The first National Park in the United States (and probably in the world) is also among its finest and most exhilarating. Yellowstone National Park was established by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 and has remained a top nature destination ever since, with its abundant wildlife and its extraordinary geothermal features. The iconic Old Faithful geyser is its most popular attraction, but there are plenty of other natural treasures amid Yellowstone’s rugged beauty, such as hot springs, canyons, lakes, and animals like bison, elk, wolves, and grizzly bears. Nestled in the northwest corner of Wyoming, Yellowstone attracts more than three million visitors annually. There are accommodations of all kinds around the park, and here are 10 of the best yurt lodgings you can find. Stay a few days, and marvel at the diverse nature that Yellowstone has packed in its expanse.
There are more than 10,000 examples of geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park, and over 300 of those are geysers. And no other geyser is more famous than Old Faithful, which will “faithfully” erupt gallons of hot water about once every 80 minutes. So predictable are its eruptions that, in the early days of the park, rangers used to put their laundry around the crater and wait for the eruptions to thoroughly wash their clothes. There are plenty of seats along the footpath around the geyser, so grab a refreshing drink, sit down and just wait for this geological marvel to happen. There are also several lodges near the geyser, but if the rooms are fully booked out, then you can choose this excellent yurt accommodation in the small community of Clark, northeast of the national park. Guests can enjoy homemade blueberry muffins with coffee or tea in the morning, a private bathroom with a shower and beauty products too. The outdoor deck overlooks the Bearthooth Front Range and spectacular sunsets, and there are even cute llamas on the premises.
Sun and Moon
Price: from 110 USD
Number of Guests: 3
Yellowstone is not just a one-trick pony; there are many more natural wonders to see all over the park other than Old Faithful. You can row a boat at the tranquil Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake at high elevation in North America. You can also visit the Mud Volcano or Norris Geyser Basin for close views of Earth’s bubbling underground. There are also plenty of waterfalls, hot springs, and scenic lookout points, so you will need a few days’ accommodation to take in as many of these as possible. This no-frills Turkish yurt lodging is on the vast premises of the Common Grounds Farms in Cody, Wyoming. Cots and sleeping bags as well as fresh breakfast are provided, while restrooms, showers, and fire pits are communal.
Cody Wyoming Yurt
Price: from 85 USD
Number of Guests: 10
The best gateway into Yellowstone is via the rural town of West Yellowstone in the adjacent state of Montana. Only a mile (1.6 kilometers) away from the park’s West Entrance, the town has convenience stores, eateries, a museum documenting the history of the national park, and park tours available for booking. While there are hotels and inns around the town, you can also try this glamping tent accommodation in an RV park by a lake in the nearby town of Rexburg, about an hour from West Yellowstone. Besides the basic amenities like beds and Wi-Fi, guests will have their own picnic table and fire pit, and have access to paddleboard and wakeboarding rentals at the lake.
Glamping tent in Rexburg
Price: from 65 USD
Number of Guests: 4
Besides its wondrous geothermal features, the other great draw of Yellowstone National Park is its abundant wildlife. However, it is difficult to catch sights of grizzly bears, bison, wolves, or elks as these animals tend to avoid human activities. Your best bet is to hike into the Hayden and Pelican Valleys north of Yellowstone Lake or the Gardner River Canyon near the town of Mammoth in the north. Bring binoculars or a spotting scope to view animals safely and to avoid disturbing them, as park rules state that it is illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife. This yurt accommodation in Pocatello is three hours away from Yellowstone, but has outstanding amenities like a big-screen TV with DVDs, a microwave, fresh breakfast, and even a trampoline near the picnic table and fire pit for your enjoyment. There are also hiking trails, hot springs, and skiing areas around the vicinity.
Price: from 95 USD
Number of Guests: 4
If, even after exploring Yellowstone, you still cannot get enough of the scenic beauty of this rural region of America, then head on to the Grand Teton National Park just south of Yellowstone. This park does not have Yellowstone’s geothermal marvels like geysers or mud pools, but makes up for it with stunning mountain vistas and shimmering alpine lakes. Best of all, your entrance fee to Yellowstone also provides entry to Grand Teton. Two for the price of one! This rustic and rugged yurt accommodation is near Montepelier in Idaho, about a two-hour drive from Grand Teton, and has six beds as well as a kitchen stove. The amenities may be basic, but there are beautiful vistas and solitude among the mountainous backdrop.
Yurt amid mountain solitude
Price: from 125 USD
Number of Guests: 6
As with all the great national parks in the world, Yellowstone’s wonders can only be fully revealed and appreciated by hiking its many trails. There are easy ones (the Natural Bridge trail which leads to a photogenic natural bridge above a creek); strenuous ones (the steep Avalanche Peak trail which rewards expert hikers with stunning views of some of the park’s tallest and most remote alpine peaks); short ones (the one-mile (1.6 km) Artist Paint Pots trail which offers views of beautiful hot springs and small geysers); and long ones (the 11-mile (17.7km) Observation Peak trail which has outstanding views of the Yellowstone wilderness). So take a few days’ stay to take in these hiking experiences, and yurt accommodations such as this one near the city of Arco in Idaho offer cozy beds and a propane stove to cook your favorite meals. It also has a library of books for you to unwind after a tiring day of hiking.
Champagne Creek yurts
Price: from 115 USD
Number of Guests: 8
Idaho, adjacent to Wyoming, is often dubbed as the Backyard of America, with plenty of fun outdoor possibilities amid its sparsely-populated lands. For instance, Sun Valley in central Idaho is a popular resort city with great skiing areas in winter and outdoor activities in the nearby Sawtooth National Recreation Area in the summer. They make for great companion trips to any Yellowstone National Park explorations, and this huge double yurt accommodation for over 16 guests sits on a promontory ridge in the mountains high above Sun Valley. It is ideally situated for for travelers who enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and back-country skiing, and has a covered deck and a separate wood-fired sauna for great relaxation.
Price: from 186 USD
Number of Guests: 16+
The City of Rocks National Reserve is a popular destination in southern Idaho, about four hours from Yellowstone National Park. There are plenty of trails among tall and mazy boulder formations for hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The tiny township of Almo is the gateway to this natural playground, and this comfy yurt accommodation is nearby, tucked among beautiful cedars and pines. There are padded beds, firewood for the indoor stove, a counter cabinet, and Wi-Fi available despite the remote location. There is a picnic table and BBQ grill outside, with grilling tongs and spatula provided.
City of Rocks Retreat
Price: from 60 USD
Number of Guests: 6
Although the Yellowstone National Park sits on a plateau at an average elevation of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level, there are no skiing areas in the park during winter. For skiing enthusiasts, their next best options is to head to the northern or central regions of Idaho, where there are some great skiing options in the high mountains. One of them is the Lost Trail Powder Mountains, about 4.5 hours from Yellowstone, where there are as many as 50 ski trails to enjoy. This truly rugged yurt accommodation is accessible only via skiing down one of the trails to the location, and is outfitted with solar lighting, a camp style kitchen, bunk beds, and wood stoves for heat. And when you leave, you have to ski out onto a road that takes you back to the ski resort. For hardcore ski enthusiasts only.
Price: from 270 USD
Number of Guests: 10
The spacious and comfy yurt accommodation is in the mining town of Philipsburg in Montana, about 3.5 hours northwest of Yellowstone National Park. It sleeps up to seven guests, and boasts a full kitchen, multiple showers, and a huge outdoor deck with BBQ grill. It is also close to the Discovery Ski Area, where there are four different skiing faces providing for beginner groomed runs to expert bowl skiing.
The Philipsburg Yurt
Price: from 129 USD
Number of Guests: 7
Wondrous patch of wilderness
You can spend weeks and still be unable to visit all the scenic spots within the huge expanses of the Yellowstone National Park. Such are its riches in geothermal features and natural beauty, and it is little wonder that early settlers in the region were so enamored by this wondrous patch of wilderness that they managed to persuade the American government to make this a permanent public park. Yellowstone deserves to be taken in at a leisurely pace, so that you can appreciate its many layers of awesomeness while you enjoy the vast expanse of rural American beauty in your yurt accommodations.
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