Norris to Madison – more hot springs

Norris to Mammoth – quite a few spectacular vistas

Mammoth to Gardiner – dramatic descent out of the park

Mammoth to Tower – not much to see by the roadside

Tower to Canyon – this takes much longer than it looks on paper. Road keeps winding up and down mountains, in and out of forests. Very nice if you have the time, avoid if you don’t

Tower to Cooke City – Lamar Valley, large areas of open space, impressive mountainous panoramas

East entrance to Lake – not as exciting as expected, apart from the lookouts on the Yellowstone lake

Beartooth Pass – very winding road, incredible scenery. Should be done both ways, with plenty of resting time at the top

Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone via Idaho Falls – just keep driving (but stop at Antelope Island to appreciate the Great Salt Lake, and Dinosaur Park for impressive amusement)

Grand Tetons (Jenny Lake) to Idaho Falls – better than expected with Teton Pass

Drive again: Beartooth Pass (after anesthesizing the family); Canyon to Fishing Bridge (every day at 6am); Tower to Cooke City (same); Canyon to Tower (just give it a whole day); Norris to Mammoth (most beautiful)

Not by a long shot: West Thumb to Fishing Bridge (walking it may be a more fun option)