Lodging at Yellowstone National Park

by Ethan Shaw
Lodging is available in Yellowstone, including right beside the famous Old Faithful.

Lodging is available in Yellowstone, including right beside the famous Old Faithful.

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While many overnight visitors to Yellowstone National Park choose to camp, there are also plenty of less rustic options in the form of lodges, hotels and cabins. As of 2010, the concessionaire managing these was Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which also administers some of the park’s campgrounds and shops, touring services and restaurants. These accommodations, which range from deluxe suites to rustic wood-heated cabins, are spread along the park road system near many of Yellowstone’s most visited landmarks. Whether it’s the height of the summer tourist season or deep in Rocky Mountain winter, Yellowstone lodging combines luxury and wilderness on the volcanic plateaus.

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Historical Lodging

A number of the lodging options in the park are deeply entwined with Yellowstone’s history. The Old Faithful Inn, named for the famous (and famously reliable) geyser nearby, is the most popular, according to Xanterra Parks and Resorts. Built in 1904 and added onto in the ensuing decades, the Inn sports a cavernous lobby with striking rafters. Even older--though, like the Inn, remodeled in modern times--is Lake Yellowstone Hotel, completed originally in 1891. It sits on the shores of Lake Yellowstone, the largest high-elevation lake in North America and one of the park’s heraldic landmarks.

Summer Options

The Old Faithful Inn and Lake Yellowstone Hotel are examples of summer lodging, open typically from May through October. There are numerous other accommodations. Roosevelt Lodge Cabins, located north of Tower Falls and between Mammoth and the Northeast Entrance, come in two types: “frontier” and “roughrider,” the latter more sparsely furnished. Visitors here have easy access to the wildlife-rich sagebrush flats and hills of the Lamar Valley to the northeast. At Canyon Village, guests can find an expansive lodge and numerous cabins; these facilities lie near both the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Canyon Visitor Education Center, opened in 2006, with its exhibits on the Yellowstone hot spot and other aspects of park geology and ecology.

Winter Options

Two lodges accommodate winter visitors looking to experience the park under its impressive yearly mantle of snow. Carriage rides and ski/snowshoe routes are available from the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins, usually open from December to March. The lodge and cabins are accessible only by approved forms of over-the-snow transportation; the road to Old Faithful is closed during the winter. Snow season motorists can drive to the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, also open in the summer; the road between Gardiner, Montana and the park’s Northeast Entrance is kept plowed.

Pricing

Yellowstone lodges, hotels and cabins cost more on a nightly basis than the park's campsites. As of 2010, the most expensive options were the suites in places like the Old Faithful Inn and the Lake Yellowstone Hotel. Cheapest were some of the more rustic cabins like the "roughrider" units of the Roosevelt Lodge Cabins, some of which cost under $100 per night. As of that year, Xanterra Parks and Resorts also offered package specials with lodging, meals and guided activities.

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

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