Yellowstone Lodging Advice.

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Yellowstone Lodging Advice.

by BobSmith » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:06 am

Okay. It's a done deal. This year for real.

My wife and I will be spending five nights in Yellowstone and three in the Tetons vicinity.

We'll need to stay in lodges/cabins. I'll leave my wife at the lodges while I go hiking/scrambling.

What I need is some advice. We'll want to stay at two different lodges, perhaps three. What would be the best lodge to hit first if I'm driving in from Salt Lake City? Our plan is to fly in to Salt Lake City and drive to Yellowstone. What would be the closest lodge inside the park if coming from that direction?

Also, any good recommendations for decent, inexpensive lodging close to Grand Tetons? (Like, right on the border.) I want to spend at least two days hiking in the Tetons and my wife wants to raft on the river one day.

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Arthur Digbee

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by Arthur Digbee » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:19 am

Decent, and inexpensive, and in the Tetons? :lol:

You could find some not-as-expensive chain hotels in Jackson. Or suck it up and stay in the park -- a big suck-it-up is $200 a night for Jackson Lake Lodge, in the outbuildings (not the main lodge), left-hand-side (south of the main building), front row facing Willow Flats, second floor, not the first or last building in the line.

Sleep on the balcony in June and enjoy elk bugling, sunset, and sunrise.

It may be too late for reservations this year.

Or, it's a four-mile hike (or canoe) to the Hermitage Point group camp, if it's free. Same view of the Tetons, but no elk.

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Bob Sihler
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by Bob Sihler » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:42 am

Bob, it really depends where you enter the park coming from SLC. I'd guess it would be via West Yellowstone, then down into the Tetons and back to SLC.

In that case, the closest Yellowstone lodging is at Old Faithful, south from Madison Junction. Mammoth and Canyon aren't too far, either.

In Grand Teton, Colter Bay Village has the largest and "cheapest" facility-- cabins will run you around $130-150 a night. South of there is Jackson Lake Lodge (very expensive), Signal Mountain Lodge (very expensive, but nicer location), and Jenny Lake Lodge (outrageous-- talking $400+ per night and jackets required for dinner).

The Old Faithful area is extremely busy and might be a turnoff for staying there. No lodging area in the park is truly quiet, but your best bet for that is Grant Village since there are no major tourist attractions right there. Roosevelt Lodge is my favorite and in my favorite area of the park, but most cabins lack private baths and the ones that do have them book up a year in advance.

You can look at rooms and book online at for Yellowstone. Grand Teton uses a different company, and I forget the name, but Google "Colter Bay Village" and you should find it easily.

By the way, I think Signal Mountain Lodge is operated by a different company than the others. But it's probably too late to get a room there, anyway.

Skip Jackson. It's really busy and not, in my opinion, worth the savings. Plus, you have more driving to do each day to get to trailheads.

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by aglane » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:05 am

Take bag, pad, cooking gear and stay at the AAC Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch?

Twenty bucks for bunk, ten if you join the AAC (you won't be staying long enough to make that the better deal--except membership is a good). Showers are free, loaner bicycles likewise. Biking to trailheads and to put-ins for rafting is easy.

See for details on the Ranch,
and for the AAC.

Reservations can be done on the web. Shortly if not yet.

Edit 3/3/10: the web reservation system is up as of this week at the AAC website noted above.

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by Doublecabin » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:32 pm

I second the Climbers Ranch but get the impression it might not meet the Mrs. criteria.

Flagg Ranch has some good deals, check Triple A or Little SAM.

Colter Bay would be an awesome choice. Hermitage Point [Well Beyond Swan Lake and Heron Pond] is a better wildlifge hike than the Lamar IMHO. Do it one day, Lake of the Crags the next.

See what kind of price Dornans will give you for a cabin on the Snake in Moose. The Moulton Ranch B & B on Mormon Row would be awesome. Triangle X Ranch might be able to fit you in for a few nights, and there would be plenty for the Mrs. to do there.

You might be able to rent something for a couple of nights at the JHOLE Golf & Tennis Club.

If you do go to Togwotee Pass Lava Mountain Lodge has nice, cheap cabins just a few miles from some of the finest Alpine Day Hiking you will ever find. Decent Restaurant too.

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John Duffield

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by John Duffield » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:03 pm


The Park is huge. It is crowded. It takes 4 - 5 days just to do the big stuff. That's staying inside the park. I can't even imagine staying outside the Park. Burn 4 - 5 hours a day in the car.

I planned it meticulously for years. It turned into the worst trip I ever took with the Mrs and our son. My plan was to alternate campsites with lodges, inside the Park. So they could have the comforts every other night with some consideration to a budget.

Complete meltdown from the first hour. Set up the campsite and dragged them to Old Faithful for a sunset shot. A riot on my hands. Of course the rain nights were the nights in the tent. The good news, it was such a disaster, I had an excellent excuse to travel by myself thereafter.

If your Mrs is in any way edgy about any of this, you're better off setting fire to the charge cards and doing the lodges inside the Park. It is Yellowstone after all. There's absolutely nothing better inside the USA.

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by johnmnichols » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:23 pm

This may not be an option since it sounds like you're arriving through the West Yellowstone entrance, but you can find affordable lodging including cabin rentals in Silver Gate, MT literally outside the Northeast entrance. Silver Gate probably won't work if your goal is to see some of the top tourist attractions in the park as it would be a ton of driving. But, if your goal is to see a remote, relatively uncrowded part of the park, see plentiful wildlife, and hike empty backcountry trails, the Northeast section is pretty good. And as a bonus, if you get bored with Yellowstone, there are endless opportunities in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness to the N and NE of Silver Gate.

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by BobSmith » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:18 pm

Thanks for all of the suggestions! Especially the Climbing Ranch! It's a distinct possibility. We've reserved all of our lodging for our seven nights inside Yellowstone. Now I just need to decide on the arrangements for the two nights/three days in the Tetons. Colter Bay has lodging available the dates we need, but we may go with the Climbing Ranch--not sure.

But I appreciate all of the input.

I wonder if it would be hard to hook up with someone to tag along with on a scramble in the Tetons? How easy is it to rent equipment in case I want to leave the wife and son at the lodging spot and do an overnight in the back country? Any suggestions on places to rent basic bag, tent, pad, pack?

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by b. » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:24 am

There are rentals available at Dornan's in Moose Junction. I don't know about tents and bags, but definitely the axe, boots, crampons type stuff. I would bring my own bag really, can't imagine borrowing one, much less renting. The climbing ranch is a great place to hook up with other climbers, as is this board. Get in touch when you are closer to the dates, I have some scrambling objectives that I hope to finish up this summer.

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by BobSmith » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:30 pm

My problem with hiking stuff is that we're going to be pushing the limits on luggage as it is. I do have a daypack that could hold my down bag, my one-man MSR tent and the basics. But since we're all flying, I'm not sure I can lug all of that stuff along with the rest of the baggage.

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