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No lodging, what to do?

New York City, New...
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No lodging, what to do?

My son announced today that he really would like to go to Yellowstone for vacation after school is done end of the month. My initial reaction was there is no way we find lodging. I checked and everything is full. We are looking at 5 days to yellowstone. What are our options? We can fly into Salt Lake and drive over. It appears Jackson is very expensive to fly into. I am open to staying outside the park and drive in each day. We aren't very active in terms of hiking, etc. my son mainly wants to see the geysers, animals, waterfalls, etc. please advise. Thanks.

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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1. Re: No lodging, what to do?

Keep calling Xanterra, several times/day. Use and wear out the redial button! Something will open up.

Be ready with your location choices (see below). Any will do, but Grant is as far as West Yellowstone, so I'd try to choose another.

Also, go to the Xanterra website and probe for rooms even though the site says unavailable; I, and others, have found otherwise, mostly because peoples' plans change and they cancel.

What happened to your earlier reservations; did you cancel them?

Lodging Inside and Outside YNP

For lodging INSIDE the Park - http://www.travelyellowstone.com/ Xanterra is the YNP contracted lodging resource. Other agencies might charge a nonrefundable fee and they have to contact Xanterra themselves which you can do for free.

To get reservations in the park - (1) Monitor the Xanterra website continuously, and if you can, (2) call several times a day as cancellations often occur.

If nothing available, reserve lodging outside the park but know the cancellation policies. If you do get Xanterra lodging, cancel those reservations.

For lodging OUTSIDE the Park - If you cannot get or do not want lodging inside the park, use the gateway towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner. Cooke City and Silvergate are quite distant from major park sights, except for the Lamar Valley.

See the hotel reviews on the TA Forum for each city, left hand column, “Hotels”.

Ensure that your lodging outside the park is close to the entrances; you’ll have plenty of driving in the park.

SPLITTING Lodging Locations – The Park is vast so if you have 3 or more days, consider two lodging locations. This will minimize driving and could be safer because wildlife is very difficult to see after dark.

Split lodging by choosing any of the following combinations, depending on what is available and the type of lodging wanted. Use the official park interactive map at http://tinyurl.com/6tp6kvh to understand these splits.

Old Faithful and either Canyon or Lake

• Old Faithful and Roosevelt or Mammoth or Gardiner, MT.

• West Yellowstone and either Canyon or Lake or Roosevelt

• West Yellowstone and Gardiner.

Edited: 20 May 2013, 05:16
West Yellowstone...
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for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
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2. Re: No lodging, what to do?

I am one of the relatively few that doesn't mind Grant. It wouldn't be my first choice, but it's IN the park, on the lake (nice views in the area) and close to West Thumb Geyser Basin. It is also likely to be one of your options for last-minute. The Xanterra website is funky, so keep poking around. Sometimes it will look like they are sold out, but you're really only looking at one room type. This is where calling, if you have the time, may be easier.

As far as West Yellowstone, Delaware North is opening 50 brand new cabins and they look to be very nice. They should be open by July 1. You can check availability online at www.visityellowstonepark.com and look at the Explorer Cabins to see if they would meet your needs (they're lovely and spacious, but pricey).

Edited: 20 May 2013, 05:19
New York City, New...
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3. Re: No lodging, what to do?

Thanks for the informative reply. I checked again and grant village is available for a few days. Is this central enough for us considering the main focus will be in the geysers? We would like to drive up to Grand Canyon and possibly down to GTNP? Thanks.

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: No lodging, what to do?

Grant is 17 miles from Old Faithful. Most thermal features on the south part of the loop rd are between Old Faithful and Madison Jct wich is 16 miles from Old Faithful -

Grant is about 21 miles to Lake, driving alongside Yellowstone Lake; Canyon is another 16 miles past Lake, driving thru Hayden Valley.

You can do both areas from Grant. Grant is also the closest Yellowstone lodging for heading south to Grand Tetons.

So Grant is workable for these areas, however Grant is quite a distance in travel time from the very northern sections of the Parks - Lamar Valley & Mammoth. Would help if you could get 1 nights accommodation at Canyon or Mammoth between your days at Grant.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: No lodging, what to do?

Those distances don't seem much. I have no problems driving. Is the problem that there might be heavy traffic?

Houston, Texas
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for Yellowstone National Park
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6. Re: No lodging, what to do?

The park road are 2 lane with max speed limit of 45mph, with lots of tourist traffic and jams from animals either in the road or people stopping and gawking at animals near the road. Generally you should not expect to average more than 30mph aka 2 minutes per mile or rule of thumb 30-45 minutes between road junctions.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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7. Re: No lodging, what to do?

We liked the looks of Grant area when we stopped by on the way to Tetons. I live in the desert so a big lake is really cool! Keep trying for Old Faithful or Canyon area but driving to Grant will just add to the wildlife possibilities! Get the guidebook Yellowstone Treasures to help plan your days.

Spery, Iowa
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8. Re: No lodging, what to do?

keep in mind, you need to be back to your lodging before dark. it is a danger to you and the animals to drive in the area at night. http://www.sunrisesunset.com/

Have a great trip!

Edited: 21 May 2013, 00:57
New York City, New...
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9. Re: No lodging, what to do?

I was able to find 4 days of lodging. June 8 at Canyon, Jun 9-11 at Grant Village. We are going to fly into SLC, drive to Canyon on June 8 by the evening and then see Lamar Valley, South & North rim drive, etc on June 9 and then drive down to Grant area for 3 nights and then drive back to SLC on June 12 for flight home. While at Grant, I hope to drive down to GTNP one afternoon. Thanks.

10. Re: No lodging, what to do?

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