I'm torn on whether to stay one night in Mammoth or West Yellowstone, and I'm hoping you guys will weigh in with your opinions.
In Sept 2011, we will be in Glacier National Park for 4 days, and then will drive down to YNP on the 5th day. That day will obviously be a long day of driving (around 7 hours). As we get closer to YNP, we will need to spend the night in either West Yellowstone or Mammoth Hot Springs. I have ruled out going further into the park, as I feel we will be exhausted from a long day of driving. I also have ruled out Gardiner, as I read the TA hotel reviews and didn't feel any of the hotels were worth the price.
I like Mammoth because we will be there in the 2nd week of September, and feel that the elk will be worth spending a night there. Perhaps we will get to hear some bugling? Since we arrive that evening, we would have a chance to see the elk that evening and then again the early morning before heading out to explore the park. We would be looking at a cabin with bath.
In West Yellowstone, I already have a reservation at the Alpine. What I liked about West Yellowstone is being able to get a non-Xanterra dinner, and a break from National Park lodging before heading into the park for several nights.
For either Mammoth or West Yellowstone, we are planning on waking up early the next morning and begin exploring, so we won't be spending any significant time at either location.
In case this makes a difference, the following is our itinerary
Day 1-4: Glacier
Day 5: Drive from Glacier to YNP
Day 6: sleep at Old Faithful
Day 7-8: Canyon
Day 9: fly home out of Bozeman
There is only my boyfriend and I, and we are mid 30s, no kids.
Does anyone feel strongly about either option?