Hotels & Motels in West Yellowstone, Montana

by Ethan Shaw
West Yellowstone, Montana, gives easy access to Yellowstone National Park.

West Yellowstone, Montana, gives easy access to Yellowstone National Park.

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West Yellowstone is one of the major outposts at the fringe of America’s oldest national parks and one of its biggest, at least in the lower 48 states. Yellowstone National Park lies mostly in northwestern Wyoming, but a bit spills into both Idaho and Montana; West Yellowstone lies near the junction of all three states, not far from the park’s west entrance. Hotels, motels and other accommodation types cater to Yellowstone area visitors, whether they are staying in town for the entire vacation or simply waiting for a campsite in the park.

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Hotels

There are several large deluxe hotels in West Yellowstone. Three Bear Lodge on Yellowstone Avenue --originally constructed in 1932 -- has highly individualized rooms featuring stylized wooden furniture. Some of the rooms sport their own balconies. The West Yellowstone Holiday Inn, conveniently set along the approach to the national park entrance, offers four room styles: traditional, family suite, king spa and luxury suite. A heated pool and sauna entertain lodgers in the West Yellowstone Comfort Inn on Madison Avenue.

Motels

Many motels cluster in West Yellowstone. The Pony Express Motel on Firehole Avenue has both deluxe suites -- able to sleep up to eight people and featuring full-size kitchens -- and basic rooms, all of which feature wireless Internet service. Some of the Evergreen Motel’s rooms also have kitchen units with refrigerators and dining tables. Al's Westward Ho Motel with its standard rooms, kitchenettes and family suites sits across the street from West Yellowstone's IMAX theater.

Attractions

West Yellowstone primarily markets itself as a gateway to the national park. Indeed, its hotels, motels and cabins are good jumping-off points for Yellowstone visitors: heading east into the park along Highway 20, you can reach Madison Junction, a major crossroads from which you can head south to the most accessible geyser basins in the Old Faithful area. Other options from Madison Junction are to turn northward to Norris and from there to Mammoth, with its impressive hot-springs terraces, or Canyon, along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. But other natural wonders lying outside the park are not far from West Yellowstone: for example, Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, two massive and scenic waterfalls on the Henry's Fork, westward in Idaho. Driving north on Highway 191 from West Yellowstone will eventually take you to Bozeman with its museums, university and other cultural attractions.

Seasonality

Lofty in altitude and battered by big storms shunted up the Snake River Plain, the Yellowstone country gets generous snows in the wintertime. Certain of West Yellowstone’s accommodations shut down in the winter. Plenty of others, however, remain open to cater to snow season visitors. Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance closes in the winter; its north and northeast entrances remain open. Reservations are a good idea during the height of the summer tourist season, when West Yellowstone may be heavily booked with Yellowstone day visitors.

About the Author

Ethan Shaw is a writer and naturalist living in Oregon. He has written extensively on outdoor recreation, ecology and earth science for outlets such as Backpacker Magazine, the Bureau of Land Management and Atlas Obscura. Shaw holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from the University of Wisconsin.

Photo Credits

  • Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images