09 September 2009

Yellowstone National Park - You Gotta Go!!

A couple of weeks ago, I made a spur of the moment decision to head up to Yellowstone National Park over the long Labor Day weekend.  At the time there were no accommodations available in the park, so I reserved a hotel in West Yellowstone, MT.  Staying in the park is much more appealing to me, but I considered myself lucky to have found anything within a hundred mile radius of the park.  A few days before the trip, I scored big time and found a couple of cabins in the Canyon area of the park.  Yippeeee!!

Canyon Cabins

The cabins were "rustic" but clean.  In reading some reviews on these particular cabins, I noticed people tended to complain on the lack of amenities such as televisions, telephones, internet access, etc.  There were also many complaints on the cabins being old and rundown.  I found all of this quite amusing, especially having seen all of this information on the Xanterra website over the past 8 or 9 years.  Xanterra is the company that runs all of the concessions in the park, including food and lodging.  They are brutally honest about the amenities provided, so there should be no room for doubt on what to expect.  They state specifically, "In Yellowstone, televisions, radios, air conditioning, and wireless internet is not available.  In-room phones are not available at all locations.  Cell phone coverage is very limited throughout the park.  Swimming pools are not available."  Pretty clear, no?  Apparently not.

Their website also informs the reader that these cabins were built in the 1950s and have only undergone "basic" renovations in the past several years.  Read that again, "basic."  Some of the other cabins in the park were built in the 1920s, so you know we aren't talking 5 star resort/spa facilities.

Frankly, for my purposes, the cabins are perfect.  They're in the park, they're clean, and the beds are comfy.  Staying in the park cabins just adds to the ambiance of being in one of the most beautiful and rugged areas of our country.  There's a lot to be said for ambiance.  *I'm* not looking for five star resort quality accomodations in a national park.  I'm looking for someplace clean and dry to lay my head after a long day of hiking, photography, sightseeing, and avoiding large furry animals in the road.

He can take out a large car; I've seen it happen.

I love Yellowstone Park.  My dream job I think would be to a park ranger.  In Yellowstone.  In the summer.

My only issue would be trying to control myself while dealing with people who are ignorant of the fact that Yellowstone is a wild and potentially dangerous environment.  Worse yet, would be trying to deal with the people who are aware of the dangers, yet choose to ignore them.  Each time I visit the park, I am amazed and dismayed by some of the things people do.  For instance, this past trip, we came back to our cabin after a day out exploring and were greeted by a couple with two small children.  They were very excited about a bison that was lounging in the grass in front of another cabin just down the road.  They felt we really should go see this, and they proceeded to tell the children (the oldest being *maybe* 7 or 8) to LEAD US TO WHERE THE BISON WAS RESTING!  What?!  Are you kidding me?!  They were happily sending these kids off with complete strangers AND asking them to lead us to a very large, unpredictable, and dangerous animal.

Four people on average are injured by bison in the park each year.  That may not sound like very many, unless you are one of those four.

So, I'm not so sure it would be a good fit if I was to have to deal with that sort of stupidity on a daily basis.  As most of you know, I don't suffer fools well.

Yellowstone has got to be one of the most beautiful and amazing places on earth.  The landscape is so varied that it's very difficult to describe.  How about some photos instead?

Lake Yellowstone

Lower Falls

Mammoth Hot Springs

Hayden Valley

Norris Geyser Basin

a bird that joined us for a picnic

It's essential to plan ahead if you're wanting to stay in the park; especially if there is a particular area you are crazy about.  My favorite place to stay is the Lake Yellowstone Cabins which are situated, oddly enough, near Lake Yellowstone.

Lake Yellowstone Cabins
These cabins have been refurbished over the past few years and aren't quite as rustic as the cabins in the Canyon area.  It's an easy walk to the lake to watch the sunrise or sunset (take someone with you); and deer, bison, bear, and coyote frequent the area, which is why you don't want to wander off alone. 

All in all, I think it's the best location in the park.

I can't wait to go back!  In fact, I just booked another week long stay for next August. 

Only 332 days to go.  Not as if I'm counting or anything.


  1. I haven't been to Yellowstone since I was a teenager. You've almost convinced me to go back. Almost...but not quite. :)

  2. You have an excellent point regarding bison. I personally have had my car head butted by one of these bis guys while sitting still in a bison jam. When you consider that there is only, on average, one bear related injury a year in the park, four bison related injuries takes on a lot more significance. One reason is that people just don't have enough respect for these massive 2000 lb. behemoths. Frankly I try my best to maintain 100 yards from these guys, just as I do with bears; especially in the back country. When I see how close people get to these guys, I am amazed that more people are not hurt or killed. Yellowstone is not a petting zoo, and injuries happen in a heart beat!
    Ahh, come on Molly!!

  3. Those are beautiful shots!

    I learned my bison lesson with our very own Ralphie... I tried to touch her when she was visiting in her cage here, and when she protested... I listened.

    She is so in charge.

  4. Very informative post. Yellowstone National Park is famous for wide-ranging natural wonders. Tourists can experience its charm and magnificence. In Yellowstone National Park there are many animals like bison, mooses, elks, grizzly bears and wolves. Experience the sounds of Elk bulls in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, they will become part of unforgettable memories of your lifetime. Sounds create a most enchanting and commemorating experiences. Book your tickets quickly to enjoy the exotic destination. For more details refer Yellowstone National Park


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