Plans

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

 

As a haven for travelers, the Mammoth area predates the establishment of Yellowstone National Park when it comes to offering services for the curious. McCartney's Hotel, opened by James McCartney and Harry Horr, opened in the general Mammoth area in 1871 -- a year before Yellowstone was designated a National Park. Besides being an early Yellowstone hotelier, Horr has a greater claim to fame: he bestowed the Mammoth moniker on the nearby hot springs, the name that sticks to this day.

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The Sightseeing Table

The table below is a great planning tool in selecting places to visit and things to see while going to and from Yellowstone Park. It covers things both inside Yellowstone National Park and outside the park but within the Greater Yellowstone Region. This is a checklist approach to seeing the greater Yellowstone area. There is obviously subjective judgment involved, and as they say, your mileage may vary. Planning with this kind of listing is certainly not the only appropriate way to visit the park. There are many other approaches, including completely random wandering. Depending on your interests, you can concentrate on things like seeing wildlife, taking pictures, studying geology, or just driving around to soak up the scenery. There are so many ways to see a place as rich and diverse as the Yellowstone region.

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Suggested 2 Day Tour

Tours of two days or more allow some spare time to see Yellowstone National Park, compared to trying to do it all in one day. However, the driving time almost inevitably increases, as typically it's necessary to drive to and from wherever you spend the night. Yellowstone's a big park, so even these drives can take an hour or more. Longer tours are also more open to variation; if you ask any ten Yellowstone veterans for the best itinerary for two (or three) days, you will probably get eleven or twelve answers. Our suggestions try hard not to be arbitrary, this two day itinerary more or less splits the park thematically: First day concentrates on the famous geysers and geyser basins, the second day visits Yellowstone River, Canyon, and Lake -- a water day. Both days involve at least six hours of sightseeing (not counting starting/ending drive time), but there's some flexibility to make unscheduled stops.

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Suggested 3 Day Tour

A three-day visit to Yellowstone National Park makes it possible to see the main highlights without the pressure to do a lot of driving every day. (Keep in mind that in a driving tour of Yellowstone, the driver rarely gets to enjoy the scenery.) Of course, depending on where you are staying the night, there may be considerable commuting to and from where you start and finish the day. Like the suggested Two Day Itinerary, Day One begins with Old Faithful and a stop at the Visitor Center to get the predicted times for major geyser eruptions. Everyone can and should see Old Faithful, but catching others, such as Grand, Daisy, Castle, Riverside, and Great Fountain, is a matter of luck and some planning. Day Two and Day Three are really interchangeable. Day Three is relatively short, and some might prefer to make it the middle day of a three-day tour.

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Old Faithful Snow Lodge

The Yellowstone Snow Lodge is one of the more recent additions to Yellowstone National Park, but it is not lacking in the rustic charm and natural ambiance associated with Yellowstone National Park and the other hotels. Built in 1999, it is the only hotel in the Old Faithful area open all year round, but it's mainly geared towards people looking for a place to stay in winter, hence "Snow Lodge." Its architecture also reflects and reinforces the wild, organic setting of Yellowstone, being constructed mainly out of wood and built in the style of a cabin. The lobby greets visitors with comfy chairs and a warm fireplace, a great place to relax and sip a nice warm drink. The rooms are also an extension of the "Lodge" theme, as they are spacious and comfortable, with full bathrooms and telephones.

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Recommended day trips when kids are along

1. See the Buffalo Bill Historical Society in Cody, Wyoming. 2. Go fly-fishing. 3. Visit West Yellowstone. 4. Visit Grand Teton National Park. 5. Take a long car trip (Chief Joseph Highway or Beartooth Pass), and enjoy the rugged beauty of Montana and/or Wyoming.

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The Beartooth Highway

The Beartooth Highway from Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana is one of the most spectacular and renowned mountain roads in the United States. It traverses some of the largest of high plateaus in North America, crosses the Beartooth Pass at 10,974 ft / 3,345 m, and provides awe-striking vistas of deep canyons and snow covered mountains. It is an official “All …

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Buffalo Bill Historical Center

Buffalo Bill Historical Center – It may sound like a local dust catcher. It’s not. It’s a world-class museum and interpretive center, or more correctly, five museum centers: Cody Firearms Museum Whitney Gallery of Western Art Buffalo Bill Museum Plains Indian Museum Draper Museum of Natural History. There is no better place to get an overview of the Greater Yellowstone …

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Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake doesn’t have the drama of an erupting geyser, nor the force of the waterfalls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, but it holds the third position in things to see in Yellowstone by its sheer scope and majestic surroundings. It’s the second largest lake in the world at high elevation and the only one that isn’t ‘civilized’. …

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Grand Teton National Park

Few mountain ranges anywhere in the world rise more dramatically than the Grand Tetons from Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park is, of course, a major destination in its own right and certainly a ‘must see’ for those going to or from Yellowstone from the south. This is some of the most photographed scenery in the country and the backdrop for …

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