Wondering where to stay in Yellowstone National Park? This Yellowstone Accommodation Guide is filled with all of the best lodging near Yellowstone, plus options within the park.
As America’s very first national park, and one of the most-visited parks, Yellowstone National Park is quite famous. It sees over 4 million visitors each year from all over the world. With those numbers, it’s no surprise that there are so many Yellowstone accommodation options. With so many hubs in and around the park, deciding where to stay in Yellowstone National Park can be confusing.
Yellowstone is absolutely huge. It’s about 3,500 square miles covering parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Because of its size, there isn’t one hub that is more convenient than the rest. If you stay in West Yellowstone, seeing the East side of the park can be tough. Staying South of the park will make it very inconvenient to see the Northern region of the park.
Yellowstone Accommodation Guide
The best way to decide where to stay when visiting Yellowstone National Park is to figure out which parts of the park you want to see most. Get a rough plan of your itinerary (what to see, which activities you want to do, how much time you want to spend in the park, how many days you will be there), and then choose the best accommodation hub for your itinerary.
For example: if you really want to see both Yellowstone and Grand Teton, stay somewhere South of Yellowstone. If you only have a couple of days and you want to see Old Faithful and the surrounding geyser basins, stay in the park at one of the Old Faithful lodges.
Obviously, you will have to take budget and timing into account when choosing where to stay in Yellowstone. If you want to get the best choices, book well in advance. If your trip is last-minute, you’re probably going to have to pay a bit more for a bit less. However, there are plenty of Yellowstone accommodation options regardless of your budget and timing.
Besides the variety of lodging and campgrounds within Yellowstone National Park, there are hubs outside of the 5 main entrances to the park:
- Northwest Entrance: Gardiner, Montana
- Northeast Entrance: Cooke City, Montana
- East Entrance: Cody, Wyoming
- South Entrance: Grand Teton National Park & Jackson Hole
- West Entrance: West Yellowstone
West Yellowstone is a popular hub for visiting Yellowstone; staying south of Yellowstone puts you in the heart of another national park, with tons of other stuff to do; getting to Cody from the east entrance is quite the drive, but it’s a great location for anyone interested in the “wild west”; the northeast entrance is very small and isolated, but it’s smack dab in the middle of incredible forests; Gardiner is a pretty lively little town during peak season, with lots of restaurants and hotels.
There is no “best place to stay in Yellowstone” in my opinion. Each place will make for a different experience, so it depends on what you’re looking for. Long drive times are inevitable if you really want to see as much of Yellowstone as possible, so consider that part of the trip no matter where you stay.
The point of this guide is to help you decide where to stay in or near Yellowstone, as in which hub or region, rather than which hotel. I’ve put together as much information as I could about each hub around Yellowstone, with a few recommendations in each area to help you get started with your planning.
Where to Stay in Yellowstone National Park
If you want convenience while visiting Yellowstone, then obviously staying inside the park is your best option. It cuts out commuting time to get into the park every morning, which can be quite time-consuming from some hubs. Plus, staying inside the park is an absolute dream, being surrounded by the incredible scenery and wildlife while you sleep.
There are a variety of accommodation options inside Yellowstone National Park. Options range from bare-bones camping to more luxurious hotels. With accommodation all around the park, you can stay near Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, or even right near Old Faithful.
The pros of staying inside Yellowstone are obvious (convenience being the top reason), but there are some cons to consider. Prices during peak season are high, and accommodation generally needs to be booked far in advance. Camping is especially hard to plan, since some campsites are strictly first-come, first-serve basis.
Note that most accommodations in Yellowstone National Park do not have TVs, free wi-fi (paid internet service is available), or air conditioning. This is a pro in my opinion, but you can decide if that works for you or not.
Lodging in Yellowstone National Park
- Old Faithful Area: In the Old Faithful area, there are multiple lodges: Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge, and Old Faithful Snow Lodge. All three lodges are open during the summer season, and the Snow Lodge is open through the winter season. There are a range of dining options in the Old Faithful area, from quick convenience food to formal dining.
- Lake Village: Lake Village is located right on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, in the Southeast quadrant of the park. This area includes the Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cabins and the Lake Lodge Cabins. Lake Yellowstone Hotel is an historic, Colonial Revival hotel, and is one of the more luxurious options within in the park. The Lake Lodge Cabins have a more rustic vibe, though they’re still quite nice, but rooms are much simpler. Within Lake Village you’ll also find a deli, a formal dining room, a cafeteria, and multiple gift/convenience shops.
- Mammoth Hot Springs: The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins are located in the historic Fort Yellowstone area, just a short walk from the Mammoth Hot Springs terraces. This is the best place to stay if you want to focus on all there is to do in the Northwest region of Yellowstone. Wandering through the area will make you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time to the early days of the park. Multiple restaurants and amenities are nearby.
- Canyon Village: Canyon village is a popular spot in the park as it’s the closest hub to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. There are tons of fun eateries here, plus a fantastic visitor center with extensive exhibits. As far as accommodation goes, there is the Canyon Lodge & Cabins. It’s the largest accommodation option in Yellowstone National park with over 500 rooms, and it’s also the largest sustainable lodging in all of the national parks!
- Grant Village: Toward the Southern end of Yellowstone is Grant Village. Here you’ll find a couple of lodges and restaurants. It’s probably one of the less-popular accommodations in Yellowstone due to its size and location. It’s near the West Thumb Geyser Basin, and it’s the closest location to Grand Teton National Park.
- Roosevelt Lodge: The Roosevelt Lodge & Cabins are the most rustic lodging option in Yellowstone (outside of camping). The lodge is reminiscent of the classic Wyoming “wild west” way of life, with log cabins, simple rooms, and a traditional cookout on offer.
- Camping: There are a total of 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park. 7 of them are run by the National Park Service and are first-come, first-serve only. The other 5 Yellowstone campgrounds are run by an outside management company. These campgrounds allow reservations.
Best Lodging Near Yellowstone National Park
West of Yellowstone: Lodging in West Yellowstone
If you want to stay in an area bustling with activity, then you should consider staying in West Yellowstone. You’ll have hundreds of accommodation options to choose from in this town, including nice hotels, fun campgrounds, and luxurious vacation rentals.
West Yellowstone is the closest town to the park, making it quick and easy to get in and out of the park every day. It’s probably the most convenient place to find lodging near Yellowstone. Plus the drive to popular spots like Old Faithful isn’t too long, so it’s the perfect base for exploring the west side of the park.
There are also tons of activities and things to do in West Yellowstone, so your time outside of the park won’t be boring. You’ll have easy access to other outdoor spots and activities like fishing and hiking, and plenty of fun stuff for the whole family. This is definitely a great family destination.
Where to Stay in West Yellowstone
- Yellowstone Under Canvas: Under Canvas is a glamping set-up with locations near a few national parks (Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, and a few more). This is luxury camping at its finest. You’ll stay in canvas tents with comfortable beds, some with private bathrooms. And, of course, you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Yellowstone country.
- Clubhouse Inn: West Yellowstone’s Clubhouse Inn is a simple hotel with a variety of nice rooms and suites. There’s also an indoor pool, continental breakfast, and pets are welcome.
- Hostels: If you’re looking for a hostel in Yellowstone, try the Yellowstone Hostel or the hostel at the Madison Hotel. Both options provide a communal environment with a lot of room options, ranging from shared to private.
- Yellowstone Park/West Gate KOA: KOA is a campground with locations all over the country. In my experience, KOA campgrounds are pretty good. If you prefer camping in a maintained campground, this is a good option. There are cabins, tent sites, and RV sites.
South of Yellowstone: Lodging in Grand Teton & Jackson Hole
Staying south of Yellowstone is a good option if you are also interested in exploring Grand Teton National Park and the greater Jackson Hole area. There is so much to see south of Yellowstone, so this is a great place to search for accommodation. Options include accommodation within Grand Teton National Park (which is directly outside of Yellowstone’s South entrance), and tons of accommodation in the Jackson Hole Valley.
However, if the main objective of your trip is to see Yellowstone National Park, this isn’t the most convenient option. Accommodation in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole is hard to come by and can be extremely expensive. With Jackson Hole being a popular destination on its own, most hotels are booked up well in advance.
It’s also quite a long drive to get into Yellowstone National Park from Jackson Hole. That being said, I have done a day trip to Yellowstone from south of Grand Teton, and hundreds of people do it every day. This is especially doable if you want to focus on the southern half of Yellowstone (West Thumb, Old faithful, Yellowstone Lake, etc.).
Where to Stay in Jackson Hole
- Grand Teton: You’ll find a variety of accommodation options within Grand Teton National Park. There’s the Jackson Lake Lodge, the Jenny Lake Lodge, Signal Mountain Lodge, and Colter Bay Village to name a few. There are also lots of ranches and campsites to choose from. For the sake of visiting Yellowstone, I would recommend staying on the northern end of the park, at either Jackson Lake Lodge or the Colter Bay Cabins.
- Flagg Ranch: If you’re going to stay south of Yellowstone, my number one accommodation recommendation is Headwaters Lodge and Campground at Flagg Ranch. This Yellowstone lodging option is in the “no-man’s land” between Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Technically in neither park, it is the perfect location if you want to visit both.
- Teton Village: Teton Village is a popular ski resort just outside of Grand Teton National Park. It’s popular in both the winter and summer seasons, so lodging here is quite expensive and generally booked out. But if you plan far enough in advance, this a great location. Teton Village has multiple upscale lodges and hotels, plus a hostel and a few other options. You’ll also stay busy here with all of the restaurants, shops, activities, and events.
- Jackson Hole: Staying in Jackson Hole means a long drive up to Yellowstone, but this vacation town is a lot of fun. There are plenty of lodging options, from high-end resorts to basic motels, vacation homes, cabins, and everything in between. You can browse your options here.
East of Yellowstone: Lodging in Cody, Wyoming
Cody, Wyoming was an early Yellowstone hub. This town was founded by William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, in 1895-1901. This is the place to stay if you’re interested in the “wild west” culture of yesteryear.
Cody is a small town, but that doesn’t stop people from visiting. It’s about an hour from Yellowstone’s east entrance, and the drive will make you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere—which you are, really. But the road takes you through some incredible scenery, so it’s not bad at all.
There is plenty to do near Cody, like visiting the Buffalo Bill Dam, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (it contains 5 different museums), and rodeos and other traditional western events.
In addition to all of the lodging options in Cody, there are remote guest ranches, campgrounds, and other accommodation options between the east entrance and the town of Cody.
Where to Stay in Cody, Wyoming
- Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel: The historic Irma Hotel was built by Buffalo Bill, and it welcomed some of the most famous “wild west” names as guests. Step back into Cody’s history and stay in one of the traditional rooms or stop by for a drink or dinner.
- The Cody Hotel: The Cody is a standard hotel-style accommodation just outside of the town center. While it feels quite casual, it is a nice place with a price tag to match.
- Cody KOA: A national campground chain with cabins, tent sites, and RV sites. There are communal bathrooms and a gift shop. It’s very basic, but it has everything you need and it’s affordable.
North of Yellowstone: Lodging in Gardiner, Montana
West Yellowstone may technically be the closest town to the park, but Gardiner is pretty darn close too. A scenic drive to the North Entrance, a quick stop at the famous Roosevelt Arch, and then you’re right in the heart of town.
Gardiner is absolutely the best place to stay near Yellowstone if you’re interested in the northern sector of the park. It’s just a short drive to the Mammoth Hot Springs terraces and Fort Yellowstone. This is one of my favorite parts of the park with all there is to see and do.
Back in Gardiner, the town center is filled with great restaurants, and a range of lodging options line the highway along the Yellowstone River. Finding last minute accommodation here is not easy, so book well in advance–although, you really should plan ahead no matter where you stay.
Where to Stay North of Yellowstone
- Park Hotel: This charming boutique hotel has an historic quality. It’s inside of a recently renovated house from 1902, but the hotel itself is still quite new. It’s located right in town, and it’s close to the entrance gate.
- Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel: For a fun and unique glamping experience, book a stay at the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel. It’s about 5 miles from the park entrance, right on the Yellowstone River. There are 10 tipis available for rent, each with its own decor, plus a luxurious bathhouse with private bathrooms. You won’t want for anything here.
- North Yellowstone Lodge & Hostel: Staying at this hostel was so much fun. It was built to house guides from a local kayak outfitter, but it was later turned into a hostel. It’s such a cozy, laid-back kind of place. The rooms are located in the cabins, and the main house contains the kitchen, dining room, and lounge. The hostel is right on the Yellowstone River, with a spacious yard to enjoy the scenery. It’s about 10 minutes north of Gardiner.
- Chico Hot Springs: Chico Hot Springs is up in Pray, Montana, so it’s about an hour’s drive to Yellowstone. However, the remoteness of this historic resort is just one of many reasons to visit. It’s easy to spend an entire weekend here, relaxing in the hot spring pool and forgetting about the rest of the world. This isn’t the best choice for Yellowstone accommodation, but I wouldn’t completely write it off. If you just want to make a quick trip to Yellowstone for the day, the drive to Chico isn’t any crazier than some of the other accommodation hubs. Or you could come and stay up here after your Yellowstone adventures for a chance to wind down.
Yellowstone Accommodation Map
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