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February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone

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February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone

We are two families (4 kids [4,5,7,8], and 4 adults) that are planning to visit Yellowstone for 3-4 days the week of February 11th, 2007. We have read many posts about great places to stay and things to do. We have some questions that we would like some advice on.

We will be traveling in from Salt Lake City after skiing there for a few days. We have rented a 4x4 truck.

Should we stay in West Yellowstone or Gardiner, MT area? Our goal is to explore via snowcoach with the family and to have a snowmobile rides for the adults on another day. I hear that the wildlife is beautiful in both areas. We want to see Old Faithful and take in the winter sights. Thoughts?

What is a great place to stay for young families that include an inside swimming pool (heated would be great?), hot tubs and access to shopping/restaurants. Thank you!

West Yellowstone, MT
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1. Re: February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone

If you are coming from from Salt Lake City, I would recommend going to West Yellowstone. It is directly north (Interstate I-15 to Highway 20). Gardiner coming from Salt Lake is much farther in the winter because you have to take I-15 to Butte and then back east and down.

West Yellowstone is also your closest entrance to the Park that has both snowmobile and snowcoach trips into Yellowstone. The trips from West Yellowstone are over-the-snow and go into the Old Faithful area or Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Both destinations travel along the Madison River which is an excellent spot to see bison, elk, trumpeter swans, bald eagles. We have seen wolves in the Fountain Flats area on the way to Old Faithful and in the Hayden Valley (via snowmobile).

From Gardiner, you can go in to Mammoth and take the plowed road in your truck to Lamar Valley where there are also wintering herds of elk and bison, as well as several wolf packs that hunt in the area.

West Yellowstone has a number of hotels with indoor pools, hot tubs and even restaurants in the same building.

Cameron, Montana
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2. Re: February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone


I would definately stay in West Yellowstone. It is located at the West gate to the park and it will save you hours of driving time by not having to drive the extra distance up to Gardner.

Their are several businesses that offer snowmobile and snowcoach tours into Yellowstone and a good website is www.seeyellowstone.com for more information on tours, hotels, etc.Their is also a calendar of events on the website that tells what special events and such are going on.

The Holiday Inn SunSpree in West Yellowstone has an indoor heated pool along with hot tub, and sauna. They offer a kids stay and eat for free program for children 12 and under which can help with cost on any vacation. We took the snowmobile tour from the Holiday Inn and found that everything we needed for our fun day in the park was right there at the Hotel. Snowsuits, snowmobile rentals and guide (a guide is required inside of YNP). Patty at the snowdesk was really helpful. And our guide met us there at the Holiday Inn. They also have snowcoaches that will pick you up there. My husband and I road double on our snowmobile that day (really romantic) and had a super time! The seats are even heated on them!! We had been in YNP years before but the guide made it so much better. He knew so many interesting things about the park!

We can't wait to see Yellowstone again in the winter!

Tomah, Wisconsin
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3. Re: February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone

Excellent suggestions above. I too would highly recommend West Yellowstone as your jumping off spot. Access to snowmobiles, snow coach and a good variety of hotels and restaurants. Much easier to get to from SLC than Gardiner.

I tell ya, I gotta laugh though - all of the swimming pools around here are either heated or closed in the winter... ;o)

I've spent many fun trips to Florida - hope you have a great trip out west!

St Peter Minnesota
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4. Re: February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone

We prefer the Gardiner/Paradise Valley area over the West Yellowstone area in the winter due to the fact that (we have kids too), you can DRIVE into the Park from Mammoth all the way to Cooke City. You typically see lots of wildlife when making that drive.

It will take you another 3 hours to drive from West Yellowstone to the Mammoth entrance to the Park but you may find it worth it as there will be more for the kids to do (inside the Park). The West entrance is closed in the Winter for vehicle traffice while the North (Mammoth entrance) is open. The kids will like the visitor center and the terrace walks around the Mammoth hot springs. You can also soak in a natural mineral hot springs called 'Boiling River' just inside the Park. It's quite a thing to experience...sitting in hot water (that empties into a cold river) while you watch the snow fall and elk walk by.

When we visited last winter, we stayted in an awesome vacation home on the Yellowstone River (North of the North entrance to the Park) called Yellowstone Lookout South. It was stocked with any and everything we needed and had a great hot tub on the River. It is located about 1/2 way between Mammoth and Livingston Montana. We even rented cross country skies and took our kids skiing in the mountains near the house.

You may also want to take the kids to Livingston and or Bozeman, MT to explore. There is a great dinosauer museum in Bozeman called the Museum of the Rockies.

Livingston, Montana
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5. Re: February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone

This is a tough call! I live close to the Gardiner entrance and love our corner of the park, but will have to cast my vote for West Yellowstone this time--since you are coming from that direction and there's no private travel throught the park to get up to us from West (it's a long drive via Bozeman). Enjoy the fun from West Yellowston--a lot to choose from--great Wolf/Grizzly Bear discovery center with several I-max theater shows...multilpe choices for eats/hotels..and the trips into the park to Old Faithful and even Canyon (the falls are spectacular in winter!) are really a straight shot from there. You will quickly fill 3-4 days !

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6. Re: February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone

Although West Yellowstone is closer to SLC, the only way to see the Park from there is by snowmobile (expensive for a large group such as yours) or by snow coach. If all you want is to go to Old Faithful fine West would be your best choice. But if you hope to see wolves your odds are much better in Lamar Valley which is accessable by road from Gardiner. Wild life watching in general would be better and you have already paid for the truck. You can still take a snowcoach to Old Faithful from Mammoth (5 miles by road from Gardiner).If you do choose Gardiner, the Best Western, Super 8 and Comfort Inn all have heated pools. Take I-15 to I-90 east to Montana 89 then south to Gardiner. Do not go through West Yellowstone as that is a much slower route to Gardiner. Hope this helps.

7. Re: February 2007 Visit to Yellowstone

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