When to visit
- Very Favourable
What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
Yellowstone National Park is well known for its colourful hot springs, powerful geysers and impressive canyon.
But it is also an important wildlife reserve, where it is possible to watch bison, grizzly bears and wolves.
Did you know that the park is actually an active volcano? The next eruption is expected in 1,000 to 10,000 years: that should give you enough time to enjoy your visit to the park ;-)
WHAT TO DOIf you only have one day to visit the park, your best option is to drive around the Grand Loop Road*. This iconic route will take you past the park's most striking geysers and hot springs. You will also drive through Hayden Valley, a prime spot for wildlife viewing.
* = interesting ** = worth a detour *** = worth a trip
From Madison (West entry), drive south in the direction of Old Faithful:
Time permitting, walk the boardwalk trail through Upper Geyser Basin to colourful Morning Glory Pool**.
The Grand Loop Road continues along Yellowstone Lake to Lake Village. From there it heads north, following the Yellowstone River into Hayden Valley.
As you continue to make your way north, stop in Canyon Village* to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
If you have the time (and energy), Brink of the Lower Falls*** is a more spectacular 1-hour roundtrip hike that leads to a platform right at the top of the falls. The 180 metre elevation change can be tiring on the way back.
If you still have time after the wonders of the Grand Loop Road, pay a visit to Mammoth Hot Springs north of Norris.
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
WHERE TO EATFor your trip to Yellowstone National Park, it's a good idea to pack a picnic lunch and bring snacks and drinks because, as is the case in many of the more remote national parks, the park's restaurants are frequently expensive and not necessarily of the best quality. All Yellowstone National Park restaurants and cafeterias are managed by two competing companies (Xanterra and Delaware North).
Lake Yellowstone Hotel Dining Room ($$$)
The Lake Yellowstone Hotel stands on the shores of Yellowstone Lake. Opened in 1891, it is the park's oldest restaurant. The dinner menu is creative and upscale, with unique dishes featuring fresh fish, lamb, duck, quail and game such as bison, as well as at least one vegetarian entrée. The emphasis is on sustainable cuisine using locally sourced organic ingredients. Wines from California, Oregon, and Washington predominate on the wine list. Reservations are not needed for breakfast or lunch, but they are essential for dinner.
Lake Village Road, 1 mile south of Fishing Bridge Village, Yellowstone 307-344-7311
Cassie’s Supper Club ($$)
Cassie’s is the type of classic truck stop you would expect to find in the West: great cuts of beef, four bars and a typical western decor with taxidermy, antelope skulls and everything cowboy-related. A former brothel, Cassie’s is now an upscale restaurant and dance club. In addition to steak grilled to perfection, the menu features seafood, fish, pasta and chicken, as well as a wide array of specialty drinks. In the “Buffalo” bar, a 20-foot-long mural depicts horses, cowboys and shootouts. The legendary dance floor rocks to the sound of country music, with live bands every evening in the summer.
214, Yellowstone Avenue, Cody 307-527-5500
Cafe Madriz ($$)
Café Madriz brings the authentic taste of Spanish cuisine to Montana. The owner and chef, Elena de Diego creates every dish from scratch: appetizers, hot and cold tapas, main dishes and desserts. Enjoy a variety of authentic dishes made with fresh ingredients and imported products such as Manchego cheese, Serrano ham and chorizo. Open from May to September.
311, Canyon Street, West Yellowstone 406-646-9245
Where to sleep ?
- Very Favourable