West Yellowstone Frequently Asked Questions

1.Do I need reservations to drive through the park?

No you don't need reservations to drive through. If you want to stay in the in the park you need reservations. To drive through the park from east to west with no stops it takes 2 hours.  To drive the upper or lower loop it takes a half of day with no stops.


2.What are the local airports? What is the closest International Airport?

Local:          West Yellowstone airport is open from June 1 to Oct 1.
                    The Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman Montana is 100 miles to the north it is open all year.
                    Idaho Falls is located 100 miles to the south and it is also open all year.

International :
                    There are hub airports in
                                                            Newark, NJ;  (Most major carriers)
                                                            Salt Lake City,Utah; (Most major carriers)
                                                            Denver, Colorado;
                                                            Minneapolis St-Paul, Minnesota;
                                                            Atlanta, Ga (Most major carriers)
                     that have connecting flights to the Gallatin Field and Idaho Falls airports.


3.Where are the hotel pages?

 You can go to
http://www.wyellowstone.com/wy_info/acc.htm - West Yellowstone Area
http://www.yellowstone-park.net -  Yellowstone Park Area
http://travelyellowstone.com - Inside Yellowstone National Park


4.How do I go about getting an application to work in the park?

 A: National Park Service jobs
 B:  Park Lodging jobs
 C: Park Concessionaire jobs
 D: Jobs in the area



5.What are the weather conditions for this time of year?

 You can find out that by going to http://www.wyellowsone.com and select a weather report
 A chart of average temps and precipation located at: http://www.yellowstone-park.net/YellowstoneInformation/yellowstone_weather.htm


6.Do you need to have special equipment to drive in the snow?

http://www.nps.gov/yell here you can see the dates of openings and regulations and for park access

Montana's Winter Driving A great list of winter driving information


7.What is the height of Mount Washburn?

 The height is 10,243 feet.


8.What do I need to do for staying in the park?

We have regular hotels, and cabins, (in the summer) you can camp. Bring your own clothing, camera and a good attitude.


9.What kind of clothing do I need to bring?

Bring clothing for temperatures going from 30 degrees at night to 70 or 80 degrees during the day, during the summer. You probably want to bring jacket, long pants, and a sweatshirt for the fall season. During the winter bring very heavy winter clothes. Average daily temp during the winter is near freezing, but we have been known to get as cold as -60.


10.Where can I get maps of Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area?

 You can go to
 http://www.yellowstone-park.net (under the heading maps on the left side of the screen.


  11.Where can I get snowmobile trail conditions?

You can go to http://wyellowsone.com they are posted starting in November


12.Where can I find places to stay in the park?

You can go to


13.Where can I stay if I can't stay in the park?

There are hotels at all of the park entrances. Cody WY, Gardiner MT, Cooke City MT, Jackson WY, and West Yellowstone MT


14.Where can I get info on places to stay?



15.Where can I find out what roads are opened and closed in the summer and winter?



16.What are the roads like?

Normal two lane roads, the animals can not cope with expressway traffic, it confuses them.  Be prepared to drive 45 or fewer miles per hour in the park.


17. I left something behind in one of the lodges in the park how do I contact someone to see if it was found?



18. How easy is it to get around the park without a car?

If you do not have access to a car while here there are several companies that offer tours of the park where they provide the transportation. During the summer you can ride a bus, mini van, or a car. During the winter you can take a snowcoach. The tour companies can be found at: http://www.wyellowstone.com/wy_info/transportation.htm


19. What is the height of the Old Faithful Geyser when it erupts?

The average height is 140 feet. To find out more about geysers http://www.nps.gov/yell/web/geothermal/activity.html


20. Who was the first white man to visit Yellowstone and what year did he visit?

John Colter in 1806.


21. What activities are there to do in West Yellowstone in the Winter?

 Cross Country Skiing, Dogsled Tours, Snowshoeing, Snowcoach Tours, Snowmobiling, Ice Fishing, Walk
 Have a good meal or two, Listen to live music,View full length movies at the local theater, See an IMAX Movie
Visit the bears and wolves, Shopping, Sitting by a warm fire with a cozy book, Watch the snow fall,
See the sunset turn the mountains pink, Capture a golden sunrise on film while looking at a ghost forest.
Soak in a hot tub, swim in an indoor pool, Participate in an old fashioned Christmas Stroll


22. Where can I find information about snowmobiling in the West Yellowstone Area?



23. Commuter Airlines from Salt Lake?

Skywest (Horizon Air), Alaska Airlines, Delta, Northwest fly into Bozeman. During the summer Skywest flies into West Yellowstone.


24. Four wheeling (ATV's)  in Yellowstone National Park?

Four wheeling is not encouraged on the roads in the park. But there are plenty of trails (nearly 500 miles) in the West Yellowstone area that are just right for four wheeling. And if you are into a sand experience, just about an hour to the south of us are the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, where you can four wheel to your hearts content on sand dunes.


25. Elevations of the West Yellowstone area?

The average elevation in Yellowstone National Park is 8,000 feet above sea level. There are many trails in the area that will take you to elevations approaching 10,000.


26. How do I find out the correct adjustments for my snowmobile to ride in the West Yellowstone area?

If you need help with snowmobile "jetting" there are local mechanics here who are specialists in getting the jetting just right for our altitude. The process takes only a few minutes, to get the recommended setup for your sled try e-mailing the folks that rent snowmobiles. They are pretty friendly, they would like to see you have a good time riding.


27. When will the park be open to snowmobiles? When will the park be open to cars? When will the park be open to bicycles?

Snowmobiles - snowcoaches - skiis : If there is enough snow, December 16 through March 14.
Cars - Buses April 16th through October.
Bicycles -  As soon as the roads are plowed after March 14th  until October.


28. What is a Golden Age Passport and what is a Golden Access Pass?

There are descriptions of  each type of different pass into the park and the rules for getting them. http://www.nps.gov/yell/fees.htm


29. What companies provide transportation between West Yellowstone and Old Faithful in the Winter?



30. Is there an RV park open during the winter in the West Yellowstone area?

Yes the Grizzly RV Park has winter facilities (406)-646-4466. It is located near the center of town.


31. Where do I get information on mountain biking in the West Yellowstone area?

There are two events you may be interested in, the Spring Bike Ride (it takes you into Yellowstone National Park when cars are not on the road). There is also a Fall Cycle tour of the area in October. We have two mountain bike stores in town. You can e-mail the Free Heel and Wheel, for details on trails in the area. There are lots of places you can ride in the area, without going into the park.


32. Are there child care services available in West Yellowstone?

Yes there are, Little Geysers is a licensed and registered (by the state of Montana) child care provider. (406) - 646-7011. They are open from 6:30am until 6:00pm Monday through Friday year round. Drop Ins are okay, but you will need to bring some paperwork with you. They need a copy of the child's immunization record, and an emergency  information form must be filled out. The center provides breakfast, lunch and snack for the children. Current rates are $2.00 per hour (no daily rate available at present) Please call the center to pre-register your children.
If you happen to need child care at other hours than Little Geysers is open, please write to mailto:wyww@wyellowstone.com making a request for services, be sure to include information regarding the ages of the children, and length of time the services will be required, and a phone number to contact you.. We can help you find a qualified person to watch your children.


33. We want to  fly into Jackson Hole and then ski in Yellowstone National Park. How does one get from Jackson Hole to the Southern Boundary of the Park during the winter?

Flagg Ranch runs a shuttle service twice a day between Jackson Hole and the southern boundary of the park. Cost is $26 per adult round trip and $16 per child round trip.  Trip times: Jackson to Flagg Ranch  6:30am and 3:00pm. Flagg Ranch to Jackson 11:00am and 5:30pm. You will need to call the Reservation Desk to make arrangements. (307) 543-2861

The roads are open between Jackson Hole and the southern entry to the park as weather permits, but one can not drive through the south gate during the winter. These roads are through mountain passes into the Grand Teton National Park.


34. We are trailering our own sleds, can we find parking in West Yellowstone?

West Yellowstone maintains parking lots for trailers, some lots are near the hotels, there are also others near the trailheads.


35. Do the hotels in town have access to the trail system?

West Yellowstone has an alley system that gives access for snowmobiles to trailheads without requiring people to drive on the highways. You can indeed ride from any hotel directly to the snowmobile trails in West Yellowstone.

36. What are the hours of operation of Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone National Park is open 24 hours a day.


37. Are there any poisonous animals in the park?

To our knowledge there are no poisonous animals in the park. Even rattlesnakes don't winter here, because of the cold and the snow.


38. When the Yellowstone National Park is closed what does that mean?

Yellowstone National Park periodically closes it gates to vehicles. The first closing is in the fall when the snow begins to fly. Usually the closure is in mid to late October and the gates will not open again until the middle of December. The purpose of this closure is to allow enough snow to accumulate to permit grooming of trails for over the snow vehicles (snowmobiles and snowcoaches) it also allows the animals a period of time to have the park to themselves to migrate to their winter feeding grounds without an abundance of spectators. The second closure is in the middle of March until the beginning of May to permit the roads to be plowed, inspected and repaired if necessary prior to the summer tourist season. Gate closures in both the spring and fall can be affected by the weather, if a heavy snow (more than 12 inches) comes early the gates will be closed early to allow the snowpack to build. If the spring snows are still heavy the gates may be closed longer in spring, it is difficult to keep the roads clear when the snow is still falling. There is also a spring migration of animals to the locations where they give birth to their young. During the season roads can be closed if there is an avalanche (snow or mud) or heavy snowfall on the mountain passes. These closures are usually fairly short, a day to two at the most while the road is cleared and repaired if necessary. What can people do in the park if the gates are closed? You can hike, or bike or skate, or ski entering from one of the gates.  Visitor facilties in the park are closed when the gates are closed, so you can not get food, or gas or hotel rooms or camp during this time.
The northern gate to the park (Mammoth Hot Springs) is open all year. You can see some of the thermal features of the park from this location. Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone can only be seen when the gates are open.


39. Do we have to make reservations?

If you intend to stay in Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas during peak travel times reservations are strongly recommended for camping, hotels, and cabin rentals. Peak travel times are Mid June through Labor Day, and December through early March. At other times there will probably be rooms available.


40. In what year was Yellowstone established?

By Act of Congress on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park was "dedicated and  set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the  people" and "for the preservation, from injury or spoliation, of all timber, mineral  deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders. . . and their retention in their nature  condition." Yellowstone is the first and oldest national park in the world.


41. We have been told that the number of visitors has increased so much that not everyone can get into
      the Park, do we need to make reservations?

To our knowledge Yellowstone National Park has not ever closed the gates because it was too full. Yellowstone National Park covers a very large area (3400 square miles on 2.2 million acres) and can accommodated a large number of visitors on a daily basis. No, you do not need to make a reservation to tour the park.


42. How big is Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone National Park covers 2.2 Million acres of land, (3400 sq miles). It is 63 miles from North to South and 54 miles from East to West. There are 370 miles of paved roads in the park and an additional 1200 miles of trails. It can not been "seen" in one day.


43. I only have a short time to visit the park,  how can I plan a trip through it?

You can travel from entrance to entrance:
North Entrance - Gardiner to North East Entrance - Cooke City  - 57 miles   (through Mammoth and Tower Jct)
North East Entrance - Cooke City to East Entrance - Cody - 91 Miles (through Tower Jct, Canyon, and Fishing Bridge)
East Entrance - Cody to  South Entrance - Jackson - 70 miles (through Fishing Bridge, Yellowstone lake, West Thumb and Grant Village)
South Entrance - Jackson  to West Entrance - West Yellowstone - 69 miles (through Grant Village, West Thumb, Old Faithful, Madison Jct)
East Entrance  - Cody  to West Entrance - West Yellowstone  (north loop) 83 miles (through Fishing Bridge, Canyon, Norris, Madison Jct)
(south loop) 81 miles (through Fishing Bridge, Yellowstone Lake, West Thumb, Old Faithful, Madison Jct)

You can tour the The Upper Loop Road - 70 miles (excluding legs to entrances) (Mammoth, Norris, Canyon, Tower Jct, Madison Jct)
You can also tour The Lower Loop Road - 96 miles (excluding legs to entrances) (Old Faithful, Fishing Bridge, Yellowstone Lake, West Thumb, Norris, Madison Jct)

Highest speed in the park is 45 MPH, a good percentage of the roads are marked for 35 MPH don't forget to add in some time to stop and look at the features.


44. Where can I get information on cabins to stay in while visitng the park?



45. I have heard that is quite of bit of National Forest in the areas surrounding Yellowstone National Park, what    recreational opportunities are available through the Forest Service?

 The main forest service web page is: http://www.fs.fed.us
 The Gallatin National Forest is the Closest National Forest to West Yellowstone and covers most of the Montana forest land.
The Targhee National Forest is the National Forest located in Idaho to the west of West Yellowstone.
To use a search engine for recreation opportunities on Federal Lands go to: recreation.gov


46. I need information to complete a report, term paper or college research about Yellowstone National Park how can I contact someone to help me with my research?

The Official Yellowstone National Park Site  has a lot of information about the park and many papers regarding current research and environmental impact statements as well. Be sure to check out the resource pages.
The Yellowstone National Park Archives is also an important place to look for research information regarding the history and park operations.
Also you may want to look at the National Forest Service Site, many times they will be dealing with the same issues as the National Parks Service but they are from a different organization and may have a different opinion or resource to suggest.


47. Where can I go to see articles on the Fires of 1988 in Yellowstone National Park?



48. Are there Dog Kennels in the West Yellowstone Area?

In the town of West Yellowstone proper there are no kennel services listed in the yellow pages: But here is information for the surrounding area:

Faithful Companion Bed & Breakfast for Pets                                        (406) 282-7410
Doggie Daycare & Motel                                                                        (406) 763-5585
Querencia Kennels                                                                                  (406) 222-3011
Montana Veterinary Hospital & Boarding                                               (406) 586-2019
White & White Veterninary Hospital   (local vet that has offices in west yellowstone)    (406) 682-7151


49. How many bison are in Yellowstone National Park?

Approximately 3000 bison make their home in the park.


50. Where can I go to find out about bison? Our emphasis here is education/research not politics.



51. Where can I find out about Yellowstone National Park Geology?



52. How does the photo gallery slide show work?

You need to be using Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher to access the slide show because it uses Microsoft Java Script. If your browser supports the javascript you will immediately begin to see pictures on the screen and they will change automatically every 10 to 15 seconds. There are 3000 pictures in the catalog to be viewed so there are plenty of choices.


53. How do I apply for jobs in the medical profession in the Yellowstone National Park Area?

All of the clinics in Yellowstone National Park are operated by West Park Hospital.
Their jobs listing is http://coolworks.com/isypms4u

There are two clinics in the town of West Yellowstone -
Yellowstone Health Associates - phone and fax: 406-646-4137
Clinic at West Yellowstone - phone 406-646-7668  fax:406-646-7669


54. Is there handicapped accessible lodging and acticities available inside of Yellowstone National Park or in the town of West Yellowstone?

Yes there is indeed handicapped accessible lodging in Yellowstone and in West Yellowstone. There are many sites that can be seen without an excessive amount of walking in our area. In the park please refer to the accessibility pages for specifics.

http://www.nps.gov/yell/access.htm - Parks accessability for trails and lodging
http://www.wyellowstone.com/wy_info/acc.htm - West Yellowstone lodging


55. How do I make reservations for my RV while in the West Yellowstone / Yellowstone National Park area?

In the park there are only 5 campgrounds that accept reservations you can find them at:
Outside of the park in the West Yellowstone Area there are quite a few:


56. I am interested in camping in the West Yellowstone / Yellowstone National Park area, how do I learn what facilities are available?

Facilities and Rules for Camping In Yellowstone National Park - http://www.nps.gov/yell/campgrnd.htm

Facilities in the West Yellowstone Area - http://www.wyellowstone.com/wy_info/rvparks.htm

Facilties and Rules for National Forest Lands -

The main forest service web page is: http://www.fs.fed.us
The Gallatin National Forest is the Closest National Forest to West Yellowstone and covers most of the Montana forest land.
The Targhee National Forest is the National Forest located in Idaho to the west of West Yellowstone.


57. I am having a hard time finding out how to plan hikes in Yellowstone National Park - Can you recommend any sites?

        American Park Network - Hiking and Walking in Yellowstone Article - Hiking

        Day Trips in Yellowstone Article - Hiking in Yellowstone

        Gary's Unoffical Guide to Yellowstone - Plans for Hikes in Yellowstone Article - Hiking in

58. How do I get to Yellowstone National Park if traveling by train?

There is no passenger train service in the sorthern portion of Montana. You can take Amtrak to points in Idaho, or Salt Lake City, but you can not make the entire trip by train. You would need to make a bus connection or a commuter flight from an Amtrak City.
There used to be train service into Yellowstone that ran during the summer months. (As a matter of fact it used to be a primary method for people to use to visit the park.) The service was discontinued in the 1960's due to people using cars to access the park. The tracks have all be removed from the area and turned into parks. Our winters are much too severe to permit train travel during the winter months.


59. If I am traveling by Bus,  What bus lines stop in West Yellowstone?

During the spring, summer and early fall, Greyhound Bus lines stops in West Yellowstone. The Bus goes from Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone, through Idaho Falls. There is another bus that runs from Bozeman Montana.  There is usually one bus or two daily.  You can find out more by calling 406-646-7622.


60. Does Yellowstone National Park have hours?

No, once the gates are open the park is accessible 24 hours a day. Although we might caution you that it is very diffcult to spot buffalo at night, so you have to drive very carefully at night to avoid hitting an animal.


61. Do reservation sites require you to cancel within a certain time period?

You need to check the cancellation policies on any site that requires a reservation, some may require a deposit or a forfeit of that deposit under certain circumstances. These policies are clearly spelled out on reservation information pages, if not then please call the place of business and verify the policy.


62. Are facilities, such as showers available to visitors staying in the park but not in that reserved campground?

If you are not staying at a campground in the park, you need to ask the campground operator what the fee would be to use the shower facility. The operator will then let you know for certain if the facilties are open for general use, but telling you the fee or telling you that the facilities have been reserved exclusively for campground guests. In the gateway communities around Yellowstone National Park, there are public shower facilities available, here in West Yellowstone you will find them in the local laundromat.


63. Road construction Phone number for more information (307) 344-7381

Yellowstone Nataionl Park road contstuction

64. Where is Eagle Peak? Is there a body of water on the west side of Eagle Peak and what is it called? What side of Eagle Peak is wet and which side is dry?

Eagle Peak is located near the southeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. It is visible from the East Entrance road at any of the campgrounds along the way. The height is 11,358 (the highest point in the park). The wet side of the mountain is the East side. Yellowstone Lake is the body of water to the West.


65. Are there any mountain biking trails in yellowstone? Are there cycling lanes on the sides of the roads in Yellowstone National Park?

National Park Service on the use of bicycles in Yellowstone National Park"
"Bicycling is permitted on established public roads, parking areas, and designated routes. Bikes are prohibited
on backcountry trails and boardwalks. Use extreme caution when riding on park roads; roads are winding and narrow while shoulders are either narrow or nonexistent. Vehicle traffic is heavy most of the time. There are no bicycle paths along roadways."  Click here to see the NPS Page on bicycling.
The park does offer a spring bycycling experience without cars: Click here to see the NPS Spring Bicycling Page
GORP has a nice page on biking in Yellowstone:

On the other hand... West Yellowstone Montana is a mountain bikers paradise, when the snow is gone from the snowmobile trails they are just perfect for mountain biking. We also have miles of paved roads wide enough for both bikers and cars.

To make arrangements to bike on National Forest Land Contact:
                                            Gallatin National Forest Visitors Center
                                            Hebgen Lake Ranger District
                                            U.S. Highway 191 North
                                            P.O. Box 520
                                            West Yellowstone, Montana 59758


66. Where can I find out information about earthquakes in the area?




Here are some links to sites to help you plan you trip to our area.

http://www.wyellowstone.com – The original city guide for West Yellowstone, Montana.  This site provides information about all businesses and services available along with having information about current events.

http://www.yellowstone-park.net – Your source for all Yellowstone National Park information.  Everything you would like to know about Yellowstone is online.   This is also contains the largest photo gallery of the Greater Yellowstone Area.

http://www.nps.gov/yell– This is the official Yellowstone National Park Services web site for Yellowstone National Park. This is the location to contact the rangers for scientific information about the park, such as geological information, wildlife information etc.

http://www.westyellowstonechamber.com - This is the official West Yellowstone Chamber web site. This is the location to use to find out about the town of West Yellowstone, who is a member of the chamber, read   the Chamber By-laws, and to fill out a membership application.

If you have individual questions please use the following email addresses:

mailto:Wyinfo@wyellowstone.com – General West Yellowstone Questions
mailto:Wycc@wyellowstone.com – West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce
mailto:Yellowstone@wyellowstone.com – General Yellowstone Questions

Thank you!

Who wrote this FAQ and how do I contact them?

This FAQ was written by West Yellowstone Web Works.  You can contact us at wyww@wyellowstone.com.  If you would like to contribute information or have a question please email us.

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How do I contact someone for more information about West Yellowstone?

You can browse through the West Yellowstone Information directory and email a online business.  Or contact the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce via E-Mail at wycc@wyellowstone.com.

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Where do I find a place to stay?

You can find many different accommodations in West Yellowstone in the West Yellowstone Information directory.

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Where is West Yellowstone located?

West Yellowstone is located in southwest Montana at the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  The altitude of West Yellowstone is 6666 feet above sea level.  The latitude and longitude of West Yellowstone is: 44.912502 N, 111.18595 W (degrees).

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How far is Yellowstone Park from West Yellowstone?

The west entrance to Yellowstone National Park is approximately 500 feet from West Yellowstone. 

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Copyright 1998 West Yellowstone Web Works. All rights reserved.
Revised: April 07, 2001.