Sunday, June 29, 2014

Yellowstone: End notes

So I have finally finished my trilogy on Yellowstone. I just wanted to end this series with a few notes - additional information for anyone who wishes to visit the park.

Base camp:

We planned our trip only a month in advance. By then, it was too late to stay in the park. Sad! While searching for alternative locations, we came across Cody, WY, Jackson Hole, WY, and Billings, MT. Initially, we booked our lodging at Cody because it's closer to the park, it's relatively cheap, and the air fare is nearly half the price of Jackson Hole.

But we changed our mind at the last minute because air fare from San Francisco to Salt Lake City has dropped to $244 per pax. Even though that would mean a 5-hour drive from SLC airport to Jackson Hole, and we would commute two hours into the park instead of one each day, we chose this cheaper option.

It helps that we all love to drive!

And we enjoyed our stay at the quaint little town of Jackson Hole. It's a popular ski area in winter; in summer, it's abuzz with bikers, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiasts. It was pleasantly vibrant during our short sojourn, and dinner choices were aplenty.


We stayed at Elk Refuge Inn. We didn't see any elks during our stay at the Inn, but we did see a lone moose at the refuge on our second night. The Inn comes with free muffins and coffee in the morning. For $160 a night, the room and its surroundings are pretty decent.

Our alternative choice was Motel 6, which is closer to downtown Jackson. We also considered Snake River Park KOA and Cabin Village just for the fun of it, but we realised the location is further from town.

There are plenty of other accommodation at Jackson Hole, depending on your budget. It's a pity we couldn't stay at the bigger lodges. They looked really pretty on the outside!

Grand Teton: The Bonus

Saving the best for last. Because we stayed at Jackson Hole, we drove through Grand Teton National Park every day. Grand Teton is the beautiful cousin of Yellowstone. We felt obliged to focus on Yellowstone; yet, it's hard to ignore the grandeur of Grand Teton.

On the morning of departure, we finally set aside time to explore the park. We only managed to visit Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center and Jenny Lake. The visitor centre offers so much information on the area's geology and wildlife that we spent longer than expected there.

We also discovered that there are boat rides at Jenny Lake. It's such a pity that we didn't have time to go on a scenic cruise. The views are breath-taking.


It's hard to say how long one should set aside for Yellowstone and its surrounding area. There's so much to explore, and plans are always changing because of the unpredictable weather. We had planned to do both north and south loops. The plan was aborted in the end because we didn't want to rush through the points of interest.

Looking back, I would say plan at least a week, so that you can truly take your time to appreciate the park. Staying inside the park would also help cut down a lot on travelling time.

Lastly, go with an open mind! Check out the visitor centres and join the ranger talks. Remember to put aside your camera from time to time, and just enjoy what nature has to give!

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