Yellowstone's Finest Luxury Waterfront Log Cabin
Is Old Faithful really as faithful as they say? And other questions answered...Insider Tips and Links to Important Information
All of our guests are coming to stay with us to experience the wonders of Yellowstone National Park. We want you to enjoy your time in the Park with as little hassle as possible while seeing the most wildlife and scenery as you can. Here is a compilation of the most important tips and advice we can offer along with all the direct links to the information you will need.
- One of the best things about YNP is that when the founders planned out how people could best see it, they decided to lay the roads down so as to maximize exposure to the greatest wonders within the Park, creating two loops of roads. Therefore, you can easily see the whole park in just two days. The best way to accomplish this is to enter the gates and do the North Loop one day and the South Loop another day. You can find a detailed map of the Park here.
- The National Park Service has created an official app you can download to your phone. You can find it here.
- You can check the weather conditions for Yellowstone here.
- Getting into the Park is easy. Just drive to the West Gate, get in the line to drive in, pay your fees and get your map and Park Newspaper from the Ranger, and drive. The Fees can be found here.
- Now, a good piece of advice when taking the South Loop that includes Old Faithful is to check out this link to see what time it is predicted to next erupt. It's not as clockwork as many believe. Otherwise, you will hit the road that day and arrive just in time to sit and wait for an hour, wasting precious time that could be spent seeing the other amazing sights. This will also result in spending way too much money in the conveniently located gift shop and restaurant. They have a captive audience.
- Another great insider tip: on the day you take the North Loop, head out EARLY and go straight to the Lamar Valley. The Lamar Valley is often called the Serengeti of North America because the valley is crawling with critters, but never more so than in the early morning hours. Take your high powered binoculars and a camera with powerful lenses. It is there, in those early hours, that you are most likely to see wolves and bears hunting their prey right out in the open. It's astonishing and worth the investment of an extra cup of coffee! This is what you came to see! And don't worry. There is usually a Park Ranger hanging out to keep you safe.
- You will get into the park and start seeing bison. And then you will start taking pictures of bison. And then you will keep seeing bison. Everywhere. They are everywhere. Take a few pictures then stop wasting your time stopping over and over again to get more. The place is lousy with them. By the end of your day, you will be sick and tired of bison. Save your battery for the other creatures you are bound to encounter or the perfect shot.
- Another thing about bison: they look cute and calm but they are the most dangerous thing in YNP. More people are injured or killed by bison in YNP than all other animals combined. Seriously, stay away from them. High summer is when they are in mating season, making them even more unpredictable and dangerous. At all times, bison can go from calmly eating grass to mauling you within seconds. Really dumb people approach them for selfies every year only to get gored. When they walk by your vehicle (and this WILL happen, trust me) do not open your window to touch them or get closer. Give them plenty of space.
- One last thing about bison: DON'T put them in your trunk, even if your think they look cold or mommy-less.
- If you are planning on hiking, don't do it alone (groups of 3 or more are safest), always carry bear spray and know how to use it (Park Rangers give hourly talks about this important subject), and make lots of noise. You are in the heart of bear country. Be bear aware. Here's the best advice.
- Your cell phones won't work inside the vastness of YNP except in a few very concentrated areas such as some of the villages. It's best not to count on cell service being available at all.
- Stay on the marked pathways by the geothermic features. It's not only illegal to step off the path, but it's incredibly dangerous and often deadly. Keep on eye on the kiddos around these areas and in the Grand Canyon area.
- If you suddenly hit a traffic jam, it's 99% likely that an animal is either in the road or has been sighted from the road and everyone is stopping to have a look. This is when you are most likely to get a look at a bear. If you see people walking towards something, roll down your window and ask. This is when it gets exciting!
- There are places to eat in all the villages, but the nicest restaurants take reservations. We recommend making your reservations well in advance. That way, if you want a nice sit down meal with your group, you are guaranteed seating. But if you decide not to use your reservations, no big deal. You can make reservations here. However, packing your own picnic is a real treat. It costs a lot less and you can eat your meal surrounded by true beauty instead of tired tourists. Just pick your spot.
- If you have younger kids in your group, we highly recommend getting them involved in the Junior Ranger Program. When you first head into the Park, go straight to a Ranger Station and have the kids ask a Ranger for the Junior Ranger Workbook ($3). Depending on their age, they will need to fill in a certain number of the pages in the workbook by answering questions, attending free Ranger-led talks, and going on certain hikes. This may sound like work, but you are already going to these sites and the Park Rangers lead free talks and hikes at all of them all the time. The kids end up getting really involved in the trip, learning a thing or two, and earning a free badge when they're done. You can buy them a vest in the gift shops that they sew it onto and every national park you go to has the same program, allowing them to earn more badges. We highly recommend it!
- Mammoth Hot Springs is a real trek up lots and lots and lots of stairs. For those with bad knees or lungs, you will want to be prepared for it. There is a parking lot at the top (Upper Terraces). Go there.