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Getaway Guide: Road Trip To Yellowstone National Park

September 8, 2012 12:00 PM

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A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park (credit: CBS)

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park (credit: CBS)

Yellowstone National Park

Tourists watch the ‘Old Faithful’ geyser which erupts on average every 90 minutes in the Yellowstone National Park on June 1, 2011. Yellowstone was established by Congress and signed into law by President Grant on March 1, 1872. The park is located primarily in Wyoming — though it also extends into Montana and Idaho — and was the first national park in the world. It is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features. (credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Fall is the ideal time of year to pack up the car and take the kids on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

A fairly short road trip, Yellowstone is about a 600 mile or 10 hour drive from Denver. This trip will allow the kids to see Old Faithful for their first time, while the parents will get to re-live fond memories of their childhood visit to one of the most beautiful parks in America.

It will be an opportunity to see the bison roam throughout the open spaces, the grizzly bears, the colorful mineral springs, and spectacular waterfalls as the summer winds down.

Getting There

Take Interstate 25 North toward Fort Collins for 278 miles. Take exit 189 toward US-20 West. Continue on to US-20 to US-26 West for 96 miles. Turn right on US-20 West/WY-789 North/ Idaho Street for 34 miles. Turn left on to Broadway St. and continue on for 81 miles. Turn left on to US-14/ Sheridan Ave. Continue on to 8th St. Continue on to Yellowstone Ave. for 76 miles. Turn left on to US-20 for 17 miles to Yellowstone National Park. Map your trip now.

Yellowstone National Park

(credit: CBS)

What To Do

Yellowstone Sightseeing Tours
217 Yellowstone Ave.
PO Box 410
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
(800) 221-1151
www.seeyellowstone.com
Price: $74.95 Adults, $69.95 Seniors, $64.95 Children

Leave the driving to Yellowstone Sightseeing Tours and you can sit back and soak up all the beauty of the park. Led by experienced, local guides, this Yellowstone Park tour highlights the history, geology and wildlife of the region. They offer daily spring, summer and fall tours around the park. The Yellowstone Lower Loop tour is a fascinating exploration of the thermal features of the Geyser basins, including the world famous Old Faithful. Depending on the time of year, visitors have been known to catch glimpses of elk, bison, coyotes, moose, grizzly bears, bald eagles and trumpeter swans.

Yellowstone National Park

 grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park (credit: CBS)

Yellowstone Day Hikes
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
(307) 344-2263
www.visityellowstonepark.com
Price: No added fee, no permit required

With more than 1,100 miles of trails, hiking in Yellowstone offers a variety of lengths and levels for hiking enthusiasts. Begin your hike by stopping at a visitor center or ranger station for information on the trails. With so many incredible routes to explore, you may want to view this guide to plan your hikes ahead of time. There is always a good chance that you will see wildlife on a Yellowstone hiking trail, so stay alert and be prepared for close encounters of the animal kind. Be sure to bring plenty of water, a raincoat or poncho, a warm hat, insect repellent and sunscreen.

Where To Stay

Old Faithful Inn
Old Faithful
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
(800) 256-9046
usparklodging.com/yellowstone
Price: $98–$499

For the visitors who want to experience the rustic charm of the Yellowstone of years past, the Old Faithful Inn is the ideal place to stay. Not only is it right in Yellowstone Park, but it’s also located within view of the famous Old Faithful Geyser. Past guests have boasted about its ambience and décor, which boasts of pine wood and unique beauty. Much of Old Faithful Inn was built back in 1904, making this a historic place to spend a night or two.

Madison Arm Resort
P.O. Box 1410
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
(406) 646-9328
madisonarmresort.com

Price: Tent Sites and RV Sites $29- $42, Cabins $170–$185

For the travelers who truly love the outdoors, the Madison Arm Resort is the perfect place to camp and unwind during your Yellowstone visit. Conveniently located near West Yellowstone in Montana, the resort offers a campground for tents, RVs, and cabin rentals. Madison Arm boasts a number of different sites that have amazing scenic views of the pine forests, as well as Hebgen Lake. Some of the amenities include a full service convenience store and free hot showers. You can even take advantage of the inn’s high speed internet if you really need to stay connected. For those who want a change of scenery from Yellowstone, the inn provides boat and bike rentals so you can enjoy the lake, as well as many wildlife opportunities.

Rustic Inn at Jackson Hole
475 N. Cache
Jackson Hole, WY 83001
(800) 323-9279
rusticinnatjh.com

Price: $235 – $325

Rustic Inn at Jackson Hole offers rooms and suites for the traveler seeking a bit more luxury and a getaway from the rustic nature and touristy of Yellowstone. They offer everything from rooms to luxury creek side cabins in which guests can melt away the busy day. There’s also a pool that overlooks the natural beauty of Jackson Hole, and deliciously fine dining. Other perks include soothing spa services such as massages, body and aromatherapy treatments. Overall, the Rustic Inn is a luxurious resort for an affordable price, located 60 miles away from the park.

Where To Eat

Old Faithful Inn Bear Paw Deli
Old Faithful
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
(866) 439-7375
yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

The Bear Paw Deli is a great place to drop in for a quick breakfast before starting your day in the park, or the perfect break for lunch. The restaurant specialty soups, sandwiches, salads and even has gluten-free options. This is your go-to option if you’re on the run, and in the heat of the day, the Bear Paw’s homemade ice cream will hit the spot.

Old Faithful Inn Dining Room
Old Faithful
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
(866) 439-7375
yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

The Dining Room offers delicious options, including meats such as bison and elk for the more adventurous foodies. You’ll also find Old Faithful’s signature buffet, which includes its legendary prime rib cooked to perfection. Aside from the hearty menu, the Inn’s Dining Room offers a very unique area to gather and socialize, called Bear Pit Lounge. It is decorated with beautifully etched glass panels reminiscent of the original Bear Pit Murals. The prices are fair and the ambience is memorable.

Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room
Tower-Roosevelt,
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
(307) 344-7311
www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

Named after Theodore Roosevelt, who enjoyed regular visits to Yellowstone, this rustic lodge was built in Roosevelt’s favorite area of the park. The lodge offers your traditional American cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The atmosphere is also appropriate for the kids. Consistent with the cowboy theme, the Roosevelt Lodge specializes in baby back ribs, crispy fried chicken and famous baked beans––perfect if you’re in the mood for some hearty comfort food.

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Colleen Bement is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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