We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please

Waterford
Level Contributor
158 posts
22 reviews
First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please

We are planning a trip to West Yellowstone at the end of September and would like advice. We will be staying in West Yellowstone for a few day's and then we'll drive to GNP for a few days before flying home.

What is the closest airport to West Yellowstone where we can rent a vehicle? We will be flying from Eastern US and for recent trips to GNP we've had to fly through Salt Lake City so I'm guessing (or should I say hoping) there is a smaller flight from there closer to YNP.

What are the "must see's" for this trip? We are hoping to make another trip to YNP so we don't expect to see everything.

I haven't checked on hotels yet but I'm assuming we won't be able to find a room in the park so we'll be looking at hotels outside the park.

Thanks

6 replies to this topic
Madison, WI
Level Contributor
10,332 posts
66 reviews
1. Re: First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please

There is an airport in West Yellowstone with car rentals. Be prepared for a health one-way drop fee if not returning car to West Yellowstone. You could also look at Bozeman, MT for same.

Madison, WI
Level Contributor
10,332 posts
66 reviews
2. Re: First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please

Also, in late September many services in Glacier NP will be closed. Going to the Sun stays open for a few more weeks, weather dependent. Be prepared for very cool nights...and maybe even some snow. Bring proper clothing.

Bemidji, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
2,806 posts
18 reviews
3. Re: First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please

Since you plan to see Yellowstone and Glacier, the way I would do it is fly into Bozeman to rent the car, then return the car there when done and fly home. You'll be flying in and out from an airport between the two parks so it won't be as long of a drive as from Salt Lake City to get to/from either park.

Spery, Iowa
Level Contributor
11,104 posts
181 reviews
4. Re: First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please

West Yellowstone airport closes Sept. 30. Most often, people report being unable to get a one-way rental from there.

You may be able to stay in the park by checking the website and calling. Use only www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

Do be prepared for winter weather. It may be beautiful, but you are getting late in the season for YNP, so you do need to be aware of the possibility.

Taylor, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
138 posts
51 reviews
5. Re: First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please

I'm not an expert, but for both of our trips to Yellowstone from PA, we flew into Bozeman, MT. It was an easy drive to West Yellowstone. (We didn't do Glacier at the same time, however. We're going to Glacier next week; only Glacier)

BTW, we stayed at Moose Creek Inn in West Yellowstone, in the new section. We prefer in park lodging, but this was a last minute trip. We enjoyed our stay in West Yellowstone. It was costly, though. I also secured some nights at Canyon Lodge (beautiful) and Old Faithful Snow Lodge (frontier cabin, not so good).

Have fun! Yellowstone is our favorite so far, but but seeing Glacier next week may change our opinion.

Edited: 27 July 2018, 22:23
Taylor, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
138 posts
51 reviews
6. Re: First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please

As far as the "must sees", it will be apparent as soon as you start driving around the park. Look for all the pullouts... seeing steam pots, mud pots, of course the geysers. Be sure to drive the eastern side called Hayden Valley, tons of bison. Don't get too excited when you see a single bison anywhere else, unless it's blocking the road. There's herds in Hayden!! Some nice hikes near the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (clear lake), and the Grand Prismatic Overlook on the western side. Drive the whole "figure 8" of the park!!

PS no cell service or car radio stations (can pay extra for Sirius radio)

Reply to: First visit to Yellowstone NP - advice please
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted