Thursday, November 12, 2020

Yellowstone National Park: Travel Planning FAQ

Adventurous Tastes | Yellowstone FAQ over a mountain and river view


How many days should I spend in Yellowstone?

3 full days at a minimum but we found more than enough to keep us busy for 4.5 days of park time, and of course if you add on overnight camping that might get even longer.

How do I get around Yellowstone?

The park is big and we drove for hours each day. But the scenery throughout is gorgeous so you never mind. Worth noting that even non-hike viewing areas often require a mile of walking around flat boardwalks so dress in comfortable shoes regardless of your plans. Parking at the most popular sites, like Old Faithful, can get crowded even in off-season so plan accordingly.

Where should I stay if I am visiting Yellowstone?

Ideally you'd spend part of your time in the more bustling West Yellowstone (western entrance) and part in Gardiner (northern entrance). This cuts down on travel time. If you have less time, choose whichever side puts you closer to your must-see sites.

What's the best time of year to visit Yellowstone?

Summer is high season but go during the shoulder of late spring or early fall if you want great weather and fewer traffic jams. I loved late September/early October.

Is Yellowstone safe during COVID?

We found it very safe. Bathrooms are clean and stocked with hand sanitizer. We wore our masks when around others and were never in a crowd. I was ultimately more worried about being eaten by a bear than of COVID, so don't forget your bear spray. Animal traffic jams are also a thing so be safe and drive slowly, especially around curves or in the dark.

What airport should I fly into for Yellowstone National Park?

Jackson Hole and Bozeman airports are both close to the park. We found that car rentals were notably cheaper near Bozeman so we chose to use that airport.

Does Yellowstone have internet access?

No, it's a service dead zone so except for a rare moment atop a mountain or near a lodge (and that was never guaranteed), you will have no service at all. Download your map in advance and don't forget to get your Gypsy Guide!

I don't have much time in Yellowstone, what can't I miss?

Depends on the person but for me it was all about photography and animals, so Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Prismatic Springs, Artist's Point, and Old Faithful (overrated but too famous to miss) are on my must-list.

Is it free to visit Yellowstone?

No, a one week pass will set you back $35. If you think you might visit anywhere else this year, I recommend the America the Beautiful Pass instead for $80.
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