I’d like to thank all the contributors on this forum. I really appreciate the information that is posted here and found it really helpful in planning our trip to Yellowstone. Thank you all!
So much has already been said about this fantastic park, so I will endeavor to fill in tidbits of information from our experience this January 2010.
Our Overall plan:
1st night: Chico Hot Springs. We had a long day flying to Bozeman so we needed a place to overnight before driving into the park. Our concept was to experience a “sense of place” that could not be delivered in a Hampton Inn in Bozeman and after being in a plane for so long, we were ready to get out and see the countryside. This was a really special place to spend the night.
3 nights: Mammoth Hot Springs
2 nights: Old Faithful Snow Lodge (via snow coach)
1 night: Mammoth Hot springs
Transportation to the Mammoth Hot Springs from Bozeman airport: I compared the price of van transportation (rate is per person) with a car rental. At the time the price was the same and I decided to go with the flexibility that a car gave us. After booking the car, I periodically checked the prices and was able to get the car for roughly half the cost of the van transportation. Aside from the price, the car gave us the opportunity to spend the night in Chico Hot Springs, to take in the Lamar Valley on our own and to be on our own schedule from & returning to the airport. We were fortunate to have good driving conditions.
At Mammoth Hot Springs, some rooms have tubs and some have showers. When making our reservations, we requested a shower (they can’t guarantee it) and an upper floor (old hotels can be noisy). We learned that in winter the fourth floor rooms get very hot so they try not to assign rooms on that floor. Those that do have rooms on the 4th, may open their windows to cool down their rooms, but this can be dicey if you are from a tropical climate (and we are) since the window and the bed are right next to one another. We were comfortable on the third floor.
The National Park Service Mammoth Hot Springs Visitor Center is definitely worth going to. On the first floor there are historical dioramas and an art gallery of some of the early paintings and drawings of Yellowstone. All part of the amazing history of our first national park. On the second floor are more dioramas of mountain lion, grey wolf, elk and other wildlife. We weren’t sure we would see these live so we are glad to get an introduction and meet them in any way we can.
The cross-country ski instruction at Mammoth Hot Springs is excellent. We had not gone cross-country skiing for over 10 years, so we felt like newbies. It was definitely worth doing because we enjoyed our two days skiing in the park as a result!
We really enjoyed the evening music and Yellowstone information programs by Randy Ingersoll at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
We are signed up for the Winter in Wonderland Lodging and Learning Program with the Yellowstone Association Institute (www.yellowstoneassociation.org). We chose this small group experience (limit is 10) because it provides a great introduction to the park and includes some physical activities in the park. There is an opportunity to watch wildlife, snowshoe and cross-country ski, and see the geothermal features of the park. We visited the Lamar Valley, Old Faithful, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in addition to many other sites. When making the reservation, I liked that the Yellowstone Association’s mission is to inspire, educate and preserve and I thought that their naturalist guides would be excellent. This turned out to be the case. The package price is a good value. This is a well-organized small group tour. We had a great time! Yellowstone is unbelievably beautiful this time of year!
Interested in seeing what Yellowstone looks like in the winter? Just follow this link to see our photos, accompanied by music composed by my husband (can you tell that I’m proud of him?):
Here’s the link to our journal with memorable moments and highlights– it’s on Travelpod:
Hope this helps others who are considering a winter trip to Yellowstone.Edited: 11 February 2010, 23:36