Frequently I come across people asking for tips to Yellowstone from WA (Seattle). I have done this trip twice in the past 5 years. So, thought of sharing this in internet.
From Seattle, you can go by air or by road. The closest airport is Bozeman, MT. Usually the air prices are not cheap (~$360+ for round trip). Via road, it takes 13 to 14 hours and we will loose one hour when we go from Seattle because of time zone difference. It depends on the group with whom you are travelling whether to cross this in 1 day / stay in Spokane or Missoula / Butte. I have done non-stop by road. People going by air will have the advantage of saving couple of days and body pain compared to road trip. These saved days could be used for visiting Mt Rushmore and Grand Teton.
Hotel booking: Yellowstone park is having a good website but west yellowstone, where most of the people from west will hit, has very little information on hotel deals to the best of my knowledge. You can stay inside Yellowstone park and book the rooms via http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/ website. For west yellowstone, use http://www.westyellowstonechamber.com/sleep/hotels/ website (call the hotel over phone and book).
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/ocd_locale.htm#entrances is the webpage for checking the gates closure information. When I went in memorial day of 2011, Yellowstone lake was frozen and it was snowing though the roads were clear because of plowing.
Always make sure that your gas tank is full when you cross the town, Butte because after this place there are very less gas stations till you reach Yellowstone (a good 75+ miles). I was not aware of it and almost ran out of gas in my car when I went first time and crossing this road around 3am local time in rain. It will be dark with very few car(s) crossing. Moreover, if you are expecting the road to be full of frequent shops and towns like the way between Seattle & Portland then please prepare to change that view. Fill up gas tank when you hit 30% of your gas tank. This applies to inside the park also. Enter the park with full tank. Most of the shops in West Yellowstone close by 9pm and they open only by 7am. Very rare to find 24×7 shop (except the gas station near Yellowstone Old faithful is 24×7 and the Old Faithfull Inn will close the restaurant at 10pm). Sunset time differs and usually it is long because of its altitude.
Have a safe and fun Yellowstone trip.
Depends on your choice, you can choose the plan: (I am sure you will customize after going through all these and based on your taste).
- Review – Yellowstone National Park (yytraveladventures.com)
- Visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons (jasonstravels.com)