Situated virtually in the backyard of Yellowstone National Park, America’s first national park, the outdoorsy town of West Yellowstone is home to a wide array of visitor-centric shops, restaurants, and lodging, all topped off with a hearty dose of old-fashioned Western hospitality. The town’s proximity to many of Yellowstone’s main draws— including the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Firehole River, Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful—ensures it’s a must-stop destination for regional visitors. Despite its small size (the town claimed 1,353 full-time residents in 2016), West Yellowstone offers a host of lodging options, ranging from traditional hotels to unique glamping experiences.
Here, eight recommended spots that make for an excellent home base after a day of adventure in the outdoor playground around West Yellowstone.
1. Alpine Motel
For visitors seeking a more traditional hotel experience in the heart of town, the Alpine Motel is just the place. The property offers a central location makes it a cinch to explore shops, restaurants, and attractions, while offering a quiet, comfortable atmosphere. In 2012, TripAdvisor gave the motel a Travelers’ Choice award for best service—thanks in large part to owners Brian and Patty, who make guests’ stays even more personal with their passion and knowledge of the area.
2. Bar N Ranch
Located just six miles from West Yellowstone, the Bar N Ranch offers rooms both in its grand lodge and private cabins. Set against a stunning landscape with resident wildlife galore, the ranch offers fine dining, guided tours of Yellowstone National Park, hiking, a swimming pool, fly fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and many other outdoor activities guaranteed to keep everyone in your group entertained. In addition, the lodge’s proximity to town means guests can enjoy the area’s more urban attractions, too.
3. Three Bear Lodge
A West Yellowstone institution, Three Bear Lodge is an award-winning, eco-friendly lodge located in downtown. Rooms feature unique furniture and thoughtful nods to local influences, like towel holders crafted from reclaimed wood. Common areas invite relaxing with roaring fireplaces and comfy furniture, offering cozy respite after a busy day exploring nearby Yellowstone. The property’s beloved Three Bear Restaurant is a favorite of both locals and tourists alike—for breakfast, don’t miss the sweet cream pancakes with local huckleberries.
4. 1872 Inn
Located just outside the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, the 1872 Inn is an excellent option for a basecamp to exploring the park. The boutique inn features custom rooms that are each a mix of both luxury and traditional Montana design. Each room features its own fireplace, a large double shower, and comes furnished with locally handmade custom furniture—from the headboard to the desk chair. Continental breakfast is included with your room, giving you the energy you need to start exploring the park each morning.
5. Parade Rest Guest Ranch
A sister property to Three Bears Lodge, the Parade Rest Guest Ranch is located just 10 minutes outside of West Yellowstone. Traditional log cabin lodging offers a slice of rugged Montana life, while horseback trail rides and world-class fly fishing all but guarantee adventure-filled days. Food is simple yet hearty, often served in traditional, open-air Western-style cookouts. Parade Rest is an excellent option for those seeking a no-fuss, no-frills but comfortable Western experience.
6. Evergreen Motel
Located just blocks from the West entrance to Yellowstone National Park, the Evergreen Motel is a small, comfortable property with rich history. Originally built in 1931 as the Evergreen Auto Court, the 17-room property has seen several iterations but has maintained a solid reputation among outdoorsy types for its clean, cozy rooms at affordable prices. Some rooms come with a kitchenette, and all have their own dedicated parking space for easy transport of outdoor gear. Owners Logan and Sara take a hands-on approach to the property and are happy to answer any questions about the town and the area.
7. The Explorer Cabins of Yellowstone
These rustic but cozy cabins are ideal for families and couples looking for a comfortable Western adventure—guests even receive a complimentary s’mores kit upon check-in. Private cabins are well-outfitted with TVs, kitchenettes, and WiFi, and dog-friendly cabins are available. Make new friends around the community fire pit in the evenings, then fall asleep to the sound of the breeze rustling through the trees before the next day’s adventures.
8. Firehole Ranch
Once voted into the list of Top 10 Fly-Fishing Lodges by Forbes, the cushy ranch has since worked hard to maintain that standard. Located 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, Firehole Ranch is home to 10 lake view cabins scattered on a spacious 640 private acres. Fishing is a big draw here: Expert fly fishing guides lead guests on legendary rivers such as the Madison, Gallatin, and Henry’s Fork. But there are plenty of other activities to choose from, including hiking, horseback rides, and mountain biking. This is one of the area’s most popular lodges for anglers, as the lodge is open for only 15 weeks each summer and hosts only 22 guests at a time, starting with three-night packages. Contact them early for reservations, as it often fills up a year in advance.
Written by Jess McGlothlin for RootsRated Media in partnership with West Yellowstone Chamber.
Featured image provided by Adam Fagen