Advice for late June trip to Yellowstone?

Old Apr 2nd, 2001, 07:05 PM
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Advice for late June trip to Yellowstone?

My husband has a business trip and we would like to tack on four days at the end of June to see Yellowstone. We will be coming from Minneapolis, and it looks like either Bozeman or Billings will be the most econmomical place to fly into. Any advice on that? Also, where do you suggest we stay? I wish we had longer, and that I had more time to plan, but this came up quickly. Thanks for your insight! This is a great board!
Old Apr 2nd, 2001, 10:26 PM
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There have been several questions and good posts on this topic lately. I'd suggest that you do a search to see what you come up with. If the search doesn't cover what you want, let us know and we'll be happy to help.
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 08:13 AM
Bob Brown
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Hi Laura. I hope you will not think my response is flippant, but here it is:
Have you got a tent? If so take it an hope you can find a permitted place to put it!!
Before I wrote this, I checked the Amfacs website for cabins or rooms of any type at three locations in Yellowstone. Guess what, nothing was open.
Sometimes you can squeeze in by calling the reservations office rather than using the web. The number is 307 344 7311. Often a room without !! a bath is available at Old Faithful Inn. (The showers are close, but down the hall.)
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but for Yellowstone, 6 months of lead time is normal. I reserved in December for late May.
Do not totally despair, however.
I suggest that you fly into Billings and spend the night in Red Lodge. The next day, bright and early, drive over the Beartooth Pass to Yellowstone. The route is highly scenic and by late June the road should be clear of snow.
There are motels in the little burg of Cooke City just outside the Northeast Entrance. Also, there are quite a few motels in the town of West Yellowstone.
The motels are about 30 miles from Old Faithful. My suggestion is as follows:
Spend the first night in Red Lodge and leave early for Yellowstone. Spend one full day there as you traverse the park.
You could easily see the Yellowstone Canyon and those beautiful falls. From the falls you could drive to West Yellowstone via Norris Geyser Basin, if there was still time.
The next day from a base in West Yellowstone, visit the geyser basins around Old Faithful. In that area, the two best geysers are Grand and Castle.
In the past these geysers are somewhat predictable, but often they entail a wait. Grand is exactly that - grand; it is quite a show and worth the wait. (You will want lunch somewhere, might as well eat while waiting for something special.)
I have seen Grand spout as high as 300 feet and the crowd broke into applause and cheers. No kidding.
From the Old Faithful basin you could continue over to Lake Yellowstone and see the sights in that region. If you can find a room in the town of Jackson, Wyoming, you could continue south to the Tetons. The following day you could return to Billings for your flight home.
As for the Tetons, I don't know if any rooms are still open or not. Signal Mountain Lodge is a good place, but it is not the only one. I am less familiar with the accommodations in the Tetons, but if anything is open, the general consensus on this forum is that accommodations in the Tetons are better than those in Yellowstone.
If you will pardon a political aside, the Yellowstone accommodations are run by the Fred Harvey Co. and it has had a gold mine in operation for centuries!!
There is little reason to spend profits on upkeep when the cabins rent like they are. The Tetons places have more competition from the town of Jackson and they have to provide a good return for the tourist dollar, if they want business.
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 11:17 AM
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Thank you, Bob and Sal. I did a search as you suggested and will let you know what happens. Billings looks like the best bet for us, and I'm looking forward to it!
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 11:40 AM
Bob Brown
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I read somewhere, or someone told me, that there are festivities going on in Red Lodge during the summer. I recall that there is a pig race in Red Lodge.
If you stay there overnight, the Yodler seems to be a motel that gives good value for the dollar.
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 11:47 AM
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I did a search on the web for Yellowstone Inn two days ago and there was nothing. Yesterday (April 2), I checked again and there were three rooms available! I was surprised! I didn't take any of them--too expensive for me. I also found a room at Lake Yellowstone Lodge. I'm still waiting for an opening at Signal Mountain. But I just wanted to let Laura know it's worth check every day.
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 11:49 AM
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Oops! I should have said I was checking on one of my dates in August. June might be different, but I still suppose that cancellations might occur at any time.
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 02:11 PM
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Stay in the park, for sure. There are many lodging choices. Mammoth Hot Springs is the closest to MT airports.

Some other advice:

Always check back with AMFAC DAILY if not Weekly for reservations. There are always many cancellations. You will get a room, just keep trying. There are also many different choices in rooms (some without bathrooms, most with).

Make a dinner reservation (now) for the Old Faithful Inn. Even if you don't end up staying there. When you receive your AMFAC reservation confirmation package they list all the direct phone numbers to the different lodges / restaurants.

Go to to their chat area. This is by far the best source for basic, intermediate and advanced Yellowstone information, planning, etc. Many interested people, former and current park and Hamilton Stores employees, YNP lovers read this often and give #1 advice. For example, they post updates on geyser activity (when necessary), wolf pack sightings, etc... Read the old posts and you will learn a farily good amount.

The 45th Parallel runs just north of Mammoth Hot Springs. good photo op when you enter the park from the N. Also, a natural hot spring is nearby. Good place to take a dip.

Also, the National Park SErvice has a trip planner. make sure you request one in the mail.
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 02:44 PM
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I agree with Bob...also, plan for the worst and hope for the far as hotel reservations..I would think you will not have trouble staying in Red Lodge or Cooke City...but I think bob had great advice to recommend that you use West Yellowstone as a base camp..there are many nice hotels and motels there...and I would think that you can book into there and drive in and out of the Park for what ever activities you choose.......West Yellowstone is a nice place..and you can easily see all of the park in different days using it as a base camp....
Old Apr 4th, 2001, 07:04 AM
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I agree with Bob about Red Lodge and Cooke City - Yodlers in Red Lodge is quite nice and very nice owners. Always stay at Hoosiers in Cooke City. Small, immaculate and again very nice owners.

The pig races Bob referred to are held at Bear Creek, about 10kms. from Red Lodge (on weekends only). They are really fun and worth the time.

All around Red Lodge and Cooke City is spectacular scenery. You can't go wrong.

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