Where to Stay Near Yellowstone National Park | Which Entrance is Best?

Yellowstone — the world's first national park — is nicknamed “Wonderland." More than 10,000 hydrothermal features, over half the world's geysers, 290 waterfalls, and 3,500 square miles worthy of reverence and awe lie at your feet. Explore nature run wild and find out where to stay near Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone is our planet at its most communicative. At the Brink of the Lower Falls — in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone — you can listen to the rage of the water, a chorus of 635,000 gallons spilling over the falls’ edge every second. On the maze of boardwalks surrounding the Midway Geyser Basin, tune your ears to the bubbling and boiling beneath and above the surface. Move your attention to somewhere far away in the distance, where a coyote howls from the caldera’s ridge and the wind rushes through the lodgepole pine.

Here, the Earth is alive. You’re standing on an active supervolcano, a hot spot that’s formed one of the largest calderas on the planet. Look at the rim above you — a remnant of a massive explosion 640,000 years ago — as you scan for bison and gray wolves in the grasses of the Lamar Valley. Under foot, the planet is churning, blowing off steam at Old Faithful, forming hot, bubbly mud pots and multi-colored travertine terraces at Mammoth Springs, and creating rainbows at Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s alive with people, too. Traffic builds up in “bison jams,” hundreds gather every hour or so to witness Old Faithful, and crowds flock to magnificent overlooks like Artist’s Point — especially in the warmer months. But with an area bigger than both Rhode Island and Delaware combined, you should be able to carve out your own Yellowstone adventure.

It all begins with where you stay. With four entrances and a long list of hotels and lodges vying to be your home base, below is a helpful breakdown to simplify the process — and make this the best trip possible to the world’s most famous national park. As Alice put it, “Tell me, is this not Wonderland?”

West Entrance

West Yellowstone, MT, offers the greatest number of options for lodging and activities, and the west side of the park is more jam-packed with attractions, comparatively. The town is a hop and a skip away from the West Entrance, though you’ll technically drive 14 miles before you reach Madison, where you’ll decide to head north to Norris Geyser Basin or south to Old Faithful.

Note: US 20 — the road to the West Entrance — is usually closed from November to April.

West Yellowstone, MT: Yellowstone Park Hotel

At Yellowstone Park Hotel, you’re three blocks from the park’s west entrance — that puts you at less than an hour’s drive to Old Faithful (which is saying something; Yellowstone is big). The center of town is right here, making this a convenient home base for tours and trips out of West Yellowstone.

When you tire of the park, you’ll come back to 49″ TVs and a warm soak in the hot tub, the heated indoor pool, or up in your room. Even standard rooms come with king beds and plenty of space — if you need more, head to the outdoor fire pits to roast some s’mores. They’re complimentary! Otherwise, hit up the new game room — “Level Zero” — or take advantage of the free bike rentals and get back to exploring the great outdoors on the Riverside Bike Trail, just inside the West Entrance.

Yellowstone Park Hotel

Top rated
West Yellowstone
8.9 Excellent (2249 reviews)

West Yellowstone, MT: Worldmark West Yellowstone

If you’ve got a penny to spare and a party of three to six to take care of, check out Worldmark West Yellowstone. The resort — just a block from the park’s entrance — is all one- and two-bedroom suites each with a full kitchen, dining area, laundry, and a fireplace. The one-bedroom condos comfortably sleep four; the two-bedroom condos comfortably sleep six. In the mornings, take your cup of coffee onto your balcony and greet the swaths of pine just beneath you. You’re that close.

You should have no problem spending time in your new home away from home, but if cabin fever hits and the park is out of reach, the resort also offers a basketball court, game room, and an impressive fitness center. The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is a three-minute walk away — they’ve got actual, rehabilitating bears, wolves, and even otters — and another two-minute walk gets you to the Museum of the Yellowstone.

Fantastic Worldmark By Wyndham Resort Condo , 3Blocks To West Park Entrance,Nice

West Yellowstone
9.3 Excellent (223 reviews)

West Yellowstone, MT: Kelly Inn

Nowhere is closer to the West Entrance of Yellowstone than Kelly Inn, kitty-corner to the visitor center and across the street from the Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre, where you can catch some panoramic knowledge about the area. This reasonably priced hotel is some serious bang for your buck, with custom-made log furniture in the rooms, a great outdoor patio — with fire rings — and pillow top beds. If you’re a sucker for a good-and-hot complimentary breakfast, they’ve got that, too.

What seals the deal for many? They’re pet-friendly.

Kelly Inn West Yellowstone

Top rated
West Yellowstone
9.1 Excellent (2240 reviews)

East Entrance

Cody, Wyoming, is likely the most economical choice for a trip to Yellowstone. It’s 53 miles from the East Entrance — hence the budget-friendlier price tag — and yet still offers the best access to Yellowstone Lake. From here, you’re also close to the Hayden Valley and Lake Village, not far from Lower and Upper Falls. Note: The road to this entrance usually closes from November to May.

Cody, WY: The Cody Hotel

The Cody Hotel takes its isolated location in the heart of the deep American West and uses it to its advantage. Here, no, you’re not next door to Yellowstone — but you are in cowboy territory, and it’s all yours. Sandwiched in the open plains between Yellowstone and Bighorn National Forest, Cody is the area’s biggest town, coming in at under 10,000 residents. This is Yellowstone Country without the crowds.

The Cody Hotel mirrors the town’s Old West theme, using plenty of dark wood, timber accents, and Victorian style furnishings. Modernism takes over, though, when you toss in the 24-hour hot tub, the gas fireplaces, and the waffles lining the breakfast bar. On the days you don’t make it into Yellowstone, check out the nearby Buffalo Bill Center for the West — a huge complex of five museums — and the nearby Buffalo Bill State Park. The Cody offers both bicycles for use and a daily shuttle to get you into and around town.

The Cody Hotel

Top rated
9.6 Excellent (2222 reviews)

Cody, WY: The Chamberlin Inn

The entire town of Cody was founded by Buffalo Bill, and if he were to walk its streets today, he’d probably recognize it. He’d definitely recognize the Chamberlin Inn, as Agnes Chamberlin — the hotel’s original owner — worked for him. Already a historic spot, the Chamberlin got cemented into history when Ernest Hemingway completed Death in the Afternoon while staying in Room 18.

Today, the Chamberlin is a boutique inn with 21 rooms, suites, and studios — and Room 18 is very Hemingway-esque. Once you get over the exposed brick and all the little touches in your room, grab a cocktail and enjoy it slowly in the 2nd-floor sunroom, in the main parlor, in the glass-walled conservatory, or in the wrought-iron-lined courtyard. Beautiful public spaces abound at the Chamberlin — only Yellowstone could compel you to leave.

Chamberlin Inn Cody

Top rated
9.8 Excellent (490 reviews)

Cody, WY: Classic Cody Craftsman

If you’re looking for an absolute steal — that’s part of why trips into the wilderness are so great, right? — consider staying at the Classic Cody Craftsman. For the price of a standard chain experience, this cozy 1930s home, with original hardwood floors and millwork (and the original tub!), sleeps up to 6. Take your coffee —and a fresh muffin left for you — on the window seat of the sun porch, or hang out on the backyard patio, grilling that night’s dinner (and keeping an eye out for deer). Enjoy at least one meal in the dining room, which has original windows on all three sides.

Less than half a mile from the center of town, the Paul Stock Aquatic and Recreation Center is close by — if the kids are hankering for a waterslide — and the Buffalo Bill Center for the West is just a smattering of blocks away.

Classic Cody Craftsman

9.7 Excellent (164 reviews)

North Entrance

To grab a snapshot of that famed Roosevelt Arch, use the North Entrance — Gardiner, Montana, is about a 10-minute drive away. Taking this route, you’ll be near Mammoth Hot Springs and the Norris Geyser Basin, not too far from the Yellowstone River and Canyon Village.

Note: This entrance is open year-round, though the road beyond Mammoth closes from November to April.

Gardiner, MT: Yellowstone Basin Inn

If you want somewhere steeped in nature, you got it. The Yellowstone Basin Inn is steps from the Yellowstone River, directly in front of the 11,000-foot Electric Peak. Out the back door, you’re likely to see more horses than people. Fishing access is about a half-mile away, and sometimes a herd of bison chews their way through the backyard.

As for the rooms, there are 15 of them, each rustic with eco-harvested furniture and small kitchenettes. A homemade breakfast is part of the deal, and the front porch is great for gathering with friends — including the ones you might meet here.

Yellowstone Basin Inn

9.6 Excellent (1764 reviews)

South Entrance

On the south side of Yellowstone is Grand Teton National Park, making this possibly the most scenic route — but your lodging is beyond the second park’s boundaries in Jackson Hole. Taking this route, you’ll be over an hour outside of the South Entrance, adding considerable time to your day. That being said, the South Entrance does put you near Grant Village, the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, and Old Faithful.Note: The road to the South Entrance, US 89, closes November to May.

Jackson, WY: Hotel Terra Jackson Hole

Some — including Travel + Leisure — call Hotel Terra Jackson Hole Wyoming’s best hotel. It’s right at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and it is luxurious. Think high ceilings, oversized windows, furnished balconies, air-tubs, and — if you nab a suite — marble kitchen countertops and inlaid gas fireplaces. The Tetons dominate your view, especially if you’re hanging out in the rooftop infinity pool. Like we said: luxurious.In the warmer months, the ski resort turns into its own mecca of hiking and biking.

If you don’t feel like pounding the mountain terrain, you can get up in the peaks via the aerial tram or the Bridger Gondola — both are worth a ride for the views, and the tram gets you in line for a “Top of the World” waffle at Corbet’s Cabin. (Bonus: Gondola rides are often free at night!) If you’re looking for a three-in-one vacation — luxury meets mountain adventure meets Yellowstone — you’ve found it. Now it’s just time to get booking.

Teton Private Residence Collection

Top rated
Teton Village
9.0 Excellent (1569 reviews)